The question comes up a lot, and I recently realized that the answers I’d been giving for the past year or so were unsatisfactory. Before I get into the backstory of how I came to realize this (because it’s fascinating), let’s run down the new list of reasons. I’d suggest taking notes, but this is print form so… yeah. Never mind.
#1. It’s FUN.
It is extraordinarily, massively, awesomely, deliciously fun to talk into a microphone and know that thousands of people will hear what I’m saying. No matter the format, whether it’s a serious interview or just a goofy segment talking about hot dogs, it is always fun for me. I’ve said for years and years that if something isn’t fun, I won’t do it. Life is too short.
#2. I’m an introvert and podcasting helps.
Not that being an introvert is something that needs to be helped, I simply mean that I’m not the most gregarious person in the world. I get stage fright. I get nervous introducing myself to crowds of unfamiliar faces. I favor solitary situations in most cases. The thing is… I love to talk. I can do twenty minutes about almost anything. I don’t even like sports very much, but if someone asks me to be on a sports podcast, I’ll say yes and then spend a few hours studying. Podcasting gets me out of my shell.
#3. It’s easy.
Well, it’s sort-of easy. Randy Cantrell, one of the greats as far as I’m concerned, likes to say that something is only hard until it’s easy. Allow me to let you in on a little secret: this ain’t rocket science. I can say that with certainty because I know actual rocket scientists. When you live down the road from NASA in Houston, Texas, you can’t throw a moon rock without hitting a rocket scientist. Podcasting can be daunting at first, but when it comes right down to it, the basics are simple. Press record. Talk. Press stop. Simple. Podcasting is only as complicated as you want it to be.
#4. It compliments your existing business and it can be your primary gig.
A podcast is a wonderful addition to a blog because it allows readers to hear your voice; unless you write like you talk, this can be a great way to give readers a better sense of who you are. Podcasting also has the potential to be a primary business. Between affiliate marketing, sponsorships and listener donations, it is very possible to launch a podcast or podcast network and make it profitable.
Last week I was in New York City for Affiliate Summit East 2012. Three major tasks dominated my agenda. One, I was the emcee for the event. Exciting! Second, I was leading the fourth iteration of Affiliate Improv, an educational brainstorming session, and always a lot of fun. Third, I was tapped to speak about podcasting for half an hour during a special adjunct to Summit called the Monetize Your Blog Using Affiliate Marketing Training Course. It’s this third bit that prompted me to write this article for you today.
I had a few dozen slides prepared and my plan of attack was simple. Part one of my presentation would be about why everyone should podcast. Part two, how to podcast—hardware, software, recording… you get the idea. Part three, how to monetize a podcast and how to use a podcast to better monetize your site. The presentation went very well! I was comfortable, the slides looked great, and I believe I hit all my marks. It wasn’t until later that it was brought to my attention how I screwed up one very, very important point.
The Point That Wasn’t Made
Part one of the presentation was half a dozen slides detailing why someone should be a podcaster. These were easily inserted into the mix because I’d used them before. Last year, I did a webinar called 5 Rock Solid Reasons to Podcast (I even adapted the webinar for an article here at Blogworld.com). I tweaked those slides and called it done because that part was not the main focus of the course, monetization was. During my talk, I breezed over the five reasons, then got into the how-to and wrapped up quite nicely with some monetization tips—I even had enough time for Q&A.
Had I thought more about the first part of the talk instead of just repurposing my old slides, I might have saved myself a little jolt of embarrassment later on.
Two days later, I was in the Blogger Lounge at Affiliate Summit when I was approached by Wendy Limauge. She said what a great job all of us presenters did at the monetization course and asked me if I’d be willing to do an interview with her. Being the media who—uh, slave, that I am, I of course said sure. She said, and I’m paraphrasing because I have the memory of a chipmunk, “great, because I’d love to ask you why you’re a podcaster. You didn’t mention that in the presentation on Saturday.”
I… didn’t? But I have those five rock solid reasons… how did I not…?
As I started to talk in the interview, I realized what a terrible mistake I’d made. I never did explain why I’m a podcaster. Yes, a lack of FCC oversight is a great thing about podcasting. Sure, being an inexpensive endeavour makes podcasting attractive. The trouble is, my five rock solid reasons aren’t reasons. Saying that podcasts are the most portable form of communication is true, but it’s like saying you should buy a Miata because it will get you from Point A to Point B. That’s not a reason to buy a Miata—a Pinto will get you from Point A to Point B, too.
So, now I toss it to you, dear reader. Do you podcast? Why?