Update: This was initially written one month after starting my podcast Beyond Influential, and the insights here are still relevant today.
A month ago, I released my first of many interviews for my podcast Beyond Influential, where I talk with today’s thought leaders about the power of influence, how it’s developed, and how they get us to consume both on and offline. It’s an idea I had over a year ago that I am finally making a reality.
What I’ve Learned From Starting a Podcast
I’m still very new to the podcasting world, but it has already been such a game-changer for me.
Here are just a few lessons I’ve already learned from starting a podcast & some of the benefits I’ve taken away:
1. Just Like Anything Else, Consistency is Key.
Part of why I waited so long to start Beyond Influential was because I wanted to make sure I could be consistent with publishing. I wanted to be in a place where I could ensure a timely delivery (every Wednesday) and a steady stream of supporting content. It is really important when you are community building, or in any relationship, that you are there when you say you are going to be there. That routine and expectation need to be established in order to create audience trust and loyalty. Consistency isn’t a tactic, it’s essential.
2. Distribution, Distribution, Distribution!
While every conversation I’ve had has been enjoyable in its own right, the point of my podcast is to share the guests’ knowledge (and mine) with those who can benefit from the value added. Ideally, it will encourage even larger conversations around the topics discussed. Neither of those events will occur if no one knows that the podcast exists.
Distribution is an art, science, and a necessary evil for those who don’t like the feeling of self-promotion. If you don’t already have a platform or audience baked in, podcasts don’t receive great organic reach and discovery on their own. To start, I am currently leveraging my social platforms by posting and creating content related to the episodes. It’s always a bonus when guests will help cross-promote by re-sharing or posting on their platforms as well. Paid ads and influencer marketing are options I’ll be considering in the not-too-distant future as well.
3. Listening Leads to Learning
We are living in a world where content is all about constantly trying to push your thoughts, feelings, opinions, and photos on other people. I like to think I’m a pretty good listener, but I realized pretty quickly that I could be way better.
It’s been pretty eye-opening for me how hard it is to actually sit still, actively listen, and absorb. I’ve learned at least one (often many) new valuable lesson or insight from each guest so far and when I re-listen to the interview after, I get even more out of it.
Better listening leads to better questions which leads to better interviews. It’s genuinely refreshing when I hear a point, idea, or perspective that I hadn’t considered. I’d challenge anyone to conduct an interview and a. not interrupt and b. not focus on asking the next question.
Active listening takes practice and concentration so I’ve been making a conscious effort to really pay attention to what is being said and being present.
4. “Ummm” “So” “You know” “Like” “I Mean”
Nothing like listening back to an interview where you already have to listen to your own voice (“Do I really sound like that?!”) and realizing you don’t sound as articulate as you do in your head. We all have our preferred filler words of choice and podcasting is forcing me to work on cutting those extra words out.
5. Networking Can Be Fun
Even the word “networking” can be a huge turn off for people. It conjures up images of awkward interactions, contrived events, business card exchanges, and social climbing.
I don’t think you can sustain a podcast with only this goal in mind, but it ends up being a fun by-product. I love one-to-one interactions and I’ll take a deeper, meaningful conversation over small talk any day. And I genuinely enjoy learning about people and asking questions (you can take the girl out of law…). So my podcast format plays to those elements.
Podcasting has allowed me to reach out to people, both inside and outside my network, who I respect and believe have valuable insights to share. Generally, people are interested in speaking to people who are genuinely interested in them. In the worst-case scenario, someone says no, but even then at least they know you wanted to put in the time and effort to connect.
More often than not, these interviews and conversations naturally lead to potential collaborations on other projects or, at very least, a new connection.
Those are only a few of the lessons I’ve learned so far from starting a podcast. I’m genuinely excited to continue podcasting and share what I learn along the way.