I love being a podcaster. It has allowed me to cultivate my voice and thought leadership, and it has provided a platform for me to simply just be myself.
So, here we are!
You might be thinking of starting a podcast yourself and/or want to grow your podcast. I’m going to walk you through how you can start and grow a podcast in 2022.
First, I’m going to quickly talk about what my workflow looks like for podcasting.
Then, I’ll go more in depth and share tips related to the content strategy for your podcast. We’ll talk about what I’m thinking about when it comes to growing our podcast in 2022.
Finally, I’m going to really quickly talk about the softwares or tools I use for my podcast.
My ideas can flow super, super naturally when I write. I personally prefer to write out the entire episode script. I did try to do bullet points before, and I’ve tried to do it off the cuff. But honestly, it didn’t allow me to create my best work.
Instead, when I’m able to write my scripts on Google Docs, I type like a keyboard warrior. I can type 7 or 8 pages of google docs in usually 2.5 to 3.5 hours. This is usually equal to a 30-minute episode.
After that, I take out my podcast mic, hit record, and read my script out loud. I find that for a 30-minute episode, it now takes no more than 45 minutes for me to set up my tech and record the entire episode. Then I send the mp3 file to our podcast editor.
But back in the day when I was editing the podcast myself, I think it usually took no more than 60 minutes to edit.
The workflow for me looks like:
1) write the script for the episode
3) send it to our podcast editor
Now, there’s several points or tips I want to share regarding the workflow.
First, I found that the process of creating the podcast episode for the first few months was really, really slow. Sometimes, it was really frustrating because it felt like I was taking so long.
When people find that content creation is taking a long time, usually it’s one of two possible scenarios:
1) They often struggle with thinking of what to even talk about and how to talk about it. This has more to do with the feelings of doubt about your content and feeling not confident in whether your content is good enough.
2) This scenario is more tactical, where you might find it very clumsy to create the content pieces.
It was the latter that really slowed me down.
For the first few months, it was specifically the physical and practical action steps of recording the podcast episode that felt super super arduous and even tiring because I realized really quickly that talking for just ten minutes straight can be really tiring.
Here are some practical tips.
First, I would suggest being kind to your throat and not pushing long episodes right out the gate. For my first 5 to 8 ish episodes, I only did up to 20 minutes max. Because that’s literally all my brain and physical body could handle.
Overtime, I build up the physical stamina to do longer episodes. Simultaneously, my brain and creative juices also flowed a lot more quicker and more naturally, so writing longer Google Doc scripts naturally became quicker and longer as well.
A big practical tip when it comes to recording your episodes is to take breaks and pauses as much as you need. Otherwise, your sentences could sound rushed because you’re literally hammering out sentences after sentences, without any pauses in between.
I found that it’s really easy for me to read out loud super fast and be out of breath, but when I listened back, I didn’t quite like how it sounded because when I naturally talk. I talk, not necessarily slower, but I have a lot more pauses between words or sentences.
One way I remind myself to slow down my reading of the script is on my Google Docs where I have line breaks where I want to pause. For every few sentences, I’ll have a line break.
That’s been something that helped me slow down my speech and make the whole process sound more comfortable as well because I unconsciously feel like I’mm talking how I normally would.
When you pause or take a break between sentences or paragraphs, feel free to either hit pause on the record or let it continue running, but you can drink water. You can walk off and come back. You can literally take a pause. I tend to go through 800 mL of water for a 30-minute episode.
Another tip in regards to the creation process is don’t feel pressured to write out an entire script if that’s not your thing.
Likewise, don’t feel pressured to make a short list of bullet points only if you’re someone who would prefer to have a more detailed set of notes in front of you.
One person’s best practices for their workflow may not be the best practices for you. So, no pressure.
Also, for those of you who naturally talk with your hands moving all over the place. I suggest doing the exact same when you’re recording the episode. Because I find that if my hands are stationed on my table while I’m recording, somehow, my projection of my voice doesn’t come off naturally.
I typically have my right hand on my laptop cursor mouse pad thing to scroll through my notes and to hit start or stop on the record button, and my left hand is physically in the air moving around everywhere.
Speaking of projecting your voice, I sometimes might also just put my left hand on the top of my head and leave it there, because having my arm raised up above my shoulders, allows my chest to expand. If that makes sense. Like physically, my lungs are not compressed. So, by having my arms either moving around or stationed above my head, I find that I can speak clearer and louder into the mic.
The last tip when it comes to workflow. I found that when I pronounce certain words with syllables that start with either the letter p or the letter b like, bubble tea, or pineapple. I realized over time that I have to soften how I pronounce the b or p sounds because I naturally over pronounce it, so much so that in my audio file, there’s a sharp increase in the sound.
I’ve heard that you can get certain tech things that can help soften certain sounds so you can just speak comfortably, but I just haven’t done my research or made the purchase.
But, if you find that you tend to say certain sounds really loudly and it results in a sharper sound in your actual audio file, you could either be more mindful about how you pronounce those words or you can consider looking into tools that do the work for you
When it comes to the practical creation of your podcast, it might take longer in the beginning to accustom your body and mind to the activity. And overtime, you might find that you’re able to create the content faster, and at the same time, you will likely create even more in depth and higher quality content as well.
Now, let’s move onto tips for the content strategy of your podcast.
I want to first share one of the things I would do differently if I were to restart my podcast, which is: I’d make sure that the first episode on the podcast is something I want to be known for, because from my podcast analytics, I can see that it is the most downloaded episode.
Looking back at the first episode I published on the Side Hustle Club podcast, I wish I had been more intentional about making the first episode be about a topic that I really care about or something that is reflective of what I want to be known for.
That said, our thought leadership and messaging all develop and evolve overtime. Given the awareness that I had when I first launched the podcast and when I recorded the first episode, I made the best decision that I could.
Specifically, I thought that if I talked about content strategy, that would get more downloads. And I’m sure that did work, because the first episode of the show is still to this day the most downloaded episode. However, today, I don’t necessarily want the first impression that people have of me or the podcast to be about content types or content strategy.
In hindsight, I personally would have opted for sharing my own journey and how I started my business journey. For those of you who haven’t started your podcast, I would encourage you to use the first episode as a space to go deep on something really important to you or something you want to be known for. Because chances are, that will be the most downloaded episodes of the show for a long, long time.
Now, how do you figure out what your first episode will be? For that matter, how do you figure out what to talk about for not just the first episode, but all the episodes afterwards?
My super biased answer would be to create an episode on something that is reflective of your unique Money-Making Theory. Which, by the way, is exactly what we talked about on Episode 70: Your Money-Making Theory, so do check that out to learn more about what I mean by your Money-Making Theory.
In a nutshell, the “core components” of the Money-Making Theory include:
1) understanding who YOU are, deciding what you want to be known for, and strengthening your identity both as an entrepreneur and as a person in this world
2) tightening up your messaging for your signature offer so you can build brand awareness for that signature offer
3) honing in on what is your unique thought leadership and start creating content that allows you to demonstrate your thought leadership and therefore ultimately be seen as a leader in your space
4) leading by example via your lifestyle, daily decisions, embodying the messages and core values you talk about in your own day to day, and so on. In other words, this is where you are literally being a product of your product
5) your unique intellectual property ,concepts, and frameworks
If someone were to do some sort of deep dive analysis on my podcast content, you can see that my episodes on this show actually reflect the Money-Making Theory components.
For example, the overarching focus of Episode 70: Your Money-Making Theory is reflective of component 5, my unique intellectual property (IP).
I would also say that embedded within the episode are my unique thought leadership (component 3) because I share my perspectives and take on marketing and the online business / coaching space.
And also component 2, which is my signature offer – because this episode can also be interpreted as a sneak peek into what it’s like to work together, some of the signature skills I’m becoming known for in terms of how I help clients, and the outcomes you can expect when we equip you with the skills and when we coach together.
Let’s look at another example. For Episode 69: Lessons from My First 2 Months of Being Full Time in My Business, the two primary components of this episode are component 1 – me and my story and component 4 – leading by example. I’m mostly sharing my own lived experiences and journey from the past few months, and how I’m a living example of what’s possible when you stay committed to growing your business.
Across just two episodes, I was able to infuse all 5 components of the Money-Making Theory. And if you were to go through all of the episodes on the show and categorize each episode into which component of the Money-Making Theory the episode involves, you can see that it’ll probably be pretty balanced.
That’s because all these components matter to me and that’s why I intentionally create content that reflects all five components.
I don’t necessarily think one is more important than the other, but depending on the week or the month, I may intentionally choose to create more content that reflects one component over the other.
All in all, I’ve seen that these different components of the Money-Making Theory have inspired fabulous podcast episodes that our audience have really enjoyed and found value from.
If you’re looking for a content strategy for your podcast, I suggest taking the Money-Making Theory into consideration when you’re planning out your topics and thinking about what content you can create to help you become known for what you want to be known for, and also help you ultimately build demand for your work, sign clients, and make the incredible income and impact. Super, super fun!
Another tip I want to share is testing out my voice on a topic first on Instagram, before talking about it in more detail on the podcast. For example, the Cheryl Theory was something I created on Instagram, then I created a podcast episode on it, and then I created a free webinar on it. Same with the Money-Making Theory.
This was a brand new concept in my head for several weeks before I even mentioned it on the podcast. But I spent the few weeks sharing about it in different ways, in smaller capacities or shorter pieces of content via my Instagram stories and carousel posts.
By first testing out how I want to talk about a topic before actually going in depth about it on the podcast, the actual content creation workflow for the podcast became a lot easier.
This is because I had already practiced talking about it several times, if not, for several weeks, before sitting down to write a 30-minute podcast episode on the topic.
The best part is, doing this lets me create content not just for the podcast, but also for instagram.
If you’re in a stage of your business where you want to hone your voice, elevate the experience that your followers have when they consume your content or think of you and your brand, become known as a thought leader in your space, and ultimately build demand for your offers, I do think creating solo podcast episodes should be the priority, rather than having guests on your show.
Looking back, I felt that I rushed into inviting guests because I was uncertain of my voice and shaky in my belief that my content alone is good enough. I wanted to rely on guests to amp up the quality of our show. I also thought that this might bring more eyeballs onto the show and grow our listenership.
In hindsight, it’s not that I would not have invited guests onto the show, but I think I could have slowed down the number of guests I was inviting and instead continued to practice speaking.
Practicing honing my thought leadership. Practice explaining about my ideas and concepts from different angles. Practice trusting that all the ideas and content that stem from me and my brain are of value and can help people.
If you’re thinking about having guests because you think that would improve the quality of your show, I would suggest holding off on that first and really practicing your own voice and flushing out your own thought leadership first, before inviting guests.
More often than not, the guest’s own audience will become curious about your show. But if they come on over, listen to the guest’s episode, and then check out your solo stuff only to find that it’s alright. They’re probably not gonna stay.
Remember: work on sharpening your own skills first.
Guest episodes should be used to compliment what’s already in your show or add additional value that you know your audience will enjoy.
But it’s not meant to replace or substantiate the quality of your own solo work, unless you plan to have a show that’s mostly based on guest interviews. That’s a totally different story.
Finally, one thing that I think is helpful to consider, is to have click bait-like titles, but make sure your actual episode content has legit substance.
I’ve had many clients and followers share with me, “Honestly Cheryl, I do think your episode titles can be super intriguing or attention grabbing, but if your episodes were not actually good and went beyond the surface level stuff, I wouldn’t have kept listening and followed your show.”
At the end of the day, I do find that my “sexier” podcast episode titles do tend to have more downloads. For example, Episode 45, which is called I Want to Start a Business Because I Hate My Job… Now What?” has 208 downloads to date, whereas Episode 46, the episode released one week after, is called “Copying or Modeling After Other Coaches” has 168 downloads to date.
As you can see, two podcast episodes released back to back, but one has noticeable more downloads because the title is relatively sexier. And side note, most of our episodes have around 150 to 200 downloads to date, so that’s why the gap between 208 and 168 is relatively large, in the context of my own podcast.
Honestly, I had this in mind for 2021 as well but I just haven’t quite gotten around to it.
It’s to repurpose our podcast scripts into blog posts or emails or LinkedIn articles.
The reason is because I literally already have the written content ready. It’s in my Google Drive ready to be repurposed into other forms of written content that can be of equal value to people who may not yet be following me on Instagram or the podcast, or maybe to people who do not necessarily enjoy audio content.
I do think this is an opportunity for growth in my business in 2022. But as of right now, I have to honor my own capacity and physical limits to do this.
Because I’m navigating a lot of other personal life things besides my business and I need to respect my body’s need for rest and not overworking. That will usually come at the expense of my being able to coach my clients and use my brain to create more amazingness for this podcast.
Perhaps eventually, I’ll look for someone who can help me with repurposing our podcast into more written content.
For the microphone I use to record my podcast episodes, I typically use the Blue Yeti microphone, which is currently listed at $99 USD on Amazon but if I’m not wrong, it’s normally sold at $129 USD.
This is the mic I use when I’m at home in Hong Kong, but because it’s very large and heavy, I couldn’t bring it with me while I’m traveling for the next seven months. So I bought another lighter, smaller microphone called the Samson Q2U mic, which is currently sold at $69 USD on Amazon.
Personally, I think I’d prefer the Blue Yeti microphone because I think it sounds a bit better when I listen to the audio recordings. But honestly, I don’t think I can really tell the difference. I think both should be pretty good. Actually, you guys can let me know what you think of the audio quality. Personally, I dont think it’s bad at all, but I’d love to hear from actual listeners.
As for my laptop, I use the 2020 Macbook Pro 13 inch. I think that’s all I have to say there LOL. But that also means that I have the GarageBand software already installed on my Macbook.
Originally I was using the Audacity software to record and edit my podcast episodes. I actually really like Audacity because it’s so simple, but at one point it started to crash on me and kept deleting my files. I think this started happening maybe around the thirty something episode?
That’s when I switched to GarageBand, which honestly, I didn’t use at first because the interface overwhelmed me. Audacity has way less features but it includes the bare minimum that I needed to get my podcast episodes out into the world. Right now I use GarageBand, which I eventually got used to. I still would prefer Audacity because of its simplicity.
As for podcast hosting, which is where you’ll host your episodes on the interwebs, and then it’ll go out to different podcast listening platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and so on. I use Libsyn. And more specifically, I’m on their $15 USD a month plan.
There we have it. One of the rare times on this show where we go into more of the how-to or technical/practical tips side of things! I hope this was helpful for those of you who are thinking of starting and/or growing your podcast in 2022.
My podcast has really changed my life and business by giving me the opportunity to simply be me, and that’s why I think for those of you who have an inkling that this format of content will allow you to create some of your best work, I would highly encourage you to do so.
Let this be a space for you to have so much fun and simply just create your best work. It’s basically a playground for you to create, to explore, experiment, dream, and have fun, while giving incredible value to others.
And of course, grow the impact and income you’re meant to make.
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