Before you start podcasting, it’s important to carefully consider your motivation for starting a podcast, what you hope to get out of it, and what you want the show to do for your audience.
I’m going to assume that you already have a general idea of what you’re going to podcast about. You probably also listen to a few shows that you’re planning to take inspiration from. That’s great! Nothing wrong with that.
But I’d like to ask you a few questions to help you avoid spending a bunch of time and money to make a show that doesn’t help you achieve your goals.
Maybe you haven’t thought too much about your goals and how podcasting could help you achieve them. That’s ok too!
I’ve got 3 important questions I’d like you to consider:
What long term goal (or goals) will this podcast help you achieve?
What do you want to be known for?
What do you want this podcast to do for your listeners?
Let’s dig into each of these questions.
If you plan carefully, a podcast can help you reach your long term goals.
There are no wrong answers here, but I strongly encourage spending a few minutes to think about and write down what you hope to get out of podcasting. It’s ok to dream big!
📝 Do this: Write down the goals you’d like to achieve, and how your show can help you get there.
What are you passionate about? What do you love talking about? What do you want to be a part of everyday for the rest of your life (or at least the next few years)?
That’s the thing you should be podcasting about.
Quick sidenote. You might be wondering, “Can I make a podcast about multiple topics?”
I don’t recommend covering multiple, unrelated topics on your podcast.
I recommend starting with the thing that you want to be known for, then covering any sub-topics related to that thing.
For example, if you want to be known as someone who teaches people how to write science fiction, you probably shouldn’t spend time discussing politics or local news on your podcast. Your audience will subscribe to your show to get advice on writing, not on who’s making headlines or what the latest drama in the big city is.
It’s tempting to try to cover a bunch of different topics on your podcast, but if you try to reach everyone, you’ll reach no one.
And remember, most big topics have more then enough related sub-topics to explore. If you dive deep into your area of focus, you won’t run out of things to talk about.
💡Podcasting Tip: Don’t fall into the trap of making a show where you talk about whatever you feel like talking about each week. There are already hundreds of thousands of shows like that, and it makes it incredibly hard to get more listeners unless you’re already famous for something else.
📝 Do this: Write down what you want to be known for, then write down everything that you could talk about related to that.
Everyone who starts a podcast wants people to listen to it. So since you want people to listen to your show, you need to start thinking about your podcast from your audience’s perspective.
Before someone starts listening to a podcast episode, they ask themselves, “What is this show going to do for me? What am I going to get out of it?”
If you want to grow an audience, it’s important to be able to describe what your show is going to do for your listener, what benefit they are going to get out of it.
Success in podcasting relies on defining your goals for podcasting, deciding what value you’re going to create for your listeners, and then showing up consistently to produce and deliver something great.
If you want to make a great podcast, you need to carefully consider how you can provide something valuable to your listeners.
Ask yourself, “What kind of person am I trying to reach, what are our common interests, and what am I going to give them? What do I want my show to do for them?”
📝 Do this: Write down a couple benefits you hope your show will provide to your listener.
If you lack a clear understanding of what you hope to get out of podcasting, you may find it difficult to keep going when you hit a major roadblock or difficulty, or when podcasting stops being new and exciting (which usually happens around episode 20).
This is why I’m asking you to write down your goals and motivations now.
Another important question to ask yourself is, “What do I want my listener to do after listening to my show?“
If you provide something value to your audience, they’re going to feel a sense of obligation to you. You give them something valuable, they’ll want to return the favor. So what will you ask them to do?
You could ask them to share the show with a friend. You could ask them to get in touch if they’d like to hire you for a project. You could ask them to buy a course or ebook you made.
There’s no wrong answer here, but knowing your why and your ask in advance will help you create content that your audience will love and appreciate, and then provide them with a way to help you in return.
To sum it all up: Think about what your motivations are for starting a podcast, how a podcast will help you reach your long term goals, and then be prepared to explain to your listeners the benefits that they’ll get from listening to your show.
Think about and answer these three questions:
Why do I want to make this podcast?
What am I hoping to get out of it?
What do I want it to do for my listeners?
Doing this will help you stay focused on your goals, make it easier to create valuable content and grow an audience for your show, and also help you communicate to your audience how they can help you anchieve your goals too.
In 2017, I published Successful Podcasting, an online course to teach people how to make a great podcast. I’m currently in the process of rewriting and updating it. What you see here is a work-in-progress! More lessons coming soon!
In the meantime, check out my podcast about podcasting. I’ve already written and made podcast episodes about just about everything you’ll need to know to make a great podcast.
If you have any questions about starting a podcast, feel free to send them to aaron at thepodcastdude.com.