There’s something to be said for just going for it.
Throwing caution to the wind, not waiting for things to be perfect, and just starting an independent podcast. Yes… that’s what we’re talking about!
We’re big fans of creators, storytellers, and experts seizing an opportunity to be heard. After all, that’s how many of the most incredible podcasts get started in the first place. Someone took a chance and started producing content.
If you share your truth – your unique perspective – you can really do no wrong. Audiences crave authenticity, and the best way to achieve that is by being, well, you.
However, there are inevitable podcasting mistakes you really don’t want to make if you want your show to be successful. So if you’re thinking about starting a podcast (or if you’ve already started one, but things aren’t going as planned), here are four big mistakes to avoid.
Mistake #1: Not Defining Your Purpose or Target Audience
The first step in launching a successful podcast is sitting down and figuring out what your show will be about and who it’s for.
Your podcast purpose is what will drive every decision you make about your show, from the topics you cover to the guests you invite on as experts. And your target audience is who you’re making the show for – so it’s essential to get clear on who they are, what they want, and how your show can serve them.
If you’re not sure where to start, try brainstorming a list of potential topics for your show. Then, once you have a good idea of what you want to talk about, it will be easier to zero in on who your target listener is.
For example, let’s say you want to start a podcast about personal development. That’s a great topic! But there are a lot of different directions you could take it and a lot of other people who might be interested in listening.
So you need to get specific. What kind of personal development are you going to focus on? Is it for people who want to improve their relationships, careers, or health?
And who is your target audience? Are they men or women, young or old, single or married? Once you have a better idea of who you’re making the show for, it will be easier to figure out what to say – and how to say it.
Mistake #2: Not Having a Marketing Plan
The next mistake to avoid is not having a plan for how you will market your show. Just because you launch a podcast doesn’t mean people are going to find it – you have to be proactive about getting the word out there and driving traffic to your site.
There are many different ways you can market your podcast, and you’ll likely want to try a few other tactics to see what works best for you. But some of the most effective methods include:
- Submitting your show to popular podcast directories like iTunes and Stitcher
- Using social media to promote your episodes
- Guest blogging on related websites
- Advertising your show on relevant Facebook groups
We know it sounds like a lot of work. If you have the budget, you can hire an outside firm to help with your podcast marketing, which can take a lot of the burden off of your shoulders. But even if you’re doing it yourself, it’s essential to have a plan in place, so you’re not just winging it as you go.
Mistake #3: Not Using the Right Platform or Equipment
Before we talk about platforms and equipment, let’s take a step back. Before beginning, you’ll want to know the format of your show.
Will it be audio-only? Or will you capitalize on a larger audience by publishing a video for each episode?
You’ll also want to decide how long each show will be and how often you publish new episodes. Once you have a good idea of the format of your show, you can start thinking about platforms and equipment.
If you’re planning on recording audio-only episodes, you won’t need much equipment. A good quality microphone is always a valuable investment, but other than that, you can get started quickly.
On the other hand, if you’re planning on doing video episodes (or even recording videos for social media promotion), you’ll need to think about cameras. You can either use your laptop’s webcam or invest in a higher-quality camera for a clearer image.
For a more in-depth look at starting a podcast, check out this article here!
Most novice podcasters turn to video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams.
On the surface, these tools seem like they would be perfect for podcasting. And, in some ways, they are. But there are a few downsides to using them that are worth considering.
First, these platforms were designed for live conversation, not recording. This means that the audio quality isn’t always excellent. Network speeds, internet connection issues, and other factors can lead to choppy audio or dropouts.
Additionally, most of these platforms compress the audio when recording, further degrading the quality. If you’re planning on recording high-quality audio episodes, you’ll need to look for a dedicated podcasting platform.
Some popular podcasting platforms include:
When vetting a platform, you want to pay careful attention to the features. For instance, with Boomcaster, you only pay for the minutes of recording that you actually need.
We record locally on each participant’s device and automatically upload it to the cloud. That means you get pristine audio and video files that you can use however you want.
Additionally, it’s essential to ensure that the platforms you’re considering have good customer support in case you run into any issues.
Mistake #4: Using Copyrighted Music
Podcasters often make one mistake in using copyrighted music in their episodes without getting the proper permissions.
There are a lot of great songs out there, and it can be tempting to use one as intro music or the background ambiance for your show. But if you don’t have the proper license, you could be opening yourself up to serious legal trouble. If you’re looking to monetize your show, copyright issues can limit your access to sponsorships and ad networks.
You want to steer clear of using any copyrighted material unless you have explicit permission from the copyright holder. That includes music and extends to sound effects, TV show clips, and more.
If you’re not sure whether or not something is copyrighted, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and not use it.
There are many great royalty-free options out there that you can use instead.
Alternatively, you could hire a freelance musician or audio engineer from Fiverr or Upwork to create custom tracks unique to your show. Whichever you choose, make sure it fits the vibe of your presentation!
Planning Ahead for Success
As you can see, there are a lot of potential mistakes that podcasters can make. But by taking the time to plan ahead, you can avoid them and set your show up for success.
Don’t get bogged down in the minutiae if you’re just starting out. Pick a topic, define your audience and format, select a platform and start creating.