In 2018, for a couple of months, I have hosted a podcast called Inside my Notebook. It was a podcast about self-publishing and writing, somehow an audio version of this blog. I have learned many things about how to make a podcast, but also what it takes to make a podcast. Is it truly a good idea to kick off one as an author? I am sharing some of the insights I have gained along the way.
In practice, what is a podcast?
A podcast is an audio recording that is released on different platforms to reach an audience. It can be live or not, depending on your speaker’s skills and how confident you are with a microphone. It’s like doing videos for Youtube, just with the sound.
Making a podcast is like making a book. It involves 5 steps:
- Preparation: what are you going to talk about? Will you have a guest interview? Will you write down everything you’re going to say or will you go with the flow? Each podcast takes a minimum of preparation before the recording.
- Recording: that’s the fun part. It’s when you’re giving life to your text, or when you’re interviewing a guest. Just don’t forget to push the recording button.
- Editing: how are you with audio editing software? There are a couple out there that are free. Learn it and you’ll quickly become an ace with deleting those blanks.
- Distribution: iTunes and Soundcloud are a great start to distribute your podcast, but there are many more platforms out there. That’s something you will want to inquire about before starting your podcast. A good distribution will help you reach your audience.
- Marketing: you have released your podcast’s episode, now what? Well, just like book marketing, you’ll have to market it. Social media, newsletter, you name it.
What is a podcast’s marketing value for an author?
A podcast could be an alternative to blogging. In a society in which time is precious, listening to a podcast is certainly more comfortable to a certain audience. Think about all those commuters stuck in their cars, or unable to move on the tube. Think of all those people multi-tasking while listening to the radio. Those are your target audience.
Podcasting is a great tool when well used. Let’s take an example: The Creative Penn. Joanna is a self-published author who succeeded in creating a useful platform for her peers. She is talking about self-publishing, giving meaningful insights about the industry while also giving her best advice. It helps her brand… and her books.
However, I would be careful with the content you are producing. As an author, your main concern should be writing your stories. You are only one person, so take care of yourself first.
Would I do it again?
In 2018, my creative goal was to keep being consistent, with the blog and the novel writing. What I didn’t know is that I would be pushed to add a new layer to all that creativity and content production with the creation of a podcast. Inside My Notebook has taken me a lot of time that I didn’t put into my writing. Between February and May 2018, no less than 8 podcasts were released. But creating, recording, editing and publishing a podcast takes time. Time that I didn’t have.
I did enjoy recording the podcast though. But I soon realised that it didn’t add any value to what I was already doing with the blog. That’s why I decided to stop it, but I’m glad I did it because I have learned a great deal about my own limits along the way.
What you should really take into consideration before starting a podcast
Do you need a professional set-up? No, a pair of earphones could easily do the trick, or even your laptop’s microphone. There are also multiple software apps out there to help you out with your audio editing. So if you want to try your hand at podcasting, you can do it without spending a penny.
However, it does come with a price: time. Think about how much time something will take you, and evaluate if you’re ready to commit to something before starting it. Don’t push yourself too hard by trying to keep a tight schedule when you’ve already got a demanding full-time job and want to keep a social life.
And don’t forget to ask yourself those important questions: will a podcast add value to your audience? Will you end up prioritising your podcast over your novel?
The decision is yours to make.
Will you start a podcast in 2019?
Do not hesitate to comment in the section below or to tweet me @vdvestelle