(Dave Jackson) I keep hearing people say “starting a podcast is hard.” While it might seem this is on target, it’s not. It’s missing one very important word: Good.
Starting a GOOD podcast is hard.
Why Podcasting is Not Hard
You can record your voice into the backpack studio app, and upload it to your media host. Done. With this in mind, starting a podcast is not hard. You actually just press a button, record, and you’re done.
Podcasting Can Be Scary
What it is, is scary. You are doing things you’ve never done — in public. It’s also time-consuming. You may worry about negative feedback. The good thing is that listeners who don’t like your show will just tune out. They unsubscribe never to be heard from again. If they do provide some constructive criticism embrace the feedback. How many times have you paid your bill at a restaurant and answered, “Fine” when asked, “How was everything?” only to never return again because the food was lousy. The listener is giving you a chance and if you take advantage of it you will gain a loyal listener.
This past week I spent two days hiking in Utah. Oh yeah, I should mention that, because I once fell through a ceiling, I have a serious fear of heights. Throughout the hikes I had control of how close I would get to the edge, and my fear wasn’t an issue. Another fun fact: I have sun poisoning. So not only was I worried about falling to my death, I was worried about burning to a crisp. So what did I do to overcome my fears?
Hire a Guide
Elikqitie from the Travel Gluten Free podcast (travelglutenfreepodcast.com) insisted that if I was coming to Utah, she was taking me hiking. She walked me through buying a backpack that had built-in water, and long-sleeved shirts that provided UV protection. I got shoes that had a good grip to keep me safe. She saved me a ton of cash because she knew exactly what I needed. I got to see more parks in two days because she knew the territory.
The Last Trail
The last trail was a place called “Delicate Arch” and it was straight up. We made stops along the way as my face was flushed and I could feel my heartbeat in my temples. I was really pushing my body, and I was a sweaty mess. She offered to let me throw in the towel, but I kept pushing.
Then we turned a corner and what was a six-foot path was now three feet and to the left was a cliff. This was a “one wrong step and you’re dead” kind of situation. The inner voice in my head said “Don’t look down” as I was looking down. My legs turned to spaghetti, and a million voices in my head argued about how I was going to die. My guide was in front of me. I just looked at my feet and kept taking one step. I tried to take bigger steps as those would help me get off this cliff sooner. If I had stopped, I would have frozen and things would’ve gotten way worse. I just took one step at a time and focused on the path.
Sure enough, just as promised, I turned and there to my right was a large viewing area and the delicate arch. While the journey was long and at times frightening, the view was worth it. On the way down I was still nervous about being so close to the edge of a cliff, but not as nervous as the first time. I had this thing called “experience” to draw on.
Podcasting doesn’t need to be scary. I guide people all the time and help them overcome their fears. I (or other podcast consultants and coaches) can help make sure you don’t buy gear you don’t need. We can guide you to the right hosting and resources. The last hike is releasing that episode. I know people who keep recording more and more episodes to have them “in the can.” You can’t inspire, educate, or entertain anyone when your content is on your hard drive.
Eventually, you need to press “Publish.”
You might be frightened. It might make you sweat, but when you see your show in all the apps, the view is worth it. When you get your first positive feedback, you’ll kick yourself for not starting sooner.
Dave Jackson is a Hall of Fame podcaster and consultant. He started the School of Podcasting in 2005 and potentially has helped more podcasters with their podcast than any other human on the planet. Find him at www.schoolofpodcasting.com.