Podcasts are amazing. They’re burgeoning. The cool kids listen to them. They’re fun to be a part of. But you do need to think long and hard before starting one. And my advice here is not exclusive to podcasts.
I believe less is more and you need to play to your strengths. You can do everything good/fine/OK, but you’ll risk doing nothing great. And it’s important to be great. Mediocre is fine for most of the world but you’re not mediocre; you’re great. I will not tell my kids that I do lots of things half-assed and mediocre. What lesson would that teach them?
That said, starting a podcast is fairly easy, inexpensive and can be done quickly. But you need to ensure you’re taking the time, putting in the effort and investing in your podcast in the right ways.
Dead blogs, stagnant YouTube channels, and Twitter profiles with the last tweet from 2009 are about as unsexy as you can get when it comes to marketing and branding. When I see these I always wonder…Why did they give up? What if they held on a bit longer? Could they be further along? Absolutely. To be clear, I’m as guilty as they come. I’ve left in my wake a half-dozen blogs with a combined 500 words between them all.
That said, I want everyone to start their own podcast, and for many brands, podcasting makes sense when done well. They’re fun, cathartic and you’ll learn something new. But I recommend that you proceed with a clear roadmap and idea of what you want to do and how this helps your organization. For example, here are three reasons not to start a B:B podcast:
1. You’re selling.
Especially B:B podcasts you should not be selling on your podcast. Ads are one thing but peddling your own product as the basis of the show is wrong and you will be quickly reprimanded by listeners running away or not showing up at all. I hope you’ll share unbiased knowledge and make your audience smarter. Don’t shill.
2. You’re not listening to other podcasts.
If you want to start your own podcast simply because they’re a hot medium or your competitors have one, you can stop right there. Like other content vehicles, not everything is right for every company. Let’s be clear…Don’t do podcasts just because. Podcasting takes work and passion to do well. And part of that passion is listening to all sorts of podcasts. Other podcasts provide valuable teachings. What is working, what is obnoxious, what is everyone else doing and how do you differentiate from the herd? You need to be armed with the ear of a listener and have empathy for those listeners.
3. You’re not willing to (possibly) sacrifice something else that is important to you (maybe sleep).
Unless you have an ongoing overabundance of time on your hands (I know nobody that fits that profile), then you must be willing to cut something else or outsource parts of other work. Is there something else that might take a backseat, or get cut altogether in order for you to be successful at podcasting? Are you willing to wake-up 30 minutes earlier, go to bed later, stop an activity, cut 15 minutes off your daily workout? For example, as I write this, it’s 4:45am and I have a (now sleeping) 4-month-old child in my lap. (I guess the keystrokes are soothing.) Time management is elusive, but the first step is realizing there are finite hours in a day. How much can you truly commit on an ongoing basis to a new project?
Podcasts, like any medium, are easy to start but do take time to build an audience and create original content for. Of course, this can be curbed by setting realistic expectations as well as creating efficient processes to keep the content machine humming.
I’ll be sharing more podcast insights in Detroit on March 23 at the “Everything: Content & Social, Powered by Digital Summit”. I can also be reached @DanRusso