It’s easy to start a podcast – just hit record and start!
At least, that seems to be the standard advice you hear most places.
Ok, but what happens after you hit record? How do you launch your podcast? How do you find listeners? How do you sustain it once you get going?
Maybe it’s not as simple as hitting record. But how do you find answers to these questions so that once you do hit record you create something that attracts more listeners than just you and your mom. If this sounds familiar, know that you are not alone!
That’s exactly where I was in my podcasting journey. I knew that I wanted to start a podcast, but I wasn’t sure where to begin to find answers.
Over the years I had seen my friend, Eric Nevins, frequently post on social media about new episodes of his podcast, Halfway There. He had been doing it long enough that I figured he might have a tip or two for me, so I sent him a message and asked if could give me a hand and answer some questions. His answer changed the course of my podcasting journey.
“Yes,” he said. “I can. In fact, I started a Facebook group that’s all about podcasting, so why don’t you join that group.”
With that simple reply, I was introduced to the Christian Podcasters Association (CPA). I joined the group and was amazed to find so many people who shared my interest in podcasting. Not too long after I joined that group, Eric began to offer the Gold Membership. I had already learned so much from the group at large, I figured that what was going to be offered in that groups would be worth its weight in gold.
I wasn’t wrong.
Let me share 5 things that I gained because of CPA as a whole and specifically the Gold Membership.
I joined the CPA group and immediately I knew that I had found my people. Friends in my day-to-day life did not share my interest in podcasting and my children couldn’t have cared less. (But seriously, who wouldn’t choose playing with Legos over talking about podcasting?) I thought I was the odd man out, but in reality, I just hadn’t found people who shared my interest.
As I interacted in the group, I quickly knew that this was a place where I could safely ask my questions. Not only did I get great answers to questions I posted, but several members freely shared their time with me on Zoom calls where they helped me work through specific aspects of creating my podcast.
Very quickly strangers became friends.
The Gold membership offered Monthly Zoom calls with other members. Additionally, we had regular Zoom calls with industry experts where I had the opportunity to ask questions of people who I otherwise wouldn’t get to talk with in real life. And events such as the Christian Podcast Summit: Social Media have solidified relationships in this community. (When I was traveling to NC to visit my in-laws, I even had the opportunity to meet with some of the CPA members in person!) The people and the community created are equal partners to the resources offered when it comes to the value of the CPA Gold membership.
I always assumed that the name of the podcast was the most important decision to make. Thanks to CPA, I learned I was wrong.
The most important thing is knowing your audience. Understanding your audience has a ripple effect that influences your name, your message, your artwork, your social media posts, and how you engage with them. Where I thought I had clarity, I realized I really only had an idea.
CPA offered pre-recorded resources and live calls that focused on this. From time-to-time members are offered the opportunity to be in the “hot seat” where other members help them process their challenges and stuck points. They let me do that even before my podcast had launched.
That feedback, along with a lot of hard work processing through the questions I was being challenged to answer, helped me hone in more clearly on knowing my audience, which in turn gave me clarity on a podcast name, logo, and what I post on social media.
One of the things that felt overwhelming to me, what knowing the “right” way to go about producing a podcast. In general, I am a checklist person, so I had lots of questions about workflow. Questions like:
So many questions!
They patiently answered as I asked all these questions (and more). As they gave me answers, I quickly learned that there are lots of ways to execute how a podcast is produced, but that all the steps in the workflow process revolve around a few core principles. As I worked on creating a checklist for my own podcast that I could repeat with each episode, several members freely shared their own checklists with me.
Now that I have officially launched, I am fine-tuning and simplifying my own workflow, but the framework on which it is built is solid, and is thanks to CPA Gold.
Tangential to workflow are the tools needed to start a podcast. Specifically, a microphone. In general, your audience will continue to listen to interesting content even if you get tongue-tied or aren’t the most eloquent speaker, but if the audio is poor, they will bail on you. CPA helped me make smart decisions on where to invest money, what to invest in, and where I could save money.
Have you ever heard of podfade? It’s what happens to many podcasts. They start strong with an exciting idea. That idea carries the podcast for 6 or 7 episodes and then things begin to unravel. Sometimes because the workflow isn’t working, but more often because the ideas dry up. And unfortunately, it is a common occurrence.
Through CPA I was encouraged to make a list of topics that would meet the needs of my audience before I ever recorded my first episode.
I did this and ended up with over 90 ideas on that list.
And it’s a list that continues to grow - now with over 140 ideas. With one episode a week, that gives me a solid 2-years without needing to think up another idea!
Because I did the work on knowing my audience, new ideas come very naturally and that list will keep growing. When I finally launched my podcast, I had 13-weeks of content ready to go (at various stages of completion, but I knew what was airing when) and the next 13-weeks decided and ready to begin working on.
Taking time to work on content in advance has given me a foundation to keep moving ahead confidently.
The reality is that a podcast is an endeavor that not many people are going to undertake. One of the main reasons is because it can quickly become an expensive “hobby”.
CPA Gold has given me “permission” to see my podcast not as an end unto itself, but as the beginning of something. I have found the support to work on my podcast to make money instead of draining money.
Personally, I view my podcast as a lead magnet. I recognize that in and of itself it may not produce much income. However, a podcast is one of the fastest ways to clear the “know, like, and trust” hurdle. And if I steward it well, then listeners will continue to engage by coming to my website, opting in to offers, interacting with my emails, and purchasing resources I offer.
CPA Gold has provided training, recommended tools, and strategy on ways to do this well. You’ve probably figured out that each of these 5 things have one thing in common – the members of CPA Gold.
The only one missing is you!
Jenn Uren is the host of This Mom Knows. As moms, we have it all covered, and through conversations with other moms about the things they know, we get the benefit of learning from each other. She lives in Chicagoland with her husband and their 5 kids.