How to Start a Podcast

#1 Come up with your idea

October 06, 2018 Season 1
How to Start a Podcast
#1 Come up with your idea
Chapters
00:01:18
Why are you staring podcast?
00:05:41
What makes a successful podcast?
00:07:34
What is your podcast about?
00:15:37
How to name your podcast
00:21:49
Download the Podcast Checklist
How to Start a Podcast
#1 Come up with your idea
Oct 06, 2018 Season 1
Buzzsprout
What should you make a podcast about?
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode we cover:

  1. Knowing the "why" behind your podcast 
  2. Coming up with your podcast idea 
  3. Naming your podcast 


Download the “How to Start a Podcast Checklist”, a FREE, step-by-step guide designed to help you get your podcast off the ground without feeling overwhelmed. 

Start your podcast for FREE with Buzzsprout



Alban:
0:00
Start at the very beginning...
Travis:
0:03
Oh man, you didn't know this was a singing podcast.
Travis:
0:13
Hello and welcome to episode one of "How to Start a Podcast," the podcast that teaches you how to create a podcast from scratch. I'm your host, Travis Albritton, and helping with the episode today is my friend, my coworker and the only man I know that listens to Supreme Court podcasts, Alban Brooke. Welcome to the podcast Alban.
Alban:
0:32
Thanks Travis. I'm happy to be here.
Travis:
0:34
So tell all the good people listening to this episode, what you do at Buzzsprout and why you're excited about this podcast.
Alban:
0:42
Sure, so I joined Buzzsprout four years ago as the Head of Marketing. And since then gone to a lot of conferences, talked to a ton of podcasters, written a lot of content for podcasters. I think it's time to take our own advice and get a podcast out there that helps people see how easy it is and kind of lays it out in a step-by-step fashion what you need to do to start a podcast.
Travis:
1:05
I couldn't agree more and that's why I'm excited because I am the Head of Content over here at Buzzsprout and I've successfully launched three podcasts in the last year. So I'm excited to share all the things I wish that I knew back when I started. But since this is episode one, we're going to start at the very beginning, and so in this episode we're going to help you brainstorm what your podcast will be about. Before we get ahead of ourselves. Before we get too far down the line, we need to start with understanding why and that might sound kind of philosophical like fru-fru why are we talking about that? But it's actually really important to understand why you want to start a podcast, and that's because podcasting is a long game medium, which essentially means it takes time to really build momentum and become a successful show. And so if you don't have a good reason for why you're podcasting, you're why you're starting a podcast, you're going to feel like quitting before you even get started. So Alban, what are some good reasons to start a podcast?
Alban:
2:08
Sure. So these are all reasons that have come from people I've met who've launched successful podcasts. The first one is a lot of people do use it to grow their business. So we've met people who are real estate agents and people that are in finance, people from all over the spectrum who are using a podcast to grow their business, and it's a great way to be seen as an authority in the field to connect with different people and really get your message out there.
Travis:
2:34
Yes, I totally agree. Growing your business is one of the popular reasons that people have for starting a podcast, that they want to interact with their clients they want to would interact with their customers, offer them value during the week, continue to build that relationship so that later down the road when they're ready to do business with you, they're right there ready to convert. Totally agree with that. What's another good reason to start a podcast?
Alban:
2:57
Yeah. Another great reason is to get in front of and connect with influential people. So in the marketing space, we call this influencer marketing and it's where you're trying to connect to people's audiences that may already exist and the most. The hardest thing about that is it's pretty hard to get on someone's calendar. If they're a busy person and you're not providing something of value to them, but with a podcast, you can shoot an email to somebody who has thousands of followers and say, Hey, I'd love to have a conversation with you. Would you like to be on my podcast? And the same person may turn you down for a phone call, but would take a phone call to do a podcast recording with you. And so you're able to provide a lot of value to them and in return you end up getting connected to a lot of influencers.
Travis:
3:42
This is one of my favorite things about podcasting, that everyone loves the idea of being on a podcast to being able to tell other people, hey, this podcast reached out to me to interview me. I feel really important and so I've been able to connect with people that in my wildest dreams I would never outside of podcasting be able to have conversations with or network with. So I totally agree. That's a great reason to start a podcast. What's maybe a reason that people don't think about very often, but it's still a really good reason to start a podcast.
Alban:
4:10
Yeah. People come to podcasting a lot with maybe a little bit. It's a little too serious, but you can just do it to have fun. If you're enjoying yourself and there's a hobby or something you really like or maybe a college friend that you don't get to talk to as much starting a podcast, have a good time and to have fun. That's a great reason to start a podcast. So I'm gonna. Put that down as number three.
Travis:
4:32
So Alban, I know you have one more thing that you want to talk about. Another great reason to start a podcast. What is that?
Alban:
4:38
Another great reason is to connect with your community. And so a lot of podcasters, Buzzsprout are actually churches and so a lot of them were using it as a way for people who may not have been able to make it to church one week. We're able to listen throughout the week.
Travis:
4:54
And you had a really cool story that you wanted to share about a church that emailed in and had a question about the success of their podcast. Why don't you go ahead and share that story because I think it's really powerful.
Alban:
5:03
Yeah. So we have someone to write into support one day and she goes, Hey, I want to let ask is my podcast successful? And we started digging into it. We were trying to piece tease apart what she meant by that. And what we looked at were like, you know, you've got maybe 100 listens. How does that jive with what you're hoping to achieve? She goes, wow, that's amazing. We have a church of 300 people. And so the fact that we have a hundred people listening is really showing me people are sharing these episodes that they're finding a lot of value. Uh, and so for her to kind of connect with the community, for people to be able to hear the same content, a lot to tour and it was really valuable for them.
Travis:
5:42
You want to know why you're doing it and you want it to not just be about chasing the vanity metrics. And the reason that's important is because one of the most asked questions we get at Buzzsprout is what is a successful podcast? Is My podcast successful? Am I doing the right things? Am I getting the right download numbers? We get that question all the time. So Alban, talk about why that is not something that you should focus on when you're starting a podcast.
Alban:
6:08
Sure, it's almost analogous to if somebody said, how many friends do I need to have to have enough friends? And I'd say that's like the worst way to think of a friendship. And it's about as bad of a way to think of a podcast. If you're going after raw numbers, that's not really going to be successful. Uh, friendships are measured in the depth of the connection. And so with your podcast, you have to think about what's the goal here? What is success for you?
Travis:
6:35
Yeah, and really where you get into trouble with this is when you start comparing your numbers to somebody else's. Where I see this all the time in forums and facebook groups and stuff like that. They say, this is how many downloads I got, is that good? But comparison is the thief of joy. A great quote in an important quote from Theodore Roosevelt, for our purposes as podcasters, when you start thinking about what somebody else has, when you start comparing yourself to the Jones's, you just get really insecure about what you don't have instead of the opportunity that you do have to make an impact on the people that end up listening to your podcast, and so you want to focus not on how many downloads can I get? How many listens can I get? It's how do I create something that I love, that I'm proud of, that I get to brag about to my friends that genuinely provides value to other people.
Travis:
7:24
That should really be the focus of why you're starting a podcast, so all that to say that you definitely want to have a clear sense of why you're starting your podcast, but once you get that ironed out, the next step is to figure out what you're going to talk about. What is your podcast about? And as we start this conversation, we want to really emphasize that there are podcasts about everything because I think the temptation or the, uh, the first thing that most people do is think, which is what podcast is going to appeal to the widest audience. How am I going to get as many listeners as possible? But that's not the best way to do it. The best way is actually to focus on a niche audience, a very specific group that are looking for a very specific thing. And me and Alban, I mean, we listen to podcasts about all kinds of random things that are not going to appeal to everybody, but for us it's exactly what we want to listen to.
Alban:
8:20
What were some of the podcasts? You listen to that are a little bit off the wall.
Travis:
8:24
So there is one podcast that I obsess over for at a very specific time of the year and it's a podcast that tells you how to win your fantasy football league and that's something that I love listening to and my wife could absolutely care less about. In fact, she would delete it from the iTunes store if she could because she has so little interest in fantasy football. But I gotta have my fantasy focus every morning. I gotta make sure that I'm getting my lineup in, getting my waivers on and getting everything ready to go. Another really niche podcast that I listened to that not many other people probably have any interest in is a one called side hustle school. And they just share stories about other people's side hustles. So if you think about maybe shark tank but not a serious. And then just kind of talking about what that looks like and Oh yeah, I make an extra 300 bucks a week walking someone's dog at the mall. Just totally random stuff. But it's just fun to listen to people's creativity. And I really liked listening to that stuff because it gets my creative juices going, but it's definitely not for everybody.
Alban:
9:29
I'll share two podcasts that I listen to that are a little bit more of a focused audience. The first is called First Mondays and it's just a supreme court podcast. It's done to I two law professors and they do a pretty deep dive into topics around the supreme court. So for most people it probably isn't of like general interest, but for me it's something I really enjoy and love, you know, I look forward to every week. And then I listened to one that comes out a little bit more sporadically called overdue and it's two guys that they sit down and they just discuss books. They probably were assigned at school at some point. Um, and every once in a while they just find a random book. They sit down and they discuss it. And so I love looking back through old episodes, finding some of the. I just read and kind of listening to it. It's almost like a, like a mini book club.
Travis:
10:17
Yeah. And the moral of the story here, the reason that we're even diving into these very specific podcasts that we happen to listen to is that it's important that you make the podcast that you want to make, even if the thing that you're really interested in is really specific and you're not sure a lot of people will listen to it, that's actually going to be much more successful than trying to make a podcast that you think will appeal to everyone, not just on a motivational level personally like you wanting to show up and record episodes every week, but also the people that are attracted to the podcast that you want to make are going to be your people. That's going to be your tribe. There's going to be the people that you want to connect to outside of your podcast and be able to build an online community around.
Alban:
10:59
So what we keep saying is more of a focus. We're trying to find more depth than breadth. We're not trying to reach a large audience. It's a really deep relationship with a select few.
Travis:
11:10
So here are some questions to help you figure out what you should talk about. First question, what am I passionate about? Now Alban, most people don't think about this on a daily basis. Like what am I passionate about? What do I really want to do with my podcast? So what are some things that people can think about to try and answer this question?
Alban:
11:32
Yeah. So this is a good one to tackle from another direction because you might get intimidated when we say talk about your passions. We don't really think about that often. Think about this. When you sit down at the computer and you've got some time to kill, what forums are you going to online? What things are you typing in what things are you naturally drawn towards. So you kind of joked about it earlier, but I want to go check out like what's happening with the Supreme Court? Who are the, uh, what's going on with the new nominee? What, uh, what a, what new decisions have come out if the court is in session. And so that tells you, that's one of my passions. So right now, think about what blog posts do you go into, what things are you researching naturally, and those are things that you're probably passionate about.
Travis:
12:16
Another great question to ask yourself when you're trying to figure out what you're going to make your podcast about is what do you already know a lot about? I know way more than I need to about movies that haven't been released yet. Really? Yes, because I have several websites that hands down. Every time I get on my laptop I get on a computer and I start browsing the Internet I end up on these websites, so I'm reading all these articles about movies that haven't even been released yet and so if I wanted to I could make a podcast about that because there are other people that want to know what's the movie I need to be paying attention to in six months, in eight months. What's the one that's two years down the line that you've got some insights coupon because you just enjoy reading about it. I don't know why I enjoy reading about it. I just do. I just love reading about movies and so that would be another thing to ask yourself. What do you know too much about for your own good. That can be a great podcast topic.
Alban:
13:11
Yeah. What conversations do you try to have with your friends or family consistently that they shut you down. For awhile I wanted to talk to everyone about bitcoin and nobody else wanted to talk about it, but that's because it's something I was into and not a lot of other people that I was around were into it, but that's something that's good to go listen to or engage with a podcast that's into that.
Travis:
13:35
So you're saying that if you found some really great podcasts that talked about Bitcoin, you would listen to those because you were interested in them?
Alban:
13:40
I have already, let's say to a couple there. That is a space that I think is completely full now, so I have have not launched my podcast at the bitcoin space,
Travis:
13:52
but yeah. So even if you know nobody that likes what you like or want to talk about this thing, there are other people that absolutely want to talk about it. The Internet's a big place. So another question that can be super helpful is do people come to you consistently and ask for advice about a particular topic?
Alban:
14:09
Yeah. So if there's something that people ask you for advice about, that's going to be something that other people have identified as one of your core expertise in life and if people are asking you about it so that you probably can talk about, and it's a thing that people have already validated because other people have those questions. That'd be a great thing.
Travis:
14:28
And then another question that you should ask yourself, especially if you own a business and this podcast is going to be directly related to helping you grow your business, is making sure that the problem that you're addressing and the people that you're hoping listened to your podcast are your clients and your potential clients. Because you want your podcast to compliment what you already do. You want your clients to see you as an expert in whatever field you're talking about. So Alban, talk about the power of being an expert in a field that you also have a business in.
Alban:
14:59
Sure. So podcasts are really intimate way to spend a good amount of time with people. Uh, you know, commercials are only 30 seconds or a minute long. People you're in and out of their life very quickly, but if you're building an expertise in something and people are giving you the opportunity to talk to them for 30, 45 minutes, a couple hours at a time, and that's a great way to get in front of your audience in a non-sales kinda scammy, way. You're just providing great value and now you're seen as the authority.
Travis:
15:31
So those are some good questions to ask yourself and you're trying to figure out what you should talk about with your podcast. And once you identify what it is you're going to talk about, what you're specifically going to address in your podcast, you got to come up with a name. You gotta name it something. Here are some guidelines and things to consider that will help people that are interested in your podcast content, find your podcast, which is ultimately the goal, right? You want your podcast episodes to get in front of the people that are going to benefit from listening to it. You want the title of your podcast to accurately reflect the contents.
Alban:
16:06
So, Travis, here's what I want to do. I want to pull up some of the top podcasts in a couple little areas and I'm going to read them to you. And if you can tell me what they're about just by hearing the title. That's the goal. And that means it's a great podcast. If not, maybe we could. There's a little bit of room for improvement.
Travis:
16:24
Great podcast titles here's the test.
Alban:
16:27
So there's a podcast called Song Exploder. What do you think that's about?
Travis:
16:32
So I think that's about, uh, if you're a musician or an artist and you want to get the word out about your particular music.
Alban:
16:42
Okay, close. So that's those podcast where they take a song and they deconstruct it and talk about all the pieces of the song with the artist, so it's exploding the piece into takes it apart. Gotcha. That makes sense. All right, let me, uh, let me throw out some more for you. We've got the Bernie Sanders show.
Travis:
17:03
I'm going to guess that's about Bernie Sanders.
Alban:
17:05
You got it. So that is a awesome name. If you're a Bernie Sanders that you want to launch a podcast.
Travis:
17:10
Yes. If I was a Bernie Sanders supporter and I wanted to listen to a Bernie Sanders podcast, I would type in Bernie Sanders and when that shows up I would subscribe.
Alban:
17:20
So let me. Now, this one's a great podcast, but you may not know what it's about. This podcast called Men in Blazers.
Travis:
17:27
Men in Blazers. So that makes me think that it's a little tongue in cheek. So maybe it has to do with like a profession where people typically wear sports coats.
Alban:
17:38
So there's some people that wear sports coats in this profession and it's the coaches because it is a soccer or football for them, a football podcast. And it's men in blazers. We discuss football and we wear blazers. Alright. We've got a podcast called the West Wing Weekly,
Travis:
17:57
So I'm going to guess that that is a podcast that airs every week that talks about the TV show, the West Wing.
Alban:
18:03
Perfect. That's it. That's a great title. If that's what you want to do a show about it. It says it all there in four words. It's got some nice alliteration. That's awesome.
Travis:
18:15
Here's some other good examples of podcast titles. So if you are in the online marketing space, you could call your podcast online marketing made easy. You can't call it that. Amy Porterfield calls her podcast that. But that's a great example. So the podcast title that accurately describes what the content is about. Another one, if you want to get even more specific in that online marketing space, is a podcast called Shopify Masters. If you have a Shopify website and you sell products through your Shopify store, this podcast is probably going to help you. And so that's you. That's the person they made that podcast for. And so you can see why it's important that your title accurately reflects what is in your podcast. So Alban, what's a second guidelines, something that we see really matters when you're coming up with your podcast name.
Alban:
19:08
So I think you're leading me towards the title needs to be unique and you need to be the only person who pop in iTunes or Apple Podcasts that has this name. You don't want to be just jostling, get somebody else all the time. So as you're a picky under title search through Apple Podcasts and make sure somebody else already hasn't created that podcast. And if you want to go deep, you know, see if you can get the url, maybe if you can grab the social media handles, but uh, make sure it's unique.
Travis:
19:39
Right? And then the last guideline in the last thing that we think that you should really take into consideration is something that not many people think about, but actually has some pretty big implications into whether people continue to listen. And what is that Alban?
Alban:
19:52
You want to have a consistent message through title, through artwork, and you want to have it matched so it matches the tone and set the tone is business. I'm selling something, I'm portraying myself as the expert. Don't make it like sex, drugs and rock and roll. That's the people are going to see that as being very serious. So try to find something that's the right tone for the target audience.
Travis:
20:18
But yeah, just being on the same note, if you have a fun podcast, you can make the name fun, like it doesn't have to be super serious podcast name, like you want the name of your podcast to give people a hint of what they should expect. I think that's what you're saying, right Alban?
Alban:
20:34
Right.
Travis:
20:34
So at the end of the day, you can absolutely name your podcast, whatever you want, but if your podcast name reflects the content of your podcast, if it hasn't been taken by somebody else, and if it accurately reflects the tone or the style of your podcast, you'll be more likely to grow your audience quicker than you would otherwise. And so I think that's the power of these guidelines is really helping you get a leg up and a step forward compared to, uh, other podcasters that may not know how to put together a good name. So just to recap what we talked about in episode one, established why you're starting from the beginning, understand why you're getting into podcasting, have a really good reason that's not about being famous or getting to a certain number of downloads, but it's because you genuinely want to create a podcast to help people to make an impact in people's lives and you're going to be able to do it because you're excited about what you're talking about, that when you choose the subject of your podcasts, that it's something that you know a lot about, that you're knowledgeable of and that you can genuinely help people when you put those episodes together. And then lastly, we talked about how to choose your podcast name, that you want it to accurately reflect both the content and the tone of your podcast. So when people see it, they'll know what they're getting when they start to listen.
Alban:
21:50
Cool. So assuming people have made it this far, sounds like they'll probably in to listen to a little bit more and to dive a little bit deeper, what are some next steps? Who will can take Travis?
Travis:
22:00
So the number one next step that you want to take as we listened to this podcast is download the how to start a podcast checklist. It's a free guide that we put together that will walk you through every single step that you need to take to launch your podcast from scratch. I wish that I had this checklist when I first started, and so, uh, there's no guesswork. All you have to do is follow the checklist and you can launch an awesome podcast and you download it by clicking in the show notes on the link. Or if you have a podcast player that supports chapter markers, click on the chapter
Travis:
22:31
in the next episode, we're gonna continue to help you frame your podcast, your new show, by helping you nail down the details that will give structure to your new podcast.
Why are you staring podcast?
What makes a successful podcast?
What is your podcast about?
How to name your podcast
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