5 Essentials Before Launching

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So you have an idea you want to share with others, but right now you might be wondering about how to get your idea out into the world. As millions more people discover and listen to podcasts each year, there has never been a better time to share your idea or spread your message by podcasting. And depending on how much you initially invest in your podcasting set-up, podcasting can be an inexpensive - yet expansive - medium for connecting your message to an eager and engaged audience. 

I’ve been privileged to interview some amazing guests on my podcast over the past ten months, and having launched the Second Chair Leadership Podcast ten months ago I realized there were some things I did right that I hope prove useful to you. There are some key elements you should work through on paper before you ever hit the record button I believe will serve you well. The truth is podcasting is challenging and too many new podcasters have a short view in mind when just starting out. Statistics show us a couple important things about podcasts today:

  1. There are over half a million published podcasts; but,

  2. Between June 2005 and June 2015, 40% of podcasts ran for six months with twelve episodes before going inactive. (Source: https://medium.com/@monarchjogs/how-podcasts-have-changed-in-ten-years-by-the-numbers-720a6e984e4e)

The bad news is the average life span of a typical podcast is just 12 episodes. There’s a 40% chance your podcast won’t make it past a year! The good news is you’re not too late to the podcasting game and it’s never been a better time to launch a podcast than right now.

So, with that in mind, here are eight quick essentials to work through before you launch your new podcast:

  1. A “catchy” idea. Research is key to launching a podcast. Is your idea catchy? Is someone already podcasting this or is it truly unlike other podcasts already out there? Recently a podcaster was frustrated she wasn’t getting the listens and downloads she thought she would. It turns out, her podcast was a daily Bible reading which is awesome, but her competition is fierce. There are thousands of daily Bible reading podcasts to contend with, not to mention all the Bible apps already out there. Her idea simply wasn’t unique enough. One of the things that helped me clarify my idea came from a Jeff Goins’ podcast episode called, 12 Steps to Making a Living Writing. Even though I wasn’t writing a book, what Jeff shares was incredibly helpful to me in really drilling down what my podcast was going to be about. "Good writing,” Jeff says, "is about creating change in the reader.” Likewise, good podcasting is about creating change in the listener.  So the first step of clarifying your message comes with an exercise that I believe you should do if you’re going to launch a podcast.

    Fill in the blank:

    Every _____ can or should _____.

    Example: Every second chair leader can lead creatively and courageously right where they are!

    Purpose Statement:

    After you’ve filled in the blanks, take some time to write out why you believe what you just wrote to be true and explain your thinking behind it.

  2. Listen well & learn from others. Listen to different types of podcasts. Note what you like and dislike about each podcast. Before I launched the SCLP I probably listened to a dozen different podcasts - from Malcolm Gladwell’s highly produced, Revisionist History, to Jeff Goins’ The Portfolio Life to The Art of Manliness. Write down your thoughts on what you’re hearing, questions worth asking possible guests or topics of conversation. Note whether or not you like the podcast theme music. Take a look at the podcast website and jot down what you like. I also talked with a couple friends who have their own podcasts and asked them for advice and questions about their processes. You will benefit greatly from connecting with other podcasters and asking them questions about how and why they produce their podcast. Participating in various podcasting Facebook groups can be very beneficial as well. 

  3. Craft a launch plan. In creating a launch plan I highly recommend you attend a one-hour webinar hosted by Libsyn. It was phenomenal! And it’s free! It’s hard to believe but it’s true, a free Libsyn webinar in how to start podcasting will coach you through every step to a successful launch - everything from: having a why and defining your show to gear you need to establishing a workflow to help you move from recording an episode to publishing it for the world to hear.

  4. Start up capital. Starting a podcast can be done really inexpensively. You don’t have to invest a lot of money to create a quality show. I bought inexpensive recording software for my computer, a microphone, and headphones. There are a lot of free tools available to podcasters for such as Canva for graphic design and Audacity for sound editing that will serve you well and save you money. You can also find royalty free theme music. I found a track I thought really captured the feel of the podcast. I contacted the artist directly and gained permission to use the track for the show. For a $15 donation I had unlimited use. That was a steal! The one area that will cost the most is signing up with a podcasting host such as Libsyn or Podbean. There are free versions (with limitations) of this service, but I recommend paying for this service. Having a central hub for all your episodes hosted by a reputable company with a reliable RSS feed for your podcast will potentially save you from future hassles and frustrations.

  5. Consistency is key. With 40% of podcasts going inactive within a year the best thing you can do for yourself is to commit to a process you know you can deliver on a consistent basis. Publish content consistently. Weekly podcasting is best, but you know what? It’s okay if you can’t publish weekly. I don’t. Lots of podcasters don’t. I committed to producing two episodes a month because I knew I could deliver on that promise. Some podcasters publish daily. You do what works for your schedule. Even if you start out simply with a small budget, but you publish consistently delivering valuable content, your listeners will tune in and most likely ask for more. 

If you’re thinking about launching a podcast I want to help. Send me an email or leave a comment and let’s get started! Or if you have questions about how to get started, ask away by commenting below.

Links to Resources Mentioned:

  • https://goinswriter.com/steps/

  • https://blog.libsyn.com/2016/10/28/start-podcast-step-step-podcasting-101201/