It’s not a bad idea
Now is a great time to start a great podcast. This may surprise you if you think the window for launching one has passed or the market has become oversaturated. While it’s true there are about 2 million podcasts in the world and counting, the reality is that most of these podcasts don’t make it past the first ten episodes while new listeners are discovering podcasts every day.
While it’s true there are about 2 million podcasts in the world and counting, the reality is that most of these podcasts don’t make it past the first ten episodes while new listeners are discovering podcasts every day.
About 43 per cent of Canadians have listened to a podcast in the past month, according to www.EdisonResearch.com. Canadians now outpace Americans (38 per cent) and Australians (40 per cent) for monthly podcast listening. Each average listener enjoys eight shows and is regularly seeking out new content to enjoy.
You should consider launching a podcast if you genuinely want to help people, have a skill set or experience you want to share and – perhaps most of all – want to connect people to the gospel in a format for our times. If you’re a Christian leader, a podcast could be a strategic way to speak to people beyond a Sunday morning sermon, a clip on social media, or an email campaign in a format that meets them anytime, anywhere.
That said, notice in the opening sentence I say great podcast. There’s always room for an audience to discover truly inspiring, entertaining or educational content. But what makes a podcast great?
Let’s get this out of the way first because it’s actually the least important category, but what people think of first. At the very least you’ll need a microphone and an app on your phone or laptop to record. But my encouragement is not to get delayed from starting because you can’t afford professional gear. Start with what you have and upgrade as the podcast grows. I’ve met Christian podcasters with more than 1 million downloads and a $80 microphone plugged into their laptop. If you’re hosting guests or multiple hosts at a distance, an app I love to record with is called Riverside.fm. But Zoom also works and is free for up to 40 minutes of recording. If solo recording, try the Anchor app or Garage Band on your desktop.
If recording isn’t your obstacle, but editing is where you get stuck, I suggest outsourcing this, rather than delaying getting your content out for months while you try to learn editing software and feel a loss of momentum. There may be someone on your a/v team at church who can help you, or places like www.Fiverr.com can find you an affordable editor from the freelance marketplace.
Make a plan to show up regularly, and predictably publish your episodes.
Decide on a format so listeners find you predictable and will want to subscribe, knowing what they are expecting. One host or multiple, guest interviews, games, investigative, formal or casual, short or long. There really is no wrong answer, but do stick to one format to build loyalty, at least for the first season of podcasting.
Inconsistency will be the number one killer of your podcast. Make a plan to show up regularly, and predictably publish your episodes to that schedule so an audience will want to subscribe and look forward to the episodes being part of their daily/weekly routines. Choose a frequency you find sustainable and commit to releasing your first 12 episodes on that schedule before changing anything.
As the saying goes, "Content is king." What is the topic you want to podcast on? Can you talk about this for a long time? Are you already a trusted voice or expert in this area? What do you bring that’s different than what already exists? Make a plan for your first 12 episodes’ content and enjoy learning the process, keeping what best serves the audience in the forefront.
Joanna la Fleur is a podcaster, TV host and communications consultant in Toronto. Find more of these columns at www.FaithToday.ca/ThrivingInDigital. Photo of mic on desk: Vika Strawberrika.