Studio #5 The Mindset for Podcasting
Today, I’d like to talk about a few things that have very little to do with the physical act of recording, editing, or promoting your podcast. What I’m going to share is a little more abstract, a little more guru-y if you will, but no less important, and that is to have the right mindset before getting started. Also going to talk about celebrating the small victories that you’ll have along the way and not dwelling on your failures.
It’s scary to create something new, especially something new that you’re about to turn loose on the world. It wasn’t until the fourth episode of this show that I decided that I needed to tell people that I had a show, and I don’t know why that was. Maybe it was nervousness about being rejected or people ridiculing it. Maybe it was the perfectionist in me that felt like, “You know what? I haven’t really done the absolute best recording that I could yet. Maybe I don’t have all the information that I want to ultimately have on my website.” When I mentioned on my Facebook that I had a new show and I started talking about it on Twitter and tweeting at companies that I had talked about on one of my episodes to let them know that, “Hey, I created a podcast that talks about you,” there was some apprehension there. I’ve had that apprehension even though I’ve done this before. I’ve created other shows. I’ve worked on other shows, probably had about 200 episodes that I’ve edited under my belt now, but that apprehension is always there. That anxiety is always there just creating something new and telling people about it and showing it to people, letting people listen. It’s an obstacle for a lot of people.
But, I think what really helps is having the right mindset. That’s something that you don’t develop overnight. It’s something that you have to kind of train yourself to do. I’m not going to get too in the weeds with leadership talk, and coaching, and things like that, but mindset has been something that is really important. I want to talk about just how I developed the mindset that I have today, and how it evolved a little bit, and also talk about the ways that a positive mindset can help serve you in this undertaking of building out your own podcast show. When I first got started podcasting, it was interesting because I had an idea that I wanted to release content in an audio-only format. The company that I work for has a lot of content that’s in a video-only format. What I found was after talking to the consumers of that content, the members, the customers that we have, who we create the videos for, I found out that they don’t really have a lot of time to watch videos. They’re busy. They run a medical office. They don’t have uninterrupted time to watch a 15 or 20 minute video.
Originally what I was thinking about doing was just transcribing the video into text, and then coming up with a blog post. That was my initial thought about how to repurpose the video into a format that people could consume. It never really dawned on me that if you don’t have time to watch a 20 minute video, do you have time to read a 20 minute blog post? You know, probably not. As I was transcribing, and back then I didn’t have a service that transcribed for me, so I was listening to videos and transcribing them by hand, which is kind of crazy if you think about it, but sometimes we do crazy things for concepts that we want to prove out or disprove. I had the video actually in another tab, and I kind of clicked away from the tab and I was typing on my computer, and I could only hear the audio. I realized that, “Hey, this actually works as just an audio-only format. You know, nothing that’s being discussed was referencing a visual …” It just made sense to me that I should try to strip the audio out of the video and release that as a podcast, and just listen to it and see what that sounded like. I did that and it sounded great.
It just brought another element to the content that I was trying to create. It made it feel more personal. It made it feel more intimate. It was in my ear. It was something that I could off and do other things, and I could still be kind of passively listening and taking in some new information. The earliest I put in air quotes, “podcasts” that I made was audio that was just derived from video. But, the topic of those videos was all about mindset. It was about leadership, and mindset, and teamwork, and things like that. So, over the course of about a year of editing and transcribing videos into an audio in a written format, I picked up a couple of tips along the way. At the time, those tips didn’t really influence me directly, but I’ve found as time has progressed they’ve influenced me more and more. One of the topics that was covered, was a lot about mindset. I’ll link in the show notes to some of these early hybrid video/audio podcasts that I created that talk on these topics so you can check them out for yourself.
Here’s kind of what I distilled from them and how it’s impacted me in terms of building out shows, and having the perseverance, and the courage in some ways, to put something out there in the world and see what people think. One of the things that I want to stress is that with your mind set, is to keep the end goal in mind. Where are you heading? I kind of like to call it like your North Star. Like, what is it that you’re aspiring to? You’ll probably hear other people suggest differently if you listen to leadership talk. I don’t think that your North Star, your end goal necessarily has to be realistic at the beginning. You don’t necessarily need to know how to get there, you just need to know where you want to go. I’ve used the analogy before, in some ways I feel like what I do, or what I provide at my job is I’m that person that will kind of go scale a mountain to see what’s on the other side of it, and then come back and create a map for everyone else to get there. Somebody has to be the first to go find what’s on the other side.
That was kind of how I treated taking these videos, and taking this huge library of content that we invested thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars in, and we had hundreds of hours of content. Somebody had to kind of go through it, and deconstruct it, and break it down, and edit it, and make it shorter because it just wasn’t being used. No one really knew how to do that including me. I had no idea how to do it, and there’s a lot of things that I just kind of stumbled on. If I would’ve thought at the beginning that it was going to take me over a year to get to that point, or that doing this would even lead me to the point to where I wanted to help other people learn how to build podcasts and have my own show, I couldn’t have imagined how much difference there would be between me then and now. If I would’ve thought about it, I probably would’ve stopped me from doing it in the first place. I think your goal doesn’t necessarily have to be realistic at first. Maybe it’s even better if it’s not realistic at first, it’s just something that you want to aspire to.
The second point that I kind of want to talk about is, you also need to figure out who you’re doing this for. Who are you building a show for? You could always say, “Well I’m building a show for these specific listeners,” in the case of studio, which is kind of how I’m shortening this show’s title. I want to reach people that want to do podcasting, that want to produce professional sounding podcasts through investment, gear, editing, process, et cetera. I want to help businesses that want to tell stories using this medium. I want to help individuals. I want to help people that want to really explore podcasting. That’s who I want to do it for. Beyond that, I love podcasting. I love sitting down and recording. Whether anyone listens, or they respond, or they engage with me, or they like, or they share, at the end of the day I’m doing this for myself. I love to do it. I’m doing it because I love it, and that’s important. I think that you need to love doing this.
I think the next thing you should do is ask yourself what success looks like. You won’t ever really know what success looks like until you spend time studying who is doing this successfully. That might involve reaching out to them and asking them. It might involve listening to interviews, or reading on their website, or seeing who influences them and following those people on social media. Who are they talking to? What are they saying? You may need to do some legwork to reach out to a host, or reach out to a company that produces a podcast. Ask them, “Who on your team produces your podcasts? How do I get in touch with them? I’d love to ask some questions. How can I follow them on social media?” Do some Google searches, and you should identify, like what’s the gold standard. Who does the podcasts that you wish that you did? Then, study how they do it. Something that I only came upon recently, but has been really helpful that I want to share is to break down what you’re doing into small chunks. What can you do tody that’s going to move you closer to having your own show?
Maybe you can’t record today, but can you go on to YouTube? Can you read? Can you listen to a show? Can you ask a question? Think about all the different things that you need to do in order to move yourself closer to your goal, and just focus on a couple of them. Break things down into chunks. You’re not going to have a successful show overnight. You’re not going to learn everything there is to know about audio gear overnight. There’s not one single resource out there that’s going to teach you everything you need to know all at one time. Break things down into chunks. They don’t have to be big things. They can be small. For me, sometimes it’s just, “Hey, I want to write up an outline of what I want to talk about today.” I might not use that outline for a couple of days, but I have 30 minutes free, I can write up an outline. Or, maybe I want to get better at processing audio, and removing sound from my recordings. Maybe I can go to YouTube and I can do some searches and look up some tutorials. Just anything you can do to move yourself, or advance yourself a little forward is good. All those little things add up to big things.
The final thing I would say is not to run away from failure. You don’t learn unless you make mistakes. If you never made a mistake, then you never learned anything. You should not be afraid to fail. You should actually embrace failing. One of the things that I like to do often is go back and listen to some of the very first recordings that I did for podcasts. I’m going to include a clip from one of the very, very first times that I ever sat down and recorded with another person. To me it’s kind of embarrassing, but it shows you how far you’ve come. The audio quality, the editing, the comfort talking behind a microphone, all of those things should be evident when you listen to what you’re doing now versus where you started. I like to do that with other people’s podcasts. I’ll go back and listen to the first episode of some of my favorite podcasts, and there’s a huge difference between the sound, the presentation, the comfort, the flow, the dynamics, between where they started, their point A, to where they’re at now, which is point B or point Z if they’re really well established.
I definitely would recommend that you do that. It’s actually a good technique to do anyway to get used to listening to your old stuff because you’ll be able to see how much you’ve improved. Sometimes when you get into the grind of a day to day kind of you’re producing a show, you’re editing it, you’re just … you feel like you’re on an assembly line to an extent. Sometimes you can’t appreciate how much you’ve really learned over time unless you go back and listen to what you’ve worked on before. I think that’s probably applicable in every kind of creative endeavor that you have. Look at where you started, look where you are now, appreciate all of the success and the difference. I’m going to play just a little clip here. This is from a podcast that we actually never got off the ground, which was called, Process. This was with a co-worker of mine at the time who’s since moved on to other things. Her name is Samantha Ross. She was one of the very first people that I kind of partnered up with to explore the medium of podcasting. So, check out this clip.
A sample from one of my very first podcasts, Producers.