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This session kicks off the 3rd semester of the Creative Studio Academy. We’ll be covering how to podcast. It will be directed mostly toward new podcasters, giving you the basics tools and information to get started with podcasting – hopefully avoiding the pitfalls and difficulties.

In this session, we’ll be talking with Zac Bob from the Crowdfund Genius and Crowdfunding Comebacks podcasts. He is also one of the co-founders of OKpod15, a one-day podcasting event for small businesses in Oklahoma City. We’ll talk about the importance of knowing your audience and knowing why you want to podcast. Both of these are key ingredients to make it passed the podcasting honeymoon phase.

Know your audience

I know you’re excited about starting your podcast, but there are several things you need to nail down first. The first and most important thing is your audience. It is the most important thing to know before your start, and it is still the most important thing as your grow and maintain.

At this point, you may or may not have an audience already. Maybe you already have a blog or YouTube channel with followers already. Maybe you just have a Facebook profile with some family and friends. Maybe you’re wondering what Facebook is.

No matter what your current status is, you need to figure out and understand who exactly you are trying to reach. This is a process of being very specific. Saying that you are targeting males 18-80 that love fishing is not good enough.

Here is one thing to think of to help you: your target audience is one person. Not one kind of person. One person.

That one person cannot fulfill every demographic or psychographic category. They cannot be 18 and 80 at the same time. They cannot live in the US and in Germany at the same time. Be very specific to describe this person.

Here’s some questions to help you get started:

  • What is his/her name? (that’s right – a name)
  • How old is he?
  • Is he married? How long?
  • Does he have kids? How many? Names, ages, etc.?
  • What is his career/job?
  • What is his greatest strength?
  • What is his greatest weakness?

This is just a start, but you get the idea. Be very specific about who he is.

After you nail down your target person – also called an avatar – you will probably be editing the description as you go. Just think, when you meet someone, you learn some basic things right away. As you talk and get to know them, your description of them become deeper and more clear.

I met my wife in January of 2000, and we’ve been married for 12 years. I know more about her now than I did 15 years ago.

As you move along the podcasting journey, you may be able to broaden your audience to include additional demographics. Instead of just a 30-year old accountant with a wife and 2 kids, you may start reaching other 30-something men that have office jobs. Or you may start reaching those that are 30-50 years old. As you grow, just make sure that you always come back to your avatar. He is the center of it all.

Knowing your audience is just the starting point. Next we’ll examine what you need to keep going through the tough times.

Portrait of an university student recording audioKnow your why

Besides knowing your audience, you must know your why.

You need to have a “why” that is huge. Podcasting can be a slow-growing process.

Yes, there are plenty of stories of people that started a podcast and things took off for them: they had thousands of downloads, money started coming, and they became famous overnight. However, this is the exception rather than the rule. And usually, these “overnight successes” are a result of years of strategy, skill, time, and money.

Most likely, you will have smaller numbers. You won’t be bringing in money for a few months or even a year. You won’t reach that celebrity status. You’ll be putting your time and money into podcasting and see little results.

The average number of episodes for a podcast is 7. That’s it. Seven. It’s interesting that, in marriage, people also talk about the 7-year itch, where things seem to get more difficult.

In order to make it, you need a strong “why.” A reason that will keep you going even when things look down. Many podcasts take a while to get off the ground and really make some traction. Those that persevere through these early difficult times will usually make it for the long haul.

Your “why” should be more than “I want to make money.” It’s not wrong to want to make money using podcasting, but it’s not a strong reason to keep going.

“I want to help people do ___________” is a better reason. You probably need to go a little deeper, but this can keep you going when you only see a few people that are downloading each episode.

The virtual aspect of the online world has a disadvantage. One thing that can help during the down times is to think in terms of holding a class in a physical location once a week. A classroom with 25 people is generally considered to be full. Imagine everyone listening to your podcast as a person in a classroom, all coming to listen to you every week. Does that help change your perception?

You need this strong why before you really get started so that you can have a solid foundation.