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Since you’re here, I think it’s safe for me to assume that you’re interested in starting a podcast.

Maybe you’ve been thinking about starting a podcast for awhile. Maybe you’ve even bought some gear and recorded a few test episodes. But for some reason, you haven’t pulled the trigger and published anything yet.

You’re going to listen to this episode because you want me to convince you to start a podcast. You want me to talk you into recording and shipping your first episodes and getting them into iTunes and out into the world where people can hear them.

I’d be happy to. I love helping people start new podcasts.

Highlights, Takeaways & Quick Wins:

  • The information you need to help you start podcasting is out there for free, all you need to do is learn and apply it.
  • If one of your goals is to make video, podcasting is a great place to start.
  • What’s your favorite thing in the world, and what are you good at? The intersection of those two things is what your podcast should be about.
  • You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to start podcasting. Use what you have now and upgrade later!
  • Podcasting is a great way to show other people what you care about. It will attract other people who share your passion.

Show Notes

  • 1:45 Why start a podcast now? Podcasting isn’t quite mainstream yet, but it will be without the next year or two.
  • 1:54 Podcasting is still young. There are still many people who are discovering podcasts everyday, so your potential audience is huge.
  • 2:09 There are so many people out there listening to podcasts, but there are far fewer people actually making them. To make a podcast, you have to switch over from consumption mode to creation mode.
  • 2:23 This is hard for many people because it’s easier to consume. It’s easier to listen to podcasts or watch videos or Netflix. I know because a new study came out that says that average Americans watch 3 hours and 43 minutes of TV per day. Consuming requires no effort.
  • 3:05 I know that you’re different because you’re listening to this. You’re already thinking about creating which means you’re not like most people and you’re almost there.

Podcasting is Easier and More Affordable Than Ever

  • 3:16 Gear and hosting have gotten cheaper and easier. Recording and editing are also easier and more affordable thanks to programs like Garageband and Audacity. If you don’t want to edit your shows yourself, there are podcast editors that you can hire. It’s no longer the wild west where you have to figure everything out for yourself; there are lots of great tutorials about how to make a podcast.

The information you need to help you start podcasting is out there for free, all you need to do is learn and apply it.

Podcasting Can Help You Get Into Making Video

  • 3:56 Podcasting is the perfect gateway drug for making video. Cory Miller thinks that video is going to be huge in 2016, and I believe he’s right. Learning podcasting will prepare you for making video. If you learn about recording audio and get comfortable with writing content, you’ll be halfway to making great videos.

If one of your goals is to make video, podcasting is a great place to start.

Podcasting Will Accelerate Your Learning

  • 4:24 Podcasting will help you learn more about yourself and more about the thing you’re passionate about, but it’s not a quick and easy way to make money. So if you’re desperate to make money, now might not be the right time to start your podcast. If you want to grow an audience, make new friends, learn more about the thing you love and promote your work and products, then you should definitely start a podcast.

The Benefits of Podcasting

  • 4:48 I started my podcast back in April of 2015. Here’s what I’ve got out of it so far:
    • I’ve gotten better at speaking
    • I’ve gotten better at writing
    • I’ve met many awesome people and made friendships that will last a lifetime
    • I’m at least 20% more handsome than before.
    • My hairstyle has improved dramatically
    • I’ve learned so much about audio and podcasting and so many other things

That Sounds Cool. How Do I Get Started?

  • 6:18 I’ve got four steps for you to take to get started. I’ve also created a worksheet for you to download and fill out that will help you get some clarity about what you should podcast about. It’s a markdown file so you can open it with any text editor and start answering the questions.

Download Worksheet

Four Things to Do Before You Start Your Podcast

1. Choose your topic.
  • 7:02 This should be the thing you are most passionate about and something you have experience with.
  • 7:14 I’d recommend that you do a show about something you have experience with (unless you’re willing to do a ton of research for each episode).

What’s your favorite thing in the world, and what are you good at? The intersection of those two things is what your podcast should be about.

2. Brainstorm topics for your first five or ten episodes.
  • 7:36 This is an important step because this is where you’ll shape the direction of your show.
  • 7:59 If you get stuck and you can’t think of things to talk about, brainstorm with someone who shares your passion.
  • 8:26 For each topic you come up with, write a simple outline for it. After you have the outline, fill in the details (I like to write 200-1000 words for my first draft). Don’t do a lot of editing; it doesn’t need to be perfect, you’re just getting your thoughts on the page.
  • 8:42 If you aren’t comfortable with writing, use the recording app on your phone to record yourself talking about your topic for five or ten minutes, then listen back and write down your key points. Build your show around those.
3. Buy some recording gear.
  • 9:03 If you have no money, then use whatever you have handy; Apple earbuds, laptop microphone, whatever. It won’t sound very good, so you should try to upgrade to something a little better as soon as you can. If you have money but you’re not sure what to get, send me an email with your budget and I’ll tell you the best gear you can get for that amount of money.
  • 9:52 You’re going to need a microphone; either a USB mic (like the Blue Yeti or Rode Podcaster), or a regular XLR mic with a USB interface. I talked all about gear in episode 2, so go check that out if you want to learn more.
  • 10:16 I’ll be talking about podcasting on a budget next week in episode 32, so stay tuned for that.
4. Listen to episode 24: My Podcasting Process From A To Z
  • 10:25 There are a lot of steps to creating a podcast, and I talked about my entire podcasting process in episode 24 There’s also extensive show notes that you can read if you don’t want to listen to the audio.

But What If…

  • 11:09 So you’re ready to start a podcast, but you have some worries. You think, but Aaron, what if I don’t have enough time?
  • 11:19 Yes, podcasting takes time, but you don’t have to do a super long show. Sometimes shorter shows are better (especially if you don’t have much free time).
  • 11:29 Being busy is not an excuse to not podcast. My friend Ben Toalson (host of In the Boat With Ben, and co-host of the seanwes podcast) has 6 boys and does three hour-long podcasts every week. How is that possible? Stay tuned, I’ll be having him on my show in a couple weeks to talk about how and why he makes time for podcasting.
  • 12:14 But Aaron, what if I don’t have enough money?
  • 12:15 You don’t have to buy $500 worth of gear to start podcasting. It’s ok to use what you have, but start saving for a nicer mic (trust me, it’s important). For hosting your podcasting, Soundcloud has a free tier, so take advantage of that. When you need more upload time (and some other great features), check out Simplecast. It’s $12/month for unlimited hosting, and it rules.

You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to start podcasting. Use what you have now and upgrade later!

  • 13:02 But Aaron, I can’t find a co-host.
  • 13:06 Screw a co-host! You don’t need one. Speak directly to your listener instead (like I do). Maybe down the road you’ll meet someone who would be a good fit for you, maybe not. Either way, you don’t need a co-host to start a show. Do it by yourself, or find some people to interview.
  • 14:07 But Aaron, I don’t have access to the famous people I want to interview.
  • 14:15 Again, do a solo show for awhile. If you’ve never done a podcast before, there are things you need to learn. After that, interview some people who aren’t quite as famous. Work on building up your audience and the number of shows you’ve finished, then start reaching out to the bigger names.
  • 14:49 But Aaron, I don’t have an audience or many followers. Who will listen to my show?
  • 14:55 Now’s the time to start working on that. People want to follow people who give, people who teach. So as you start giving and teaching, you’ll see your audience grow.
  • 15:13 If you’re not making anything, if you’re not giving anything away, if you’re not teaching anyone or engaging anyone, why should anyone start following you?

Podcasting is a great way to show other people what you care about. It will attract other people who share your passion.

It’s Time to Start Your Podcast

  • 15:36 My friend Cory Miller started his first podcast recently (Invisible Details. He’s been a long-time podcast listener, so I wanted to know why he finally decided to start his own podcast. I asked him two questions:
  • 15:53 1. What made you decide to start your podcast?
  • 16:15 Cory Miller: I decided to start podcasting because I love sharing what I know and giving people resources to do what they want to do. Talking comes more naturally to me than writing, and I like expressing my personality within “business talk”. I also wanted to step up and build an audience that needed what I offer, and podcasting gave me a great platform to do that. I want to help people build better brands and do more for others, and having a podcast allows me to do that.
  • 16:50 2. What would you tell someone who is on the fence about starting?
  • 16:55 Cory: If you’re on the fence about getting started, I would ask you to think about the people who are being robbed of the knowledge you have to share. Yes, podcasting is hard, and it takes work, and some days you’ll want to quit, but what you have to bring to the world could actually change someone’s life. Don’t let fear stand in your way: stop waiting and get going, because there are people out there who need to hear what you have to say.

Q&A

  • 18:39 I want to give a quick shoutout to a couple of Community members who have started their own podcasts this year. I’m proud of these guys and gals!
  • 18:50 Charli Prangley and Femke VS started Design Life Podcast, a podcast about design and side projects for motivated creators.
  • 19:22 Ed Williams started The Arclight Podcast, a podcast for indie comic creators.
  • 19:36 Garrett Mickley started the Learning to Learn podcast to help people learn more effectively.
  • 22:40 Ben asked: What are the qualities of a good co-host? I don’t think I could carry a show on my own.
  • 22:48 I think you can carry a show as long as you’re preparing for each episode by writing out what you want to say about your topic. If you aren’t already writing blog posts, start doing that and then record yourself reading them out loud. There’s nothing wrong with doing a podcast that way.
  • 23:23 What are the qualities of a good co-host? First and foremost, you need someone who is on-board with your goals for the show, someone who is aligned with your mission and who has something valuable to give to the audience.
  • 23:47 Complimentary personalities are also great; if you’re and excited and bubbly person, than someone with a more mellow personality can help bring some balance to the feel of the show. I’ve found that pairing an introvert with an extrovert often yields good results.
  • 24:58 You’ll also want to find someone who is consistent. Someone who shows up on time to record, works on the show during the week and promotes it on social media.
  • 25:21 It’s also important to find someone who is on-board with your monetization strategy (if you have one). Since I don’t believe that selling ads is the best way to make money from podcasting, I would run into issues if I paired up with someone who wanted to sell ads to make money. So make sure your co-host’s goals are aligned with yours before you commit to doing a show together.
  • 26:07 Ed asked: I just started out in my niche. Who am I to podcast? What could I talk about?
  • 26:18 As much as I encourage people to podcast; if you’re just starting out and you don’t know a lot about something, it might not be the right time to start a podcast about it.
  • 26:35 For example, if you just started out learning web design, and you’ve only been doing it for a couple of months, you aren’t going to have much that you can teach to other people. What you could do is learn something new every week and then share it one your show with the intention of helping someone who has less experience than you. It’ll require dedication and a lot of work since you won’t have a a knowledge base to pull from, but it is possible.
  • 27:14 It’s been said that all you really need to know is more than the person you’re teaching. That is true, but podcasting is also time-consuming, so if you want to get really good at something, you need to spend a lot of time studying and practicing it.
  • 27:29 Another example; let’s say you want to do a comedy podcast. You’re an up-and-coming comedian and you want to use your podcast as a way to work on your jokes and your delivery. That’s a great plan. You’ll be working on your craft while also growing your audience.
  • 29:42 Florent asked: When you’re talking and you make a mistake (like bumping the mic), do you insert a marker in your recording to be able to correct it faster?
  • 29:52 Yes and no. If you want to get through editing really quickly, then dropping markers for major mistakes and then quickly fixing those in the editing process is the way to go.
  • 30:04 Since I do extensive show notes and timestamps, I listen through as I’m doing the show notes and I edit out any mistakes as I hear them.
  • 30:24 If you have a podcast editor, dropping markers is a great way to help make sure that they don’t miss any of those big mistakes.