50 Shades of Podcasting: Be Proud Embracing Your Unique Style of Podcasting

As the first episode of 2022, I often do an episode for beginners, such as episode 756 14 Steps to Start a Successful Podcast in 2021

One of the most dangerous things you can do in podcasting is comparing your show to others. When I was in my 20s I would play golf once a year with my brother. My golf scores look like someone who golfed once a year. I would use my Dad's old clubs and would go to one of the cheapest clubs and just a fun day of hanging out. How would I feel if I compared myself to Tiger Woods? That would be insane unless I compared myself to a four-year-old Tiger. When you have your attitude in check, it can change the way you perform moving forward.

Type One Podcaster: Hobbyist

This person is trying to do it all for free using what they have. They record with their phone, and often lean towards free. They might make their own artwork using some free tool like Canva. They don't put a lot of effort into the planning of their podcast. They pick up their phone, press record, do zero editing and publish the episode.

Example: I once did a show called the “Dates from Hell” show. One of my then-wife's friends dared us to share online the stories we were sharing. After a few episodes, we ran out of stories, and it turns out most people don't want to share their stories of horrible dates. This was also boosted by we hadn't grown an audience by the time we ran out of stories (so not enough people were listening who then wanted to share their story). This was somewhat of a ready – fire – aim.

Type Two Podcaster: Add Some Gear

The level one podcaster is having fun. They decided they wanted to “take things up a notch” and decide to start using a microphone. They've found a few Facebook groups about podcasting and decided they need to start doing interviews.

There are a few ways this can go.

  1. They buy a microphone that needs an interface to plugin into the confused and feeling less than smart at buying what appears to be the wrong microphone. They either go back to their phone, research and buy an interface, take back the microphone, or quit.
  2. They get advice from an experienced podcast that recommends the Samson Q2u, or the ATR2100x. Both of these microphones can plug directly into the computer but also has the ability to grow with them if they choose to go deeper into the podcasting waters.

They don't know how to do remote interviews. They enter a Facebook group and ask “What's the best way to do remote interviews for free?”

They receive 9 different answers. Many of the recommending things like Squadcast and Riverside both of which are not free. Someone suggests using Zoom, but that only provides 40 minutes of recording time. Other people in the group go on a tangent on how the sample rate of zoom is horrible.

Had they asked someone who had experience and insights, and listened to the question they would've said, Cleanfeed, or Zencastr. He would provide insights into recording remotely and the chances of them losing a recording. He would state, that if you want to always have a good night sleep, you should always record an interview with two sources and let them know they are on thin ice, but they had a .3 chance of having issues.

They figure this out and start interviewing anyone with a pulse. They find an old YouTube video that shows them how to export files from a free program called Audacity. They push through the learning curve of getting their clean feed file into audacity. They export it as an mp3 file thanks again to Youtube.

There is a slight learning curve as they now need to figure out how to get their recorded interview into their free media host.

Type Three: Interviewer

The podcaster is now doing interviews. They start using Calendly for free and get discouraged as they have a few “no show” guests. The free version doesn't send any reminders. They also see people sharing download numbers. They have produced four episodes and have a total number of 19 downloads. How is everyone getting so many downloads?

They go into a Facebook group and overlook a button labeled “Search” and ask a question (that was probably asked at least once a day in every Facebook group about podcasting) “How do I grow my audience.” They receive some 67 comments. Many of them are duplicates from the previous commenter who doesn't understand the purpose of the like button. They see things like, “Social Media, Interviews, Reviews, and Promo Swaps.”

One of my favorite Steven Covey (author of the 7 habits of highly effective people) is habit 5: Understand before being understood. When I am coaching a client, the first thing I have to do is listen. I keep listening until I can state your issue in a way that you nod your head and say, “exactly.” Nobody in a Facebook group will ask, “What are you currently doing?”

If they did they would see that this is a level three podcaster who has jumped in without understanding the mechanics of podcasting. When I bought my first car, my father took me outside and showed me how to change the oil, add antifreeze, and change a tire. I already knew how to put gasoline into it. While you don't need to be able to read a raw RSS feed, if you start driving a car without knowing which side of the road to drive on, you're going to have issues.

Had someone asked, “What have you been doing so far?” They would've discovered that this person hadn't submitted their show to any directories where thousands of people are consuming audio. They had found an old article stating that the free media host they are using does this for them. They don't realize they are reading an article from 2019 and the information is out of date.

Type Four: Frustrated

After finding some videos on YouTube they are able to submit their show to Apple, Google, and Amazon. They somehow are already in Spotify. They think, “Now these numbers should double.” While they do go up a bit, it is far from doubling. They are frustrated. They were told in Facebook to be consistent. They have published an episode every week for three months now. They are up to 12 episodes and a total of 123 total downloads. Their host promised they would make money, and when they check the money section of their media host it shows a total of $1.23

Frustrated they go into Facebook groups and in mostly caps state, “I've been doing a podcast for months. I've been consistent and even bought a new microphone. I'm in Apple and Spotify but my numbers barely growing. How do you do this? I'm ready to quit.

Someone in a Facebook group about podcasting tells them “Just keep going.” I do see this from time to time and it really makes me want to scream. Let's say I'm in Akron, Ohio and I want to get to Cleveland. I get in Interstate 77 South and start going. I don't see any signs for Cleveland. My GPS on my phone shows I appear to be going in the wrong direction. I lean out the window and ask the car next to me, “Hey I'm not getting any closer to my destination” and they answer, “Just keep going.”

Type Five Podcaster: Focused

The focused podcaster has answered the following questions:

  1. Why am I starting this podcast?
  2. Is this Just for Fun, a Hobby, or a Business
  3. Who is your audience? (and what guests can speak to this audience)
  4. How will you gauge success?

They make much better content and get emails from people who say they love the show.

Type Six Podcaster – Pouring Gas on the Fire

The Semi-pro is focused and created a show. They want to up their promotion. Before they do they get constructive feedback before amplifying their marketing and promotional efforts.

Now the podcaster is looking into things like website SEO, and keywords.

They might hire an editor or other team members to boost promotional efforts.

There Will Be Growing Pains

A podcaster who starts “Just for fun” and over the years ends up a “level six” podcaster will want to go back and redo their show notes, their titles, and other branding items. A “just for fun” podcast that attempts to do ALL the things a level six podcaster is doing will be overwhelmed, and quit.

Even a person with no budget constraints, no limits of resources or time is going to learn something along the way. I see it over and over and over. You create content for person A, and while you do attract some person A, you also attract a larger amount of person C. I've seen people start shows to attract a certain type of person and end up with a completely different audience. At that point, you need to decide to either tweak you content to attract the person you are trying to attract or do you focus on your current audience and find out what they need?

QUESTION OF THE MONTH: The Follow/Subscribe Page

I need your answer before 1/28/22

Picture yourself in a podcast app in front of a podcast you might actually enjoy. Think of this experience and comment on it.
What caught your eye?
Is the description important?
Do you subscribe? or “Cherry Pick” episodes.
Do you ever subscribe/Follow?

As we all want more followers/subscribers (and yes we know most of us find our podcasts via word of mouth), BUT when you're in an app, (I realize this is kind of vague), but what goes through your mind before you press either play or subscribe/follow?

Don't forget to tell us a little bit about your show, and your website address.

Go to www.schoolofpodcasting.com/question


Episode 756 14 Steps to Start a Successful Podcast in 2021

Three Different Types of Reviews to get some constructive feedback.

Join the School of Podcasting and get started in the RIGHT direction.

Check out my free course at www.learnpodpage.com PodPage is the best way to make a great-looking website for your show without any coding.

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About the Author
Owner of the School of Podcasting. Also produces the "Ask the Podcast Coach." He is also the author of the book "More Podcast Money" and is a regular speaker at podcasting and media conventions.
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