5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Launching a Podcast
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You can hardly consume any media these days without hearing about the power of podcasts. They're a great way to build your audience, show off your brand, and tie your personality to your product. Not only are they a great way to drive sales, but they're also great for making a little money through ad revenue, too, if you choose to monetize your podcast.
While there are many benefits to starting a podcast (like how fun they are), there are a few things you should think about before you get your heart set on starting a new one. If you have been considering launching a podcast for your creative business, here are five questions to ask yourself before starting.
1. Do I want to launch a podcast or do I want to produce more multi-media content?
Every audio or video file shared online isn’t a podcast. Podcasts are audio or video files that are syndicated to subscribers through an RSS feed. Most podcasts are ongoing shows that air on a regular schedule. New shows can be aired live or pre-recorded, and your older content remains available on demand.
Perhaps you just want to share more audio or video content with your audience without worrying about syndication or committing to a regular schedule. In that case, consider recording a series of tutorials, studio tours, or workshops to share with your audience instead.
2. What do I want to get out of podcasting?
Typically, creative business owners launch podcasts in order to gain authority in their niche, to grow and connect with an online community, to share their love of the craft, and/or to monetize content through sponsorships and advertising. Understanding your purpose can help you make decisions about your budget, show format, and more.
3. Who is the audience for my show?
Before you start your podcast, think about your ideal listeners or viewers. Who will listen to or watch your show regularly? How much time do they have available each week or month? Will they prefer a formal discussion or a casual, conversational approach? Is sound/visual quality more important to them than the content or vice versa? What are they interested in experiencing or learning? Answering these questions will help you think about your podcast’s content as well as format and production values.
4. How technically proficient will I want to get?
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the technical details of recording audio or video, editing, posting content online, and ensuring your RSS feed is functional. But the main purpose of a podcast is to share content with your audience!
If you don’t have technical skills already, decide whether you will go through training, outsource skilled tasks (such as editing), or use an unpolished approach. For skilled artisans, it may be challenging to give up on being a perfectionist, but having an unedited podcast may be more feasible than devoting hours a week to editing or paying a podcast production company.
5. What is my budget?
If podcasting is a labor of love for you, you may plan to start your show with no budget. Many podcasters bootstrap their launch by using the capabilities of their existing phone, camera, or computer before investing in equipment. There are great free training resources available, like Cliff Ravenscraft’s Learn How to Podcast 101, Pat Flynn’s Complete Step-by-Step Podcasting Tutorial, or The Audacity to Podcast’s Getting Started page, or Everything You Need to Start Your Own Podcast by Jessica Kupferman (available for free with email sign up here).
If you have a moderate budget, you may consider purchasing an inexpensive microphone and/or camera and reading an ebook on podcasting, like Podcast Launch by John Lee Dumas.
If you have a larger budget, going through a paid training course with a podcasting coach who will guide you through purchasing and setting up your equipment might be the best option. Alternately, if you plan to use a podcast production company, consult with them about the best equipment for you.
Some final advice…
Keep in mind that it’s much easier to launch a podcast than to sustain an ongoing show! If you want to take a DIY approach to launching your own podcast but want some community support, join my March, 2015 challenge: 31 Days to Pod Launch.
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