In August of 2014, my girlfriend and I decided to start a travel podcast.
We found some guides online, bought microphones, created a logo and were off.
21 months later our show has been downloaded more than 100,000 times and is currently in the top 50 places and travel podcasts on iTunes.
There are a few key habits that allowed us to achieve success with a podcast. They are simple habits that all successful podcasts will follow.
# 1 – Create Content Consistently
The key to success is don’t stop. So don’t stop, at least not for a while. Commit to publishing an episode every week for 8 weeks, or 10 weeks, or every week for the next astrological age. Commitment is by far the most important part. Starting something new is hard. You won’t be good at it. It will feel like a lot of work, and not many people will be listening.
The early work lays the foundation for the future. Everything that is popular started out with very few fans.
Only a few people listened to our podcast when we were starting out. We just kept working at it and creating new episodes and eventually more people came. And then more people came. And then more people came. If we quit after 6 months we would have never seen the second half of this graph.
# 2 – Always Be Experimenting
When we started our plan was to do an episode about every place we’d been. In chronological order. That lasted for a little while; then we tried topic based episodes. We had more fun recording those, so we made more episodes like that. Then we tried interviewing people. It was fun, so we did more of it. Now we’re trying to record audio stories of places we visit. Our audience likes it, so we are going to do it more.
You can start podcasting without knowing what your podcast is about. You can change direction after 5 episodes, 20 episodes, or even 100 episodes. Don’t be afraid to learn as you go.
# 3 – Listen to Every Episode
It can be uncomfortable to hear yourself talk. It’s easy to say, “I did the interview, I don’t need to listen to it again.” But if you aren’t getting the feedback of listening to every episode you create, you won’t improve as fast as you could.
Listen to every episode. Note what you do and don’t like. Adjust for future episodes. You will get better quickly and the improved podcasting skills will spill over into your conversations and day to day interactions.
# 4 – Use Your Content More Than Once
Don’t get lost in your medium. Podcasting is about communicating ideas to an audience. There are other ways to communicate. Take your podcast episodes and turn them into blog posts. Take your interviews and turn them into youtube videos. Take your blog posts and turn them into podcasts. Making wide use of the content you create is makes that content more valuable and allows you to find new people who like your ideas.
# 5 – Connect with Your Audience
If you are consistent about creating content you will find an audience. These are your people. Engage them. Reply to their messages. Find out what they like about your show. Get their recommendations for future shows. Podcasting is an awesome way to improve your network. Not just by meeting people when you interview them, but by meeting cool people who like the podcast you are creating!
# 6 – Remember Why You’re Podcasting (Remember that you really can’t fail)
The first five habits are about building then nurturing an audience. But you don’t need an audience to be successful at podcasting.
Your podcast can be successful without ever making a cent because podcasting is so valuable in many other ways.
Just by going through the process of creating 15 episodes of interviews with interesting people you will have learned a lot and made yourself more valuable. You’ll be better at conversations, public speaking, and will meet some cool people.
Podcasting is like a cheat code on education and networking. You can buy a microphone, throw together a logo, submit a feed to iTunes, and start having in-depth conversations with all sorts of experts about any topic you want!
It sounds fluffy, but there really is no failing when it comes to starting a podcast.