4 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Start A Podcast

Even though podcasting has been around for more than a decade, we are just now entering the Golden Age for podcasting!

Podcasts are much easier to find and listen to now and business owners are really starting to understand the significance a podcast can make to their business!

With new shows being created each day, it’s not enough to just throw something up. A great show has intentional and strategic plans behind it. I love talking podcast strategy with my clients, especially those who are just starting out—though it’s never too late. Here are some questions I encourage you to think about before you start your podcast!

1. Who will be your listeners?

Even before you narrow down your topics, podcast name, and all of the other details, you want to have a super clear description of who you want and expect to listen. This is your ideal listener, aka your podcast avatar. Consider if this person is male or female, their age, if they’re married, what profession or hobbies they might have, and anything else about them that you think is important. This description will help you decide all of the details of your podcast (title, schedule, music, cover art, marketing tactics, etc.)

And the best part is, when you know exactly who your avatar is, you can speak directly to her (or him). Your podcast will resonate with your ideal audience and sound much more authentic if you think of that one avatar when you’re recording—speak directly to that ideal listener, like you’re talking to a friend, rather than speaking to a room of 200 people.

Sure you will attract some listeners who don’t match your avatar description, and that’s totally ok. The key is to know who your ideal avatar is so that you have crystal clear focus on who you’re talking to and who you’re trying to reach. This will improve the listening experience for your whole audience through consistency of feel and content.

2. What will you say in your podcast?

Once you know your ideal listener, you want to get specific and detailed about what you want to say to that listener. Consider and answer these questions:

  • What is the overall goal of your podcast?

  • What topics will you cover?

  • Will you do solo episodes, interviews, or a mix? If a mix, what’s your schedule for rotating between them?

In all of this planning, you want to keep a big-picture outlook. With your big picture in mind, start by brain dumping at least 20 episode ideas. With your 20 episode ideas in front of you, look for ways to break them down into more episodes or where follow-up episodes might make sense. Remember that each one of your episodes should work together to teach the themes of your work and big-picture goals.

3. When will you release new episodes?

Releasing episodes on a consistent schedule is one of the best ways to grow a loyal listenership. This doesn’t mean you have to release at a specific frequency, like every week. It means that you pick a schedule that you can actually maintain and stick to it for at least the first six months. You may start out thinking you want to release twice a week. But can you stick to that for six months? It’s true, that releasing more frequently can help with getting downloads and getting your podcast potentially highlighted on Apple Podcasts, but it won’t help you if you can’t maintain it for the first 6 months.

What is a realistic release schedule for you: once a week, twice a month? Whatever you choose, look at your calendar and start blocking off time for the next six months to meet that release schedule. If you can’t do it or the timing looks too tight, back off and choose a schedule that releases new episodes less frequently.

4. How will you monetize?

Perhaps you’re just starting out and you don’t think you care about monetizing. You just want to get your voice out there, help people, and make an impact. I totally support your altruistic goals. But let me ask, how can you consistently deliver a great product for the long haul if you aren’t getting paid in some fashion? Really think about the time and resources that will be going into building this podcast. Can you devote everything that is needed without getting any compensation in return?

My take is that if you are putting really great podcast content out there, you deserve to be compensated for it. That compensation is also an investment in your podcast so that you can make it even better over time and really serve your audience.

Thinking about your podcast monetization is best done before you even start, but if you’ve already started your podcast, it’s not too late! Just try to come up with a strategy sooner rather than later. I say this because listeners are more receptive to monetizing tactics, like ads and pitches, when they’re worked into the episode structure from the beginning.

It’s best to be upfront with your listeners if you have a product you want to sell to them or are working with sponsors. It actually comes off more authentic than slimy if you start with this model, instead of introducing it partway through. When you’re upfront with your offerings, you’re conditioning your listeners to know what the podcast is about and what to expect.

I have so much more to say about monetizing that I’m doing an entirely separate blog post about ways to actually monetize your blog. When it’s ready, I’ll link to it here.

And if you want to talk in more depth about a strategy for your podcast, book a call with me here or visit hireapodcastmanager.com, fill out the form, and you’ll be connected with the awesome people who have taken my podcast management course. They’d love to do a strategy call with you or help you plan your launch!

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