[00:00:00] Over six years ago, in December of 2014, I wrote a friend of mine an email asking her if she wanted to start a podcast with me, because I felt, and I quote, "it would change our lives." Over six years, almost 10 million downloads, a book deal, and well over a million dollars later, here are six things that I've learned from podcasting for six years.
[00:00:27] Hi, I'm Emily Thompson host of the Being Boss podcast, a top-ranked business podcast for creative business owners and co-author of the book Being Boss: Take Control of Your Work and Live Life on Your Own Terms. And welcome back to 10 Minutes to Being Boss, a bite-sized show offering up tips, tools, and tactics for helping you do business.
[00:00:46] In today's episode. I am here to share with you the six lessons, the top six lessons that I have learned from podcasting for over six years.
[00:00:56] But before we dive in, I do want to share about our sponsor, Podia. Podia is an all-in-one digital storefront, where you can sell courses, memberships, and digital downloads all in one place. So if you're in the mood to share what it is that you know, and get paid for it, Podia is the place where you can do it.
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[00:01:24] Okay. So now we have to get into our six lessons. My lesson number one, that I wish I had known then that I totally know now, is that the spoken word hits differently.
[00:01:38] Whenever people can hear you say what you need to say in your voice, you are so much more able to one, get your point across, but also two, people connect with you on a sincerely deeper level. I had been blogging and writing email content for years before I started my podcast and never did I gain the types of engagement and sort of strong community that I did whenever I started podcasting. I was able to so much more clearly share what it is that I wanted to share and our audience has come back time and time again to expressed that they feel like I am their best friend in their ears, while they're driving to work or doing the dishes. They often feel like they are having a conversation with me or listening in on a conversation that I'm having, where we're all sitting around the table and they're just eavesdropping in.
[00:02:39] I will also say a sort of sub-note to, a like 1.1, maybe 1.2, lesson that I learned here is that the community that I grew from podcasting ended up being so important to me and my business.
[00:02:58] By growing that audience by engaging with that audience, by interacting with that audience, you are gaining one of the most important assets for your business, and podcasting allowed me to do that in a way that no other platform ever has.
[00:03:12] All right, and this is where I would love to hear from you. If you're here, you listen to podcast and or you watch YouTube videos, in which case you have probably become a really big fan of at least one or two online content personalities in your day. I would love for you to head down into the comments and share with me who your favorite content creators are, either in the YouTube space or in the podcast space, people who have attracted you with their spoken word. I look forward to seeing who you share in the comments.
[00:03:46] Okay. Now, number two, play to your strengths. There are so many podcast types out there. There are different kinds of formats. There are different ways in which you can release content into the podcasting world. You can have an interview show, you can have a scripted sort of storytelling show. You can have just like speaking to your audience show.
[00:04:09] There are so many formats that you can adopt or use in your podcast. Don't think that you need to choose the one that is the most standard for your industry or that someone has told you you should be doing it in this way.
[00:04:24] And so playing to your strengths, creating content in a way that feels good and natural to you, that you enjoy doing it, and you're excited to show up for is a key secret is a very important lesson learned for podcasting.
[00:04:42] Okay, let's get into lesson number three, and this one is one that I learned after three years - four years? - four years, I think, of podcasting, of releasing a podcast, every single week. Sometimes for about two and a half of those years, we were actually releasing a podcast twice a week.
[00:05:05] And one of the things that we learned a couple of years into podcasting that much, and this doesn't include all the interviews that we were having, the secret episodes we were releasing within our community, all of these things, hundreds and hundreds of podcasts, is that you need to not talk sometimes.
[00:05:23] Periods of not talking are mandatory for keeping at it. This is something that I've seen a lot of times for writers, they can get a little burnt out whenever they are writing too much. And it's something that I definitely experienced as a podcaster. And especially as someone who started running a business that was podcasting.
[00:05:44] One of the things that I learned is that I had to go out and cultivate experiences and different kinds of expertise so I could bring the more content back into the podcast. I often joked around that my throat chakra was a little too open. It was like, it was tired. My throat shocker was tired and I kept bumping up against this feeling that I had nothing else to say, that I had said everything that I wanted to say.
[00:06:12] So I really had to step back and put more focus into cultivating those experiences and that expertise that would allow me to show up and podcast as much as I wanted to.
[00:06:26] All right, number four is maybe one of the smartest things we did when we started the podcast. We didn't know at the time that it was one of the smartest things that we were doing, but it has ended up being the smartest thing that we did, and that is identifying very clear and defined content pillars around which we shape all of our content.
[00:06:49] In those early days of formulating the Being Boss brand, before we even released our first episode, Kathleen and I sat down and made a list of our content pillars. Of, I believe six pillars. Now that I'm thinking about it, I hope that's right. I'll count them in a second.
[00:07:06] A set of pillars around which all of our content would be shaped, based on what we had experienced from being creative business owners, ourselves, and working with creative business owner clients. At Being Boss, those pillars are mindset, boundaries, habits and routine, community, work, and life. Good. There are six. That makes me feel better.
[00:07:28] And those pillars have worked their way through every bit of content that we have ever created. And it ended up being the chapter structure of our book when we wrote our book back in... 2016? 2017? I think we wrote it in 2017. It came out in 2019. So back in 2014, in December of 2014, we define these pillars that have followed us through the entirety of our podcasts and I still consider with every piece of content that I create today. It has helped me stay very focused in our content and has helped us create a structure that our audience can always count on.
[00:08:11] And honestly, I will say anything that makes content creation easier is a total win. Don't you think for sure.
[00:08:17] Okay. And because these content pillars are so incredibly important, I do actually have a worksheet for you in the description below to help you figure out, if you were wanting to create a podcast, what your podcast style and content topics are.
[00:08:34] You can head down into the description and find a link to that podcasting worksheet there.
[00:08:40] Okay, we're almost done, but not done yet. Here is lesson number five. This one I really wish I had known because I was not prepared for how difficult this was. And that is that podcast monetization is more difficult, I think, than any other online content.
[00:08:57] Whenever we started the Being Boss podcast, we had this idea that we would create this content as a marketing platform for our individual businesses. And it ended up growing into so much more than that. We ended up selling events. We have sponsors. I have a community of creatives. There are so many things that we have been able to do. But it is more difficult than any other kind of online content that you create.
[00:09:26] One of the mindsets that I have to keep for myself that coach every creative who's considering to start a podcast for themselves, and for sponsors who don't really know what they're signing up for, podcasting is for brand awareness. Period. It is not for brand conversion. Because whenever people are listening to the cast, they're washing their dishes, they're driving down the road, they are doing all kinds of things.
[00:09:54] They're not sitting there at the ready at their computer to type in that URL that you've shared with them. It is all about brand awareness. Conversion comes afterwards. Conversion comes whenever you make podcast advertising or podcast creation one part of a much larger marketing strategy.
[00:10:15] And that makes it really difficult for you to understand, truly, what the ROI, what the return on investment, is in creating a podcast.
[00:10:25] Once you know that, once you're very well aware, going into it makes a lot more sense. You can plan for it. You can budget for it, all of those things. But if you go into podcasting with unrealistic expectations around how much you're going to be able to make and the kind of data you're going to be served and all of these things.
[00:10:43] There's going to be like a rude awakening happening because podcasting is both very new, but also operates in a very old way. My sort of 5.3 or 4 or 8 around this is that stats are hard to track, but there are now trackers coming out that allow people to track more podcast listeners and their sort of habits in the podcasting world.
[00:12:01] So know that a lot of podcasts that you are listening to have installed these sort of tracking pixels into their RSS feeds to track how much you're listening to that podcast, how far you make it in, all of these things, but also across all of the podcasts that are using these tracking pixels as well, and you don't know about it.
[00:12:22] And to add insult to injury, if I may, a lot of sponsors these days require you to have them. So if you are listening to podcasts that have sponsorships, there is a good chance that in order to gain those sponsorships, they had to add the trackers to their podcasts. I still refuse to do this, and I only work with sponsors, obviously, that do not require me to add the tracker.
[00:12:52] It's like, whenever Kathleen and I started podcasting we always called it the Wild West of the internet. There are a few things in the world that really feel like wild and untapped. I feel podcasting was one of them, but a new sheriff is in town and I don't like him, I will say. So that is an important thing for you to know as a podcaster, but also as a podcast listener. There is a very good chance that you are being tracked and you don't even know it.
[00:13:23] But you'll be served up more relevant ads, and if that makes you happy, then you can feel okay with it. But it annoys me, and it annoys me most of all, that so many sponsors will now hold sponsorships unless you allow them to track your listeners. I personally love my listeners more than I love sponsors who make me do that, so know that I am not in that camp, just so you know.
[00:13:56] Okay. And that's the end of that rant. Let's get into the final lesson that I learned from podcasting for six years. Actually, it's the final of six. I really learned like a million lessons, but this is number six for this particular list. And that is that your guests shape your show maybe more so than you do.
[00:14:18] Maybe not more so, but they definitely shape it. This is one of those things that I feel like we learned maybe a little later, honestly than I would have liked. Whenever your show starts getting big, or you just want to keep up with creating content, you will likely start. Pulling in as many guests as you can, you will, be excited when you start getting your first guests pitches., all those things.
[00:14:41] Slow down, slow down, and really consider each and every guest because they will all bring something into your show, planned or not planned, that will shape your show in just the way that you do. We learned this in a season when we were trying to keep up with content demand, ended up having on a lot of guests and no one that I regret by any means, but there was a pause that came after a big rush of lots and lots of guests where we both, sat down and we were like, we need to hold on the guests.
[00:15:14] We need to be way more particular. We need to really vet people really know that they're going to one, be able to show up because that's a thing: podcast guests don't show up a lot. That's actually 6.3 lesson here is that if you want to have guests, you should expect about a quarter of the time for them not to show up, even a big podcast. It's an interesting phenomenon, but whatever. Be careful as to who it is that you bring on as your guests, because they will absolutely shape your show in ways that you don't even anticipate. So proceed with caution or at least a ton of awareness.
[00:15:54] And there you have it, my six top lessons learned from six years of podcasting. It has been a wild ride for sure. I actually should probably sit down and get a number of how many podcasts, how many hours of podcasts I have created in my career, because I imagine I am probably a total expert... at talking. That's really all it means, I'm an expert at talking. But thank you so much for coming to hang out with me. I hope that this helps you think about how it is that you may start your own podcast or make your podcast better.
[00:16:37] Now, if you don't mind me, I probably have some podcasting to go do. I feel like I always do. And until next time, do the work, be boss.