Pen and Parent
Spread the Word

How to Start a Successful Podcast

Check out this article by Christine Blackburn from Story Worthy podcast who tell you the necessary steps/tips to make your podcast successful.

by Christine Blackburn, Creator of the Story Worthy Podcast

I recently celebrated the 7th year anniversary of the second love of my life, my podcast Story Worthy. It is a weekly show featuring Hollywood's most creative talents telling true stories followed by a discussion. It’s funny, insightful and addictive (if I do say so myself!)

More...

When I started podcasting the second love of my life, my daughter, was just three years old. Now 450 shows later, she is starting 5th grade. Come to think of it, my daughter Alabama can probably not remember a time when I wasn’t recording, editing, booking, posting, writing, and/or talking about Story Worthy!

I’ve been asked several times what the impetus was for starting the show. It was a combination of the MOTH storytelling show and Adam Carolla. For anyone that doesn’t know, the MOTH is a live storytelling show that gives participants an opportunity to get on stage and tell a true 5-minute story on the evening’s topic.

The stories are then judged (by random people in the audience) and the winner gets a t-shirt and the opportunity to perform on another evening. I always enjoyed the MOTH, but I found myself wanting to know more after the stories. I’d chase down storytellers after the show to ask follow up questions. Some people ran from me. I get that.

TELL A GOOD STORY

Adam Carolla is a brilliant radio personality and comedian who, after getting kicked off terrestrial radio, started his own podcast in 2009. I love Adam’s quick wit, sensibilities, and take on the world.

I was fortunate enough to have Adam as a guest on Story Worthy’s 5th Anniversary Show. He tells a funny story about going to someone’s house to build a closet (he was a carpenter at the time) and when the job was done, he realized he was in the wrong house. It’s a hilarious story and you guys wanna go back in the Story Worthy catalog and have a listen.

So it was these two entities that became the catalyst for me to start Story Worthy. I fell in love with the art of storytelling from the MOTH and my love of podcasting came from Adam.

WORK HARD

But here’s the thing--the last seven years has been a lot of work. Producing a weekly podcast takes up a huge amount of time. There’s booking, scheduling, researching, recording, editing, artwork, building and maintaining a website, maintaining a mailing list, posting to social media and promoting the show. Notice I didn’t even touch on sound equipment, which is the primary tool you’ll need! Plus, you’ll need to learn how to record and edit your own stuff, unless you are paying someone else to do it for you.

Creating a weekly podcast never ends. It keeps moving forward. Monday comes every week, and you have to put the content out there. You cannot be successful in podcasting if you only post six shows a year. There is a diligence to it. People expect the show to drop the same time each week, and I have to tell you, it becomes a grind. No one is going to fire you. You just keep going and going and going.

THINK LONG TERM

After about a year or two of recording your podcast, you begin to think it’ll get easier, and in some ways it does. Specifically, you get better at it. You learn what works and what does not work. You learn to trim the fat, get to the good stuff, and move things along.

One advantage I discovered from editing Story Worthy is that I can control the annoyances, the glitches. If I hear an audio pop, I cut it out. I know that if I cringe listening to an episode, the listener is cringing too. So the good news is, yes, you do get better. But still, it’s hard.

Hidden Content

10 Tips on How to Start a Podcast

Obviously I couldn’t, nor would I want to, talk someone out of creating a podcast. In fact, I encourage anyone who has the passion and desire to podcast to get going! But think it through…here are a few tips-

  • Consider the subject matter. What is your area of expertise?
  • Are you going to have guests and are you planning on doing long-form interview? This is a very popular format and you may want to narrow the theme. Guests get tired of answering the same questions over and over again.
  • Consider the logo. It needs to be very clear in a teeny TINY square. Many people use their cell phones to access shows. Be mindful of how your logo will appear on small screens.
  • Consider the length of each episode and remember-- less is more! You want the audience to want more so that they’ll listen again. If the guest is that engaging, split the episode into two parts.
  • What about sound? One resource I use is PremiumBeat. Don’t steal music… it starts your podcast out on the wrong foot altogether.
  • Where does the content “live”? What company will you choose to host it? Libsyn and ART19 are a few I’ve worked with. They offer different options, so research the choices.
  • Invest in good sound equipment and learn how to use it. I buy most of my stuff from B & H Audio and Musician’s Friend. I use the H4 Zoom recorder along with external microphones, good mike-stands, and pop filters.
  • Stockpile episodes. Don’t put any shows up until you have at least 3-5 stockpiled. If you can’t keep shows stockpiled, look out! You’ll run out of shows!
  • Keep the shows evergreen, not topical, that way you’ll get future downloads.
  • And one of the most important things? Listen to other podcasts! Take notes on what you like and don’t like. Learn from other people who are doing what you want to do!

MONETIZING TO MAKE MONEY

Some of you may be wondering about monetizing a podcast. Before you can think about money, the first thing you need to do is create the show and stick with it for awhile. Build up a fanbase. Find out who your fans are. I don’t know any sponsors that would be willing to take a chance on a show without seeing a track record of their performance and a breakdown of their audience.

My point is, if you can’t get the show up and running for at least 3 months, I’m not sure you’ll get any interest in sponsorship.  But let’s say that you do… the important thing is to be working with a hosting company (like ART19) that has the ability to insert and delete ads dynamically. Otherwise you will end up advertising for someone in perpetuity. It will always “live” within the show. I don’t know any other way around this issue. I am currently with Wondery Network and part of the advantage in working with a network is they help you find sponsors.

Of course it’s a catch 22. You need to create your content (your product) FIRST. Start your mailing list. Get your website and social media in order…and keep recording! Try to get on other people’s shows… do live performances in your town. All of these things need to happen in conjunction with each other...THEN you may get some interest in a network. The obvious question you need to ask yourself is--what can I do for them?

BE PATIENT

Look guys, this stuff doesn’t happen overnight. It take time… and lots of it! But if you have a passion and you have a purpose, you can and WILL make it happen. With all the podcasting tools you need at your disposal, the ball is definitely in your court. There is no excuse not to try. Good luck to you. Viva la podcasting!

Do you have a podcast? We’d love to hear about your experiences with Podcasting in the comments!

Christine Blackburn Storyworthy

Christine Blackburn created the Story Worthy Podcast and is the author of "PIT to LAX: My Story Worthy Life”. Prior to that she hosted Ready For The Weekend Movies on USA Network for two years. She is a regular contributor to Huff Post and is a three time MOTH Story Slam winner.  Click on the following links to learn more about Christine and her company Story Worthy Media. Subscribe to the Story Worthy Podcast here and never miss an episode!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and

Do you want to know how to start a successful podcast? Check out this article by Christine Blackburn from Story Worthy podcast on how to create a podcast.

Leave a Comment:

4 comments
Add Your Reply
130 Shares