So you want to start a podcast? There's so much potential in podcasting—and a few ways to get majorly tripped up. Today, I want to talk about how to navigate three of the biggest podcasting mistakes or traps that might get in the way of your podcasting success.
Podcasting Mistake #1: Trying to Be Perfect
Let's be honest. The first episodes of your brand-new podcast are probably going to be… not so great. But you can't get to the good stuff until you get through the muck.
As you learned last Friday on SPI 546, Pat’s first episode of the SPI Podcast was a disaster.
The published version of the episode was his third take. He recorded the first one speaking off the cuff. He didn’t like that, so he tried scripting the whole thing. That didn’t work either. He finally got something passable on the third try. (But what’s with that music? Woof.)
All that’s to say, create something lousy at first because you will improve. It’s unavoidable, to be honest.
The first few podcast episodes you produce might be something you look back at and cringe. But the more often you do it, and the more consistent you are, the better you'll become.
For the very first episode of Flops, I had to go back and rerecord parts of my interview with John Vuong (thanks, John!) because I just didn’t do a great job interviewing him the first time around.
But I got better as the season progressed. I didn’t turn into the world’s most amazing interviewer, but I improved. And you will too.
This may be a tough pill to swallow, especially if you're a perfectionist. But once you can accept it, you’ll be well on your way to a successful podcasting career.
So publish your first episodes without regret. Even though they might kinda suck.
Podcasting Mistake #2: Worrying That Your Audience Might Be Too Small
Let’s say you operate in a pretty small niche. What if you’re worried that your audience is too small to create a successful podcast?
When you’re creating a podcast, you want the widest possible audience, right?
Take Phil Lichtenberger, who has a successful podcast in a small niche—the handheld radio hobby—called Scanner School.
Phil created the podcast because he just loved the hobby so much and wanted to connect with other hobbyists. And now guess what? He has superfans, people who show up on every single live stream and listen to every single podcast episode. He's got companies reaching out to him. All that, despite creating a podcast in a tiny niche.
But what if you’ve actually seen other podcasts come and go in your niche, and you’re worried there’s just not enough interest in a show like yours?
Here’s the key. Just because there are other podcasts in your niche that have run out of steam, doesn’t mean yours will.
The most important thing is committing. Find a topic you’re excited about and can hold yourself to creating a podcast around.
Commit, commit, commit. There’s a reason it’s the very first piece of advice in our How to Start a Podcast guide.
Podcasting Mistake #3: Thinking You’ve “Started Too Late”
One more thing you might be worried about right now: that podcasting has become “too popular,” and you're too late to the game.
Let me share some numbers that will give you a little perspective on why that's definitely not true.
There are over 500 million active blogs. There are over 50 million active YouTube channels.
How many podcasts are there? About two million. That's it.
There’s still so much room for this medium to grow. If blogging and online video are any clue, the rest of the 2020s are likely to see huge and rapid growth in podcasting.
You’re not too late for the podcasting boom.
Okay. Maybe you’re willing to accept that podcasting itself still has room to grow. But what if the show you want to create already seems to have a lot of competition out there?
You might be thinking, “It’s no use creating a show because there’s already another one like it out there.”
Just remember that even in what seems to be a crowded space, there are ways to stand out.
Here's some wisdom from Buzzsprout cofounder Kevin Finn in SPI Podcast session 395:
You've said, ‘Hey, I'm interested in creating a podcast that speaks to entrepreneurs.’ Well, there’s thousands of podcasts that speak to entrepreneurs, but what's your unique flavor? What's your unique spin on that? What do you have to say that other people aren't saying? That will always break out from the noise because it's unique, and it's your voice, and it's your perspective.Kevin Finn, SPI Podcast session 395
So, Ready to Create Your Show?
If any of the three fears or mistakes we've talked about have been keeping you from starting your podcast, I hope this post has helped you realize how much potential there is to create a successful show!
You're still early for the podcasting boom, and you can succeed even with a show in a small niche—as long as you’re willing to commit to the process.
If you’re ready to get started with your podcast, head on over to our How to Start a Podcast guide.
And if you need a little more hand-holding, our Power-Up Podcasting 2.0 course is just the ticket. It'll help you cut through the confusion—to not only learn how to properly plan and launch your podcast, but make sure it gets found, too.