Starting a podcast is about as fun as picking up dog shit in the backyard. No seriously, it’s a lot of work. I am sure you are like me and have dreams of making money doing things you love and actually making a difference in the huge world we live in. It’s not so simple; let me explain. I am going to go over the steps to getting your podcast off the ground.
1. Figure out your why -- for some people, it’s all about the fame and the money (I am not kidding). For me it was more than that and it evolved over time. My why at first was slightly different from what it is today. For me, it was about finding my voice and using my strengths to create something. I am the type of person who is always creating and always watching YouTube videos on how to do it. Podcasting though, was always scary for me. For starters, I am the G in the LGBT and I have become comfortable in myself and battled my own internalized homophobia to get to this point. I used to never want to use my voice. I was scared people would find out who I really am if I got too excited when speaking about something I was passionate about. The podcast became sort of therapeutic for me because the more I was recording episodes, the more I was comfortable speaking out loud in everyday situations. Sounds corny, but true. Since starting the podcast, my why has evolved into something unexpected. I want people to hear different perspectives of life and talk about it. I have learned so much in speaking to our guests and throwing ourselves out there, and have loved every minute of it. Finding your why is very important because it will start you on the right foot and keep you motivated to move forward. There is no right or wrong why either, so find it and do it.
2. What's in a Title -- The title is important in some ways. I think if I could I would probably name our podcast something different than it is now. For us, it was an inside joke that inspired our name. Most people, if not all people, don't know what "She's Not Doing So Well" is about. People have said it sounds sad or boring. Direct quote from someone on Reddit -- " it will mean zero to your potential listeners and sounds off-topic and sad. You need a ‘does what it says on the tin’ type title that’s upbeat and engaging." Of course I took offense to it but really after thinking about it, it’s true. I however, have kept the name and will continue on our podcast journey. My advice for you would be to be more specific on the title. If it’s about cooking then call it something like "Cookology" or even "The Oven Rack". My point is that you should try to make it specific so if someone is trying to find a cooking podcast they have some context just by the title. Think it over, because once you have a brand, it’s hard to backpedal and change the name.
3. Podcast Logo -- This is probably one of the most frustrating parts of starting a podcast for me. That might be because I am super annoying when it comes to being creative and I’m usually never fully satisfied. We went through about 4 logos before we found our permanent one. The logo needs to stand out and also tell what you are about without any words. Again, this is where we go into some trouble. At first it was going to be a wine bottle pouring out rainbow colored wine. This seemed like a good idea but I could not get it to look like I really wanted it to look. Then, pineapples randomly came up when my partner said to Jim and I, “I cut pineapples”. Again, another inside joke but we went with the pineapple theme. Still wasn't clear we were LGBT oriented or what we were about. So we added a rainbow to the stem and called it our logo. I still wasn't satisfied, so I took a picture of us being goofy and made a bright logo. It seems to have worked for now and I am content with it. My best advice would be that you shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about a logo. Your content is what should be doing the talking (literally), however, don't rush into having a logo until you are satisfied.
4. Research equipment/Recording Program-- Popular belief is that it’s super expensive to start a podcast. While it can be, you can also get away with using some good equipment. I went on google and kept looking up stuff until I could no longer see straight and just decided on what I thought I wanted. Again, the theme of this article should tell you, I was not satisfied. The mics were good, but picked up way too much. So I went back to the drawing table and found the mics and headphones that work for me. At first we did not record with headphones and if you try to plug in headphones direct to a computer or use Bluetooth, you can forget about using them. The latency becomes an issue and you hear yourself delayed (that could be a whole other article in itself). Look closely at the websites you find on google and what they are telling you because you can easily get yourself set up for $150.You also will need software to record onto. I use garage band and it fits all my needs. I know a lot of people like Audible, which is a free program you can download. A website I went to when getting started was https://www.podcastinghacks.com/best-podcasting-equipment-package-on-a-budget/
5. Record, Record, Record -- You will find VERY quickly that being in front of a mic will give you an instant rush of adrenaline and for me, a quick smack in the face with anxiety. I actually questioned myself after the first few recordings if I would ever get over being nervous. The answer is yes and no. I am way more comfortable in front of the mic but I still get nervous when we first go on. What I have learned is that by practicing and getting some episodes out of the way, you can quickly hear and feel where your weaknesses are and you can address them. For me, sometimes just getting out of my own head and realizing that everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect has helped me in being more confident. We have about 5 episodes that we recorded that were just awful but we are saving those for a rainy day so our listeners can hear how far we have come as well.
6. Be Authentic – This will be the single most important thing I will tell you. Be yourself. You are not going to please everyone, in fact, you will probably offend more people than you imagined. Being your authentic self will translate to the listener’s ears right away. If you are trying to sugar coat or be too perfect you will burn out and forget why you are even doing this in the first place. I have been completely open with my life. For the podcast I run, I have to use my everyday situations as material and also to bridge the gap between myself and the person/s we are interviewing. I have found that being vulnerable is actually looked at as brave instead of what most of us think people think which is that they are judging our every move. Think about it, when you see someone go in front of a huge crowd and talk, you don’t think about how many times they mess up, you are just impressed that they were able to do that in front of that many people. Be yourself. I can’t stress it enough. Also, don’t edit out all your ums and strange pauses, sure if it’s awkward you can certainly edit out some bad content but I find that, myself included, when people are leaving it raw and making it seem like a real conversation they get more interaction from listeners and have better results.
7. Just Post it Already -- During the creative process we can all get stuck. I think one of the most challenging things is to actually put out a recording. Why? You are literally putting yourself out for potentially a ton of people to listen to you. In my case it was talking about my sex life in my 20's and a lot of other very personal things. You don't have to do this like me but whatever your topic or audience you are putting yourself out into the world of criticism. Just breathe, everyone has a past and everyone will have their opinions. I am on a Facebook group for other pod-casters and there are people that come on and post all the time about having xyz amount of episodes recording and try to follow all of these impossible algorithms and theories on how to get on Apples main page. Again, everyone has their why so I am not going to judge someone for following these ideas. However, to me it’s about getting dirty and just getting some episodes up that showcase your personality and what the show is going to be about.
8. The Social Media Beast -- I have to admit, I love at the end of the day to sit on my phone and scroll thru Instagram to see what my favorite sports teams, bands and people are doing. However, being on the other side of that comes with a lot of work. A lot of the successful podcasts have a lot of good interaction with their fans. The best way to do this is through social media. I have never in my life been so concerned with content until now. Good, bad, or indifferent, you can be on social media and connect with fans or not. It’s up to you, however, I find it super fun for some random listeners to ask me a questions or tell me they enjoy the show. This will also keep people in the loop for when new episodes come out, etc. I have also used social media to connect with other pod casters. There are a lot of podcasts out there and it’s fun to see what others are doing and get advice. Don't be afraid to connect to your community and find new and potentially better ways to run your podcast.
These are a few of the topics that I struggled with and I still struggle with at times. I wanted to be able to share these with the next potential person who is thinking about starting a podcast but is unsure about the process. It’s a lot of work and it can be super time consuming but it’s something I love to do and hope you find you love it as well.
-Bobby Griffith (Producer and Host of She's Not Doing So Well Podcast)