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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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-
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?
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 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!
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