So, you’ve launched your podcast and you’re a couple of seasons deep. Great work, friend. Are you feeling good about things? Have you settled into your groove? Are your listeners feeling your content and engaging consistently? Again, that is really good stuff! At this point you may have already implemented systems that allow you to cruise into autopilot.
But here’s a thought: what if instead of sitting back and easing off the gas pedal, you doubled down and invested further in your podcast? And I’m not talking about the typical things that come to mind when we hear the word investment. Gear is great, but I want to encourage you to focus on the guy or gal behind the gear…
In today’s blog I want to help you avoid getting too comfortable with your current status as a podcaster and delve deeper the next investments you should make to improve your podcast. Let’s discuss!
1. Your Speaking Skills
Podcasting is spoken word communication. Even when examining video podcasts, we quickly realize that the visual aspect of the content is secondary to the audio. This medium is all about what you say, and how you say it. People are tuning in, subscribing, following, and recommending because they value your voice and your ideas. Investing in your speaking skills is like a golfer investing in perfecting her swing – it’s at the heart of what you do and the benefits will be game changing.
What can I do?
You can sign up for Toastmasters and receive speech training – and trust me, it works! It’s helpful (and painful!) to have a group of skilled people with the same goal help you to grow by pointing out your communication flaws and affirming your strengths. You’ll work toward eliminating the distracting “uhm” and “ahs” that detract from your speech. You’ll be trained in the art of improv, and delivering a speech or sharing your opinion on the spot! This will make you sound more confident and sure of yourself, which in turn will contribute to your audience trusting you as an authority in your niche.
Ever considered voice lessons? I know, I know…you may not be a singer or discussing anything remotely musical in your podcast. But the collection of muscles and structures that make up our voices can be trained and strengthened. You can be taught to speak in a healthier way. This will make you sound better – regardless of the mic you’re using. It promotes the longevity of your voice, and thereby, your podcasting career!
You can also invest in your speaking skills by listening to other skilled speakers. Study great speeches, watch your favorite interviewer do his thing, study your favourite stand up comics and see how they maintain the attention of an otherwise hostile audience. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but there’s no need to copy! Take what you appreciate from those you most admire, and adapt it to your speaking style. This investment will take your podcast delivery to the next level.
Related Read: How Can I Increase My Confidence On The Mic?
2. Your Knowledge
Chances are you would have started your podcast because you’re already a trusted voice in your field. You’re the person others listen to, because you’re in the know. But, you can never know too much! Investing in your knowledge is a sure-fire way to improve your podcast. There are a number of practical ways you can do this.
Go to a bookstore in your city, find the appropriate section, and choose something new, from an author you’ve never heard of. You could even engage in what I call “cross-reading” (think of a mental form of cross-training), and read the work of authors who don’t specialize in your field. This is a great way to challenge deeply entrenched ways of thinking and processing. There’s something cool about doing this in person and being physically surrounded by the books as you embark on your knowledge quest, but online shopping will work just as well!
Get mentorship. Sign up for an e-course or Masterclass offered by a pro who has achieved mastery in a specific area that you don’t yet fully understand. Getting that understanding will enable you to deliver much greater value to your listeners. Find a mentor who may be a few years further down the road than you, and pick their brain over lunch or coffee. Tip: take notes, or even use the recorder app on your phone (with their consent). In person mentorship adds relationship to information, which always makes knowledge even easier to implement.
Adding to your knowledge will add to the influence and impact of your voice. Do this and improve your podcast!
3. Your Mental Health
What is mental health? Here’s a quick definition from MentalHealth.gov in their article entitled What is Mental Health?:
“Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.”
How will you benefit from investing in your mental health? Here a four reasons from the same article:
- You’ll be equipped to realize your full potential.
- You’ll be better able to cope with the stresses of life.
- You’ll have the mental fortitude to work productively.
- You’ll have the emotional space to make meaningful contributions to your communities.
You can invest in your mental health through simple daily disciplines, such as getting enough sleep, getting physically active, and staying positive. There are aso examples that may require a greater investment of time, intentionality and even money – like creating social circles of connection and accountability, taking the time to develop coping skills, and seeking professional help in the form of coaching and counselling if needed.
For practical mental health tips, check out our blog post 11 Ways To Prioritize Your Mental Health In Your Daily Routine
Investing in your sphere of influence and industry connections is an effective way to improve your podcast. This will enable you to build relationships and find potential new guests for your show. This also has the added benefit of “cross pollination” – you may very well be invited on to another podcasters show and have the opportunity to promote your brand on a completely different platform, to a completely different audience.
Meeting new people in your industry could also result in endorsements and partnerships with individuals or companies that share your outlook and serve the same demographic. And, in reference to point number 2, it’s a great way to simply learn more. As the ancient saying goes: “iron sharpens iron”!
5. Your Listeners
Effective investment in your listeners can be summed up in one word: engagement! Engaging your listeners directly will serve to build your community and increase the value they get from your show.
Never react to provocations, but always try to respond to genuine inquiries. Answer questions in comment sections on social media. Respond to negative emails with grace and clarity. Conduct polls to gauge listener’s opinions and needs. Give away prizes through competitions, and repurpose the entry requirements as user generated content (for example, “Send in your best business tip – the winner will get a gift card and their tip will be featured on next week’s show!”). This causes your audience to further buy into not only your podcast, but your brand and the community surrounding it. Undoubtedly, a huge improvement for any podcast!
6. Your Elements
Your podcast artwork, your logo and your podcast theme music are all elements that should be given your best thought and attention. Strike the balance between unbridled creativity, and strategic marketing savvy.
Make sure your logo reflects your podcast name, is clear and easily recognizable. Don’t cut corners on your 3,000 x 3,000 pixel podcast artwork, get it professionally done (consult Fiverr if you don’t personally have the skill set – their freelance artists are skilled and affordable).
Make sure your theme music or ambient sound isn’t annoying, or kitschy (unless you have a podcast exploring history’s most jarring and garish culture trends!). Investing in these elements of your podcast are like a firm handshake and warm smile, they’re the “front cover” to your book (read: painstaking project of passion in which you’ve already invested your blood, sweat and tears!). Why not invest further, by making sure these things are improved upon and represent you in the best way possible.
There are investments that we can make in our podcasting that go beyond the physical and the tangible. Making sure that you have the best mics, headphones, DAWS and computers available to you are incredibly essential – these things are the backbone of your podcast. But if those are the backbone, you, podcasting friend, are the beating heart.
Invest in your skills behind the mic, in addition to the mic. Invest both in what fills your mind, as well as the health of your mind. Invest by growing your network, remembering that your listeners are a valuable part of it too. And invest in making a great first impression, as that will leave a lasting impression. Invest in these ways and enjoy the success that comes as a result!