I'm an occupational therapist by trade.
I eventually left my practice to help other practitioners build their websites.
In the beginning, most of my tactics involved cold outreach.
I was emailing potential clients and crossing my fingers that they would work with me.
It worked, but I hated it.
Here's what I hated about it:
- Emotionally exhausting
- A never-ending hamster wheel
This is when I learned the difference between inbound and outbound marketing.
Inbound = customer reaches out to you.
Outbound = you reach out to customers.
I greatly prefer the former.
Content Creation = Inbound Marketing
For inbound marketing to work, people have to know you exist.
The best way to do this is to create content on the internet.
You have three options.
In an ideal world, you would do all three. But most people don't have time for all three. So pick the one that you know you can stick to.
Here are the reasons I chose podcasting.
- It sounded fun to me
- I enjoy long-form content
- I was already an avid podcast listener
- I wanted a reason to network with people
- Podcasting can be turned into written, video, and audio
Every platform has pros and cons, but it always comes down to consistency.
Choose the medium you can commit to doing 100 pieces of content.
Lessons From Episodes 0 to 10
Episode 0 was a trailer. It was a commitment to myself that I would give this podcasting thing a go.
I had no idea what I was doing or what it meant to create a podcast show. But I was willing to learn.
Episode 1 was my attempt at telling my personal story.
It was terrible. I still look back at it and cringe.
But every journey starts with the first step.
Here's what I learned in the early days.
Episode 2 was when I started interviewing people. My guests were previous or potential customers.
I had no plans of growing a podcast show. The intention was to expand my network. I didn't care if nobody listened to a single episode. I was getting value from conversing with people I wanted to work with.
Asking someone to be on your podcast show is the easiest ask of all time.
"Hey, do you want to come on my show and tell your story, and I'll promote it to the world for free?"
Landing guests was easy, but I'll explain why there are better strategies later (vet your guests).
If you want to expand your network. Consider podcasting. It is the greatest networking strategy I've ever come across.
One of the most common questions I get about podcasting is equipment and software.
Those have their place, but not in the beginning. The only thing that matters is how consistently you hit "record."
My only equipment was two dynamic microphones that I plugged into my laptop.
The only software I used was a free software called Audacity.
Stay as lean as possible to reduce the friction required to hit record.
At this point, you're still figuring out what you're doing.
Consistency and Cadence
In the podcasting world, there is an expression called "pod fade." Most podcast shows never make it past the 10th episode because they realize how much work it is... and quit.
Don't be like most people.
Choose a cadence you 100% know you can stick to, even if that means one piece of content a month.
Content creation is a long play. Plan accordingly.
Lessons From Episodes 10-50
Once I was past the 10th episode hump, I knew I was committed. It was time to journey through the valley of suck.
I accepted the fact that I was going to suck for a while.
- Your first 100 steps as a baby? Sucked.
- Your first 100 basketball free throws? Sucked.
- Your first 100 approaches to the opposite sex? Sucked.
Maybe that last one was just me, but you get the point.
Here are the lessons from those next 40 episodes.
Vet Your Guests
After I interviewed someone, I would ask them for referrals. Anyone they thought (key word there) would be a good fit for the show.
Once I had the referral, I would schedule a time to have them on the show.
This led to a few interviews that I never ended up publishing. I felt terrible about it, to be honest. Spending the time and energy to schedule an interview with someone and then leaving them hanging.
It wasn't personal, but the conversation was so boring or lacked any value that I couldn't justify putting it on the Internet, not for my sake but for theirs.
This eventually taught me the importance of having a 15-minute pre-call.
Unless it's someone you know for a fact will be an incredible conversation. Always have a pre-call to make sure it's a good fit.
If you're still unsure after the conversation if you want them to bring them on the show. Have them send you an email with topics they would like to discuss. That way, you can see if it's in alignment with your show.
Here's a hack to squeeze some extra juice from your podcast episodes.
You just spent 30+ minutes interviewing someone about everything they know. I bet you learned something.
Teach what you learned to others.
You could do it immediately after the interview or after editing the episode. But the concept is the same.
Record your personal takeaway from the interview.
For a season, I was doing my three biggest takeaways from the previous episode.
The episodes were short, compact, and insightful.
This increased my weekly podcasting release from once a week to twice a week.
- It forced me to clarify my thinking
- It increased my content output
- It improved my speaking skills
Try it for a season.
Just don't let it lead to burnout.
During this stage of my podcasting career, I was doing a lot of traveling. As a result, I defaulted to doing more online interviews.
It served its purpose, but it taught me a crucial lesson.
Having fun is a necessity, not a nicety.
What was once an enjoyable experience started to feel like work. I knew it would eventually lead to burnout and quitting.
I've made this mistake before. That's why I stopped working as a personal trainer. I was around it so much that I didn't enjoy being at the gym anymore.
I chose podcasting because it sounded fun to me. I was losing that.
This was when I committed to only doing in-person interviews.
- It was more fun for me
- It created a better conversation
- It allowed me to make a genuine connection with my guests
There has to be some degree of enjoyment in creating your content. Otherwise, you won't stick with it.
Lessons From Episodes 50-100
This was when podcasting started to become exceptionally fun.
- The show was growing.
- I was only interviewing people I found interesting.
- I was starting to find my voice.
Here's what I learned.
Establish a home base
As the show grew, I became more particular about who I invited to interview.
Since I was only doing in-person interviews, I was doing what was necessary to get specific people onto the show.
This meant showing up at breweries, coffee shops, apartment buildings, clinics, or wherever was convenient for my guest.
Again, burnout started to creep in.
I ran around town like a madman and quickly realized it was unsustainable.
Luckily, I had a buddy at the time who had a studio space in downtown Austin who let me use it to record.
Having a dedicated space where I could record saved me an enormous amount of physical and mental energy.
The deeper lesson here is to have a dedicated content creation space.
This could be a home office, a studio, a spare bedroom, or even an apartment workspace.
Having a consistent space to record your content reduces the friction of hitting record.
Finding your voice
I never understood this statement.
"Find your voice."
What does that even mean?
I didn't fully understand it until it happened to me.
I can't tell you exactly when it happens, but I can promise that every content creator I've spoken with has this experience.
They no longer feel like they are acting or putting on a show.
They can look into a camera or speak into a microphone and feel like themselves.
Authenticity is the crux of every good content creator. But it takes time to develop it.
Hell, I'm still figuring it out.
When it comes to finding your voice... the only way to is through.
Give it time.
"Man, you've really done your research."
This statement is music to my ears.
Always, always, always research your guests.
There is no faster way to kill a conversation than to ask questions you can find with a single Google search.
A good podcast show aims to get people to open up. To disclose things they've never shared before.
Doing your research does three things.
- It shows them that you care
- It lets you skip the small talk
- It makes them feel more comfortable on your show
The more you prepare. The better the show. The better the show. The more it grows.
It's taken me two years to break 100+ episodes. I've met a lot of people, told some inspiring stories, and learned a lot of lessons along the way.
Here are my top three.
There were multiple weeks where I let my schedule get the better of me. I'd wait until the last few days to schedule, record, edit, and upload an episode.
I would be up until 2 am to ensure the episode would be out at 5 am (my scheduled podcast release time).
Eventually, I learned how much more enjoyable podcasting was when I batched content.
I made plans to live on a farm outside of Austin for three weeks, and there was no way I would drive back and forth from the city.
I lined up four podcast interviews back to back and knocked them all out in one day. Sure... it was a busy day. But that's a month's worth of content in a single evening.
Podcasting is hard as it is. Don't make it harder by having a hodgepodge of interviews.
Batch as much as possible.
- Social media content
Batch it all.
I recognize how buzzwordy "authenticity "is, but I can't stress the importance of it enough.
On my 100th episode, I decided to dive deeply into my personal life. I shared things I had never openly talked about in a public setting.
It was hard, it was scary, it was uncomfortable.
But it opened the door to a level of engagement I had never seen.
This was the first time I had received that much feedback from an episode.
It taught me a fundamental life lesson.
People connect to our rough edges.
- Share your story
- Share it often
- Share it publicly
People want to connect with you... but you have to be open enough to share.
Of everything I've learned from 100+ episodes of podcasting. This is the lesson I wish I had known the soonest.
Be a problem solver.
- Yes, be authentic
- Yes, share stories
- Yes, stay consistent
But above all else... help people solve problems.
How do you do that?
- You ask for feedback
- You listen to your audience
- You engage with your listeners and ask questions.
For the longest time, podcasting felt like a one-way street.
Me and a guest talking... and a listener listening.
It took me a long time to realize that the value of content comes from a two-way street.
Another person is on the other end of that content and is listening because they want to improve their life.
There are three ways to improve someone's life.
If you can do all three, you're unstoppable.
- Attract customers with inbound marketing
- Podcasting is a networking gold mine
- Reduce the friction to hitting record
- Create a schedule you can 100% stick to
- Always vet your guests
- Trial solosodes to increase output
- Having fun is a necessity, not a nicety
- Create a consistent recording space
- Eventually... find your voice
- Always do your guest research
- Batch as much as possible
- People connect to your rough edges
- Be a world-class problem solver
Oofta... this blog was a doozy.
If you need help with getting your own podcast going, contact me here.
Hope you enjoyed this one, my friend.