When I first decided to start a podcast, I was nervous, even though I had done 50 episodes as a podcast guest. I bought a fancy microphone that sat in the box for months. I was worried and filled with anxiety. Starting something new is always scary.
Fortunately, I realized my negative self-talk was holding me back from trying. So, one day, I took the microphone out of the box and just went for it. I recorded my first episode. And you know what? It was great, according to my debut guest, NY Times Best Selling Author Shep Hyken, who was also my 100th episode too. I made mistakes early on (which is to be expected as a human being). Yet, I learned throughout my podcasting journey and that’s so important for continued growth.
Fast forward a couple of years, and now I have a successful show and recently won a global award by W3 as “the best podcast host.” Getting to the point of winning an award was not quick or easy. The secret to success is staying consistent and doubling down on successful strategies.
I want to share everything I’ve learned to help other aspiring podcasters and speakers. This article includes practical tips like choosing your niche, producing quality content, marketing your show, and more.
Whether you’re just starting or wanting to improve, let my experience give you a blueprint for podcasting success. Those initial doubts and fears are normal, but you’ve got this and can start using your microphone sooner than I did.
Overcoming Initial Doubts and Taking the First Step
Let’s start at the beginning – turning your idea into action by recording episode one. Here are everyday worries that hold people back, with advice to overcome them:
- No idea where to start? Carefully pick a niche topic you’re passionate about. Thoroughly research competing shows and gaps you can fill. Craft an outline for your first episode and commit to a launch date.
- What if I mess up? Mistakes and stumbles happen, especially early on. Strive for improvement over time rather than demanding perfection right away. Stay focused on providing value for listeners.
- What if no one listens? Building an engaged audience takes consistent time and effort. Prioritize creating high-quality episodes rather than getting discouraged by low initial numbers. Trust that listeners will come.
- Not interesting enough? Your experiences and perspectives are unique and will resonate with the right audience. Bring your authentic self. Let your personality and journey shine through.
The key is not letting doubts stop you from taking that critical first step of recording your inaugural episode. Refine as you go, and get started.
Crafting Compelling Content That Connects with Your Audience
Once you’ve begun, crafting episodes that engage and retain listeners is the next vital key. Ways to create compelling content include:
- Solving problems: Offer actionable advice to help listeners solve pain points. Provide step-by-step solutions to real issues they face.
- Sharing stories: Relate your own experiences in a vulnerable way. Let your narratives connect emotionally with listeners.
- Educating and informing: Provide insider expertise, research, tips, and discoveries in your niche. Teach people something new and valuable.
- Entertaining: Use humor and levity judiciously. Fun host banter builds rapport. Make people smile as you deliver substantive content.
- Promoting discovery: Inspire listeners by highlighting fascinating people, places, ideas, and adventures. Spark curiosity.
Make each episode meaningful and memorable. Equip listeners with takeaways to enrich their lives. Deliver consistent value through variety and fresh perspectives.
Cultivating Consistency to Build a Loyal Audience
Consistency is absolutely vital for podcast growth. When launching, commit to a regular release schedule, like weekly or biweekly. This trains listeners to expect new episodes on a predictable timeline.
Stick to your established cadence, rain or shine. Batch record episodes in advance when you have more energy and inspiration. Follow an editorial calendar to map future topics and set reminders to meet deadlines. Don’t let busyness derail consistency. (Reread this)
With regular, quality episodes, your audience will steadily grow. Without consistency, listeners will become frustrated and drift away. Make it a top priority, especially early on.
Fostering Two-Way Interactions to Boost Engagement
Simply broadcasting content isn’t enough – you must actively engage your audience. Ways to do this include:
- Q&A segments: Let listeners ask questions and get answers on-air. Make them feel heard and involved.
- Polls and surveys: Discover what your audience likes/wants more of. Use this intel to guide content.
- Sharing listener stories: Feature how your podcast has impacted people. This fosters community.
- Thoughtfully replying to reviews: Thank listeners for critiques and praise. Show you value their input.
- Being social: Discuss episodes and have authentic interactions with fans on social media.
When listeners become active contributors, your show gains a sense of community. Nurture this by promptly responding and incorporating feedback into improvements. Read more about how “voice of customer” can be your game changer.
Investing in Production Quality for a Polished Listener Experience
While content must always be your priority, investing in excellent production quality enhances the listener experience. Consider:
- A broadcast-quality microphone: Dramatically improves audio quality. Poor sound is an instant turn-off.
- Editing software and skills: Careful editing tightens pacing, removes dead air, and polishes episodes.
- Custom-composed music/sound effects: Gives your show a unique branded feel. Sets you apart.
- And more (contact me for details)
You don’t need fancy tech and a big budget to start. But leveling up production over time helps you look and sound more professional.
Tracking Metrics and Continuously Optimizing Based on Data
Continuous improvement is crucial for long-term success. Carefully track listener analytics – downloads, demographics, retention, traffic sources, reviews, and more.
Study this data to guide your strategy. Give listeners more of what resonates. Improve or eliminate what underperforms based on actual listener response.
Also, solicit direct critiques from engaged listeners. Evolve your show based on constructive feedback and metrics. Let honest audience reactions shape your path forward.
Special Tips for Podcasters Who Are Professional Speakers
For speakers specifically, podcasting has unique benefits beyond general audiences. Consider launching a podcast if you want to:
- Expand your reach and share your message with a wider audience
- Establish yourself as an industry thought leader
- Strengthen your personal brand and visibility
- Engage listeners between in-person events
- Promote your live talks, keynotes, and appearances
- Diversify your revenue streams
- Leverage your on-stage content into new formats
- Collaborate with fellow speakers through interviews
- Mentor up-and-coming speakers
- Hone your communication and storytelling abilities
More Podcasting and Speaking Strategies:
Repurpose Your Best Stories into Episodes
Leverage your most substantial on-stage narratives by making them the heart of powerful episodes. Let your stories shine.
Spotlight Industry Luminaries with Interviews
Interview prominent speakers for insider conversations and cross-promotion opportunities. Collaborate for mutual benefit.
Provide Rare Behind-the-Scenes Perspectives
Give insider views into professional speaking – challenges, lessons, skills, preparatory processes, etc. Capitalize on your access.
Promote Live Events and Offer Exclusive Discounts
Plug your keynotes and appearances. Reward engaged listeners with special savings on tickets.
Cultivate a Consistent Presence Between Events
Carve out time daily to publish valuable episodes. Maintain visibility even when you aren’t speaking.
Establish Credibility by Mentoring Up-and-Comers
Share hard-won advice and resources to help new speakers. Pay it forward and build your stature.
Optimize Based on Listener Analytics
Let your audience metrics guide content, outreach, and promotional strategies. Give people more of what they respond to.
Continue Honing Your Speaking Skills
Podcasting expands your reach while helping you master communicating and connecting. Boost your abilities.
Summing It All Up: Podcasting Can Be Transformative If You Put in the Work
My podcasting journey has enriched my life and career immensely. But I had doubts when starting.
If you are considering launching your own show, I hope my tips have provided a blueprint to set you up for success. While challenging, stay focused on delivering consistent value to build a community over time.
For any guidance you need on your podcasting and speaking journey, please contact me with questions or for support. I’m happy to help fellow podcasters, especially beginners.
I truly believe podcasting can open up new doors and opportunities if you embrace the process. You are capable of building something remarkable. Tell me what you do as I care! And do not forget to apply customer experience best practices to differentiate your podcast and business in a competitive marketplace.
Learn more strategies to start and boost your podcast results based on proven customer experience best practices.
Press Play To WATCH
My “Doing Customer Experience Right” Podcast Reel
Get Updates About Doing CX Right
Follow On Social Media
About Stacy Sherman: Founder of Doing CX Right®
Customer experience and marketing global keynote speaker, journalist, co-author of two books, advisor, and host of the award-winning DoingCXRight podcast. Known for her Heart & Science™ framework that helps you gain profitable clients and brand loyalty–fueled by an empowered workforce. Stacy’s been walking the talk for 25 years as a strategist and practitioner at companies of all sizes and industries, i.e., Liveops, Verizon, Schindler Elevator Corp, Wilton Brands, and AT&T. She’s also a board advisor at multiple universities, featured in Forbes and other top-rated publications.
Her Why: To cultivate loyal relationships and meaningful experiences that enrich people’s lives. Contact Stacy abut DOING CX RIGHT, not just TALKING about it. Continue reading bio >here.