6 Things to Know Before Starting a Podcast

Podcast Mic

I celebrate my mistakes and failures just as much as any success. As I writer, most of work comes from failures. Not only can I learn from the things I’ve done wrong, I can share them with others so they can avoid the wrong and sometimes miserable path I once went down.

When undertaking a new business venture, mistakes are inevitable. After releasing just one episode of the Trepidemic Podcast, co-host Doan Winkel and I have already learned many of the things you can do wrong.

It seemed so easy. You pick a topic, record some banter, have a couple of guests and then put it online, right? I wouldn’t say we were completely naive, and I do have experience recording audio interviews, but it’s much harder than it seems, and we have a long way to go to provide the best entrepreneurship education podcast possible to listeners. Based on our mistakes, here are six things you should know before starting a podcast.

1. It’s a lot of work!

Unlike the phrase “nobody said it was easy,” I was told podcasting was easy! “It’s just recording and uploading.”

Unless you’re doing a simple one-man or one-woman show without a co-host and without guests on a topic you know better than anyone else, podcasts are a lot of work. For one episode of Trepidemic, here’s what goes into each one outside of the actual talking and recording:

  • Choose and research topic
  • Plan opening banter questions and direction
  • Choose two interviewees; one entrepreneur and one traditional academic within entrepreneurship
  • Send invites, research interviewees and create questions and outlines
  • Schedule interview and recording times with co-host and guests
  • Edit both interviews from 20-25 minutes of raw audio to 5-7 minutes
  • Prepare post-interview banter and show close banter
  • Write preview articles to promote show
  • Re-listen to each interview audio to pull quotes and to write interview summary articles

– You can’t expect fans to follow just because it’s “good”

Unless you have a household name or a network of millions, people aren’t going to find your podcast without hard work behind the scenes. We’re blown away by the early support of the show, but our little bit of early traction has come from last-second marketing and promotion efforts. We plan to bring on someone to handle social media and help with promoting.

Make sure to plan ahead and expect to spend a significant amount of time on the parts of the show that people will never hear.

– Clear and consistent sound can be as important as content

You don’t have to be a sound engineer in order to create a decent podcast, but it would help. For the first ten episodes (which are still being recorded), we decided to record in a large, open conference room with a microphone in the middle of a large table. We also used conference call lines for interviews with guests. The episodes sound better than what I used to record in my parents basement ten years ago, but it’s far from professional. Make sure to have a clean and crisp sound, and keep it consistent.

Starting with episode eleven, we plan to record in a local studio setup for podcasting.

 – A producer will make life easier and your podcast better

Well, at least we did one thing right. Thanks to our producer Alex Clayton, we have someone dedicated to editing the audio and making sure things sound as good as possible. If you outsource or get extra help with any one part of your podcast, I would recommend getting help with production.

– Time will be an issue

Scheduling, editing, recording — every aspect of your podcast will depend on time, and it’s easy to get behind. Plan and set goals, but allow for longer episodes, more editing time and potential make-up times for missed interviews and times when recording just doesn’t happen like you expected it to.

– Episodes should be a niche within a niche 

Like blogs, podcasts are everywhere. You need a specific niche in order to be relevant. We decided to talk about the controversial topics of entrepreneurship education, which isn’t something any podcast we found was covering, but when it came to our first set of topics, we weren’t specific enough. Covering a very specific topic will increase the chances of gaining listeners through search engines and people referring a specific episode to others. We plan to get topic ideas from our audience and come up with episode topics that allow us to expand on a narrow idea, question or activity.

About Trepidemic

Trepidemic is the podcast that brings the most innovative and forward-thinking entrepreneurship educators together with successful entrepreneurs to discuss the hottest trends and most effective practices in entrepreneurship. The show was created for educators, entrepreneurs, and students looking to perfect their craft, learn what works, and to open up productive conversations to help change the world. Follow us on Twitter@Trepidemic and sign up for our newsletter and listen to the show at www.Trepidemic.com.


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