I've been throwing up weekly podcast episodes for five months now and I am really enjoying this new-to-me medium. Today I wanted to share some observations and a bit of background about running the show. If you're curious how to actually launch a podcast, check out this post.
I started a podcast for the same reason I started a blog: I thought I had something interesting to share. (I think this needs to be reason #1. If you don't think you have something to add to the conversation, probably no one else will either.)
Podcasting is (for me) so much easier than blogging. It's much faster to just talk than write. No edits. No over-thinking. No photos. No comments. On many business topics I also find it easier to get my point across speaking vs. writing.
What does this mean?
Nothing really. I see the podcast as a compliment to what I do with my blog and my shop. Podcasting will not "replace" the blog on any level. If anything, podcasting has helped me develop more interesting business-related blog posts to share here.
What is the podcast contributing to my business?
Financially, nothing just yet. I don't make a dime directly from the podcast. (I actually spend $15/month to host it.) I have not yet seen increased traffic on my blog or increased sales from the shop. Right now my focus is on creating something that YOU want to listen to and that I want to spend my time on. Developing solid content is key and by far the most important step of an early venture. Eventually I may get sponsors for the episodes which will no doubt annoy some listeners but will also make sense to most listeners. I also may never get sponsors and just use the platform as a way to promote what I do and ideally lead to more opportunities (like speaking at events and writing a book).
What is the plan for the future?
Right now, I don't foresee any real changes. I like the once a week format and plan to continue with it. I like bringing on interesting guests to share interesting stories. I like having just one guest per episode vs. a bunch because I think the dialogue is easier to follow. I plan to run more "just Elise" episodes (this recent one on focus got a lot of great feedback) because sometimes I have something I want to share that works better in a lecture format vs. conversation format. The best part of having my own show is I get to do exactly what I want.
How long does it take?
I spend about two hours a week on the podcast. That includes reaching out to guests, communicating timelines/expectations, sending reminder emails, recording the actual episode, brief editing, uploading the recording and promoting.
How do I get guests?
I reach out to my guests (who are not paid) via email.
If I "know" them (meaning we are both familiar with eachothers' work and have corresponded via social media channels) the email is brief:
hey, want to come on my podcast and talk about ___________?
If I don't "know" them (meaning I have seen what they are doing online but they probably have never heard of me) then I sell it a bit more:
hey, I admire what you're doing with ______. I host a weekly podcast and think you'd be an excellent guest talking about _______. Would you be interested in joining me for a short 25-30 minute conversation? I'd love for the episode to run on ______ which would be a great opportunity for you to promote ________.
When I think it might help (which is always), I also include (brief) stats to legitimize who I am and what I do (like blog traffic, social media following and data about podcast downloads).
As with all email correspondence (and especially necessary when asking for a favor), I keep it short and to the point. Nobody has time for paragraphs of text and everyone just wants to know what you want from them.
What is my goal for each episode?
My goal is to keep things centered around a single (interesting) topic. I come up with the episode theme in advance and then send the guest a list of questions and jumping off points for them to think about before we record. While I want the episodes to feel personal, I don't like a lot of "fluff" conversation. Sometimes episodes veer way off topic and they turn out much better than planned. Sometimes we don't really get to the meat of the discussion and that's always my fault. If I do my job right, a listener will never finish an episode and think "why did I just listen to that?"
What's been the most interesting?
I love having an opportunity to speak to some really cool and successful people. I now have an excuse to email perfect strangers (whom I admire) and then make them answer my questions. ;) That's been fun and a bit surreal. I'm so excited about the guests I have lined up for this fall. It's an assortment of true experts and inspiring game-changers.
It's also been so cool to hear feedback from listeners. The most frequent comment I get is something like "I don't have a business so I didn't think I would like your show, but I listened anyway and I really do!" This is flattering and always makes me smile because...well...yeah! I don't ever plan on making a movie, but I'll watch hours of bonus footage at the end of a DVD about the "making of." I don't want to be a chef, but behind the scenes of a successful restaurant? I'll totally watch that. Look at the success of reality TV: we LOVE to see how things happen, how things get made and learn about stuff we don't do. When it's presented well, it's entertainment. Seeing that click for people has been fun.
What's the biggest take-away so far?
Just start. When I began this venture I had no idea how to get episodes online. I didn't know how I would record guests. When I published my first few episodes there was no lead-in or lead-out music. I had no shownotes pages. Five months in, I have developed these skills and enhanced the program (though obviously it's far from perfect). It doesn't matter that it wasn't polished or professional on day one. What matters is that I got the ball rolling. Every episode I do adds to my body of work and legitimizes the show (and my brand) a fraction more.
This venture has been a great reminder to just go for it. Try something new for the sake of trying something new.
And speaking of podcasting, today on ELISE GETS CRAFTY I am chatting with Natalie Freeman about being a life-long learner (and gardening). Click here to subscribe or stream the episode from your computer here.