Launching your first podcast can be a daunting task. More so, staying committed to it when the going gets tough. However, with the right guidance and encouragement, you just might do it! When starting out on any new venture, like a podcast, one of the main factors that can determine success is whether or not you have a mentor guiding you through the process.
The role of a mentor is to help you narrow your scope and move you past the awkward beginning stages while at the same time showing you how to challenge yourself and reach your goals. There are many challenges and pitfalls to look out for of as you start on your journey. One wrong step can end up costing you in both time and money.
Often times, we just need someone alongside us, cheering us on and offering insights on their own personal experience. Most of all, making us aware of all the things we don’t know that we don’t know!
1. Learning from Experience
One of the best things about a mentor is that they’ve been where you haven’t! They’ve faced the same challenges that you are yet to encounter. You can tap into their experience and learn from their mistakes. They can help you navigate some of the typical obstacles such as audio quality, interview techniques, and editing, which are just a few places where a mentor can come in handy.
Their experience is invaluable and can save you a lot of time wasted on going down the wrong path. They can help you find the right tools to use, show you where it is important to delegate and even let you make the mistakes that will benefit your learning process in the long-run. Your mentor will be instrumental in helping you get past these roadblocks and will help you keep your focus on the bigger picture of your podcasting journey.
2. Defining Your Ideal Listener
With all great podcasts, one of the main things that makes them successful is that they have taken the time to identify their ideal listener. Once they’ve pinned down exactly who they are talking to these podcasters can then create and tailor their content specifically for their audience. With the guidance of your mentor, you have the chance to work on identifying exactly who your listener is and how you can best serve them. Ultimately, this listener will become your audience avatar, the person you’re creating the podcast for.
Using this avatar, it will guide you with all the future content that you create, content that will matter most to the audience you are trying to reach. Developing a strong avatar is a step that many podcasters skip because they think they already know who the audience is that they want to serve. Your mentor will enforce why it is important to take the time and develop your avatar before you even think of recording your first episode. This way your message does not get lost in translation or fall on deaf ears, but it will be specifically focused on serving the exact audience who needs to hear it.
3. Creating Accountability
The number one reason why podcasters fail is that they cannot commit to consistently producing episodes. This is why having someone to hold you accountable is so important! Of course, there are tons of courses and how-to videos, but nothing replaces that one-on-one relationship with a mentor to keep you accountable and encourage you to stay on schedule. It is a lot harder to get ahead once you already fall behind on your recording process. Having a mentor to keep you on track will prevent the content creation overwhelm from occurring, removing yet another obstacle that might get in the way of your podcast’s success.
This is where self-awareness comes into play; if you are the type of person who doesn’t have the discipline to stick to your schedule or if you are a bit of a procrastinator, then you definitely have to consider seeking out a mentor. Having weekly check-ins with them will not only help you stay on track but will give you smaller steps to focus on so that the process does not seem so daunting. Having someone there by your side to hold you accountable can work wonders for your productivity and ensure that you stay committed to your listeners as well.
4. Setting Realistic Goals
As with any podcaster, the goal is to launch a successful podcast with tons of new listeners and perhaps even a spot on the New & Noteworthy section of iTunes. However, this may not be possible for everyone. A mentor is going to work closely with you on setting realistic goals that are best suited for you and for your podcast. They will help guide you back to the avatar that you’ve identified and set goals that are based on the behavior of your ideal listener. The right mentor will be there to remind you that every person and every podcaster is different. So too, the goals and expectations for each podcast will also be different.
For example, if the purpose of your podcast is to work as a lead magnet for your website or a service you provide, then a high ranking in iTunes is obviously not your main goal. If your podcast is simply something you are doing for fun, then a mentor will be there to help you stay focused on that goal and why you got started in the first place. The same goes for if you are setting out to become one of the top podcasters out there. Your mentor will help you break it down, step-by-step, to get to your goal.
5. Challenging Yourself
Many times, when we are going on the journey alone, it can be easy to become stagnant. Content creation becomes redundant, your ideas fizzle out, and you feel like you are no longer creating anything ground-breaking. A mentor can be there to challenge you in new ways to inspire you to get refocused on why you started podcasting in the first place. At that moment, you might even be too close to the podcast and simply need to have an objective opinion.
Having a mentor by your side, to be a sounding board for a brainstorming session will enable you to get the creative juices flowing. The key is to know that there is always something to learn, no matter how far along you are in the process. Draw on the knowledge and experience from your mentor, allow them to challenge you and take you to new heights that you may not be able to get to on your own.
6. Building Your Podcast Network
As a new podcaster, you are technically the “new kid on the block”. You haven’t been on the podcasting scene for nearly as long as many of the podcasting greats and it can often be hard to get a foot in the door. Seeking a mentor can be exactly what you need to get connected to the podcasting space. Their influence can help open doors in the podcasting community that otherwise might be closed to you.
As you may already know, one of the best ways to get exposure for your new podcast is to invite high profile guests to your show and also to be a guest on other high-profile podcasts. Your mentor should be someone who can get you the right introductions to be able to help with both of these. From there, your mentor can coach you through the relationship building process to help create those lasting connections that will help pull your podcast to greater heights.
7. Offering Motivating and Encouraging
To launch a successful, long-standing podcast there are two key things that you need; motivation and encouragement. If you do not have it in yourself to stay motivated when the going gets tough, you are much more likely to quit and never see your podcast succeed. Understanding this about yourself can help further reinforce the benefits of having a mentor by your side, encouraging you and motivating you to get through the tough parts to reap the benefits on the other end. They can be your personal cheerleader, giving you that extra little push you may need.
This is especially vital when you aren’t seeing the results you wanted right away. When you lose sight of the goals that you have set for yourself your mentor can guide you back towards your plan. Remember, success does not happen overnight. The worst thing you can do is to get caught up in that fantasy and forget to put in the hard work required to make something great. Stick with your mentor, let them inspire you and help you find the inner determination to see your podcasting journey through to the end.