“I Used to Watch This?” is the podcast I started with my old friend Mike Frighetto and we recently recorded our 60th episode (if you count the original teaser). I’ll be honest, we were out for drinks one snowy winter night in the suburbs of Chicago when Mike F came up with the idea. Actually, I’m pretty sure it was something he had been thinking about for awhile and he probably thought it was a safe bet that I’d co-host with him. Since we were kids, I’ve always been the “computer guy” of or group of friends and that might come in handy. Or so he thought.
I’ll be honest, the other Mike does most of the work behind the show. In fact, he discovered the platform we host on, researched recording techniques and software, came up with the logo concept, got us hooked up with an awesome media group and usually picks out the shows we cover. That said, I have learned a great deal since starting a podcast. Quite a lot about podcasts and also a little bit about myself.
There is More to Podcasting than Just Podcasting
Is this obvious? I didn’t think so. Similar to blogging, being successful at podcasting requires more than just the core concept. Podcasting is what it’s about, but it’s just a part of the puzzle. Before you even get started, you have to know what hardware, tools, hosting, and software you’ll utilize. You’ll need to setup a website, research your topic, learn about your target audience. That’s all before you ever hit record on your computer.
Once you start producing episodes, you really have to spend as much time (or more) each week promoting your podcast. That means maintaining a Facebook page, building a twitter following, engaging with listeners, networking, marketing, attending events and planning. The one hour or so you hear on the podcast each week is supported by much more work that isn’t so obvious.
My Family Loves Me
Building off of the time commitment, I can tell you that my family loves me because they put up with my madness. They put up with me, but they don’t listen to my podcast. I get it, it’s not their thing. Whatever. I have a pretty demanding and time consuming business, not to mention the domain blog and writing I enjoy doing, and now I take even more time away from a wife, four kids, and two dogs? Yeah, they decided to put up with it and keep me around… for now.
Podcast Friends are Important
Just like in your day to day life, having podcast friends is important. What are podcast friends? Well, a podcast friend can be anyone from a social media connection (I’m not fond of using the term “follower”) to a fellow podcaster that drops a mention of your show on their podcast or works you into a mention in a post or tweet. It’s an influencer at any level that enjoys your podcast and is willing to talk about it. It can also be a podcaster that co-hosts your show or vice versa.
Since our niche is 70s and 80s TV shows, there are lots of car crashes and helicopter explosions. Every time I see a chopper slam into a mountain and burst into flames, I can’t help but mention the Exploding Helicopter podcast. Yes, there is a podcast about exploding helicopters, as there should be!
There is Nothing Like Swag
One of the first podcast events Mike F and I went to was a local event that gathered podcasters together at different booths and made us available to answer questions for people that were interested in podcasts or in starting a podcast. It was a lot of fun for us. We got a chance to meet some local podcasters like us and introduce our podcast to some local folks as well. We had business cards to pass out, but one thing I learned from another podcaster there is that people LOVE stickers. He had some really cool high-quality stickers and, in my mind, that stood out.
I’d been on the hunt for a while and recently received an order of vinyl stickers from StickerMule.com (great brandable domain name, by the way). They are die cut and I’m even happier than expected. They’re pretty popular and make anything I stick them on look like custom made swag. They’re more fun than business cards and more effective.
Podcasting is Therapeutic
The best part about the entire experience is that I really enjoy the art of podcasting. I love going back and watching the shows from my younger days. It’s amazing how many of them are actually still great shows and how many seemed so much better 30-40 years ago. The little nuggets of memories that still exist when I see a scene from, the Charlie’s Angels roller derby episode, for example, bring me back to simpler times. We can all use that once in a while.