We let a lot get in the way of a great idea. Whether it’s time constraints, budget, or just getting caught up in the minutiae of life, it can be hard to take what you want to do and translate it into a reality. When it comes to starting a podcast, it’s no different.
There are a lot of things to consider before you even hit the “record” button for the first time. My goal is to help you work through those things and develop a podcast that is true to your voice and the message you want to convey.
Setting Your Objective and Target
The very first thing we need to do is establish the objective for the podcast. Your objective is defined as your ultimate goal for the show. Another way to say that is, what is it you want this podcast to do for you? For my first podcast, Our Humble Beer Podcast, the objective was, “Create good enough content to get myself and my co-host, DJ, free beer.”
I hope you’re aiming higher than that, but you get the idea.
On a more practical level, for some of our clients that goal is, “Generate new sales from the podcast” for others it’s, “Establish myself as a thought-leader,” and for some it’s as simple as, “Get my message out to the world.” Whatever you decide on as your objective, make sure it’s clear and concise.
Now, once you have an objective in place, I highly recommend setting a target for your show as well. A target is the quantifiable measurement of your objective. If your objective is, say, “get free beer,” (like mine was) then your target is going to be to answer, the question, “How much free beer?” In all honesty, my target was simply “receive one free beer.” I’ll be honest, we reached that objective on the second or third episode. And we probably have amassed several kegs worth of free beer at this point.
So for this target I can say: “Check Mark. Mission Accomplished.”
…Again, make sure your target is something higher than free beer.
Make it something that will motivate you to get up and keep going with the show when things get tough, but not something that’s unattainable. Once you have a target set, it’s time to decide how you’re going to reach your goal, and for that, we’re going to need to develop the concept for your show.
Developing the Concept
You probably came into this post with some semblance of an idea for what you want to do with your show. You may have a name, concept art, and other content ready to go. This may just be a checklist for the progress you’ve already made. If so, cool.
But there’s also a good chance you’re looking at this with no clue where to go outside of, “I want to make a podcast.” And I’m here for ya. If you’ve been able to set an objective and a target, then the concept of the show should flow from your objective.
Let’s say, for example, that your objective is, “Establish myself as a thought leader.”
I would ask you, “A thought leader in what?”
Let’s say your answer is ,”A thought leader in startups.”
Well, now we know you’re going to be doing a podcast about startups. From here, I would challenge you to drill down into your niche.
Where is your expertise when it comes to startups? Let’s say you consult startups on business development.
Well, what kinds of startups do you work with within BizDev? Are they all manufacturing related, or SAAS Companies? Let’s say it’s SAAS companies (Software As A Service, not just a company of people being sassy, for those that aren’t in the know).
And now if we take a look at where we are, you’ve got the makings of SAAS Sales Podcast focused on startups. Now we’re getting somewhere.
At this point you should have an objective, a target, and a concept for your show that will help you reach your objective and target. Now comes the fun part. I want you to imagine what your show could be.
Think about what you want your show to sound like: Do you want to sound like Tim Ferris? Reid Hoffman? or Gary Vaynerchuk?
Maybe it’ll be a narrative show where you go in-depth into businesses that have successfully launched SAAS products and discuss the strategies that got them there.
Write it all down along with your objective and target.
Once you’ve done this, take a moment, get up from your desk, and give yourself some space to mull over these ideas. Come back when you feel you’re ready to continue. We’ve definitely got some work ahead of us.
When you return, it’s time to dig in.
Now that we’ve got the objective, target, and concept down, we need to do some research. First off, we need to make sure the show makes sense for your audience. To do that, we need to ask a few questions. Ideally, you’ll be able to ask these of people in your target audience directly. Those questions are:
- What podcasts do you currently listen to?
- Why do you listen to podcasts?
- I’m creating a podcast about SAAS Sales that is going to be focused on startups.
- What interests you about this idea?
- What would make it more interesting?
Now, why do we ask these questions? You want to know what content your audience is already consuming. We need to make sure that our show is close enough to the current content they consume that they’ll listen. We also need to make sure we’re listening to them. People that are in your target market are going to give you the best information about what your show should be.
Of course, we still need it to be different from the other shows out there. We’ll dive into this in depth in a bit. But first, let’s gather some additional data points. Some additional questions you need to ask of yourself as you develop this concept are:
- Does anyone else have the same idea for a podcast as me?
- What are the top podcasts that your target audience already listens to?
- What are the top podcasts in the genre you plan to target?
- Is the name of my show (if you have one) already being used?
If you bump into shows that have your name, are already formatted like you, or sound a lot like the concept you had in mind, congrats! Welcome to the world of podcasting. There are over 2 million podcasts out there. If you happen to have the same name as one of them, it’s not really a surprise. While I strongly recommend making sure your show is as unique as possible, please keep in mind there is a vast wasteland of shows that got started, registered, and never made it past a handful of episodes. Stay unique, but don’t panic if you bump into a show that seems identical to yours (at least in name) with 5 episodes that ended 3 years ago that’s still on Apple Podcasts. We’ll address how to deal with this in our next episode.
Now, it’s time for your homework.
Make sure to get answers to the questions I’ve asked you above. You can go to our blog to (linked in the show notes) for those questions in writing to reflect on and copy/paste into a different document if you so choose.
I want you to write down the topics and/or guests for your first twelve episodes. I’ve landed on the number 12 over the years because if you only release monthly, that’s a year’s content planned out. If you release twice a month, that’s half a year, and if you produce weekly, that’s a solid quarter to get started planning. Even if you end up not using some of the episodes, this will be a great start in the right direction.
Good Luck, Fellow Podcaster!
Lastly, I’d just like to say I wish you the best of luck with your project. I know firsthand that creating a new podcast isn’t easy (see, well, this post), and it’s very likely that many who listen to this won’t get beyond the homework assignments listed in this episode. It’s easy to get discouraged at this step, but if you can make it beyond this, I promise you, it’ll be well worth your time.