I'm a creative who likes to come up with an idea and immediately start working on it. In 2011, I decided to launch my first podcast, and I wasted no time recording, editing and uploading my first episode. However, as Timothy Failure says - mistakes were made. These mistakes were worthy of some face-paIms, but I learned from them. Plus, they helped me develop strategies to share with new podcasters.
Here are some lessons I learned while producing my first podcast:
Give yourself time to tweak your concept before launch
The Critic Show was the name of my first podcast. The idea was to theme it around guests and listeners discussing all things entertainment. We're all critics, and we share opinions about the things we hear and watch.
Ideally, I wanted celebrity guests on the show. However, this was going to be a brand new podcast, and guests weren't going to know who I am. I figured I would be lucky to book a guest every few months. Nonetheless, I started recording the episodes.
As the first seven shows were produced:
I wanted this episode to make the first impression on listeners.
So, I did something painful but necessary. I deleted the first six episodes from my feed.
Later, I heard a podcast expert suggest recording and editing your first shows without uploading them. That way, you can make the necessary tweaks before sharing your content with the public.
He said episodes 7-10 would likely sound a lot different from episodes 1 -6.
I was living proof he was right.
Optimize your frequency
The release dates for The Critic Show was the 15th and the last day of the month. On the one hand, it was a perfect fit for me. It generally took two weeks to find, book and record guest interviews. However, it wasn't an ideal set of dates for potential subscribers.
Later, I attended a podcast session at Social Media Marketing World that emphasized the importance of optimized frequency. The speaker strongly recommended that podcasts upload weekly episodes, but an every other week system worked as well.
The key is to upload shows on the same day. That way, listeners can make your show part of their subscription routines.
The idea of trying to get a show out every week terrified me. However, I would later develop a successful plan for weekly podcast uploads.
Don't create an intro that sounds like it lasts forever
Calling my first show opening "too long" is an understatement. It might be easier to say, "Yikes!" and move on. The original intro for The Critic Show went like this:
So, I tried too hard to creatively explain the show through the introduction. I was so focused on the creativity that I forgot that people would have to listen to this epic open before each episode.
These days, I try to keep my intros under 30-60 seconds. The only reason they would last that long is I'm still using some creativity to explain the concept of the show. After all, you never know which episode will be someone's first to hear. However, it's not uncommon for me to make a tighter version of the intro after the show has been out for several weeks.
Still, nothing has been as long as that first Critic Show open. From an audio standpoint, it was giving In A Gadda Da Vida a run for its money.
Make sure you create a sustainable concept that meets your goals
I tell new podcasters to make sure they develop a concept that produces a consistent amount of episodes each year. In other words, don't create a podcast that might run out of topics.
Also, if you can create a podcast with a specific target audience, you're more likely to generate strong subscription numbers. For example, a podcast solely focused on a television series generates a very specific listener base.
Even though The Critic Show established a good format, two problems remained:
When the podcast started its second year, it was renamed Beyond the Screens. This definitely fit the description, but now my feed had two sets of the same show with different names.
So, get that title right the first time!
I started podcasting in 2011. Today, podcasts are a lot more mainstream, and that comes with better access to advice. So, it's easier not to make some of these mistakes.
However, I would finally recommend that you maintain a willingness to learn new things. If you can avoid not learning lessons the hard way, that's even better.