The Pros and Cons of Starting Your Own Podcast
Podcasts aren’t new. They’ve been around for this entire century. But they’ve never been as popular as they are now. You might listen to some for fun or as a piece of your entrepreneurial education.
Have you ever thought about starting a podcast of your own?
Maybe you have something to say but you’re not sure how to get started. Or, maybe it never even occurred to you to try your hand at podcasting, but hey, why not?
Before rushing out to invest in thousands of dollars worth of fancy equipment, read on. Our pros and cons list of starting your own podcast should help you decide whether you’re ready to get on the air.
PRO: IT’S A GREAT CREATIVE OUTLET
When you have your own podcast, you don’t need to depend on others to validate your creative pursuits. Play music you composed read short stories you wrote, perform monologues from your favorite plays, and sing songs that showcase your natural talent.
CON: IT’S 100% AUDIO (MOSTLY)
While there are ways to share visual aids on a podcast, most people just want to listen. Those of you working in visual arts might not find your audience in podcasting.
PRO: ANYONE CAN START A PODCAST
While some popular podcasts have established celebrities at the helm, you don’t need a million Insta followers to launch yours. All you need is a microphone and a passion for something you can talk about for hours.
CON: ANYONE CAN START A PODCAST
Like zines in the 90s (ask your parents), podcasts are so easy to make that there’s a glut of them on the market. What will make yours stand out? If you don’t know how to answer that question, you might not be ready to start a podcast.
\PRO: YOU CAN WORK WITH FRIENDS
If you and your bestie spend hours dominating the world of fashion, a podcast could be a good next step. Why not get noticed – and maybe paid – for all that time you two spend talking about trends, fads, and style? Plenty of podcasts feature two friends talking to each other about stuff they love for an audience of like-minded fans.
CON: SYNCHING UP SCHEDULES
Starting a podcast with friends is a lot of fun and can lead to a successful business venture together. Except when you’re both too busy to work together. When the two of you never seem able to find enough time to record episodes, it might be time to consider doing a podcast solo. You can’t publish what you don’t have.
PRO: YOU CAN MAKE MONEY
We don’t want to ad-shame anyone, but you know there are certain companies that advertise on nearly every podcast in the world. You hear the hosts mention these brands again and again until you feel like you have to buy that product.
Those companies pay podcasters to broadcast their ads. They could pay YOU.
CON: YOU NEED AN AUDIENCE BEFORE YOU GET PAID ADS
Companies don’t want to spend money on ads that no one hears. Most sponsored ads are sold per thousands of downloads. That means you need at least a thousand downloads of your show before anyone will even think of sponsoring you. Even those that don’t require thousands of downloads usually have a minimum somewhere in the hundreds. Are you willing to put in the work it takes to get your podcast out there so you can start seeking sponsors?
PRO: ESTABLISH AUTHORITY
Nothing gives off an air of authority like speaking about a topic with confidence. When you know a lot about something, people will listen to you talk about it. Hosting a podcast about your favorite topic pretty much makes you an expert in the eyes of listeners. Adding passion and interesting content to each episode will keep listeners coming back for more.
Obviously, this doesn’t apply to those of you starting a creative or fictional podcast. But if you’re going to establish yourself as the leading expert on yoga and meditation, then you’d better be able to back yourself up with facts and proven results. There’s nothing quite as humiliating or detrimental to your career as being caught making up statistics and remedies on the fly.
PRO: YOU DON’T NEED TONS OF EXPENSIVE EQUIPMENT
A quiet space with decent acoustics (think walk-in closets), a microphone, and something to record your voice are the very basics to get you started. Use your laptop if you want to get started today. Practice what you’re going to say and dedicate some time to recording yourself and then editing your podcast for things like the intro and outro, and you’re good to go.
CON: BUT GOOD EQUIPMENT CAN MAKE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE
The right mic and sound editing software can turn your podcast from a homemade recording to something that sounds really professional. You can even buy acoustic panels that will help soundproof any room. Don’t have the money or desire to invest in all new equipment? Try eBay and search for “podcasting bundles.” Make sure you do your research before you lay down a single cent for any equipment, so you don’t get swindled.
OVERALL: DO YOUR HOMEWORK
As with nearly every other business a young entrepreneur such as yourself might consider, it pays to do your homework before starting a podcast. Have you thought about the title and how much it will get noticed? What about episode scheduling? Do you have a logo? Need music? What’s your unique hook to pull in listeners?
The more you plan your podcast before recording, the better off you’ll be once you go live. Having a plan is what separates you from the thousands of other would-be podcast stars trying to get noticed. When your podcast looks and sounds professional, it’s much more likely to be seen, downloaded, and taken seriously. It’s like any other enterprise you might start: you’ll get out of it what you put into it.
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