This podcast has been going since March 2018. I did another podcast prior to this one (September 2016-April 2018). I am not Ira Glass, but I do feel I have been able to make a solid indie podcast. Our downloads are slightly above the median average for podcast downloads. If you are looking to start a podcast (or create any content), I hope these perspectives are helpful to you.
- Do it because you want to! When creating anything, it needs to be something you enjoy and care about. Otherwise it will soon feel like work. Don’t pursue podcasting to become famous or to make money. The Top 1% of podcasts get 99% of podcast downloads. As a regular person it is extremely unlikely you will build a show that makes you money or makes you famous.
- Be thankful. If one person you don’t know listens to your podcast – that’s a win. If one person follows you then you have an audience. If one person comments on your post that’s huge! All of these types of things should be recognized and celebrated. The fact that someone wants to listen to what you think about something is really cool! I have found this perspective really helps combat the view of “I deserve ______”. In reality we don’t deserve people’s time and it’s a privilege that some people choose to use their time on your stuff.
- Be regular. Having a consistent release schedule is essential. For our podcast, we release on Tuesday’s typically. This helps associate Tuesday and new episodes of TGSEP. I don’t think the release frequency (weekly, monthly, etc) matters as much as the regularity. On the other side of this, if I see a podcast that releases sporadically, without rhyme or reason, I won’t bother listening to it. What if I enjoy their show and then it is just silence for months on end?
- Don’t overstretch yourself. This is the balancing point to being regular. You don’t want to over-commit and burn yourself out. This can be easy to do and it is important to check in with yourself. If you need to change your regular frequency that is okay. The important thing to do, is to announce it so that listeners can reset their expectations.
- Have a backlog. This is a lesson I have learned more recently from my friend Jacob (of Left Behind Game Club). In life “shit always happens”. You might get sick. Your co-host is on vacation. Your guest might need to reschedule. All sorts of things can disrupt your normal flow. Having a backlog of back up episodes will allow you to keep your schedule normal while not adding a lot more stress. We spent the first two years of the show without a backlog. When stuff came up, I was always stressed out. I have been working towards building a backlog the last several months. I am not where I want to be yet but I know it will be immensely helpful.
- Promote others. Some people view other podcasts in their subject matter as competition. In my experience this is the wrong perspective. You actually probably have a lot in common with these people. Both of you like the same thing enough to start a podcast about it! There are many practical ways to this such as a follow Friday or making a post telling others to check out their podcast. It is key that the promotion is genuine. Spam stands out and is quickly discarded.
- Make friends. I am thankful that early in this podcast I met Adam and Liz (Games & Groceries) and Good Game Great Game (Andrew, Zach and Kevin). All of us started gaming podcasts around the same time and were all focused on being a positive voice in the gaming community. I felt reinforced by having them having similar outlooks (and awesome content). Since then I have made many more gaming podcast friends like Steph & Nikki (Game Till Five), Jacob (Left Behind Game Club) and Conner (Lore Party). All of these people have been great to guest on each other’s shows, share what we are learning in podcasting and being a support to each other.
- Keep going! Don’t quit if you don’t see results right away. In 2020, we almost had more downloads than all of 2018 + 2019 combined. Just because someone isn’t listening to your show this minute doesn’t mean you aren’t making content that people like. They may have not found you yet. I didn’t find my favorite podcast until it had been going for 5 years!
I hope these thoughts have been helpful! If you would like to talk more about podcasting, DM me on Twitter . I’d love to keep talking about podcasting or try to answer any questions you may have.