We’ve made it to episode 100! If you think I’m buying myself a cake to celebrate…you are right! Creating a podcast is no joke and I’m excited to hit this milestone and share with you what I’ve learned about podcasting along the way.
Give the episode a listen and then find me on Instagram (@xosarahmorgan) because we’re hosting a bunch of audience appreciation giveaways this week!
Links + Resources
My podcast editor: podcastingforcreatives.com
Dare to Grow (my podcast process): daretogrow.co – use the code PODCAST2022 at checkout for half off
I would not have made it to episode 100 without the help of my podcast team – thank you to Alison and Steve over at podcastingforcreatives.com – they edit and upload my podcast every week. I think they’ve done all but the first 3 episodes maybe so they really have been a big part of making 100 episodes happen. They save me time, save me from having to listen to myself talk and make sure I sound like a pro even though I’m recording episodes in my bedroom closet.
I also have to thank Lindsay, my assistant who edits my scripts, creates graphics, and schedules everything so that you have an email and a blog post every week. I really wish I had hired her (or help in general) for this part of the process way earlier. That was always my last headache before publishing and I appreciate her taking over the final edits and putting together the blog post.
If I was doing all the editing and admin that would add 5 hours to my schedule every week. Here’s your first tip – if you’re starting a podcast get yourself some help. I was lucky enough to have Alison reach out to me after my first episode when I already knew I wanted to hire help. You can hire her + Steve over at podcastingforcreatives.com.
I always say the more you enjoy things the easier it is to be consistent. I enjoy creating lessons for you and recording episodes. Listening to my voice to edit the audio…not so much. As you’re creating your podcast (or any project) pay attention to what you enjoy, what feels tough, and get some help to make the process easier on yourself.
Maybe you don’t 100 percent have the budget to hire help yet – but think about the clients and customers who will find you through your podcasts, the other audiences you’ll reach by having guests, or the sponsor that could pay for all your podcast expenses. If money is something that’s holding you back, put in some time to figure it out. Especially if you are not a video person, because video is really your best option right now but I know there are a ton of you holding back, and holding back your whole business, by not showing up. Podcasting could be your alternative.
The format of your show and how often you release episodes is up to you. It seems like there are a lot of rules for podcasts, especially some of the larger story-based ones. They all have a certain vibe and cadence, but it really is just creating an audio file so whatever is in that file is up to you. Do you want to sing your audience a song? Do it. Want to bring them along as you cook breakfast and share your souffle secrets? Do it!
I put off starting a podcast for a long time until I heard a few of Amanda Frances’s podcast episodes. She didn’t have an intro. They weren’t hour-long shows. She didn’t do interviews. And I don’t think she stuck to a schedule. She just showed up whenever she had something to share. Sometimes it was tips, sometimes a meditation, sometimes audio from her old videos. She just did whatever the fuck she wanted in service of her audience.
Seeing someone else do a podcast in such a different free-flowing way helped me see that I could create my own format too.
If you’re thinking of starting a podcast but aren’t sure about format or length – think about what your potential clients and customers most need to hear. When do they listen to podcast episodes? Are they on their commute? Morning run? Mid-day break?
Why do they listen to podcast episodes? And why will they listen to your podcast specifically? Look at the other podcasts in your industry and see how you can show up differently? What’s missing from those podcasts? What will get them excited to subscribe to your show?
Most importantly – we don’t want to make a content black hole where you’re just creating to create. What is the goal of your podcast? More leads, clients, customers, building your authority, connecting with others in your industry?
Answering those questions will help you determine what your audience needs to hear to turn into customers or clients and how you can show up and connect with them daily, weekly, or monthly.
When I was thinking about starting the podcast I paid a lot of attention to how I listened to podcasts. Things that made me subscribe to a show, things I wanted to do for my show, and things that I found really annoying. One of those things was a long intro. Either a long prerecorded intro that is the same on every episode, or I’m really annoyed when hosts spend the first 5-10 minutes talking about the guest and how excited they are, or talking about random stuff unrelated to the guest or the topic. For me, that’s fine every once in a while, but I was skipping forward in a lot of podcasts just to get to the meat of the episode.
Which is why I made my intro 30 sec long. This way new listeners get a quick intro to the podcast itself, but also it’s easy to skip over for people who listen every week. Something to think about – how can you introduce yourself and your podcast thoroughly enough for newbies without making your regular listeners or people who binge a bunch of episodes have to scroll around to find the actual start of the content. A lot of apps allow you to skip 15 sec forward or back, so making your intro 15, 30, 45 seconds helps make skipping forward quick.
You might also add an outro. Mine is currently a promo for the Dare to Grow membership since all of my trainings are housed in one spot. You can have multiple options if you have more than one offer or use it to promote a webinar, challenge, or event. You could just have music which I did for a while – like 10 seconds at the end of the same music from the intro.
I made my intro + outro myself. I recorded the voiceover and then added background music that I purchased online. I know a lot of people have a professional make theirs and it has a voiceover or multi-layered audio with effects, but most people, once they know what your podcast is about, are not going to listen to your intro. It feels like a big deal, but make something that matches the vibe of your show, introduce yourself and your topic and get on with it.
You can fill your first couple of months of episodes with your most popular blog content, IG posts, youtube videos, or emails. As long as it’s still relevant, any content that has already done well with your audience will do well again. It will also give brand new people a sneaky tour of all your best stuff. Even if your audience has heard those things before, share it again – it will give them another opportunity to hear that message and learn from you.
Remember – people need to connect with you multiple times before they’ll buy into what you’re selling. It used to be that people had to see something 7 times, but that number is increasing as the amount of content in general grows and our attention spans are shorter.
You can use regular content planning tools for your podcast content. If you have a way of planning blog posts or IG posts – that process will work for podcasts as well. In Dare to Grow we use our content matrix (which is inside the content planning workshop just in case you want to go look for it). The matrix essentially asks you: what is your audience struggling with today? If that struggle keeps happening what would be the long-term negative consequences? For example: Today my audience might be struggling to try to come up with content ideas the day before something needs to be published. The long-term consequences would be never growing their audience to the point of sustaining their business.
Then the other side of the matrix is what would today look like without that problem and what would next year or 5 years from now look like without that problem – best-case scenario. For the same example, it could be: Today they didn’t even think about Instagram because all of their posts for this week are scheduled and ready to go. Long-term – they show up consistently for months (while not spending a ton of time on Instagram or worrying about what to post) and fill up their client roster or sell out their program.
We use the matrix to understand what potential clients or customers are thinking about and wishing for so we can create content they identify with and moves them to action. Remember, your podcast is part of your marketing funnel so your content has to connect with your ideal customers or clients.
Actually creating episodes
First, at the beginning of every month, I plan content for all platforms at once. This helps me make sure I’m promoting enough and that if I’m running a webinar or promotion my content helps drive my audience to those things. This includes Instagram, email, and podcast episodes.
Then every week I write a shitty first draft of what will become the blog post version of the podcast. This gives me enough of a script to stay on track as I’m recording but helps to keep me from sounding like I’m reading because I’m still ad-libbing a little. Sometimes I throw the word “like” into a sentence as I’m reading or add an extra sentence that isn’t written down to make it sound more like a conversation and less like a speech.
You know I like to be honest over here so one thing that I’ve been struggling with is getting my episode done on time or early. My editor needs the episode by the Monday before it’s published and I’ve been recording a lot of episodes for the past year on Saturday or Sunday. Yes, I will confess that I’m recording this episode on Sunday, the day before it’s due. Honestly, at this point, it’s happened so often that it’s become a habit instead of a stressor which makes it even harder to change.
A few things that have helped: 1 – having bullet points already on the page when I sit down to write so I’m not starting from scratch. 2 – writing that rough draft on Monday or Tuesday the week before instead of having to write the full script later in the week. 3 – putting my recording day on Wednesday so I have more of a buffer. I did that two weeks ago and it worked…this week it did not.
Because my episodes are only 10-20 minutes long, the best option would be to get ahead by a few weeks and then schedule 3 days once/month to write all the scripts, edit all the scripts and then record all 4 episodes at the same time.
While that has been challenging, once I get in the recording booth (aka my closet) I really feel like I’m recording a message for a friend and that makes me feel so happy and excited which keeps me going even with some weekend recording sessions.
The other part is that I’ve smoothed out or delegated every other piece of the podcast so that one difficult part doesn’t make me want to quit. If I also had to edit the audio and the blog post I would not have gotten this far. That would have been more hours, more difficulty (because I can be a perfectionist), and more stress over not enjoying doing those things.
I use a blue yeti mic, plugged into my computer. I record using Quicktime which is a simple audio/video recorder that you probably already have on your computer. I record in my bedroom closet – the fact that it’s full of clothes and is carpeted helps to add more soundproofing. Episode drafts, which become blog posts, are written in Google docs so I just take my laptop in there, plug in my mic and go for it. Then I upload the finished audio into dropbox for my editor. My podcast is hosted on Libsyn. I started with what I had and that still works.
Once you start your podcast make sure you promote it outside of just releasing it on your podcast platform. Especially if you already have an audience or an email list – this is how you’re going to grow initially and it’s a great way to re-engage people who are THIS CLOSE to hiring you or buying from you.
This could be an email, an IG post, a story, a live – all of the above. How are you going to remind your audience to go listen?
I found that audiograms on IG didn’t do well enough for me to keep making them. Audiograms are graphics with audio. They just didn’t get enough engagement so now I’m experimenting with Reels where I talk about the problem – I mention the podcast in the comments but the video still stands on its own as a full piece of content. I’m also testing carousels that share the main points from the podcast – again, as its own piece of content – and then send people to that episode if they want more details.
This way I’m sharing long-form content and short-form content so I’m catching more audience members because they have more options to learn about that week’s topic.
If you’re on my email list you may have already noticed that we’ve been experimenting with what day we send the podcast email. It used to go out on Thursdays when the new episode was released, but on a mastermind call last month another podcaster said she likes to send her emails a few days after, more as a reminder.
No matter what options you choose for promotion, keep an eye on the data. We’ll try sending the email on different days over a couple of months to see if there are any changes in downloads. Once we know what actually works then we’ll stick with that day of the week and test something else.
Dare to Grow members have access to my podcast doc which has my step-by-step process for planning, creating, and launching a podcast. if you have questions on hosting platforms, making graphics, how to get your podcast on all the apps (apple podcasts, spotify, stitcher) I have a document with my step-by-step process for all of that available in the membership. It’s not terribly complicated, but it will definitely save you time on research and by joining Dare to Grow you’ll also get access to our Facebook group so I can answer any questions you have and cheer you on! I’ve had 3 members use that doc to launch their podcast so if you need support I’ve got ya. Head over to daretogrow.co to join – you can use the code podcast2022 for half off your first month.
Lastly, for today – I want to thank you for listening. A podcast without listeners isn’t much fun so I really do appreciate you listening. Even if it’s your first episode it counts! If you commented, shared, reviewed, sent me feedback on an episode that resonated, it really does help me to keep showing up every week. I can’t say it enough – thank you, thank you, thank you.
Cheers to the next 100 episodes (which really feels like a huge number), thank you for hanging out with me. I’ll talk to you again next week.