Have you ever wondered what it’s like to run a podcast? Maybe it’s something you’re considering for your own business?
It’s a special episode today as it’s the Whin Big podcast’s first birthday! We celebrate by sharing 12 important lessons Katie has learned in the past year of podcasting.
This episode is sponsored by our Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist will take you through all the most important things you need to get right in your Instagram marketing. Hit the big yellow button below to sign up for the free training and download the checklist.
Looking back and reminiscing has given Katie the vantage point to see just how far she’s come. For starters, she’s no longer nervous about recording episodes and interviewing guests.
Listen and learn…
Seeing just how much her confidence has grown has been a real boost for Katie, one that prompted her to look back and find life lessons in other areas connected to the podcast. In the podcast, Katie shares lessons from four key podcasting areas. If you’re thinking of starting a podcast, or curious about how it works behind the scenes, this episode can’t be missed!
As always, there’s so much more detail in the episode so jump in to see which areas and themes you can use in your podcast plans – and you’ll notice there’s a lot of cross over into other aspects of business marketing, and running your own business in general.
“I was kind of terrified. I had no idea what it was going to be like!” – Katie
How to measure if your podcast is successful
How do you measure success? Katie realised she clung to a story of success that wasn’t necessarily true. Is this something you could change about your own success stories?
The short term numbers aren’t everything
It took Katie a while to let go of the idea that the number of listeners to a new podcast (typically around 20 in the first few days) didn’t define the overall success of the episode.
With a year’s experience behind her, she has been able to look back and see the numbers growing over time. A new episode may receive 20 downloads, but the Whin Big Podcast as a whole receives hundreds of downloads every month, which gives a clearer picture.
“Short term numbers are often not encouraging – nor do they really matter.” – Katie
Success doesn’t come from the episode alone
Katie has recognised that the podcast’s growth wasn’t solely down to the podcast episodes. Collateral such as:
- Show notes & free downloads such as:
- PDF guides
- Cheat sheets
Are just as important as the episodes themselves.
Why? Because it’s the show notes that come up in search results. If your show notes are optimised for search engines, then Google will rank your pages – which means you’ll reach new people – all looking for the service you offer (ideal customer alert!)
Credibility comes from consistency
The value of the podcast as a whole expands as the podcast grows. The more episodes you add, the more consistent you become and the more subscribers you’ll gather.
Podcast fans (and your potential customers) looking for new podcasts to subscribe to are more likely to do so if a podcast is regularly published and maintained. Be consistent, and reliable. And people will follow.
Podcasting is not a quick and easy way to make money
Having invested hours and finances into the podcast, it doesn’t faze Katie that she won’t make back her investment for a few good years. For her, success comes from the enjoyment that comes from creating the Whin Big Podcast. Katie cares more about building an engaged audience, connecting with that audience and earning trust by adding value to their lives through the podcast and resources. (And totally trusts she will recoup her investments in time).
How to get inspired and create great solo podcasts
Solo shows are a brilliant way to speak directly to people and have a personal conversation with a listener. Coming up with ideas, creating a plan and writing a script is not as easy as it sounds (does it sound easy?!) So if this is something you’re considering doing for your own podcast, read on:
The best ideas come when you’re in planning mode
Waiting for inspiration about podcast themes to strike is not a strategy that works for Katie. Great podcast ideas come when she’s primed and ready to explore.
“The more committed I am to sitting down and exercising creativity to come up with ideas, the easier it is to do.” – Katie
Pay attention to the differences between spoken and written word
There’s a huge difference in the way people absorb information given on a podcast versus something they read on a blog or a social media post. Katie quickly realised that planning a podcast in the same way she planned a blog post was a big mistake.
She quickly learned to:
- Consider where a podcast listener is when they tune in, and what they might be doing at the same time. It’s important to use repetition and creative ways to say the same message throughout, as people may not be giving 100% attention
- Add sounds or musical breaks in to give the listener a signal that a new topic or subject is coming up
- Keep it brief -there’s only so much information people can absorb. Make it easy for the listener to take in the message
- Organise the content so people can remember what you had to teach without having to take lots of notes
How to make the best podcast content
Podcast content is so different to the other types of content. In all other forms of digital marketing there is a way for people to connect with your content and leave feedback, or comment (both negative and positive). How do you carry on when there’s no way to know how you’re doing?
Set your own standards
Without the comments and feedback we’re used to on social media – it’s so hard to know how you’re doing. The only way to get round that is to unhook from the traditional feedback / praise / reward loop and hold your creation to your own standards and judgement.
You need to experience your content in the same way your listener does – and once you have, does it meet your own standards? Would you listen to that episode all the way to the end?
“When you review it – ask yourself – how good is it really?” – Katie
Quality content matters most, but don’t forget the hygiene factor.
The number one thing to focus on is the content. The subjects you choose to talk about with your guests, and on solo episodes is the most important aspect of your podcast. But keep in mind these other important factors:
- Quality of audio recordings
- Invest in a good quality mic
- The length of the episodes
- It’s tempting to indulge in long conversations with guests
- It’s your job to find the best bits for your listener
- Knowing the schedule – when will the next episode come out?
You need a system for how you make podcast content
You need to have a system to make sure everything happens in a predictable way – even if you’re outsourcing. Your audience really wants to know what to expect from you and when they’ll hear a new episode.
Have a system in place that helps you get consistent by getting clear on the tasks involved in creating a podcast. The Whin Big Podcast solo episodes, the system looks like this:
- Plan the episode
- Sit down and record it
- Upload to Google Drive so
- the episode can be edited
- show notes are written
- The show notes are uploaded to the website
- The audio is uploaded to Spreaker
The system means the Whin Big podcast is always on time and offers the highest quality content every time.
How to interview people for your podcast
Interviewing people was a completely new experience for Katie – she did have experience of carrying out research studies with people at university, but never in the context of an interview or conversation that would later be published.
Most people think they have nothing interesting to say!
Despite being brand new to the activity, she quickly noticed a common theme amongst the guests she invited. They would reply to her request with a comment along the lines of: “are you sure? People won’t want to hear about me, I don’t think I’ll have much to say”.
Katie’s amused by this – she picks her guests very carefully, almost completely around the idea that she knows they’ll have something valuable to contribute to the podcast.
“If you’re listening to this podcast and I invite you to appear as a guest on it, rest assured I have already figured out for myself that you would be an interesting person to talk to!” – Katie
You can predict how the interview will go, so you have to prepare
Even if Katie knows the guests really well, she can’t predict how the conversation will flow. No matter who you’re planning to speak to, prepare and it will go well. Preparing for them is key to make sure they go well.
Katie carries out research on her guests by spending time on their social media accounts and signing up to their mailing list.
She’ll also send out a questionnaire so everyone can feel comfortable with the questions they’ll be asked.
As the host – its your responsibility to curate the conversation
Everything about the podcast – from the length, the subject, the editing – is all your responsibility as the host to make sure it’s tidied up so listeners get the most out of the podcast.
It’s all about listening to what the guest is saying so they can be encouraged to dig deeper into their comment. Paying attention, and feeling prepared means being fully in the moment.
It’s also important to have the control – and the confidence – to redirect the conversation if the guest talks about something less interesting to an audience.