What I Learned By Launching A Podcast

launching podcast

For those of you who aren’t aware, I launched a podcast the beginning of January. I’m barely two months in, but the lessons have been huge.

Almost every health tech founder I talk to, I tell them they NEED to start a podcast - not for the sake of having a podcast but because podcasting is the best new(ish) form of inbound marketing. Companies who don’t start them in 2019 are going to look back and wish they did.

Don’t believe me? Toyota has a podcast, Microsoft has a podcast, and GE has a podcast. Even McDonalds had a short serial podcast.

Just because these are big players doesn’t mean that you too can’t have a podcast. If you start one now or next month or even three months from now, you will be one of the early-comers to health tech podcasting.

I’m going to share my journey with you so you can learn from my mistakes and see how not-as-hard-as-it-looks launching a podcast is.

Before you start, I recommend you walk through my content tree process to determine the topics your target audience will need to hear.

At just under 2 months in with 3 months of recording interviews before that, here’s what podcasting has taught me:

1. Relationships matter.

More than anything, podcasts are about relationships - the ones you have and the ones you’re going to build. To get started (besides first knowing your audience and what they need to hear from you), you’ll need to leverage the relationships you already have to find podcast guests - if you’re going with the interview format. One really great way to do this is to go on a podcast tour of similar shows, not to promote your podcast necessarily, but to get to know other hosts. These are the people who can connect you with many of the guests you will want to have on your show.

Once you launch your podcast, keep a strong relationship with the guests you interview, because chances are they know more great people you can talk to.

2. I have so much to learn.

I learn something from each and every podcast guest. Even though I’m a reader, I feel like my knowledge level has never grown as much as it has in the past 5 months of interviews.

The key to being a great interviewer is to listen. Open your mind and your ears, and let the other person talk. Plan questions in advance but let the conversation flow where it will. Don’t be the person who picks arguments or has to have the last word. Your job is to let your guest shine and you can’t do that if you are always talking.

3. Just dive in.

I am a planner and perfectionist by nature. It would be easy for me to get stuck in limbo and never act. With this podcast, however, I knew if I didn’t just dive in...even though I didn’t know what I was doing half the time...I would never actually launch it.

Sometimes the best way to learn is to learn as you go. I’ve made mistakes, adjusted, and just kept going. I learned by trial and error how to record a podcast (Zoom works best for me), I read up on podcast hosting platforms to find pros and cons so I could make a choice (Libsyn), and then I just went for it.

4. But do a little planning too.

Obviously by telling you to dive in, I’m not telling you to not make a plan and set goals. Just don’t get stuck in making the perfect plan or constantly refining your goals. The basic things to plan:

  • Your audience

  • Your “safe swim zones” for what topics you will talk about. You want to give yourself enough room to have plenty of content but narrow enough to keep your content targeted.

  • Your launch date. I chose Jan 3 because it was the beginning of the year and seemed like a good time to launch. I started recording in October, so that gave me 3 months of lead time to get everything set up. The point is not choosing the perfect date - it’s choosing a date and then sticking to it and launching.

  • Your podcast hosting platform. Who knew you needed one of these. I’ll do a post on how to get a podcast up and running eventually; however, for now, just know you need a place to host your podcast before it can land on the different streaming platforms like iTunes or Stitcher. There are many out there - Libsyn is the one I chose, but I’ve also heard good things about Podbean.

  • Get your podcast approved on iTunes. It takes a little longer for iTunes to approve a new podcast than it does for some of the other streaming platforms. Because I launched right after the holidays, I submitted my first episode to iTunes just before Christmas to give myself plenty of time (and because I knew I wouldn’t work on it over the holidays). Give yourself at least a week to get on iTunes in the beginning.

  • Plan if you are going to do editing and sound design. Depending on how much editing you decide to have, your editing process may be more time and labor intensive. Again, the key here is to not be a perfectionist.

  • Your first several episodes. Try to have at least a month’s worth of episodes recorded before launch. This will give you time to make sure everything is up and running. I like to record in batches so I can have a few couple off from recording each month.

5. Get someone to help.

You are not and cannot be an expert in everything, so enlist help. Thankfully my husband knows how to edit audio and do some basic sound design, so I pulled him into this process to do stuff it would take me forever to learn. Figure out what your weak spots are and then find someone to complement those weak spots.

The moral of the story?

Just launch a podcast already. Plan your topics using my content tree, record a few episodes, and then dive in.

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Whitney is a consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help life-saving, life-changing technology break through the noise and achieve mass user adoption. Learn more about her here.