Ep. 48 - Building a Successful Podcast: Prioritizing Authenticity, Consistency & Relationships to Drive Engagement and Value - with Crate Media

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In episode 44, we explored the entrepreneurial journey of the three founding members of Crate Media, the production company and media agency behind the Strategic Momentum Podcast. The trio shared the challenges they faced growing a remote startup, the lessons they learned, and the passion for podcasting that keeps them going.

Through their experiences, they’ve come to learn how to master the technical and strategic elements of their industry and navigate a still nascent medium while driving momentum for their clients and their own business.

In this episode, the team returns to share what they’ve learned along the way and provide their take on the podcasting space – from what it takes to create a successful podcast to the common challenges and misconceptions that cause many to get stuck.

Getting Back to the Basics and Taking an Entrepreneurial Mindset to Podcasting

For Cody, Hayden, and Ben, the intimacy of podcasting has always drawn them to the medium.  They like the vulnerability of the candid conversations and the personalized, one-on-one feeling of the listening experience. It’s also an opportunity for captivating, uninterrupted storytelling, and, as Hayden said, “Whether they admit it or not, everyone would like their story told.”

Podcasting began with “indie” roots, says the team. But now podcasting’s erupting popularity has caused the industry to rapidly change shape over the last decade. With the introduction of iPhones and Apple Podcasts, the ease of accessibility and development has created an explosion from both a listenership and creation perspective. New podcasts are popping up every day from myriad self-publisher and you can find a show covering just about any topic in any industry.

But the rush to create and publish content also means greater competition, which is why Hayden says you really have to think about running a podcast like running a business, applying an entrepreneurial mindset to create momentum. You need a purpose, vision and strategy; But even with these drivers, there are still things people are doing wrong.

The Myths and Misconceptions that Inhibit Podcast and Community Growth

Because of the number of tools out there to help get you started, and the ease of access to equipment, many people believe it’s very easy to start a podcast – and it is, at least compared to most self-published media. But Ben Gregson tells us that building an audience and maintaining momentum is a much more difficult endeavor.

To be successful, you need to have a clear purpose for your podcast and a focus on creating value for your listeners, says the Crate Media team. You shouldn’t expect to advertise and monetize quickly; building relationships is the most important part. And there isn’t a “right” frequency or length or other metrics to standardize how podcasts should be run.

To optimize “the how,” you have to determine what you are best at so that you never lose sight of the “why” – that passion that drove you to do this in the first place. Then, keep in mind that what you start out with may not be what you end up with because you will end up pivoting and evolving your podcast to align to what feels right to you.

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Predictions for The Future of Podcasting

As podcasting becomes more mainstream, involvement from business and brands is changing the face of the industry. The team predicts that the industry will go where the money goes and continue to thrive as long as businesses invest in creating content – however, there is concern that corporate involvement will diminish the intimate, personalized experience that made podcasting great in the beginning. For now, though, it’s a waiting game and the team hopes to continue pushing forward story-based shows that deliver value and drive engagement.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Podcasting started with “indie” roots, and as it’s gained popularity, it’s become more niche across a broader range of topics. Now there is competition to win listeners.

  • Podcasting beckons an entrepreneurial mindset; you have the freedom to drive the show in any direction you want and speak to whomever you want, but that comes with great responsibility.

  • With the perception that building a successful podcast is easy, many don’t think to put a strategy behind it. But like any other business venture, you need to start out with a plan – a clear purpose for being and a vision for where you want to go.

    • Don’t make generating revenue the purpose of your show. It should have real meaning and passion behind it. Building those relationships with your potential listeners should come first.

  • Create authentic experiences. If you’re the host, be yourself and be true to your audience. Cody says, “ What people want to hear is who you are, your personality, how you talk to these people. And they really want to feel like they connect, and they know who is hosting the show that they're listening to.”

  • When you do monetize, don’t think you are limited to ads. There are various ways you can get income.

  • Outsource whenever necessary or minimize unwanted tasks. If there are certain parts of producing a podcast that make it less enjoyable for you, then try to delegate or remove the task so you never lose your joy or passion in creating the show.

  • Consistency is far more important than frequency – but content reigns supreme. Don’t sacrifice the quality of an episode for the sake of publishing at an exact time and date.

  • Podcast content is essentially evergreen – anyone can listen to any episode you’ve published at any time. So make sure every episode reflects your best work and never publish just to publish.

  • Don’t be rigid in your publishing style and expect your show to evolve. Having passion and patience, and being able to adjust along the way, is important to building an audience that truly connects with your story.

  • Testing-and-learning is both a short-term and long-term process. In the short term, you have instant feedback on every episode that you can use to improve the next one. In the long-term, you learn, overall, what content your audience likes best and the best way to deliver it.

  • It’s important for big brands who produce shows to keep the intimate storytelling style of podcasting; commercialization will cause the medium, and perhaps the industry, to lose its appeal.

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