You’re interested in sharing your voice by becoming a podcaster.
Regardless of whether you step into this content creation format or another, just know that you matter. Your voice matters.
Recently, I shared the following post on Facebook.
"I'm excited to find out that based on the rolling average of downloads in 30-day stats of my podcast, Level Up Your Life is in the top 25% of Buzzsprout podcasts!"
HOW DID IT HAPPEN? To achieve this goal I have had more than 302 downloads each month for the last few months which put my podcast in the Top 25% of Buzzsprout podcasts.
NEXT GOAL: My goal by the end of the year is to achieve 982 downloads as a rolling average during a 30 day period which will position Level Up Your Life Podcast in the Top 10% of Buzzsprout podcasts.
MY GRATITUDE: Shout out to all my podcast guests who share their level up journey in an authentic and courageous way that resonates with my global audience.
Shout out to all the listeners of the Level Up Your Life Podcast and those who share it.
I APPRECIATE ALL OF YOU!!! THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!!
Over the past eight months, I've shared some of this information with individuals, including several of my podcast guest, who inquired about what it took for me to start my podcast and what I wish I'd known before I started my podcast. Over the past eight months, I've shared this information via email.
After receiving messages from different people on Facebook about my post on yesterday, I decided that instead of sending out individual emails, I would create an article that I can refer to others in the future that inquire about my podcast journey.
This is a living document which means that I will be adding relevant information to this guide as I continue to learn,make mistakes and make progress towards my podcast goals.
Starting a Podcast
I've always used Zoom for my podcast interviews.
In the beginning, I conducted my interviews without the video on thinking that it would make my guests more comfortable. When I starting conducting each interview with video for my Black Men On Justice Summer Podcast Series, I realized how much more of a connection I was able to make with my podcast guests.
Today, all of my interviews are conducted with video on. My podcasts are published in audio format. Having the video on has definitely helped me to get more comfortable in front of the camera while at the same time deepen my connections with those who I have interviewed. It helps to create the experience that I want everyone to have when they interact with me during their interview.
You can use the FREE plan of Zoom to schedule a meeting for up to 100 participants with a 40-minute time limit. If you interview only one person at a time there is no time limit.
I use Buzzsprout as my podcast host. It’s where I upload the MP3 recordings of my interviews or solo rounds. Buzzsprout provides you with an RSS feed that you’ll submit once to Apple Podcast, Spotify, Amazon Tune-In, iHeartRadio, etc.
Each time you publish a podcast episode, most of the podcast distribution apps and directories will be updated.
Apple Podcast can take up to 24 hours to update so don’t be alarmed when you don’t see it within a few hours of the publication of your episode. If it hasn’t updated in 24 hours, you can contact Buzzsprout or your chosen podcast host's customer service and they will help to identify the problem.
I started on Buzzsprout FREE plan and upgraded to its PAID plan once I knew it was the place that I wanted to host my MP3 files. On the FREE plan, your episodes are active for 90 days. However, they begin to be deleted once they reach their 90-day publication date.
Because of my business experience, I realized the value of the metrics Buzzsprout provides me about my podcast and how this information would help me to be more strategic towards building a podcast audience and community around my podcast.
One of the main takeaways that I've received from online marketing experts is that building a community around one of your primary content assets helps you to deepen your connection with subscribers, fans or followers. I'm currently in the process of creating the foundation for my Level Up Nation Community.
I've received exceptional customer service from Buzzsprout which is one of the many reasons why I decided to become an affiliate. The company's newsletter always contains relevant information related to improving my podcast results. If you sign up for the FREE Buzzsprout plan and decide to upgrade in 90 days, If you sign up to Buzzsprout using my affiliate link, you’ll receive a $20 Amazon card.
Buzzspout’s How to Make a Podcast page is a one-stop-shop for many of the questions that most people have when they are considering whether or not to become a podcaster. It's a great go-to resource for newbies like myself to refer to often.
The Buzzsprout Blog is another great resource that the company provides.
The Equipment I Use
I currently use my HP Laptop to conduct my interviews. I invested in a USB camera because of the issues I started to have with my laptop camera. I am currently researching my next laptop investment.
I have decided to invest in a wireless microphone system which I’ll be able to use for my online presentations and for in-person training.
Because the lighting in my den where I conduct most of my interviews and online presentation is affected by the weather outside, I'm purchasing a ring light.
Many people use headphones when they conduct virtual interviews and meetings. Once I decide on which laptop I’ll be purchasing, I plan to use earbuds.
At this moment, I don't use earphones. However, recently, I have come to understand that a lot of the background noise that takes up a lot of time during the editing process can be reduced and eliminated when both the host and guest use earphones or earbuds with a speaker.
Key Lessons I’ve Learned Starting My Podcast
1. Editing of my interviews takes up a good amount of time. It’s important that I find someone on Fiverr who I trust will be able to edit my interviews in a way that provides listeners with a similar vibe when I edit them. It's something that I've been resisting to do. In order for me to grow my audience one of those strategies include being a guest on other podcasts. So, I've got to delegate the editing of my interviews to create time to be a guest on other podcasts.
2. Just like with any profession or business, networking with and learning from other podcasters is important. Buzzsprout has a Facebook community.
3. Leveraging my love for engaging and starting up conversations with people from diverse backgrounds and listening to their story of how they've overcome life's challenges to level up their life is one of my happy places. My ability to connect with diverse people was honed during all the years that I worked in the hospitality industry.
The JOY that I feel in anticipation of each conversation and while having each conversation is priceless. I'm doing something that I love to do. It strengthens me. It helps me to make a difference in a way that is meaningful and challenging for me. I said that to say this, regardless of which vehicle that you choose to share your voice, vision, values, and leadership, it's important that it reflects something that you love or at least you're passionate about in order to maintain the resilience required to take a seed of an idea and nurture it so that it can flourish.
4. Interviewing people outside of your current circle of influence and geographic location will help to expand your audience. By all means, interview people you know who are interesting and can add value to your listeners. However, don't rely on the people that know you to be your biggest cheerleaders unless you are in some type of group. The people who know us often assume they "know" us, so they aren't always as inquisitive about what else there is to know about us like new people are.
5. The level of commitment that your podcast guests demonstrate towards promoting their episode will play a huge role in the number of people your podcast is exposed to. Just know that your podcast stats on Buzzsprout are based on the number of downloads, not listeners. If you’re new to building a community around your brand and the content that you share, you’ll need to plan and execute regular promotions to get reviews and subscribers.
6. Even if you set up a schedule of guests and topics, doing solo rounds on hot topics keeps your subscribers engaged. When I do solo rounds, they are usually published on Wednesdays. My primary day for my podcast is on Fridays. I’ve found that my international audience uses the weekend to catch up on my latest episodes.
7. The day of the week that you publish your podcast will be influenced by your ideal audience and their habits. This article will provide you with some insights.
8. I have had several people on LinkedIn ask for payment to be interviewed. I'm not paying anyone to be on my podcast. Several of my previous guests are using their Level Up Your Life podcast episode to secure interviews and promote their business on their website. Building my audience and subscribers will benefit anyone that I interview without them paying for guests to be on my show.
9. Establishing one day of the week to conduct my interviews has been one of the smartest moves I’ve made. I’ve only had to make a few adjustments. I interview podcast guests only on Wednesdays. Today, I only have four slots available on Wednesdays during the second and third week of each month. I started with six interviews every Wednesday during each week of the month until I had enough episodes to last me for the season.
10. Designating a day and time period to edit podcast episodes is a productive habit. For example, it can take me up to 2- 4 hours to edit a 90-minute interview. I edit podcast episodes on Mondays and Fridays. For this reason, I do my best to keep my interviews between 45 minutes to 60 minutes. I’m aware of the time it takes to edit the interview in a way that makes my guest and myself come across in a way that’s positive to listeners.
11. Several people recommend that we should have several podcast episodes ready prior to the launch of a new podcast. I posted five audio recordings of a free challenge I had completed which helped me to get interviews "in the can" for publishing. This helped to reduce the stress that I probably would have felt if I didn't already have audio material to share. I suggest that you have four interviews or four solo rounds completed and edited prior to your launch.
12. I repurpose content shared on my former blog for many of my solo rounds since the material that I was writing is what is referred to as evergreen content. Also, I use my solo rounds to share my thoughts about current events in our culture and world.
13. Building a podcast requires that you build a personal brand that attracts people to your work. Here's an article that will give you basic insights about building a personal brand.
14. Here's something that I've recently learned. Many people will judge your podcast based on its Apple Podcast stats. Although a third of my podcast listeners and subscribers use the Apple Podcast app, another third of my views and downloads still occur from my Buzzsprout website. The remaining views and downloads are on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Tune In, Podcast Addict, and Deezer. So, don’t get deflated by this reality. You can run different promotions that encourage listeners to subscribe and leave a review specifically on the Apple Podcasts.
15. Focus your attention and energy on delivering interesting and relevant content for your ideal listener with the purpose of increasing the number of downloads of your podcast every 30 days. Over time, you will build momentum, grow your audience, increase your monthly downloads, and position your podcast to secure sponsors.
16. There will be a point when you will need to decide how you will monetize your podcast with sponsors. Buzzsprout provides us with an opportunity with each episode on its player to receive donations from listeners. If you plan to monetize your podcast then it's important that you create a strategy and execute it well to appeal to future sponsors. Begin with the end in mind.
I encourage you to listen to a diverse range of podcasts covering topics related to the content you want to produce.
Follow those podcasts that inspire you. Leave a review. Plant the seeds of the harvest you want.
It’s important that you understand why this medium is growing at the rate that it is. Because of this fact, there are more and more people planning to start a podcast.
This is good news. It means that more and more people are opting to listen to content that is mobile. People listen to their favorite podcasts on the way to work, while they are at work, during lunch, on the way back home, while exercising, doing housework and homework. People are listening to the podcast all over the world. This article shares insights on the early days of podcasting and it’s current growth.
Your organizational skills will be key to avoiding overwhelm. It's going to feel like a lot at first, however, with anything worthwhile embracing the process and tweaking what you do as you move forward is the best way that I know to avoid overwhelm.
You’re interested in creating a podcast because deep within you, your voice is yearning to be expressed in a way that is unique and creative to you.
Don’t’ get caught up about the sound of your voice. Be more concerned about the energy that inspires you to share your voice. Be open to having authentic conversations that allow your listeners to get to know you and your guests if you decide to do interviews.
There are diverse podcast formats. There is no one size fits all. If you decide to share your voice and vibe through a podcast choose the format that makes you feel good about yourself and the content that you are producing.
Most important with any content strategy, be consistent, deliver quality, and be vulnerable and courageous.
Remember, your voice matters. Move forward with a commitment to share it.
Your Level Up Success Coach