Five things you can do now if you want to start a podcast for your business in 2021

It’s a week before Christmas and I am getting ready for some time off, relaxing, eating, drinking and spending time working on my business rather than in my business.

I’m really looking forward to getting some 2021 planning done - yes I may be tempting fate but I know from this year it’s far easier to change a plan you’ve already made when surprises such as a pandemic come along than it is to come up with something from scratch.

And if you are going to be doing similar and podcasting is on your list of 2021 goals because it didn’t happen this year then I’ve got 5 things you can do over the Christmas break to get you on the best footing when you come to getting your podcast started next year.

And the good news is you can do all of these things with a mince pie and some mulled wine (or if you’re feeling particularly cheeky a Baileys - pop it in your hot chocolate or your coffee. Nobody will know)

1) Set a launch date.

I have my 2021 wall planner and my 2021 diary ready to go. And I don’t think there’s much in life that gives more pleasure than opening up that blank diary or planner and putting appointments in it.

Starting those fresh plans. It’s an utter joyous wonder to me.

And I’m also a big fan of accountability so sitting down and deciding when you are going to launch your podcast and writing it on your calendar or diary is a great idea.

If you have a date that you need something to be done by it gives you an opportunity to work backwards to find the mini deadlines you need to meet along the way to get the podcast published when you want it.

If you just have next year or Q1 it’s too vague and will keep going to the back of your list.

Writing it in your diary makes it real. And you’ll see it there reminding you that it needs getting done.

Over the Christmas break you can just decide when you want your podcast launch. You don’t need to do anything else. Although I would suggest you also book a planning session with yourself to get podcast launch ready and map out your mini deadlines that you have to hit.

2) Think of a name for your podcast

It can be really tricky to find the right name for your podcast. One that hasn’t already been taken and one that tells people idly scrolling through their podcast app exactly what it is you do.

I’m a big fan of brainstorming sessions - setting a timer for 10 minutes, switching off your phone, laptop and writing down on paper what comes into your mind. Everything gets written down even what feel like the daftest ideas as you are saying/thinking them.

After that 10 minutes I like to spend a few minutes looking over what I’ve put down and do something completely different. For some reason this gives my brain a bit of space to filter and process the stuff I’ve written and do the hard job of working through the suggestions without me consciously thinking about it.

If I’m lucky I’ll have an aha moment when I’m out for a run or walk. Normally it’s when I’m on the loo. (TMI?)

If I don’t get to that aha moment naturally I’ll go back to the list and spend more time brainstorming and reviewing. But only in those 15 minute sessions.

So if you need some space this Christmas you can take yourself off for 15 minutes and have a brainstorming session.

It’s perfect hot chocolate and mince pie timings! I can’t wait to hear some Baileys inspired podcast names!

3) Pilot episodes

Creating pilot episodes is just a fancy pants way of me saying have a bit of a play around and a practice of doing your podcast.

Or at least start getting comfortable with recording yourself and hearing your voice.

Nobody has to hear these pilot episodes. They are for your ears and whoever else you want to hear it. You can be as serious or as silly as you like too.

The idea of doing practice runs is to get you comfortable with the whole idea of podcasting. I understand that it can be a bit unnerving putting your voice out there loud and clear for all to hear, but I promise the more you do it,the more you get used to it and the more comfortable you become.

This is why I encourage you to record some no pressure pilot episodes and to have fun with them.

I always say my broadcasting career started with my bedroom radio station and stepped up a gear when my teenage Saturday job saw me promoted to customer services at our local Sainsbury’s meaning I had to do the bing bongs! That meant aged 17 and 18 I was on air (sort of) and having to hear my voice echo around the supermarket!

Before you start telling me you can’t record any pilot episodes because you don’t have any kit, let me tell you you do have kit.

You can record on your phone. Use your voice memo app to record yourself.

Or you can fire up Zoom, start a meeting of just you and record in there.

This is not about quality, this is about getting used to recording yourself, having fun and hopefully starting to get over any of your hangups you might have about yourself.

And because these can be “never to be heard podcasts” I would not blame you for one second if you wanted to do these with a mug of mulled wine! (If they are hilarious and you want to share please tell me!)

4) Tell everybody you’re starting a podcast

You’ve probably heard the joke “How do you know somebody is a ______ - insert trendy thing here. The most recent version is vegan but in the past it’s been marathon runner, cross fitter etc. The punchline is don't worry they’ll tell you first.

And that’s how it should be with your podcast. You should be telling everybody about your podcast because, unfortunately you are unlikely to be found by luck alone. You really need to be a podcast bore. But in reality you are only being a podcast bore to yourself.

You are the only person seeing 100% of your content. We all love an algorithm (or blaming the algorithms) and be honest how many emails that you subscribe to do you read 100% of. All the time? It won’t be all of them. Although if you’re on my email list I’d like to think you’re reading all of mine all of the time!

So use this time to start telling people you are going to start a podcast, tell them the date too. Make yourself even more accountable. You can’t go around telling people you’re going to have a podcast on the 6th March if come the 16th March you’re still faffing about thinking about starting a podcast. So make sure you tell people who are going to keep you accountable.

Tell me. Send me an email with the date you’re going to launch your podcast - and I will check up on you. I promise!

5) Listen to lots of podcasts

This one is dead easy. Grab your headphones and if you’re in the south of England get your big coat and get outside.

Pop on a few podcasts and listen to them.

Listen to ones you wouldn’t normally listen to, listen to comedy, drama, interviews, documentaries anything and everything. I want you to devour those podcasts.

By listening to lots of other styles and genres you will get an idea of what is out there and what you like and what you don’t like.

And you’ll get an understanding of what you want your podcast to sound like or not sound like.

I’m not condoning copying formats or ideas outright but you will absolutely find inspiration in what others do.

And it’s a great excuse to get out the house when your family are doing your head in. Or is that just me? And yes it’s only me and my husband for Christmas this year! And he’s working most of the time!

I’d love for you to let me know if you’re going to do any of these things over the next couple of weeks.

Next Friday is Christmas Day! I will be releasing an episode - it’s my Christmas gift to you…

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