Crowdsourcing your podcast to success
As a new podcaster, having your show doesn’t mean you have to do it all by yourself. Asking for help is part of the process of learning the ropes around podcasting and without the support of others your podcast will likely not take off.
We often think of this aid as getting a hand in setting up a webpage, asking a friend for the podcast’s visual design (logo, overall aesthetic, etc.), or some similar tasks that revolve around the form of our podcast, but not the content itself. But have you thought of crowdsourcing your episodes and drawing from other people’s experiences as the main driver of your show?
Filmmaker Laetitia Moya wanted to try it herself while working as a podcast editor at Rumble Studio and decided to create the 100 podcast challenge to prove that it could be done. Here’s how she did it and what lessons she learned from this ambitious goal. As a new podcaster, this is an article you can’t miss.
The challenge of a newbie creating a podcast from scratch
Laetitia had been working as a visual & sound designer at Rumble Studio and she had never had a podcast before.
There were a lot of “noes” in her podcast resume:
- Although she had had to be a host on a couple of podcast episodes as part of her job at Rumble Studio, she didn’t have a podcast community from which to start her podcast.
- She felt her English accent wasn’t good enough and she usually tried to mimic other accents thinking it would be better than her normal way of speaking for a podcast.
- She was against social media platforms like Twitter which limited her reach and promotion if she ever had to start her podcast.
- The odds of the podcast world weren’t in her favor: only 8% of podcast shows have more than 10 episodes and still releasing weekly episodes.
She could have easily put a stop to all of this even before she started. But whether it was out of spite or unaware of the effort it would take to make such a pioneering show, she tried to test this challenge on herself.
The challenge was to create an independent show from scratch that will gather 100 podcasters to reveal all about this industry and have powerful podcasting stories to share with anybody interested in starting their podcast journey. If that wasn’t enough, she would try to gather, and edit 100 episodes (one for each podcaster) in merely 10 days.
The importance of pre-production
A lot of planning went on to achieve this ambitious goal. This first part would be carried out only by Laetitia and it would serve as a strong basis to accelerate the whole process.
Pre-production consisted of several things:
- Create different templates (guest questions, artwork, and editing): to cover a variety of podcasting areas with all her guests, templates helped her automate part of the process. This will come in handy later on to assemble all that content quickly and coherently.
- Create a landing page: this would serve as a point of entry for all the guests she hadn’t met beforehand. She arranged 10 different topics and had her guests choose which one to be a part of. Here’s where the templates guide the guest’s podcast experience.
- Prepare audios that aren’t tied to the interviews: several elements go into creating an episode and part of shaping her podcast went into creating the intro/outro, finding background music, and designing the audio separators (between questions) that make the whole listening experience much more appealing to the audience.
- Find online podcast communities: you have to get your guests from somewhere so creating a list of virtual spaces where you’ll likely find them will speed up the process.
These things might take a while to do, but Laetitia knew that they were key aspects if she was going to get so many people on her podcast without fainting throughout this journey.
The most important element was to make the whole process asynchronous. This meant that podcasters would record their answers on their own time and interviews wouldn’t be carried out as live conversations.
This technique has multiple benefits:
- It doesn’t require you to schedule guests (which might be impossible if you need 100 episodes in a short time)
- It makes your working process more efficient (working on an episode while other recordings keep coming in)
- It enables the guest to record well-thought answers (sending you their best take) that you’ll have an easier time editing afterward.
Making it work and getting some unexpected results
Once everything was set, she started reaching out to podcast communities across various platforms. The guest hunting was tougher than she expected. She reached out to 270 podcasters individually, shared her request in various Facebook groups, and she even ran an ad (which didn’t work out at all).
In the end, most of her guests came from reaching on a one-to-one basis, but interestingly a considerable amount reached out to her from other places, unknown to her. For instance, they might have heard it from other podcasters which shows the power of a network and the good old word of mouth.
She also found that her friendly approach helped her cause, instead of trying to act as a salesperson (which she definitely doesn’t like acting as one). The fact that she wasn’t trying to sell anything but had a genuine approach to all her guests shows that authenticity goes a long way. The message was simple: show that creating a podcast as a new podcaster without any prior network is possible and attainable.
Outcomes of her podcast incursion so far
Since she started in the last week of June, she has been able to gather 50 podcasters in 3 weeks for 9 out of 10 topics that she’ll be releasing daily, one at a time, starting mid-August. In the same timeframe that regular podcasters get 5 guests, according to Laetitia, she was able to get 10 times that amount.
Her guests are from various nationalities and they have different levels of expertise, and this variety nurtures the show even more. She can provide episodes varying between 4 to 17 minutes, with an average of 6 questions per guest, and she’s able to consistently publish one episode per week. Considering the 8% podcast show statistic mentioned earlier, she would be at the top of the industry.
She has also learned some valuable lessons. Trying to address so many things at once (guest searching, artwork, networking, 10 topic questions, etc.) might be too ambitious to start with, especially as a new podcaster. What started as trying to raise brand awareness for Rumble Studio, ended up being much more than that because of how she approached the challenge with her guests. After seeing her genuine intention, word of mouth spread across the industry much more than a cold ad would.
The journey is not over! She is halfway through her challenge and even if initially the idea was to get 100 podcasters in 10 days, the timeframe has been adjusted to a more realistic period. All the support she has received so far has made her more motivated than ever and we’re eager to see when she reaches the end of her challenge.