What I Learned from Launching A Podcast

When my business coach first told me I needed to start a podcast, I thought I’d rather poke my eyes out with a hot needle.

I was very familiar with the podcasting world.  At that point, I had been a guest on dozens of podcasts.  I had been to the Spark Christian Podcasting Conference to network and connect with more hosts.  I have tons of friends who are podcasters.

And I was absolutely convinced that having my own podcast was not for me.  I did not have time to come up with more new content every week.  Most people will tell you that each episode takes 8 – 10 hours to schedule a guest, outline the content, conduct an interview, edit the recording, create the graphics, upload to the host, make the audio clips, and promote it on social media.

Just the thought of adding that many things to my weekly to do list made me exhausted.

But since I was paying this business coach for her advice, I figured I should at least consider it seriously. I started taking the first few steps, know that at some point, I would clearly know whether I was on the right path or not.

Fast forward six months.  We are a dozen episodes into the Just One Simple Thing podcast and I know now it was the best thing I could do. The response has been amazing, it is 10x easier than I expected, and it has been so much fun.

So whether you are planning to launch a podcast or start some other new thing in your business or ministry, here are a few things I learned while launching my podcast.

Your Thing Can Be Whatever You Want

My biggest barrier was the image of the “typical” podcast I had in my head … interview format, 45-60 minutes long.  Because that is the type of podcast I had been a guest on, I thought that’s what I had to do.

If I was going to do a podcast, my format would have to be different.  My business coach (and the podcast training I had later) gave me permission to do that. Instead of an interview, my episodes would be solo.  And instead of 45 – 60 minutes, I could do 10 – 12 minutes of super practical, actionable content. Afterall …. I had six years of blog posts, webinars, courses, and other content to pull from.

Once I got past that barrier, I began to believe I could really do this!  Of course, there are some trade-offs.  Because my episodes are solo, I don’t have guests helping me promote the podcast to their audiences. So my growth may be a little slower.  But it was a trade-off I was willing to make to preserve my sanity.

Whatever you are trying to start, don’t feel boxed in by what you see others are doing.  As it turned out, my audience didn’t need another long podcast to fit into their weeks.  They love the short, practical episodes that they can implement and see a difference quickly.  It’s an important lesson to learn … focus on OUR PEOPLE and what they need, not on OTHER PEOPLE and what they are doing.

Limit the Input

I often say that information is my love language, and I am happiest when I know everything about everything.  But in this case, less was definitely more.   I didn’t have time, money, or energy to consume information from a lot of different sources.  And I know that when we get too much input, it leads to confusion and contradictions.

We usually want to wait until we know everything before we start anything.  But one key message of the podcast is that clarity come from action.  So I learned just enough to take the next step, instead of sitting on the sidelines filling notebooks of ideas.

Part of the problem was that I have several friends in the podcast education niche.  They offer amazing membership communities, courses, coaching, and services. So instead of using everything they had to offer, or just picking one, I decided to use each one for what I saw they were best at.  Here’s how I divided it up:

Podcast In A Weekend from Esther Littlefield – I LOVE this course!  It is no fluff, the bare minimum you need to get started with a podcast. The modules were designed to watch, and then do what it said, which I thought was brilliant.  I didn’t get overwhelmed with information or start thinking about things it wasn’t time for.  I just watched the video, and did the work.  At every step, Esther limited the decisions to just a couple of options … choose this microphone or that one, use this recording software or that one …. completely avoiding decision fatigue. You actually could do it in a weekend, but I spent about three or four weeks working through the content and getting feedback from trusted advisors and audience members along the way.

Launch Coaching from Wren Robbins – Wren is one of the most enthusiastic, creative people I know, and while she offers a complete range of podcast coaching services, I did just one session with her to map out the launch plan.  She had such good ideas that fit my time constraints and my personality.  She checked in with me throughout the launch to see how it was going, and enthusiastically shared and supported podcast.  I highly recommend working with Wren if you want some one-on-one coaching.

Tech Support from Ian at Phillip Productions – I’m pretty techy and I already had experience editing videos which translated directly to editing the podcast episodes. But I wanted to be sure I was doing the best I could from a technical standpoint.  Ian listened to some sound samples from around my house and helped me decide the best place to record. He gave me advice on which hosting service to use and made sure I had everything set up correctly in the host and the podcast platforms.  Ian was a calm, steady hand that kept me from freaking out when surprises came up.

A Plan and Accountability Keep You On Track

Once I made the decision to start, I created a plan and set a target for launching. The plan wasn’t very detailed.  Just the first few steps at the beginning, and the launch date at the end.  I figured everything else out along the way.  And it worked out just fine!

As much as I teach about having a strategic plan, I want you to know it doesn’t have to be super detailed and complicated. Just know how to start, and set a realistic date to finish.

In my case, I took the first steps towards starting in November, and it might have seemed like launching in January at the first of the year would be a good idea.  But …. I had two other major projects going on in December and January, so I moved the podcast launch to the end of March.  That allowed me to work on the podcast a little at a time.  Take a step, plan the next step.

As soon as I was pretty comfortable about that launch date, I started telling people about it.  Not big splashy announcements yet … just the people I am close to.  I knew they were going to ask how things were going, and that kept me on track to keep working it.  If no one knows you are working towards a goal, it is super easy to keep moving the goal post ….sometimes for legitimate reasons, sometimes for …. not. Accountability was a huge part of launching on time.

Involve Your Audience In Your Work

From the very beginning, I wanted my audience to follow along on this journey.  Before I even was sure I was going to do it, I started dropping hints.  We played did a Podcast Naming Tournament on my Instagram stories and just that exercise gave me so much insight into how they view me and what they need.

Along the way, they also voted on topics to be covered in the podcast. And saw behind the scenes posts of my first recordings and the photo shoot for the cover graphics.   By the time I announced the trailer and the actual launch date, they were completely invested and I was confident I was producing something they would love.  Wren set a goal of getting 25 podcast reviews on Apple within two weeks of launching the first episode, and we did it within one week!

I so appreciate everyone who helped (and continues to help) spread the word about the podcast. The audience is growing and I’m excited about serving God’s girls in this new way.  If you haven’t listened yet, head over the the podcast page and check it out!

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