sheep todayYou may not yet know that you want to podcast*. Nevertheless, you might soon, so I’m going to share my hot tips, derived from my lengthy six-month experience.

In case you haven’t been listening, the number of podcasts is growing exponentially around the world. I believe five were created while you were reading this. People podcast on every conceivable subject: sheep breeding in Mongolia, how to care for your antique pet rock, etc.

If the trend continues I believe that every company, practice and family in America will soon be podcasting.

Which is why I must advise you: grab your show name fast, especially if you want one for your family. With such rapid growth ahead, I suspect that all the good names will be gone tomorrow, so sign up quick for something like The Richardson Family Tonight or Upstairs at the Johnsons. That way you’ll be able to share hot topics you’ve learned from your kids like:

  • How to clean up your room in five minutes or less
  • What to do when your Mom confiscates your phone
  • Why staying out after midnight may not be your best idea
  • How to pretend that you really like kale

(*Think all kinds of radio-inspired audio shows that are stored on the internet and available on-demand.)

The possibilities are truly endless.

Seriously, though, you may be asking why have I created a podcast on a topic related to leadership, creativity and wonder.

Here are my top five reasons:

  1. To make my business visible while hibernating on an island.
  2. Because I actually found ideas I wanted to explore and a few people to interview.
  3. Because driving on Interstate-5 at rush hour to attend a networking meeting puts me in a very bad mood.
  4. Because it engages my brain more than signing up for Brain Gym or sitting at home playing sodoku.
  5. Because it’s fun.

Why do people listen to podcasts?

I can’t answer for others, but just think about the rush hour commute in any major American city. Listening to podcasts can keep you from committing acts of road rage that, I promise, you will later regret.

I understand many people listen to podcasts at the gym, but my research shows that the number of podcasts is directly correlated with the amount of time traffic is stopped on I-5 in Seattle.

Although my learning curve has been very steep, hopefully these tips will speed your trajectory when you start:

1. Get professional help.

I started out with a wonderful podcasting coach – a very good idea even if he made it sound easy. But midway through the start-up process, I began blowing fuses. For those of us who are a bit older and weren’t born microchipped with earbuds sticking out of our ears, simple audio technology can be daunting.

Despite my frugal ($0) podcast budget, I decided to hire a technical assistant to help me with production. A friend recommended the guy she used, but I was perplexed why he declined to come to my house to assess my recording set-up. (“Just send me your files”, he said.) It was only after a few days that the truth came out: he couldn’t drive to my house because he was thirteen!

Sure, he was an audio genius, but I thought he fell short in truly understanding the plight of a middle-aged woman prone to bouts of technology-induced hysteria.

2. Beware of cats.

Cats are psychic. Cat owners know this. Your cat knows when to wake out of a six hour slumber and demand to go OUT five minutes after your prize interview has started. I have learned to leave our back door open so that His Royal Highness can go in and out as he pleases. But even that may backfire. Ten minutes into one up-to-then-going-well interview, I heard my cat sitting in the hall outside my office (in front of the open door), whining at top voice. Translation for non-cat people: please notice me NOW.

And don’t even think about locking up your cat. Nature has given cats a voice that penetrates walls, and transcends time zones. The mere hint of a cat crying in the background disturbs people and alerts listeners three thousand miles away that SOMETHING IS TERRIBLY WRONG.

3. Look out for things that creak.

Or those little ping noises your computer makes even after you’ve turned off all of your notifications. Or airplanes that just altered their routes to fly over your house – today. Or that ergonomic chair that squeaks at the wrong moment. Or the fax machine that rings after never being used once in the past 6 months. Or your husband’s cell phone. Or a toilet that flushes at another end of the house. You will discover what a very noisy house or office you have the moment you begin to podcast.

4. Don’t let anyone say “um” on your show.

Speaking of discoveries, you will never know how often we use the word “um” until you start to podcast. For some guests, it’s about 200 times in a 20-minute episode. Just remember that you are likely to need to edit most of these non-contributing grunts out of your show to salvage a little content for your audience. And editing a 20 minute episode is like, um, two days of work.

 

I think I’ll stop there. I do have real resources to refer you to, if you’re still interested. And launching my podcast Vital Presence has been a blast even as it consumed my attention and deprived me of any chance to be bored this summer. I hope that you’ve subscribed – and for the brave, left your mark after clicking the ratings and reviews tab.

 

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