“Are you podcasting?”
This conversation happened so many times for me that I finally decided to look into this big, scary-looking endeavor. And you know what I discovered? It really wasn’t all that big and scary for someone who likes to talk.
I am a radio DJ at a Christian radio station. I talk for a living and I never run out of words. So why wasn’t I podcasting if I’m a writer and speaker trying to connect with my audience?
Well, then we’re back to how big and scary it seemed. From the technical aspects to the fear of not getting anyone to listen, there were a lot of things I wasn’t sure about.
The Best Tool to Start
If you have felt the need to podcast but the idea is big and scary, let me say that I found the most amazing tool to get started: Kathi Lipp’s ecourse “7 Days to a Published Podcast.” And no, she didn’t ask me to endorse it. I just LOVED how it walked me through all the things to get started.
I’m a single mom with four kids and working on my writing and speaking career has to fit around that. So I did not, in all honesty, publish my podcast in 7 days from starting the course. But that was one beauty of it—I could take it at my speed and do it as I was ready.
This course tells you what software options and what equipment options are out there for a variety of prices. It talks you through homing in on your audience and how to best meet their needs.
I would completely, 100% recommend this course for anyone looking to start a podcast.
Now that you know you want to do this, do you have what it takes to talk a lot? If you are a communicator, I’m guessing the answer is “YES, OF COURSE!” Communicators like to communicate.
Before you start, know your audience.
It’s all about the audience. Period. What do they need? How can I serve them with information that will help whatever area I’m speaking into?
In my case, I’m podcasting and writing to Christian single moms. And you know what single moms don’t have a lot of? Time.
Doing a 20-23 minutes podcast would not necessarily meet their needs. So when one of my mentors suggested my podcast be around 10 minutes, I realized that was brilliant. My audience needs short bursts of encouragement.
As you plan for what yours will include—time, format, topics, everything—it’s got to be about what the audience needs. Kathi Lipp once said, “My job is to point my reader/listener to the hope of the living God.” That means we need to deliver the message in a way they can process it well.
Second, be you. Not a perfect, polished version of you. You don’t have to sound like a veteran broadcaster from the nightly news. You be you and the people who need to see your authenticity will appreciate you.
Communicator Academy was the first podcast I listened to. Then I added Grit n’ Grace Girls with Cheri Gregory and Amy Carroll. So, when I started this podcast creation journey, I thought I had to be 20-23 minutes long and have a cohost. Then someone pointed out that not all podcasts are that length or have two people. I’ve heard funny ones and informational ones. What you create doesn’t have to be just like someone else you listen to.
Now should we try to speak clearly and well? Of course. But I’ve been in radio for 11+ years and I can tell you I sometimes stumble over words or get mixed up and have to start over. And even though my show is prerecorded, I don’t always fix that stuff when it’s little. Why? It makes the audience feel like I’m live and sitting with them, chatting together. Imperfection creates intimacy.
When you edit your podcast, don’t edit out every stumble or your weird laugh with a snort. Those things make you human and relatable to your listeners.
Give it to God and Have Fun!
“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9 NLT).
We make our plans but putting this idea before God is crucial. Pray about it and then take the leap. I once heard Christine Caine say, “God will open doors no man can close.” If God has given this desire to you to start a podcast, then none of the big, scary-looking things matter. Pray, learn, plan, and then take a leap and have fun.
Jenn Buell is a speaker, writer, radio DJ, and widowed mom to four amazing kids. She writes and podcasts to Christian single moms. Her podcast is “Right There With You” and can be found on iTunes. Find out more at jennbuell.com.