Reflections on a year as a podcaster

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Reflections on a year as a podcaster

I've been hosting a podcast for the past year with an understanding that I'm new at it. I'm still figuring out wtf I'm doing, in prep, hosting, scripts (or not), branding, promotion… I'm still learning but I feel like I've gotten repeatable processes set up to be able to put out content I'm proud of.

I started hosting events before I started recording, because I didn't feel confident that I'd be able to doing it well. It was anxiety provoking but ultimately went well, so I quickly figured out a rhythm for recording and publishing and started inviting everyone I could to join us for a live stage event. It ended up being a really great excuse to attend conferences, so I could meet cool folks to have as guests

I'm really happy with how a lot of those conversations turned out, I think they were very deep and meaningful and I'd like to do more. But they were also a lot of prep work, challenging to schedule, and highly variable.

From the start I found raw recordings to be unpleasant to listen to, and began editing them (shoutout Descript, which absolutely enabled me to do this. I don't think I would have otherwise). But editing was a significant time burden, between 2-4 hours depending on my perfectionism. So I found an editor, and developed a rhythm working with them. That freed me up to get better at publishing, and I found a format for the transcript and episode description I'm happy with.

I hosted the first event in December 2022, so it's been a little over a year since I began doing this type of work. I'm a very reluctant podcaster; I spent 6+ months trying to convince friends and acquaintances to host events of some sort, so I could focus on production aspects. I didn't find any takers though, and shifted focus. I felt that live events were a good way of bringing people together, especially experimenting with different types of events. The recordings, too, serve a promotional function for the broader community as well as an anchor for sponsorship.

Now that I'm feeling better about prep and hosting, I can shift learning focus onto something new: sales and audience development. I've played with promotion, but I've also tried to maintain some understanding of how subscribers behave. How many will listen without any promotion? How do I get subscribers, especially subscribers who will listen consistently?

I've so far kept promotion relatively light, especially while I experimented with format and process; just too much mental energy to do all at once. Posting to the announcements channel, tweeting the transcript, paid LinkedIn post, and reddit. Now, I'll have to focus a little more on how to do that aspect of it well — now that I'm producing something I'm proud of, how do I get it in front of the right people?