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4 Things to Consider Before Starting a Podcast

I am frequently asked questions about podcasts and how I got my start. Here I share my lessons learned and answer questions.
4 things to consider before starting a podcast with breadfruit media

Listen to the episode using the player below.

Podcast: Getting Started

I get asked a lot of podcast related questions and in response to my most frequently asked questions and lessons learned, I created a podcast episode over at Carry On Friends. In addition to answering questions asked, I also share some of the lessons learnt. The blog post also includes some software and equipment that I have used to podcast.

4 questions to ask yourself:

  1. Why do I want to start a podcast?
  2. Do you have the time commitment?
  3. Do you have the money commitment?
  4. What makes you and your show different?

Next Steps

At Breadfruit Media, I collaborate with our clients to clarify their mission, create a content strategy and in turn develop and produce a show that connects with their audience.

Ready to start your podcast? Or ready for a podcast make over? Take a look at our offerings.

Hello, everyone, you are listening to a bonus episode of the Carry On Friends podcast on podcasting. And I decided to do this bonus episode because I’ve been getting a lot of questions about why I’m podcasting, how to do it, and a whole bunch of other questions. And this isn’t something that just kind of happened yesterday. It’s just something that has, I’ve been asked this question, I think, for the past year and a half, maybe more, and I decided, why not just do a bonus episode on it and share it with anyone who’s asked this question or asked me about podcasting.

So if this is the first time you are being introduced to me, my name is Kerry Ann Reid Brown. I’m the founder and host and producer of the Carry On Friends podcast. And the podcast mainly focuses on guests who are born in the Caribbean or of Caribbean descent. That means that if they weren’t born in the Caribbean, they had a parent, or grandparents or great grandparents who are from the Caribbean. And I’ll get into why that is the case. Right?

So I started this podcast in January 2015 and it was something that I’ve always been thinking about, I’ve done research. Upon research on this, I think I started doing research about 2013, 2014. And I decided to just launch it January 2015. And if you listen to the very first episode, to what’s happening now you can see, you could hear the growth and the just how I’ve just kind of refined the topics, and the length of the show. And also sometimes the frequency I play with the frequency of the show.

So I started it because I wanted, I had a blog before the Carry On Friends blog still exists. And I did like talking more than I wrote, I do enjoy writing, but it was just so much harder. And I really wanted to create a platform even before that, I did an audience survey, and they wanted to hear stories of you know, inspirational stories of other people, Caribbean American people and other business people and just other people who are like them who are going through certain things. And I felt like the podcast would be a better format for that. So that’s why I started it. And in addition to that aspect of it, I liked talking more than writing at that point. Because at the time, prior to January 2015, I was just purely blogging and writing is just very hard to just come up with topics on a daily basis, especially when you are the only writer on the platform. So I started the platform, deciding to podcast bi weekly, because I was at the time consumed podcasts very heavily. And it was just I feel I felt very overwhelmed if I had too many shows to catch up on especially if they had a higher frequency. So I wanted to not let my audience feel like, Oh my god, they’re too many episodes, I’ve missed too many episodes and maybe skip an episode or just altogether, like, Oh my god, I’m too overwhelmed. So that was the intention behind the two episodes. And also at the time, the job I was doing I, I really needed to be able to balance how often I could record. So I at the time I worked at a law firm, and litigation and litigation tends to be, you know, over time, late nights, and I really needed to figure out a schedule that would work well, for me and a full time job.

There were a lot of things I wish I knew before and a lot of things that I wish I knew differently. So I’m going to start off with the questions people usually ask me, because since then I’m in a wonderful mastermind. I’ve been in this mastermind since 2015. And actually, I use the mastermind to help push me to launch the podcast to get it from being a dream and something that I wanted to do to actually something that I actually executed on. So that was my first goal with my mastermind group in 2015.

So usually the questions people come to me is, oh, they want to start a podcast. How hard is it? How difficult is it? And so the first thing I usually think of is, if you are starting a podcast, think of why do you want to start a podcast, you know, there’s so many reasons podcasts are they’re hot, everyone wants to start them. But there are just certain things that are very hard or challenging about a podcast, some people, it’s easy for them. And some people it’s hard. It can be especially hard if you work a full time job, and you are trying to do this podcast, and a full time job could you could also be an entrepreneur running your own online business. Doing a podcast is very challenging, right. So people have different reasons. Some people want to, you know, elevate their thought leadership status, they are looking for potential clients, they are looking to make money, because there are other podcasters who are making money. Or it seems that they’re making money from the podcast, but it’s actually a roundabout way. And I’ll get into that in a minute.

So you want to think of the reason why you want to start a podcast, right? So when you think of money, it is very hard to monetize a podcast, you can do affiliate links and announce them you could you could join up with like influencer bridge and all these other people and they’ll run ads in your podcast, but all of that dependent on one thing, the number of downloads you have.

So actually, I’ll go and think about, I’ll talk about why starting right? Because the why is so big, and we’d have to go through different things, right? So you think of a podcast, you have to think of two things, two important things. Do you have the time commitment? And do you have the money, right? It costs money to start a podcast? Sure, the easy, cheap way, you could plug in your phone, you can use Garage Band, but if you like a podcast, because you listened to one that has really high quality, then you have to invest in the equipment. So when it comes to equipment, the cheapest mic is like 50 something dollars, then you have your computer? And are you doing a solo show? Are you having guests? Are you part of an ensemble cast? That means that you have multiple co-hosts, all those things factor how much money will be spent on the podcast.

Time commitment, the easiest part of the podcast is scheduling. If you have guests and recording if you know if you have guests or by yourself, the hardest part about podcasting hands down is editing. Right. And editing. Some people don’t edit, they record the podcast with it. And I don’t do that. There I what I do with my podcast, I tell my guests, this is not a live show. So you know, if you think of something, you make a mistake or you want to change something, they’re absolutely fine to do that because sometimes people are nervous. But the whole point of a podcast is really having a good listening experience for your audience. So I tried to limit how many ‘ums’, ‘ahhs’ and long silences because it affects your… it takes a break from the listening experience, right. So when you think of a TV show, that’s all edited to make it feels very seamless and very, you know, like it flows well. Right? All the outtakes and all that good stuff are taken out. My show isn’t heavily edited, because I still believe in leaving some elements. So if I ask a guest a question on the spot, because that’s the other thing that I don’t do I rarely some questions before because it’s really a conversation that I have with people. So sometimes they are thinking of an answer. And so I allow them the time to think and in the editing process, I just cut down the space leave enough space. So the audience still realizes that this person is thinking of an answer. But I if the sometimes 5, 10, 15, 20 seconds go by, and then they’re like, Oh, I know the answer. So I cut down some of those seconds, right? I find no matter who I talked to the editing process is long. And for me, in the beginning, I had a 30-minute show that was the goal of 30 minutes. Lately, it’s been inching to 45 on average, there are a few episodes that have gone to about an hour, but those are special episodes. That the thing is, the longer the episode, the longer the editing will be. Some episodes, the conversation is great there’s nothing to edit. Very few, I’ve had very few of those episodes shows where it’s just like, Oh, my God, this was such a great show easy. And I could very little editing needs to be done. And I could record I could just, you know, finalize and publish. So when you are thinking of doing a podcast think do you have enough time to schedule the show? If you’re doing an interview, you know, you have to think of your guests schedule and availability, then you do you spend about you block out about an hour recording a show, depending on how much how long is your show. So I usually shoot for 30 to 40 minutes. But there’s time to prep before you start recording and things, little things you want to do after, depending on what I have scheduled, I may not go to Edit right after the interview is done, I might have things to do, I might have to come back. But you have to think of the time, then you have to think of the editing time, right. So if you’re like I don’t want to spend time editing, sure there are services out there that will that you can, you can pay for them to edit your podcast, but you are going to be shopping around because I have a particular style of how I like my shows to be edited. And I haven’t found too many people who can fit I’m actually trying few people out. But editing costs money. Sometimes depending on what you want to get done, it is up to $75 per episode to get someone else to edit your show. Now, if you are a new show, you aren’t even making $75 for in advertising or something else to justify the $75 per show. So if you’re doing a weekly show 75 times, you know, times four etc., you could probably negotiate a bulk rate, but this is what you’re looking at. So in addition to the cost of your equipment, you know your time costs, you also have editing costs, whether that’s actual cost in paying someone we’re actually doing it yourself. So that is something that you really need to consider.

Now, taking that into consideration. If your goal is to start a podcast to get more clients, I’ve actually said to people before, a podcast is not the easiest way to get a client because you cannot guarantee that someone is listening unless you already have a big brand, a well-established brand before you do the podcast. And you have a large enough following that they will follow you on most platforms you join. If you are just starting up a podcast is not the best way to get an audience. If you aren’t committed to it, it can work but it’s going to take work, right. So consider that in your why of why you want to start a podcast.

Again, monetizing. Monetization is usually based on the number of downloads, right, so if you are just starting out, you may not have the number of downloads that will entice or encourage a sponsor to say, yeah, I’m going to pay you X amount of dollars now. And then you’ll see a lot of models where you aren’t going to get a lot of money even for shows like myself based on the models, they use. You lucky if you could get a spot for like $20. If I’m just being real, that might have changed. But those are the reality. So for shows like myself, which is a very niche audience, you know, the advertising model is going to look different from the bigger, more popular podcasters that you are more familiar with. So monetization is not very easy, you are going to have to figure out a strategy that could work for a particular target audience.

The other thing to consider is the format of your show. I’ve messed around with the format of the show, it started off purely as an interview base, which is the most popular format by far; I mix my shows with interviews with single episodes. And I’ve I continue to mix. Because everyone does interview format, everyone does a lot of things. I’ve tried to change it just because it can get stagnant and boring after a while. So the format of your show you want to consider based on the audience that you’re going for, then let’s get to the audience that you’re going for. What would make your show different from anyone else’s show? Those are the things you have to think of who are you going for? What will make your show stand out? How are you going to reach them? How are you going to know where they are? And how will they know that you exist. So one of the things that I highly recommend, if you are ready aren’t a blogger and you don’t already have a website where you blog fairly consistently, I suggest doing that before you start a podcast, you have to get people to come to the campfire first before you launched this, this this platform, it is not a situation of you build it and they will come you have to tell people, you have to advertise it, people have a short attention span. So you got to advertise it as often coming soon. The so and so podcast or something, sign up here for when we launch or something to that effect, you have to have a blog. And even when you launch the podcast, some people go to the blog and listen to the podcast as opposed to listening to the podcast in your in whatever podcast app they’re using. The most popular podcast app is obviously iTunes slash Apple podcast for Android users, they could go to Google Play, they could also go to Stitcher Radio. And depending which hosting provider that you use, because there are multiple hosting provider, your show can get pushed out to iHeart Radio. And also you could sign up for like tune in radio or whichever other platform you want to put your podcast so people could find that it in a lot of ways.

The other thing to consider when doing a podcast is when episodes are launched, you are probably spending a lot of time marketing and promoting those episodes. And if you’re team of one, it’s going to be a challenge. So you want to think of how you’re going to continuously market and repurpose those episodes. So it’s fresh, and you’re continually having different people to find the content in a different way. Some people do full transcription, which is you know, you pay for someone do a word for word document of the show, or you have what’s called a show notes, which is a summary of the show. And so depending on your hosting provider, or whatever player that you’re using, you can do timestamps, etc., etc. And, you know, on the website, they could click on the timestamp, and it jumped to that particular section. So, so many things to consider.

But I’d say before I wrap it up, I’d say the most important thing is the content. If your content is good, you will be rewarded over time, don’t just be a copycat, think of what different angle point of view that you can bring to the space. Because more shows are more similar than they are different. And you either have to differentiate yourself based on a niche. I do believe in niche sometimes, you know, we get caught up in having sexy numbers and people are having a million downloads or 100,000 downloads. But also you have to remember that you want a community you want to build a community that stays with you that will rock with you. And they walk with you because they know that you’re talking to them. And that is why I my podcast focuses on the audience I focus on because I am that person, I want someone to talk to me the way sometimes I’ll talk you know we code switch between speaking the way we do and you know, with whatever Caribbean lingo we want to drop in there. So you want to think of your contents and your audience. Those are key in building that community first, and then prep to launch, even doing polls of what they want to hear about if you if that’s what you want to do.

But starting a podcast is work. It is not an overnight success. And the other people as I mentioned at the top of the bonus episode, the other big names who are making money, it’s because they have done other things around their brand. So they then become a bigger brand. So they could is think of Oprah right. So Oprah has all these other things going on. So that makes ad spots for the Oprah show fairly expensive. Because by the time at the height of her show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, she was really popular, she was getting into a lot of things. So it’s not really The Oprah Winfrey Show. That really is why she’s making money. It’s because of her brands; the show might have started it. But while she was doing the show, she branched off and did a lot of things. So a lot of the popular names that you’re hearing that are making money, they already had a very strong brand. And they use the podcast, elevate their brand and use that to help them have multiple streams of revenue, and were able to increase their visibility. So yes, they make a lot of money. But that’s not only from the podcast, that is from book deals some appearances from so many other things that are happening affiliate links and their audience is way bigger. And you know, and that could and that’s always a temptation to say, well, I really want a big audience. But sometimes being very niche and very specific can also be helpful.

So things I wish I knew before I started, how much time it takes to edit an episode. Being efficient with the recording schedule and production schedule. Now I have a pretty good system. But a lot of in the beginning, I would record one episode. And then it would be like days before the next episode that I’m trying to record another episode. So I’ve been really good at batching episodes. So in 2015, I was recording every week, I still record fairly every week. But if I’m recording every week, it’s not the episode for that week or next week, it’s the episodes for like weeks out. And that makes it more efficient for me to not feel like I’m under the gun to meet a deadline.

Things I wish I knew differently when I compared to when I first started, just marketing and promoting the show. And you know diversifying the content which is which is key, I think that has helped me kind of pivot I’ve done a few pivots in the show. So if you’ve been with me for a while you’ve listened to the first couple episodes and the different turns that I take. With the show, it’s still mostly interview. But sometimes the interview takes different aspects depending on the guest. And I think at the end of the day, you really want to enjoy, you really want to like it. Because if you don’t like talking, if you don’t like this aspect of doing the show, and you just I just really want to make money or connect the audience is going to be hard, because it is not the most fun thing to do. I mean, depending on your guests, but the work involved requires a commitment to really do it, especially when you don’t see that return on investment right away. Also one of the things in terms of branding, you’ll pivot. So you know, you have the basic requirements. And I realized I didn’t get into, you know, who’s the host thing, those are some basic questions that you know, they’re, they’re readily available. And I’ll, I’ll try to put something in the post that this is going into, but the branding and identity of your show is going to change. So I started out with just a blue logo that says carry on friends. And to now it has a picture of me and everyone likes that picture. So it’s going to evolve. So don’t get too caught up on the logo and the branding of the show you really, really needs to be about the content. Because if the content is great, people listen to it, they’re not looking at the logo.

The other thing that I mentioned at the top of the show, I almost forgot the other thing I mentioned at the top of the show, I said I was the host and the producer of the show. So depending on some shows, some shows have a studio that they rent, and the person is actually the producer, the content producer or the technical producer, they’re actually editing the show, some shows do have that, since I host it and I’m doing the editor editing, I’m the head cook and bottle washer, as we say in the Caribbean, right. But there are opportunities to partner with other people to be the producer, whether from a content perspective. So the contents producer is the one who finds the topics for you to talk about on the show. And those shows are usually like shows where even shows with interviews but shows where it’s more than one host. And then you sometimes have someone who’s the engineer who’s monitoring the quality of the show. And usually there’s a space that people go and record. So those are some aspects of it.

So I hope this was very helpful for you. And I hope that I’ve answered a good amount of your questions as you think about podcasting. My experience has been that the reward has been when people really feel like they’ve been part of the community and that’s been such a great reward. There’s much more than I can be doing. There’s so much more growth, but I don’t rush it you know, as we say in Jamaica, what’s this to me can be un-fi me. And you know, everybody have them time. And you know, this is you know, I’m just doing it because it’s what I love, and it’s resonating with my audience.

And so I hope that this is helping you to give you more clarity in your decision as to whether you’re going to podcasts or just any other information that you need. If you have any questions you can always send an email Hello at carry on friends, and thanks for listening.

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