50. What I’ve Learned From Starting a Podcast

What I've Learned From Starting a Podcast

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It seems like just yesterday I started this podcast—and at the same time like I’ve been thinking about starting one forever. It’s been a great connection point with my audience, and I’ve already seen direct results in my business. If you’re in the same boat as me, thinking of starting a podcast for too long but unsure of where to start, I’m going to share everything I’ve learned along the way that you can apply to your own podcast, whether you’re thinking of starting one or already have one running. I also share how to position your podcast to grow your listeners and your business, podcasting social media strategies, and more.

In this episode, you’ll hear… 

  • Having the right expectations for your podcast
  • Giving your audience what they want
  • Setting up your podcast and business to support each other
  • What to do when you’re thinking of starting a podcast
  • Having a business plan for your podcast
  • Things to keep in mind when starting your podcast
  • How to make your social media and podcast work together
  • Leading people into your business
  • Having a review strategy
  • Batch recording your podcast

Setting the right expectations for your podcast

With most marketing channels, whether it’s a podcast, YouTube, or social media, most people have the wrong goals in mind. You shouldn’t be so focused on followers, listeners, or subscribers in the beginning—it’s going to take a long time to build those numbers up. Even in my situation, with an established business and a good-sized email list, people didn’t come along right away. You also need to focus more on the needs of your audience, not just sharing your latest opinion.

Having a business plan for your podcast

People often ask me if they have to register their podcast as a business. If you’re already a business owner, you can think of your podcast as a marketing channel for your business, not it’s own business. But I do think it’s a good point to have a business plan for your podcast. You’ll want to give some of the same thoughts and considerations to your podcast that you would your business—who it’s for, what problem it solves, and how it differentiates itself from the market.

Making social media work for you and your podcast

I consulted with many experts when first starting my podcast, but I still learned a lot along the way. One big lesson I learned was how to make my social media and podcast work together. Yes, you should promote your podcast on social media—but you do not want to create content that teases the episode without being helpful on its own. The best strategy is to make your content helpful, even if it’s pulled directly from your podcast, and people will want to listen to hear more.

Knowing what I know now, I wish I had started my podcast sooner. I hope what I’ve been able to share will help you find what you need to get started, or if you’ve already started, that you can take what I’ve learned and grow further.

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Resources Discussed in This Episode

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Episode Transcript

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Sam Vander Wielen: [00:00:10] Hey there, and welcome to On Your Terms. Holy Cannoli, can you believe this is the Episode Number 50? Fifty episodes, that might not seem like a lot to anybody else, but it definitely does to me. I just started On Your Terms last July after wanting to have a podcast for a really long time, but not pulling the trigger on it because of what I’m going to tell you in a couple of minutes. And maybe you can relate if you’ve ever wanted to start a podcast, a YouTube channel, anything, really, that you’ve been afraid to, you’ll probably relate to why I didn’t start a podcast earlier.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:00:43] And I got the gift of gab from my dad. The number one thing that people came up and told me about my dad at his funeral recently was that, “That guy loves to talk.” And he wanted to talk to anybody and everybody, and I got that same thing from him. So, I never have trouble having a lot to say. I have a lot of opinions about a lot of different things. But I actually don’t always say it, especially in the business. And so, the podcast has been a really fun part of expression for me within the business. And it’s been why I’ve played with having legal podcast episodes and then these more behind the scenes ones.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:01:22] And I just think, like more than anything, this podcast has been the biggest connection point to you. Other than my email list, I feel like I get so many comments and kind messages and just thoughtful replies about something that you thought of, or took away from, or did differently because of something you’ve listened to on this podcast. So, it’s been really, really cool. And I’ve had a lot of fun in these 50 episodes – well, technically 49, I’m not done with this one yet. But I’ve had a lot of fun and I feel like I’ve learned a lot. And I’ve grown my business through this podcast. I’ve grown my email list through this podcast. I’ve made sales directly through it.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:01:22] And so, I thought that today would be a good time to sit down and talk about what I’ve learned in 50 episodes in starting a podcast, so that you can apply it to your own podcast or even start your own podcast, if you haven’t already, if that’s something that you’ve considered.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:02:13] Before we get into what I’ve learned from starting a podcast and how you can take these tips to make them your own, I have to read to you the Review of the Week. So, Amanda The Coach said, “I purchased Sam’s Ultimate Bundle in fall of 2021 as my very first step in starting my brand new company. And then, I started listening to her podcast. In addition to being a legal expert who somehow always answers my questions before I’ve asked them, she’s a successful businesswoman who does not hold back on sharing great advice to start and run a growing business with a solid foundation. Everything she offers is super high quality and worth my time and energy. I love that she continues to connect me with other experts, too, through her podcast and other offers.” Thank you so much, Amanda. That was so sweet of you to write as a review of On Your Terms on Apple Podcasts.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:02:59] If you leave a review in Apple Podcasts of my show, On Your Terms, you’ll be entered to win a $20 Starbucks gift card. All you have to do is leave a review on Apple. That’s it. Just come through me. Automatically pick a winner every single month. So, be sure, after you listen to this episode, just take one quick sec, review the show, leave a little feedback, and you might even get a shoutout on a future episode.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:03:20] So, in this episode, I’m going to talk with you about where people go wrong with podcasts. Some of the biggest mistakes that I see with people who want to start their own podcast or already have but it’s not going to where they want it to go. I also am going to share with you how I actually felt when I started this podcast and why I almost didn’t start it. We’ll also chat about how to position your podcast for the right listeners to actually grow it and have it actually support your business. And not just be a for fun side project, unless it actually is a for fun side project, which is totally fine. We just want to be clear on our goal.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:03:55] And last but not the least, we’re also going to talk about the social media strategy and tips that you need to boost listeners. And it’s some of the places that I feel like I had the most stumbling blocks, have made the most improvement, and have seen the biggest results and change from making those changes. So, I’m excited to chat with you guys about this today.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:04:16] So, like most marketing channels, whether it’s a podcast or YouTube channel or Instagram, it doesn’t matter, people tend to start out with the wrong hope angle. They’re like, “I want to start this so that I have a million downloads, or so that I have this big sponsorship, or this many followers, or this many subscribers,” or whatever. And, unfortunately, that’s just a really bad way to start out because it’s going to take a long time. I thought this was really interesting as somebody who started a podcast way later in her business.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:04:48] So, I had an email list with tens of thousands of people on it. I had followers, tens of thousands on Instagram. All this kind of stuff and then started a podcast. It’s easy to fall into that trap of like, “Well, clearly, I’ll just start this and then everyone will start listening to it,” and that’s that, and they’ll automatically be popular, “I won’t have to work at it.” But somehow even in the beginning of people’s businesses, when they don’t have that email list already built up or the follower count built up or whatever else, they still think like, “I’m going to create this thing.” Everybody had that moment when we created our website and hit publish and then you’re like, “Where are all the people? Why isn’t everybody coming in through Google already?” Or maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:05:29] So, I think that with the podcast, it’s bad to start out with these vanity metrics to begin with because they do take a long time. And even if you have an audience, you’re not guaranteed. I definitely had a stronger foundation going into this, given that I had had a business for five years when I started it. And so, I had people who liked other stuff that I did and so when I emailed about a podcast, it was like, “Oh, cool. A podcast.” But even then, it has taken a lot of time.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:05:58] Like, I actually feel only recently the numbers really started to tick up where we saw significant improvement, like month over month. But before, we were just seeing little, little, little. And those little things, they add up. But then, it seemed like more recently, it’s been a little bit of a bump each month, a bump next month. Maybe even going down a little bit still higher than the several months prior and then it goes up again. So, it’s very interesting to me. Just don’t ever take any of this stuff for granted. I don’t care how many followers you have or what you think or whatever, it’s still going to take work. It’s going to take work.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:06:33] So, I think people make the assumption that, one, they’re going to create something, it’s instantly going to go out viral on the internet. But, two, by starting out focusing on these vanity metrics, you’re kind of setting yourself up for disappointment because that is going to take time.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:06:51] Also, I think people focus a little bit too much on what they want to say or what they want to talk about as if it’s like a talk show. Like it’s – I don’t know – The Drew Barrymore Show or something. That was a terrible example because I actually don’t enjoy that show. But when I was out of work for a while mourning the loss of my dad, I just had T.V. on more often than not, her show would always come on. But that’s not the point of a podcast. Not this kind of podcast. Not for what we do.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:07:21] And we’re going to talk about today what the point really should be of a podcast for your business. First is what I think a lot of people which is just like, “I want to share my hot take on everything. I want to share my opinion.” There’s a time and a place for that. And once you’ve built yourself up as an authority, and in the process of building yourself as an authority, actually, I think that that can be helpful but that’s not the only kind of content that we really need if we want your podcast to support your business.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:07:50] Personally, I also really didn’t love a lot of the interview style shows that I used to listen to. So, in my experience, what I started to see in online business was that the same people were being interviewed on the same people’s shows. Like, they were all on a freaking tour together and it was like a sorority that somehow you couldn’t break into, but they’re all friends. And then, every episode in these interviews was just, “No. You’re so amazing.” “No. You’re amazing.” “No. Have I told you how incredible you are? But I really love you. I love everything that you do. Can we just talk a little bit more about how incredible you are?” And that was, like, the whole interview.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:08:31] And I’m not just talking, like, one show or two shows, many, many shows. And it was many shows that I started to see the same big online business industry personalities on, like I said, like they were on a tour together. And don’t get me wrong, these people are experts at what they do, and they’re successful, and that’s all wonderful. But in my opinion, there are a lot of people that have a lot of things to say that don’t have hundreds of thousands of followers, or millions of dollars of revenue, or this that or the other thing, or the fanciest branding.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:09:05] There are a lot of people with incredible expertise who are doing really good work on the ground in the online business space who I wanted to help introduce you to. But at the same time, I also wanted this podcast to be for you. I didn’t want it to be me fan girling some person I’m obsessed with just because that sounded fun to me. I wanted the podcast like, “Here are helpful legal tips you need to know. Here is an experience that I had with this launch, and here’s what you need to take away from it.” Not just me talking to you about how well my business is doing or how this thing went well for me, or whatever. It’s how does that help you, how is that relevant to you.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:09:47] And you probably noticed that I haven’t had very many interviews. And when I do have them, they are experts. They are people who give really good tangible tips. Like, I always tell my team, I don’t want anybody on the show who doesn’t come here and give you a lot of advice. Like, you walk away with a notebook-full of all your notes from that episode. I’m not here to just stroke their ego. I don’t want them coming on to stroke mine either. I want to talk to them about how they can help you build your online business. So, for me, personally, that was something that both inspired me to want to start my podcast and, honestly, kept me away from doing it for a while. Because I was kind of like, “If that’s going to be the thing, I don’t really want to be in it.” But then, I realized you can create your own thing. So, yeah, that’s that.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:10:34] People also don’t usually have podcasts setup in a way, or even their businesses set up in a way, to support their business. So, the podcast, for me, is a top of funnel. And this will all make sense when I get into my tips in a couple of minutes. But my podcast fits in like a little puzzle piece to the top of my funnel. So, I have a free legal workshop called The Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business. In this podcast, there is an ad for that free workshop. There is a link to it. I talk about it.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:11:04]And so, really, the podcast is a way of letting people know, bringing awareness to this free legal workshop that I have, or maybe it’s some other freebie that I have created, or maybe I have a call to action about something different in that episode. Maybe it’s directly to my product, to the Ultimate Bundle, to my legal templates, to some event that I’m hosting.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:11:22] But the point is that, the podcast is fitting in somewhere. It’s like the liquid that’s pouring into the top of a vase. And so, I don’t think that a lot of people think about it that way. Again, going back to my first comment about people thinking like, “Oh. I’ll start a podcast. It’s a way for me to pop out about all my thoughts in this industry.” That’s not really an intentional purpose of podcast that pours into your business intentionally. So, that’s what I would encourage you to do, and we’re going to flush that out here over the next couple of minutes.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:11:52] Honestly, you have to have the business kind of setup first. And so, I do think that you could start a podcast early, and that would be great. And I wish I would have gone and started earlier. But I also think it was a great to have a very healthy, solid foundation of a business that I then understood exactly where, like I said, the podcast was going to fit in. Because the podcast should be a lead generation. It can also be like a little mini-funnel for you. It’s connecting with your audience. It’s bringing product awareness, and all that kind of stuff. And then, encourage people to take the next step in your podcast episodes, like book a call, download the thing, buy the thing.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:12:31] So, yeah, that’s a lot of what we’re going to be talking about today in kind of inspiration for why I wanted to talk about some of the things that I have learned from starting my own podcast.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:12:41] In case you already have a podcast and maybe it’s not doing as well as you like or you’ve always wanted to start one but haven’t, I wanted to share a couple of things with you because I was probably where you are or I might be where you are about this time last year.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:12:56] So, I thought like, “I can’t start a podcast. No one is going to want to listen to this. No one wants to hear me up about legal stuff.” I had a lot of stories that I had bought into about how nobody would want to listen to legal tips in a podcast and how that would be so boring. Nobody would listen to it. I, also, wasn’t sure if you would like me flipping between legal tips and business tips and behind the scene stuff because I didn’t want to just talk about legal stuff. I don’t even talk about that on social media. And I don’t talk about it to my customers. So, I want to make sure that I had this ability to flip. But then, I was like, “That’s not going to make sense to people. People won’t like it.”

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:13:36] I also thought I’d be a terrible interviewer, and maybe I am, I don’t know. But I really thought that that was going to be a painful process for me and that I was going to have a lot of anxiety. I kind of built up this story about how hard that was going to be. And how nobody might even want to come on my show because nobody had heard of it in the beginning.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:13:55] And I also had this thought, and maybe you have, too, that podcasts were already too far long for me to enter in this late in the game. Like, “Oh, there’s already podcasts out there. There’s probably other legal podcasts.” I have no idea because I don’t consume any content from anybody who does anything even remotely close to what I do, but I’m sure there are. And I also just thought there were lots of big podcasts by lots of big people who have millions of downloads and it just all felt so insurmountable and like, “What’s the point?” Like, what’s the point of me throwing my hat in? So, I just wanted to share that with you in case you’re feeling any of that. I am certainly not the expert in terms of helping you work through it.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:14:38] But I would highly recommend, by the way, following Jen Diaz on Instagram and following her JAVA Method and even joining her JAVA Method membership. She’s actually going to be on the podcast later this summer. But I really learned a lot from her about some of this mindset stuff that pop-up for you, but that’s how I felt around starting the podcast. And I can’t say that I worked through it and then started the podcast. I would more say, I had all those thoughts and feelings and started the podcast anyway, which tends to be my way of doing things.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:15:12] It’s just kind of like close your eyes, hold your breath, and just jump in. Because if you wait for everything to get perfect, if you wait for you to have a bigger audience, if you wait for your branding to be right, for all your tech to be right, whatever, then you’re not going to get started/you’re losing the opportunity to work on that all now when no one is listening.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:15:35] Because podcasting is a skill, and it’s one that I don’t know anything about. I’m very much learning and very much new at this still, only 50 episodes in. So, I’m learning and this is something that you’ve got to start somewhere with. And I don’t want you to put it off if it’s something that you really enjoy doing. But I hope some of the tips I’m talk with you about would help you in starting one that at least is headed in the right direction.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:16:03] So, let’s get into some of the tips that I have for you today about what I’ve learned from starting a podcast and what I hope will be helpful to you.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:16:14] Have you ever felt lost about where to begin with the legal side of protecting your online business? Some people say you can just wing it at the beginning and get officially set up later. Not a good idea, by the way. Whether you’re afraid to even start working with clients because you don’t want to do something wrong legally and then get in trouble or your business is growing and you sort of forgot to take care of the legal pieces, I’ve got you.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:16:36] I don’t want you to live in fear of the internet police coming after you and your business. But you do have to do certain things and get certain things in place in order to legally and safely run your business online. As much as it just feels like an unregulated, wild, wild west online, that is very much not the case.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:16:53] As an attorney turned entrepreneur and former corporate litigator, I can assure you that there are rules. There are real steps that everybody who runs or starts an online business needs to take. And you’re not behind at all. We can get you set up and following the rules right away. In fact, we can even do it today.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:17:10] I want to teach you the five very simple steps to take to legally protect and grow your online business. You don’t need an MBA to be a successful entrepreneur and stay out of legal hot water. But you do need to dot your legal i’s and cross your t’s in a few key areas that can’t be skipped. That’s exactly what I’ll teach you in my free one hour legal workshop called Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business. Just head to mylegalworkshop.com, drop in your email address, pick the time, and I’ll send you a link to watch the workshop video whenever you have time.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:17:40] This is the best place to begin if you’re just getting started legally legitimizing your business, so head on over to mylegalworkshop.com and sign up to watch Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business now.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:17:55] So, when you start a podcast, a lot of times people will ask me like, “Do I have to register a new business for a podcast? Like, if I already have a business and then I’m starting one, is that it’s own thing?” Legally speaking, no, you don’t register a different business. It’s just a marketing tool that your business has. Whether it’s a YouTube channel, a podcast, it doesn’t matter. So, that all falls under your business.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:17:55] But I like the way you’re thinking because, mentally, yes, I kind of think that you should treat your podcast like it’s own little business in the sense that it should have a business plan. So, I really like the idea of having a business plan for your podcast that dives into who this is really for, what is the show about, what other things are on the market, how does it differentiate between that. So, what’s going to be your unique advantage in your industry? How do you approach things differently in your business or in your methodology that then you’re going to bring to your podcast?

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:18:53] So, you could also get really clear on your niche and maybe even look up some stats about how they consume podcast, and what other kinds of podcast they listen to, see what kinds of things that those podcasts are talking about. I would probably sketch out my first 10 to 20 episodes. Keeping it flexible but having an idea that you at least start to get into the habit of ideation and coming up with consistent content topics. I love the idea of you planning content topics that are kind of series, like related. You don’t necessarily have to do them in order.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:19:29] So, in my own business, it might be like contracts, website policies, online courses, intellectual property. Those might be content buckets and topics. And then, I might have different episodes on those things. But you could essentially create little playlist type things for all the different topics that you talk about on your podcast.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:19:51] So, creating this from the start with intention about who it’s for, what your podcast is really about, why anybody should care, why should they listen to this, why is it going to be helpful to them. That’s really the only reason to create this. And if you can’t think of a reason why your podcast is going to be helpful to other people, then I probably wouldn’t start the podcast that you’re thinking of starting. Unless you just want to do it for fun, which, again, totally okay. But if you’re doing it for you business, you have to be really, really clear on how the episodes are going to serve your ideal client.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:20:25] So, getting into these little tip episodes or doing visualization episodes where you can walk people through a visualization. If you have episodes that are about part of your story or a part of something that you’ve experienced, how do we share that in a way that is also helpful to other people. It feels really good to share and to talk about our experience, but we also have to then share maybe lessons we took away from it or how they can apply it to their own life, business, finances, relationships. So, we really have to be thinking about our podcast from the start like a little business in that sense.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:21:01 And we have to remember that the podcast should be for our ideal client. A lot of times in our space, I see people create podcasts or even have those interview episodes that are really not for their ideal client but are either for themselves or for somebody else in our space. Sometimes this happens in the coaching space where we get so into this little coaching world and this bubble that we start creating content for each other and not for our ideal client. So, it’s really important that we keep that in mind as to who are you really trying to work with. And whatever interview or topic that you’re trying to address in an episode, is it actually helpful for that ideal client? What kind of stuff does that ideal client want help with? What are they struggling with? What do they want to hear from you? What’s not being addressed in your space?

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:21:51 And you have to do all of that with the idea in mind of how this content is being presented to you. So, this podcast is through audio. So, you’re listening to this through audio. It wouldn’t make sense for me to do something that’s super visual that you would have to see or something like that. This podcast, I tend to think is like people listening maybe while they’re working, while they’re taking a walk, while they’re driving, while you’re cooking dinner, while you’re doing something around the house. If you’re like me, you fold laundry and do that kind of stuff with my AirPods in.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:22:23] So, I tend to think about that. I also think about how my ideal clients tend to be people who love to take notes. So, I try to present things in a way that are like, “Here are five tips. Tip one, two, three, four, five,” so that it’s easily followable and you can really walk away with feeling like you got good solid organized notes out of something.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:22:45] So, even getting down to that kind of detail of how people are consuming it, what their life looks like, are we talking about busy parents that always have a child on their hip, are we talking about people who are working a fulltime job, are we talking about people who are trying to start a business on the side. All of those people’s lives look a little differently and might lead to them consuming your actual podcast differently. That might affect the way that you present it. It might affect the length. It might affect a lot of different things.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:23:14] You should also have a very specific niche in mind. And so, to any of you who are worried about the same thing I was worried about, which was like, “Oh. There’s so many podcasts out there, does anybody want to hear my podcast?” Well, who does want to hear my podcast are the very specific people who I can help. People who want to start online businesses, coaches, consultants, course creators, service providers, people that are all different types of coaches, literally from A to Z, any kind of coach, RDs, nutritionists, therapists who want to create coaching businesses, copywriters, virtual assistants, ad strategists, social media managers, all that kind of stuff. So, as long as my topics are helpful to them, then I see it as being a good episode can be helpful. Every episode is not going to be helpful to every person, but in general.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:24:06] I also think that titling has made a huge impact. So, I try to spend a lot of time very intentionally titling things. I find that titling things in a way that intrigues people and makes them want to listen can be really helpful. I also think that very clear titles can be helpful as well. Like, Four website policies every online business owner needs, or something like that, can be helpful. As well as the more marketing type of thing, like Don’t do this if you don’t want to get fired by a client, or something like that. Something that would be intriguing to be like, “What shouldn’t I do?” So, you can play around with that. Again, those different titles might speak differently to your ideal clients. Maybe they love the super self-explanatory titles. Maybe your people like the ones that are a bit more marketing strategy focused.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:25:06] I feel overall when it comes to titling or even picking topics for the show, I have learned to have a mix of the most frequently requested topics. So, somebody keeps asking you something again and again, that tends to be something I turn into a podcast episode. And then, that podcast episode tends to go pretty well. There have also, though, been podcasts episodes I have created that I thought these are what I would call foundational podcast episodes. Like, things about topics that you need to know. There are also episodes that I have created to kind of create a resource bank for us so that when somebody DMs us or emails us and asks us a question that we get often, we can send them that podcast episode and they can listen to it, and that’s important.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:25:50] And then, there have been others that are more rant type that I have just been like, “I want to do this.” This is important to me. It feels expressive to me. It’s a good audience connection builder. They actually tend to be the ones that get the most outreach. So, maybe they don’t make sales or build the business in another way, but people engage a lot about those episodes. So, that’s just been the way that I’ve approached and that’s what worked for me.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:26:13] Once you have a podcast, I think it’s really helpful to create some sort of serving and pulling habit to see what your audience likes in terms of time, topics that you should cover, whether or not you should do Q&A’s, you know, answer Q&A’s on your podcast every week, if they want you to interview somebody, there are all kinds of things.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:26:38] But I think the point is that, if you’re creating a podcast and then you’re like, “Is this thing on? I’m not sure if this is working. Is anyone listening to this? Why aren’t my numbers growing?” and you’re not asking for feedback, then that could be part of it. Because there’s a certain amount of, “We have to create this thing and put it out there in order to start getting some feedback.” So, there’s going to be some scientific experimentation time. But then, there comes a time when you can start asking for feedback. Like, “What else would you like to hear from me? Do you like when episodes are 30 minutes or 60 minutes? Do you like it if I have a shorty episode every once in a while, like 15 minutes or less?”

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:27:18] You know, I just asked the other day on Instagram whether people really like it when I go back and do an introduction to the episode after I’ve already recorded it. Because I’ve listened to other people’s podcast sometimes where they’ll go back and record that, and then the audio engineer puts it at the beginning and says like, “In this episode, I actually ended up talking about this and that.” And sometimes I’m like, “Yeah. Why don’t we just get to the episode?” So, I’m trying to find my own middle ground where I do a little podcast introduction and let you know what I’m going to talk about, but then I just go right into it.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:27:48] So, I did some of that through polling. People said they didn’t really care about having that kind of introduction to the podcast. I’ve asked about different podcast topics. I have also pulled people when I knew that I had a recording day coming up. I will say like, “Hey, I’m recording a podcast episode on how to legally protect your online course, what online course questions do you want me to answer?” And then, people submitted them and then – that was last weeks episode – I answered them right in the podcast episode. So, if you can integrate serving and polling in all different kinds of ways, but I think that’s a great way to just integrate the actual feedback of the people that you want to listen to the episode anyway.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:28:31] So, I think that social media has actually been the biggest place of growth and learning for me when it comes to the podcast, because I had a very – I don’t know normal, boring, maybe – normal social media strategy before I created the podcast. It was just like creating content directly for Instagram. I wasn’t really ever creating content to push people to my YouTube or anything like that. And so, I was just kind of tracking along until I started the podcast.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:28:58] And at first when I started the podcast, I just kind of assumed that I was supposed to do what everybody else did, and I was suppose to create graphics that had the show title and a picture of me, and episode number whatever, and something like On Your Terms and maybe even an audiogram. And I started posting all these, and we did that for months and months before we realized just how poorly they were all performing. And how it’s actually pulling down my overall engagement and growth on Instagram, in particular, because we were relying on it so heavily instead of posting any other kinds of content that we had.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:29:36] I just thought I was doing what we were supposed to do when it came to podcasts because that’s what everybody else was doing. But between some of my own reflections and thinking about it, and then some of the sessions that I had with Natasha, who’s been on the podcast before and I’ll link to our interview below, I came to realize that that wasn’t the way to go about growing my podcast through Instagram or letting people know about an episode. Instead, the place that I’ve kind of landed is creating content that’s native to Instagram that might just be on the topic that I talk about on the podcast that week. But it’s not necessarily graphic driven, like listen to this episode type content.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:30:20] So, let me give you an example. Last week’s episode was about how to legally protect an online course. We haven’t created the graphic for this yet, but I imagine it’s going to be something like a checklist or a swipe-able carousel post that’s going to teach you some of the legal tips that you need to know about legally protecting your course. In the caption or maybe even on the last slide, if it’s a carousel, we will then tell people that this is something I dive deeper to in that episode. But the piece of content itself is helpful. It’s bingeable. It’s saveable. It’s shareable. It’s helpful. And so, I think that was the biggest revelation I had several months ago was just like, “Oh, we need to stop creating content that’s like, ‘Listen to this.'” I feel like it’s like the Instagram equivalent to like, “Join my newsletter.” It just doesn’t really do anything. It all looks the same for everybody who has a podcast.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:31:17] And so, in my opinion, what I search and notice, especially on Stories as well when we were sharing those same graphics to Stories, is that, it became skippable. And I think that people’s eyes just kind of glaze over with the mundaneness of it and how it looks the same as everybody else’s. And so, when somebody opens up your Stories and they see there’s five, six, seven, eight more tiles that are just like the same tile or similar or they’re all stylized and then there’s an audiogram playing, they’re just like tap, tap, tap, tap, or maybe even just swiping to go to the next person.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:31:58] That’s been my biggest takeaway so far and the biggest adjustment, probably the biggest area of growth that we’ve had to shift through in figuring out how do you carry over marketing this podcast to other platforms where people predominantly want to stay on that platform, they want to enjoy that platform, and they’re not going to naturally click to go live to listen to a podcast episode right now they’re on Instagram. They’re there to be on social.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:32:25] So, I thought that was super helpful. I thought that just thinking of it as more of like an awareness thing and then giving people helpful content anyway. And you’re already doing all the work of creating the episode. It’s not that much more work, in fact, to just create a saveable piece of content as well. So, if that’s the best advice I can give you today, I hope that that helps you in marketing your podcast a little bit easier on social media.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:32:53] So, my next tip is something that I mentioned earlier, which is that your podcast should lead to the next natural step in your business, maybe depending on that episode and whatever topic that you’re covering. So, maybe the next natural step would be for somebody to download your freebie, to book a free call with you, to join your email list, to sign up for an event that you’re hosting, to follow you on Instagram, to go watch your YouTube video. It depends on what it is. But in general, I d don’t want you to have podcast episodes that lead to nowhere. So, your podcasts episodes should lead somewhere and naturally encourage somebody to take the next step.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:33:30] The second to last tip that I have for you about starting a podcast or growing your podcast, that you’ve got to come up with some sort of review strategy, which is not something I had ever thought about when I started the podcast. First of all, I don’t even think I realized how important reviews were. And second, I just thought if people like the podcast, they’re just going to leave a review because that’s a nice thing to do. And people are busy and they just don’t do it. And maybe people assume that other people are doing it or they just don’t even know about reviews.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:33:57] But you really have to make an impassioned plea to people to leave reviews. And just asking them isn’t enough, because, unfortunately, this is just not how people work. So, right now, I could ask you like, please, just leave a review for On Your Terms. It helps us so much. And I also do little shoutouts and stuff and it’s really fun. Maybe you’ll do it. Maybe you won’t. It would be really cool if you did. But it is helpful when we give people some sort of urgency. Like, “If you leave a review in the month of June, then we’ll give you this price.” Or, “Everybody who leaves something in July can come to this event for free.” Or I’m going to send them a secret freebie or a secret podcast episode. Like, some sort of urgency or something that’s going to expire that would then push them to have to leave a review now versus waiting a week or two or months or never.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:34:49] So, it’s something that I don’t have a perfect science for. I’m working on it. It’s something that I’m always asking for in every episode. I mean, at the very least, you should consistently, in every episode, ask for it. Have it maybe on your intro or outro type of thing. But playing around with some of these ideas has been a challenge, but also something that’s kind of cool to see how else can we play with this and see if people can leave a review. But it’s something you want to be aware of and have consistently built into your marketing for the podcast.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:35:22] Last but not least, what I have learned and what has been the most helpful to me in not missing a week, not skipping a bit with my podcast is batching. You need to record more than one episode at a time. Honestly, if you’re going to get all your stuff setup and your computer setup and sit somewhere quiet, make something to drink, and sit down and get all your stuff out, it’s worth your time to record at least more than one, so at least two. Sometimes I think the most I can really do in one batching is three. And in a day, I could probably do four or something like that. But I usually do them kind of in one chunk. I get up, I walk around for a minute or two in between. I’ll go to the bathroom, I come back, I do another one.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:36:05] So, at the very, very least, I want to encourage you to always set the intention and the goal of knocking out two at a time. You’re going to thank me later because if you do, like, two, two, two, two, eventually, you’re going to be like, “Whoa. I’m way ahead. I’m, like, weeks and months ahead.”

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:36:22] The other reason that I want you to do this is because if there’s ever an emergency in your business, like what happened with me that my dad passed all of the sudden, or you just go through a busy time, or you’re on vacation, or you’re going through a launching of promo, this stuff is already going to be done. And you can have your podcast going out once per week or whatever interval you’re going to do consistently. Because that’s probably something that a real expert in podcasting would tell you is that consistency is key. You can’t post five episodes and then ghost everybody for a month, and then post two episodes and then ghost everybody for a few weeks. So, we want to have consistency of once a week, I would say, at least. And posting all that consistently is going to require batching.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:37:09] The other thing that my operations manager, Lindsey – who’s a genius – taught me about was batching these in terms of tasks as well. So, I used to just think about batching in terms of batch recording. But there are kind of many phases to creating a podcast. So, there’s ideation, which is coming up with all the ideas, flushing them out, serving, asking for feedback, doing the Q&A’s on social media, that kind of stuff. At least this is how I do it.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:37:39] Then, there’s outlining, which is deciding what exactly you’re going to talk about in that episode, how you’re going to structure it. If you have to do a little bit of research – for a lot of my episodes, I have to do a lot of research – gathering all the links and the resources, so I do all that.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:37:54] The third phase is then recording. And then, the fourth phase is writing all of the assets for it. So, I write all of the emails that goes to my email list that introduce the episodes. A lot of the social media stuff that goes out for it and anything else that people need from me related to the podcast. So, those are kind of the four main categories or the types of task that has to be done.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:38:16] And so, what we started doing is that every month, a different week corresponds with one of those categories. So, maybe the first week is ideation and planning, then outlining, then recording, and then writing. So, that’s a great way to batch them all together so that you’re never stuck doing everything all at once, which is what I used to do, which was batch recording and then that some day I was trying to write four emails. And then, the next day, I was trying to outline more episodes, and it just starts to be a lot.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:38:16] So, that’s really what I learned from starting a podcast. It would mean the world to me if you did a few things for me. One, if you have not left a review for On Your Terms already, please do that after you listen to this episode. So many of you write to me and tell me you listen all the time, and I am so appreciative and I love that. But I certainly hope you’ve left a review. I would also love to give you a shoutout and I’d love to gift you a $20 Starbucks gift card if we pick you as the winner. So, go ahead and leave a review.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:39:12] The second thing you can do is go ahead and tag me on social media, share this episode, let me know that you listened and celebrate that we’ve done 50 episodes together, I would absolutely love that. And last but not least, if you think that somebody else, one of your friends would benefit from this episode, go ahead and just shoot them a text, send the link to this episode real quick. It’s a great way to spread the word about On Your Terms.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:39:12] I so appreciate you listening to this episode. I’m going to drop all the links and resources in the show notes for you, including my interview with Natasha about how to talk about your podcast on social media. I’m also going to drop my interview with Katie Steckly, who owns Creatorly Media, who helps people learn how to start YouTube channels and podcasts. So, she had so many good tips for you in that episode. And so, I’m going to drop all those for you below. Until next week, I will see you then. I hope you have a great rest of your week.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:40:05] Thanks so much for listening to the On Your Terms podcast. Make sure to follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. You can also check out all of our podcast episodes, show notes, links, and more at samvanderwielen.com/podcast.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:40:19] You can learn more about legally protecting your business and take my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business, at samvanderwielen.com. And to stay connected and follow along, follow me on Instagram @samvanderwielen, and send me a DM to say hi.




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DISCLAIMER: Although Sam is an attorney she doesn’t practice law and can’t give you legal advice. All episodes of On Your Terms are educational and informational only. The information discussed here isn’t legal advice and isn’t intended to be. The info you hear here isn’t a substitute for seeking legal advice from your own attorney.

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