13 What’s the ‘why’ of your podcast?

13 What’s the ‘why’ of your podcast?

This is my second solo episode, dedicated to helping you find out the ‘why’ of your podcast.

In my first solo episode, I talked about the fact my first podcast series was made with very little investment in tools and not much understanding of the technology involved. Despite that, I found a really love for creating audio content and I’ve been developing my capability to do that ever since. Here’s a link to that episode, if you want to catch up.

A strong start to your podcast

[2:34]The purpose of this episode is to help you to think about your ‘why’, by sharing the lessons I’ve learned from the guests I’ve interviewed for Be a Bigger Fish so far.

 “I really think that starting from the beginning and working out what you want to achieve will give you such a strong start to your podcast”

Some people take to podcasting to share creative ideas with the intent to entertain listeners and podcasting is certainly a great way to share entertaining content.

Most of the guests on Be a Bigger Fish have been podcasting for more pragmatic reasons, such as to grow their business, or expand the reach and influence of a community group.

What is a podcast?

[3:50] The term podcast is now quite commonly used, but not necessarily well understood. A podcast is a series of audio (or video) files, available online from a public directory, such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify. They are shared through an RSS feed, which enables listeners to subscribe to a podcast series and receive a notification whenever a new episode is released. That content may then be downloaded onto a mobile device like an mp4 player or a mobile phone.

[5:50] The fact this content can be easily found online, downloaded and listened to on demand, whether the listener is offline or online, has helped to make podcasts as popular as they are today.

I also think podcasting is a brilliant way to achieve all sorts of communications objectives, so if I can encourage one person to take it up and get going, I’ll be thrilled!

Don’t worry if the reference to RSS feeds and the software involved in podcasting seems a bit daunting right now. It’s pretty straightforward to publish podcast content. I’ll talk about how to do those things in my next solo episode.

Listening to ‘model’ podcasts

[7:12] One of the questions I always get a surprise answer to from my guests is the one about what they planned to achieve from their podcast. They almost all said they did’t really plan at all – they just decided they wanted one, jumped in and the rest is history.

On reflection, most of the people i’ve spoken to and who have started a podcast have previously been avid podcast listeners. That means they have quite a good head start on how they want to create their podcast.

Podcast listeners will have a model in their minds when they set out. They’ll enjoy listening to a certain type of podcast for certain reasons and aim to replicate that, if they want their listeners to experience the same appreciation.

[9:20] That’s a great start – but what if you don’t have that clear idea of how your podcast should sound? What if, like me, you listen to loads of podcasts but from all sorts of genres? What if you don’t really listen to much audio content at all but know you want to create some, for professional reasons?

Get to the heart of what you want to achieve

[10:18] Really get to the heart of what you’re trying to achieve and why a podcast would be the right way to achieve that.

I think it’s a good start point for anyone who gets going with podcasting to think about their why.

The benefits of working out your ‘why’

[11:00] Having a clear idea of why you’re starting a podcast can help you make good decisions about other issues. If you know what you want your podcast to achieve, you can think about what the best podcast format to achieve that would be, or where you should take care to share your podcast so your ideal listeners can find it.

The other benefit of having a clear reason why you’re podcasting will help you to power your way through the hard work. Some of the tasks involved in podcasting can be frustrating – it will be a lot easier for you to sail through those challenges if you have a good reason why.

Don’t worry about having a complicated set of metrics, just think about what you’re trying to achieve and why you feel like a podcast would be a good way to reach that.

Raising the profile of your business

[13:00] Most of the podcasters on Be a Bigger Fish are solo business owners, aiming to raise their profile and find their ideal clients. If this is your profile, try to avoid using your podcast as an ‘infomercial’ channel. Think about what your clients or customers would enjoy listening to.

The most compelling cases for the power of podcasting to grow a business I’ve heard are those people who find their clients come to them, because they’ve created a connection through their podcast content. Some people like to choose a business partner who shares their values and their way of thinking. Finding out these things from a podcast can help create trust in the early days of a business relationship.

Connecting members of a community

[16:00] The second group of people I’ve spoken with are those who lead communities. This may or may not be for ‘business’ reasons. Either way, a podcast can help people to feel connected to each other or to provide a source of reliable information about an issue that is evolving or emerging.

Aiming to give a voice to a community may seem like a very strong ‘why’ for a podcast. It’s still important to consider how to achieve that, however. Always consider what your intended audience really wants to hear and how you can best achieve that.

In-house podcasts

[17:20] Finally, I’ve spoken with other communications professionals about how in-house podcast content can be effective. If you’re in this group of professionals and you’ve been asked to create a podcast, try to get to the why. What are your overall communications objectives and why are those the things you’re hoping to achieve. How will a podcast make a difference to those and what type of podcast content would be the best choice for you?

An opportunity to be creative

[19:40] Podcasting is still quite a young discipline and there aren’t really that many rules. That gives you a brilliant opportunity to use the medium creatively to see what you can achieve.

[20:27] My challenge to you from this episode is for you to figure out the ‘why’ of your podcast. This will give you a really strong start point for your podcast and will help inform all the other decisions you’ll be faced with.

Let me know what the purpose of your podcast is! You can message me on twitter @debbieaurelius, leave a comment here, or mail me on debbie@peppermintfish.com

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