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With over 700,000 shows and 30 million unique episodes, Podcasts are fast becoming the preferred new media.The first podcast appeared in 2004 but it’s only in the past few years that they have experienced significant growth -nearly 30% in 2019 alone! Consumers love their accessibility, variety, convenience, and the price (nearly always free) is right. The ability to listen to what they want, when they want is key for the modern listener and the reason why Podcasts are likely to be a growing interest for many years to com….. 

SCREEEEEEECH. 

Ok, so our smart media guys told us to write a blog on Podcasting. “It’ll help you get found. Backlinks are the bomb.” So, instead of writing the usual online drivel we decided to let you into our process and share a dozen things we’ve learned in our first year. Hope you find them useful.

  1. Focused Topic: Like this article, people’s biggest critique about podcasters is they are unfocused and just trying to be funny. Know what you’re about and stick to it. It’s going to take some time to hit your stride and get comfortable, and a good topic helps keep a centrepoint in place. You must know why you’re starting this in the first place. If you’re serious about it, take the time to plan, treat it like a business, and understand your target demographics. If you’re free-wheeling, listeners will know it. Remember, you’re competing in the attention market. You’re battling against Netflix and Facebook. It takes a lot to win attention and followers. Be ready to put in the effort. 
  2. Good Gear: We spared no expense and spent about $1500 on great mics and recording equipment. Nothing else will matter if the sound quality is crap. (We’re not going to bore you with gear talk here, but if you’re interested, fire us a message and we’ll give you the details)
  3. Space: Find a permanent location. We record at Andrew’s Mom’s house and Judy makes us cookies. Setting up every recording will get old fast. You don’t need a perfect studio to create quality audio, but limit background noise and smaller rooms are better.
  4. Training: We recommend Seth Godin’s Podcast Fellowship. You’ll learn the ABC’s of podcasting in a community of podcasters. It was super helpful. 
  5. Two Hosts: Andrew and I bring different skills to the table and the result is a more balanced, well-rounded conversation. It’s also nice to have the support and help. This style works for us, as even when we don’t have a guest, we still have each other! But the most important thing is BE YOURSELF. Once we stopped trying to play a role, or be a certain way, the content improved dramatically. 
  6. Weekly Episodes: We started bi-weekly but found we lost momentum quickly and our downloads stagnated. If you care about the work (and you better, or why else are you even reading this), prioritize it – check out Tim Ferriss’ original wisdom from The 4 Hour Work Week for more on this. Focus on your “why”. 
  7. Interview-Based: As much as people might prefer we read the phone book or sound off on things we know nothing about, by interviewing interesting people, we have great content every week. 
  8. Editing: Andrew spends roughly 6-8 hrs editing each 90-120min episode. It’s a lot of work although Audacity makes it a lot easier. Audacity is a free program that’s reasonably easy to learn, and recent updates have helped make it less buggy. 
  9. Social Media: Instagram and Facebook are essential. We merely exist on Twitter. Engage with your listeners. It’s everything.
  10. Website: It’s worth the investment. SEO and all that. If you want to be a professional and polished in your field, your website better reflect that. This is best left to the professionals. We’re super happy with our website and thankful to Stikky for their great work.
  11. Community: See your podcast as building a community around your shared idea. We do LIVE events and an end of year party for the 50+ guests who’ve been on our podcast that year. The conversation and relationship extends far beyond the airwaves.
  12. Money: We saved this for last. Don’t even think about making money in the first year. The fact is, you’ll lose money. Focus on creating quality content and doing something you’re passionate about and believe in. Once that’s in place, approach sponsors like we are right now. Anyone? Anyone? 

If you’ve found this blog helpful, please share and re-post. Other than that, please give us a Like and Follow on Instagram, Facebook and sure why not, Twitter.  You can also email us at obstaclecoursepodcast@gmail.com. Definitely check out our fancy website. Obstacle Course can currently be found wherever you listen to podcasts. 

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