S2:E8 Should I start my own podcast?

Hello Marketing Mindset Club folks, welcome back to season two, we are on Episode Eight of the show. And this is going to be the last episode in this season. But don't worry, I am planning season three, and we'll be coming back really soon so not going to be a huge break here.

Now, usually when I'm putting together an episode, I will have done a bunch of research, I'll be presenting you with the latest facts and figures and drawing in opinions and thoughts from cover people and I, on the topic, but this time I thought I would do an episode completely off the top of my brain, and it is in response to a question that I get asked every so often. And it's, "should I start my own podcast?", and obviously I have only two seasons' worth of experience to answer this question, but I thought it might be worthwhile having that conversation.

I know it's a popular topic out there. It's undeniable, the growth that podcasts have seen over the last few years. the the one stat I did grab was Apple, at the Worldwide Developers Conference in 2018, said that there were over 550,000 active podcasts on iTunes, and as of December last year [2020], that number has gone up to 1.68 million - so more than doubled. I think we're a little bit behind the curve here in the UK, but it's undoubtedly a growing area, and it's something that people ask me because I think they're considering it from their personal brand perspective but also from their business perspective, they know that their audiences on the move quite a lot. They know that habits have changed recently because of COVID. And even though there's less commuting going on the feeling that I get is that podcast listenership is not slowing down, people are still listening to shows. And that makes perfect sense because we're all at home a lot more, that time hasn't disappeared, we're just not commuting.

So I thought I would talk about what I've learned from the two seasons of running this show, and some of the things that you could consider when you're thinking about whether or not to start a podcast.

So, the first bit, as with any marketing or, really any activity, is what do you want to get out of it? Are you doing a podcast that is going to enhance your personal brand for your career? Are you doing it because it's a hobby, are you going to talk about something outside of your career that you are really passionate about? Could be anything really, if there's something that you're interested in - somebody out there is going to be interested in it too. You can pretty much be sure of that. And you can find them pretty easily across the podcast platforms.

So, that brings me on to the setup side of things. So you have to have a host platform, creating a podcast, and I use Captivate. It's just one of many out there, there are tonnes of them if you just Google, you'll find a service that works for you. But with Captivate you can submit your show to any number of channels, so I can send it straight to Spotify and send it to Amazon, all through that platform so it's really easy to distribute it.

In terms of your recording setup, so I am extremely spoiled because my husband is a music producer, so I have a studio to hand, which is something I've always been very grateful for because I really do believe that the quality of audio that you can produce makes a huge difference. So when you're thinking about what recording gear you're going to need to start off with - I wouldn't start with just say your iPhones headphones and using a voice memo to create an audio file. I just wouldn't. I wouldn't recommend that because I don't think the quality of the audio is going to be good enough. So I would recommend you get a microphone. There are loads of different choices out there I couldn't really recommend any of them because the only one I've used is the Rode that I've got in front of me - part of the Rode Podcaster kit, I think, and I record straight into Logic, but people do it into GarageBand. People do it into - there's another audio software that's free [Audacity]

But if you look on something like Facebook, there's loads of podcast support groups out there, and there's people starting out asking all these kind of questions, so it's a really good place to start your research to figure out what gear as you need.

And then there's that question of how much investment, do you want to make in it? If you are advancing your career, and it's for a personal reason that will enhance your earning potential then, you know, maybe you choose to invest a bit more. If it's a hobby and you can afford to invest in it then that's great, but definitely put a budget on what you want to spend because there is so much gear out there, and you could spend a fortune on audio interfaces, mics, Logic, you know - the whole package. But the other thing is if you're not sure that the show is going to continue, you know once you've tried it out if you're not sure you're going to like it, then that's potentially quite a big waste of money.

I remember hearing something when I first started podcasting, that not many shows get past eight episodes, I think it is something something scary like 50% of shows stop either on or before 8 episodes. So, it's a short amount of time to have spent a lot of money.

Which then sort of leads me on to do you want to record video, as well as audio at the moment Marketing Mindset Club is purely audio. But, you know a lot of podcast episodes are consumed on YouTube so is that something you want to go into. I mean it could be but then you've got a whole other layer of production. You can record it on Zoom that's absolutely fine, but then you have to think about backgrounds. I mean, I know the studio I'm sitting in at the moment is full of clutter and very messy, and I'm not sure that the world would enjoy looking at this background - so to take some of the pressure off myself, I am just recording audio at the moment.

And then you've got to think about your schedule. So are you going to publish in seasons, or are you going to publish weekly or monthly, what is that rhythm that you're going to commit to? Now I've chosen to publish in seasons because it works for me to not have a continuous weekly commitment throughout the year, because I work full time, I have times in my career, my job where I'm gonna need to be focusing more on work. And that takes a lot of time. Researching an episode and preparing it and then presenting it is a lot of work during the week. I know when I first started, I did an awful lot of prep work to make sure that those first few episodes were as good as they could be. And I took several takes at recording them because my presentation style wasn't very good. So, that time commitment to get started is quite high, so I think my advice would be to go for the seasonal route because you can set your season duration, you can then have a break, which gives you a chance to focus on anything else you've got going on in your life like work or kids or hobbies or whatever. And you're not constantly tied down to that weekly or monthly schedule.

So, although this episode is the last in season two. I'm already planning and recording season three, which - sneak peek - I'm going to be doing some interviews in season three. I got a lot of good feedback from the guests episode that I had on - I think it was season one, it was season two episode five episode six with Adam for Big Door Broadcast, a lot of good feedback for us. So I've opened up a few more slots in season three, to guests and planning to record those in the next few weeks. But what that means is that I'm not constantly on this cycle of having to produce content.

And the other thing to think about when you're setting up is promotion - how are people going to hear about you and what do you want them to do when they do hear about you? My main promotion channel is Instagram. At the moment, I know there is a lot more I could be doing with it, but I'm trying to just keep that channel going rather than spreading myself too thinly. I do also have a Facebook page and I do publish the same content to Instagram and Facebook, which ideally you wouldn't do you'd add value differently across the two platforms but I haven't got the resource to do that at the moment. So I'm just trying to set myself the realistic goal of when I publish an episode, I share it on Facebook and Instagram and then I do two or three follow up posts in the week that follows. Which is another reason why it's worked for me to have the episodes come out in seasonal chunks, because then I don't have to produce all of the other stuff that goes with it.

So for instance, I transcribe every single episode, and it goes on the Marketing Mindset Club website, our show notes and transcript. So, there's a website header to create, there's that text to upload. You know there's a lot of things that go on in the background and if you're trying to manage work life and lots of other things at the same time, it can become a bit of a drain. And that's why I think a lot of podcasts get stuck around episode eight, if that was the correct number. Because I think people just realise that they're on this constant treadmill of having to create content, and if you want it to grow then there's other things that you need to do in conjunction to just recording the episode.

So why do I do it? That's obviously something that we need to talk about. I do it because it's really important to me that I use my knowledge to help others in their careers and in their businesses. I've been very lucky to work with some very senior marketers in my time who have taught me so much. And I've had the opportunity to learn an awful lot through mentorship with them, and also structured learning through my university and CIM courses. I would feel like I wasn't giving back if I didn't share that knowledge and help other people grow so that is the main driver for this show and the main driver for this club, and why I keep pressing you to review and share and tell people about it because I just want to help as many people as I can.

But what it does for me is, it means that I stay on top of current affairs, so I'm constantly researching topics and deciding what to bring you, what to share, what to give my opinion on what to elevate to an episode. Which then also means I have to make sure my knowledge is up to date.

So, in the news section of an episode on quite often, revising that and adding to it as the week goes on, and as stories develop so I'm making sure that it's as up to date as it can be when I record it. In terms of the learning section, it's so useful for me to make sure that I have a clear understanding of the subject matter, because I don't want to be coming on to an episode and talking to you about something that I don't fully understand because that's no good to me and it's no good to you. So, it's a motivator to help me make sure I've got a good understanding and a good grounding knowledge in what I'm talking about, which then also helps me in my presentation style. Even though you can't see me and I've no plans to put my podcast on video at this point, it is essentially a presentation practice, so I'm practising presenting the topic, I'm practising drawing out the important elements of a story or a subject, and that helps develop me, which is part of why I want to do this because I am constantly striving to improve.

So the flip side of that, and I would be doing you a disservice if I didn't say there were some cons to this is the schedule side of it. Even though I do a seasonal approach, even though there are eight episodes per season, and we have a break in between, I do have to make sure that during those eight weeks I am in a constant schedule of research production and publish. So, eight weeks is two months, there's quite a long time to be on that kind of schedule and it does mean that it takes evenings and weekends to do. And at some point, it has been really hard, especially when there are conflicting pressures with work. For those of you who've listened for a while, you'll know I changed jobs in January so I've been settling into a new company. It does take a lot of continual motivation to keep that up, and that can sometimes feel really hard, which kind of links into the illness side of things

So I was a week late with one episode, a couple of weeks ago, and it was because I was just full of cold. Even though with COVID and everyone going out wearing masks I still managed to catch a flippin' cold, and it meant that on the day that I was meant to record, I was so sniffly and sneezing, I just couldn't do it. It would not have been fun for any of you listening to me sniffling and sneezing my way through an episode - so there was nothing I could do but accept that episode was gonna be late. As frustrating as it is for me, I'm sure you know the world did not end because that was a week late but have made all that effort to keep a consistent schedule and to keep publishing to then be floored by a cold was really annoying. I think that's a lesson for me in expecting too much of myself, but there is definitely something to be aware of there that you can't push yourself through some things.

And the other thing that I struggled with is not feeling like I'm having an impact. So as with most marketing activities and content production activities you've got that initial period to get over, that inertia of getting started and building some momentum. So, the whole first season, I felt like I was talking to a little bit of a tumbleweed, and I wasn't really sure if I was having any impact and I wasn't really sure if the value was there. But you just have to stay positive and keep going, and I promise you every single review that I get and every comment that you send me on Instagram and every like and every follow that I get, just makes me do a little dance because it means that somebody out there is listening and getting value from what I'm doing, and that's all I want to know. That's what brings me the satisfaction of doing this show. And that's what I really love about it.

I hope that's a bit of useful insight for you about whether or not you should start a podcast, I think, my feeling is, yes, but be realistic with yourself, especially if you're doing it as a sideline to your career or family, or the rest of your life - you have to have the discipline to give it enough time to make it worthwhile, but something I've learned from a friend of mine who also podcasts is that if you're not interested in the subject matter, it just becomes a real drain, and you can't push yourself to do something that you're genuinely not interested in is what we've learned, because it just doesn't come across very well, and you lose enthusiasm for it and especially if it's an additional thing that you're trying to fit into your life it will just become something that you don't do anymore. So make sure you've got a genuine interest in it, and if you're going to do it from a business perspective, make sure there is a need for it. There are a lot of verticals that are really overcrowded with podcasts, so you have to think about what makes you different, what makes you unique and where you can bring value.

So, I just want to say thank you for still being there at the end of season two, thank you for sending me over all the reviews that you do and the comments, it just makes me so happy to know that people are getting value from the show.

As always you can DM me on Instagram @marketingmindseclub, pop me some feedback, just let me know that you're there and you're listening because I absolutely love that and I will see you for season three, in not very long, where I'm bringing you some expert episodes - so there'll be a bit of variety on the show a few different voices, and it's gonna be really exciting.

So, I will see you there. Thanks for stopping by.

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