At this point, everyone and their mom have a podcast. And if you haven’t started your own, you might be thinking about it.
I’ve been hosting the Growth Machine Marketing Podcast for almost four months now. While I’ve been new to podcast hosting, I’m fortunate to have started by taking the reins of an existing podcast. Growth Machine, an SEO-focused content creation agency, built up a small following and brand equity. I wasn’t exactly starting from scratch.
I needed to take the podcast to the next level. And here, I’m distilling what I did into micro-lessons for you to get started with your own podcast.
1. Get started now. Worry about the premise later.
Jay Acunzo’s famous advice is that every great podcast has a premise. He’s not wrong. In “You’re Wrong About,” writers Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall debunk a historical person or event. Dave Gerhardt’s “B2B Marketing Leaders” podcast focuses exclusively on, well, B2B marketing leaders.
If you already have a premise in mind, great. But if you don’t have a premise, but rather, a topic, AND you have the itch to get going, don’t let the lack of premise stop you: start recording, editing, and publishing. As you get into a publishing groove, you might find that the premise unfolds on its own.
With the Growth Machine Marketing podcast, I put out a call for guests, and I ended up getting interest from different types of marketers — not just content marketers. So I started interviewing guests with the focus of having interesting and insightful conversations.
A dozen or so episodes later, and I’ve had the chance to reflect and assess. Moving forward, I’m going to focus on having content-focused marketers and content creators because that’s what our audience wants to learn about from us.
2. Invest cheaply at first, increase your budget later.
Any new hobby can get expensive fast. The beauty of a podcast is that all you need is the means of recording yourself. And while you can use your phone’s headphones, you should consider spending a few dollars on a decent microphone.
I bought the Pyle-Pro PDMIC58 mic and a pop filter, which only set me back about $19. It’s not amazing audio, but the setup is markedly better than a laptop or phone microphone, and it helps mitigate background noise.
Invest just enough to get your efforts off the ground. If you end up realizing podcasting isn’t for you, no harm done. But if you end up getting serious, you can geek out on the tech products later. By then, you’ll have honed the craft enough to have a deeper appreciation for greater investment.
3. Focus on doing one thing right
A podcast has a lot of moving parts. Coordinating with guests’ schedules, preparing for interviews, recording those interviews, editing (even minimally), publishing, and promoting.
There’s no way around it. Even if you don’t have guests, you’ll still need to prepare for each episode and the rest of the recording, editing, and publishing work.
So in that process, focus on doing one thing excellently. If you have guests, maybe you’ll put a lot of time and effort into researching them and developing questions they’ve never been asked before. Or maybe you want to focus on editing: you can record an hour or more of content and focus on the editing to craft a story arc.
Whatever it is, pick your thing and focus. The rest will fall into place as you get into a recording and publishing groove.
4. Tailor your pitches to guests
If you end up going the guest interview route, make sure you tailor your message for each person you reach out to. You might want to create a template to cover your basic messaging (like who you are or what your podcast is about) but put in the time to write a truly thoughtful ask.
When you reach out to a guest, tell them why you reached out to them specifically. What about their work do you admire? What did they say in a different interview that resonated with you? Think about how you can entice them to join your show by pitching them on a couple of different topic ideas they are uniquely qualified to discuss.
The people you reach out to will know you were conscientious. Especially when you’re early on in your show, the quality of your work and communication style will be the only leverage you have. Use it.
5. Trust the process
Finally, remember that growing listenership to a podcast is usually a slow process. Some of the best-known marketing podcasters today have been hosting their show for years. Ramli John has been hosting Growth Marketing Today and publishing consistently for over 100 episodes. His recent advice on podcasting is:
“For me, it took three years of podcasting with Growth Marketing Today, when I started seeing the impact and results I wanted. Trust the process, and the results will follow.”
Anything worth doing should be done well, and success takes time. This is especially true for new content efforts like podcasts.
And as you get started good luck!