My name is Bryan Curry and I am a first time podcaster. Podcasting and Social Media is not my full time job, it is my hobby and passion. My wife would probably describe it as an obsession. I began podcasting in September of 2009, I had no previous knowledge of how to podcast, how to manage a website or how to utilize social media.
Since that time I have spent over 600 hours scouring books and the Internet trying to absorb as much information as I could. It is now my goal to take what I have learned (am still learning) and share it with you. Whether your podcast has thousands of listeners and has been going strong for years or whether it is still just an idea percolating in your mind hopefully you will learn something as I share my success and failures that I continue to experience as a first time podcaster.
Get Your Head Right
Believe it or not, beginning your podcast does not start with equipment or software, it starts with you. You have to get your head right, because podcasting is going to require work. Having a successful podcast is not all about spending an hour recording your thoughts each week and then spending the rest of the week reading scores of glowing emails complimenting you on how fantastic you are and counting your money. The majority of the work on your podcast happens when that little red recording light is not blinking at all. It is the building and maintenance of a website, the never-ending promotion, consumption and community participation. You will fail as often as you succeed, so in order to prevent the frustration that ultimately leads to podfade it is important to get your head right before you begin.
Why do you want to start a podcast? Are you starting a podcast in order to make money? Are you starting a podcast as a hobby? Maybe it is a little bit of both. Maybe you want to start a podcast as a hobby and hope that someday you will find a way to monetize it.
Here are three questions that you should answer for yourself depending on the nature of your podcast. As simple and benign as these questions may seem at first, your answers to these questions will shape you and your podcast.
Podcasting as a Hobby
- Do you have a need to create, to be creative and think that podcasting looks like a great outlet for you?
- Would you be willing to continue to produce your podcast even if you never have more than 3 listeners (you, your mom, and Bryan Curry)?
- Are you willing to commit to learning about things outside your comfort zone?
Podcasting as a Business
- Are you willing to explore absolutely any means necessary to promote your podcast and website?
- Are you willing to devote at least 20+ hours per week to produce your podcast and grow your audience?
- Do you believe in your heart that failure is not an option with your podcast?
If you cannot answer yes to all of those respective questions, I would recommend taking a long look at your podcasting aspirations and make sure this is really something that you want to invest your time and a little bit of money into (more on the money thing later).
Podcasting is immensely rewarding, but not always immediately so. When you do receive those emails from listeners who are excited about your podcast or when you see the money begin to trickle into your business the rush and feeling of satisfaction are intoxicating; but unless you have found a niche that is just waiting to break out, you may find that your audience grows very slowly at first.
Getting your first podcast episode published is fun and exciting, you are buzzing with energy as you dream about the huge potential for your podcast. You record, edit, publish and then realize that nobody is listening except for you, your mom, and Bryan Curry. That’s because it takes time and a lot of work to promote your podcast and grow your audience and somewhere around your fourth or fifth podcast episode you are going to have a bad week and suddenly your podcast feels like work and your energy level for the podcast takes a dip. You ask yourself “Why am I doing all this work on a podcast if nobody is listening?” That is when you remember those three questions you answered earlier. Those are the three yeses that will get you over the fourth episode hump. If you have put in the effort in promoting your podcast, it won’t be long before the subscriber numbers start to climb.
So that’s the first tip from a first time podcaster, get your head right. From here on out, my tips will involve more technical information regarding equipment, software, setup, promotion and monetization. For now, I will say, I feel privileged to be a part of the community of podcasters and I look forward to interacting with all of you.
Bryan Curry is the host of the Hellmouth Podcast and the Horrible University Podcast. He has been podcasting since September of 2009 and is looking to share everything he has learned with those who are both experience and new in podcasting.