Sep 8, 2021 • 22M

What is the Point of Your Podcast?

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Appears in this episode

Chris Spangle
Chris Spangle has been podcasting since 2007 and has hosted over 4,000 hours of shows while editing and uploading 18,000 episodes for a total of 30 million downloads on dozens of shows. With his unparalleled experience, he takes you behind the curtain to show you the building of the Podcasting and Platforms brand.
Episode details

One thing matters in producing a podcast: How do you serve your audience and give them value? In this episode, I talk a little bit about the importance of starting with a mission statement first as opposed to the technical concerns of producing the podcast.


Welcome to Podcasting and Platforms. My name is Chris Spangle. It is great to have you with me again this week, as we are talking through the 18 questions that you need to ask yourself before you start a podcast. This PDF is available at And you can get the seven page PDF that acts as a punch list just a way to walk yourself through the guy through the process of starting a podcast. And we're going to start today at stage one, determine branding and mission statement. And you have to ask yourself, what is the point of your podcast? What will the audience get out of their time investment, that's what we're going to talk about today. So the most important thing to remember is that the audience has to get value out of what you're doing. And likewise, you have to really enjoy what you're doing too, because there's going to be a lot of periods as you do.

I've been podcasting since 2007. I've had my own show, consistently weekly, since 2012, for almost 10 years. And if you don't think that in that 10 years, there haven't been months where I've wanted to quit doing my show, then you'd be mistaken you, you have to enjoy what you're doing, enjoy what you're talking about, to the point that you'll you'll continue, like I'll always go back to talking about politics. I love politics, I don't work in politics anymore. I never will work in politics. Again, I don't want to run for office. But I enjoy ideas and philosophy and political action and history and language and communication and like everything that kind of revolves around politics and culture and society. And so I'll never not do my show. Because it's interesting to me, it gives me a reason to learn right now. I'm working on a series on September 11, and Al Qaeda. And I'm reading several books and watching documentaries, and I have so much fun doing it. So it just will always be a part of my life.

Even when I don't feel like doing it this week. I don't feel like doing shows, but I had to suck it up, put on my big boy underpants. And do this show and you will have those periods, so you need to enjoy it. But when you're going through those periods, what kind of sustains you is the amount of people that are messaging you back telling you how much they get out of your show how much they value your show, how much they learn from you. And those emails, man, when you get those, when somebody messages you or DMS you and says they like what you do that keeps you going through those periods when you're when you're not really motivated to do your show. But it all kind of is central on making sure and being obsessive that you're going to give value to people because it's like hospitality, if you invite people into your home an hour a week, 30 minutes a day, 15 minutes a month, whatever it is, if they're spending time, then you need to make sure that you're serving them that you're giving them an insight that makes them kind of go, ah, oh, okay. I never thought about it like that. Or, you know, I'm going to try it that way. Or whatever it is, you have to be really hardcore about making sure that you are feeding your audience.

And like we we talked about in the last episode I talked about in the last episode. You have competition, you have a lot of competition. There's like 4 million podcasts three months ago, it was like 2 million podcasts. And every person has about seven to 10 podcasts that they listen to regularly. And you want to be in that competition and you are competing against people who have done media, their whole life. People like me, I've done it for 20 years, you've got to compete against me, and I've got a head start. Alright, so that sounds really discouraging. But the bar is actually much lower than you think. You compare yourself to somebody who has 100,000 people on your Instagram. I'll take stand up comedians, for instance. Yes, Jerry Seinfeld and Miss Pat and, uh, you know, who are some other big comedian like Louis C. K? Well,

maybe that's not a good example. Jim Gaffigan these people exist, Larry, the cable guy is out there working. They're at the top of their game. What's the point of view going to that open mic and starting? What's the point? But stand up comedians still go because they love the craft. They love the process of writing they, they want to they have something to say they want to work out their voice. It's a creative process. And podcasting is much the same just because they're just because Joe Rogan exists? Or Malcolm Gladwell or the daily Your times exists and they're your competition, it doesn't mean that you can't find your audience, it doesn't mean that you can't have a great time learning your voice, to be a unique voice in the world to serve a community of like minded people. So a lot of times I find people not starting because they think they don't have anything to say. They don't think that they can do better than other professionals. And that's just not true. Because the thing that you have to remember about podcasting is that because it is so new, there will there will naturally be churn, people will pod fade, people will stop doing their show, people will move on, they'll do different things, people come in and try it and realize that they don't want to do it.

And you know, 60% of those 4 million podcast are not active right now. And so if you break it down and start in a niche, like Glenn Hiebert over at the horse Radio Network, okay, well, how many how many horse podcasts are there. And most of the horse podcasts are now on on his network. Because several years ago, people like I love horses, I want to talk about this. I listened to other horse podcasts, and they don't kind of meet my niche. They don't kind of tickle what they're not saying, I cannot find anybody talking about what I want to talk about. And, you know, he's collected a whole range of people talking about this one ecosystem from different angles. You know, at the we are libertarians, podcast network, you think, Oh, well, you know, a subject as flat as libertarianism can only demand one show. There's dozens of podcasts now from multiple different angles, and they all have listeners. And it is it is made up a large part of the community. So the thing that you're nerdy about that you want to talk about, may not have a lot of people doing shows about that stuff. And there may not be someone and if there are shows there may not be someone that is talking about that niche in the way that you would talk about it, or the way that you would find it interesting.

And so people will often kind of look at it and say, Well, I can't be Joe Rogan or I can't be smartlace, or I can't be the Daly and no, you you, you aren't you're not going to be because that's their voice. So you need to find your voice and talk to your people. And you will you will build community around that. So don't get discouraged. Because you don't exactly know what to say yet. You don't exactly know who you're talking to yet. But you have to think about that. Right? So what are you going to talk about? Are you passionate about it? And are you going to say something a little bit different than what other people in that vertical are talking about? And so that's kind of where you start. So if you are really into knitting, or they're knitting podcasts, I bet you there's three to five knitting podcasts out there. Okay, are they doing it in a way that you do it? I bet not. I bet. You know, I bet if you go and listen to them, they're kind of boring. Or they they're the production quality isn't good. Well, can you and your friends do better? I would say yes. So we are very early in the podcasting world. Were in AOL disc 1998. World. Okay, so this isn't like, you know, the amount of knitting blogs that have developed over 20 years is probably enormous. And some of them are probably very good, and very advanced. But it isn't comparable in podcasting, because this is still such a new medium for so many people. Most people, the consumers, and the advertising dollars are just moving in. There's a lot of us old timers who have understood the tech and the content, but the ears and the advertising, the money has not been there yet. And that's just showing up. So there is a ton of opportunity. And it begins with you determining what you want to say, and who you want to talk to.

And what do you want them to get out of it? And how are you going to serve them? And so that is the biggest question like this. This is the biggest thing that you need to think about not the mic you're going to use, not whether you're going to post it on Twitter or Instagram to promote your podcast, or which podcast host it's what do you want to say to the world or more importantly to your community to your niche. And so that will determine so much more because then you can say okay, I want to do a podcast about crock pot cooking. Okay, and now can you make 100 episodes around cooking with crock pots? I don't know, but Over time, it may morph into something else, you know, we are libertarians morphed into the Chris spangle show. And in the beginning, it was just kind of chatting about the news and talking about the Libertarian Party. And now it's morphed more into sociology and community building and communication. And, and it's a different show that we're on like our eighth iteration of what it is. And so your crock pot cooking show after 50 episodes may turn into a healthy cooking show, or it may turn into something completely different. But the thing is, is that you're gonna have 50 episodes of experience under your belt, because you started talking about something you're passionate about, and you connected with people who are passionate about that same thing. And they're forgiving audiences are so forgiving of new people who are growing and who are, are putting themselves out there because they are jealous and envious and proud of the person that has the courage that they themselves do not possess.

And so you just get started. And even if you don't have like this totally drilled down yet, and I promise you, you won't, because most podcasts are different at episode 20 than they are at episode, episode two. You just need to start kind of drill down, pick something and get moving. Because the cool thing about podcasting, like stand up comedy, you want to start at the open mics, you want to start in front of the four people that showed up to the Thursday night open mic, because there are other comics or their friends of the comics or some, you know, comics, girlfriend or boyfriend, you're starting in front of a small group of people who can kind of help mentor you to get better. And then as you get better, you start to win local competitions. And then you start to host in front of paid crowds. And then you connect with another comedian who makes you their opening act, or then you become a headliner yourself after about seven to 10 years. Okay? You will start your podcast talking about the thing you're passionate about in front of a very small group of people. And that is important because you want to groan if you have never hosted a podcast and we put you in front of Joe Rogan's audience, they'd hate it. But that's because Joe Rogan has 2030 years of experience in communicating, and connections and networking in presenting ideas and production, right? He's where he's at, because he's got time and experience. And you can be there too, if you start. But you can't wait, you got to you've got to move, you've got to start. And that's the most important thing. So what do I want people to get out of this podcast? I thought a lot about this. And I'm still kind of working it out. I just forced myself to start it. Because if I didn't, I was never going to get to the central question. And as I talk to people, I thought about who do I like talking to. And I like talking to people who are passionate about building something special, have some inherent skills, know that they could do this, but don't have the courage to start yet.

And have bigger goals than just sort of doing a podcast for 10 episodes with their friends before they get bored. Not the hobbyist, but somebody that's like, I'm going to take on this project, and I'm gonna own it, and I'm gonna build something really cool. So that the hobbyist, the pro amateur, you know, Pro Am person, not necessarily the the guy who is there's a lot of podcast about podcasting, and a lot of them have turned into industry podcasts, because a lot of folks are trying to build a reputation for themselves in a fast growing market with a lot of potential increased income. And so what do they do? They cater to industry news, because then they can interact with those industry insiders growing influence, speak at conferences, and build a news outlet basically, that supports their lifestyle. I have absolutely no problem with that. I listened to all their shows, I love those shows. But when I looked around the marketplace, I thought you know there's not there's like some basic how to shows that kind of give you the technical expertise.

And there's the industry podcasts, but there's nobody really kind of with my experience talking about how to start a podcast with a platform in mind something that is just like not just a podcast but a full brand, a full platform. And those are the people that I want to talk to because I enjoy talking to them. I understand my lane very well, I, I have found that the people who are responding to these shows are people who already kind of have something started, they have some sort of presence on a social media platform like Instagram or YouTube, they're kind of interested in starting a podcast, but they don't know how, or they don't have the courage to push themselves to do it. You know, they have a podcast or you know, but it's still kind of new and small. And they think they don't know how to do everything. And they're looking for some advice, like, so. You know, but not necessarily the, the people who are not responding to this yet, who are talking back to me, are the people who are like, I want to do a podcast, I don't know anything about this world. So your audience starts to kind of flock to you and tell you what they want more of and who they are and how you can serve them.

And so as you start something through the first, I mean, really never stops, like you listen to your audience, the conversations that you have, you know, I'm a part of many different audiences, I talked to probably 2030 people a day, that DM me and have conversations with me about podcasting, or one of the shows I produce or host. And you get great insight into your own content from being available and approachable and having those conversations. And that kind of helps you figure out your mission as well. So, you know, where I'm taking this, I think, is kind of serving those Pro and people, people who are doing something or would like to make a little side income, or who want to start a media outlet, right? So that, that crafts the like, what's the psychology of building that? What are the moves you need to make to build that, and not just which is the best microphone to podcast, right? Or, here's the rating of the best host, or here's the news out of these hosting platforms and media companies and how this affects the average guy, right? So listening to your audience helps you kind of get that mission define. But you've got to start. So I hope that gives you some insight, I hope it gives you value. Because if I don't give you value, and it doesn't open your mind a little bit, then you won't be back. And I won't be one of those seven to 10 podcast, and I, I just want to be a part of your daily listening, whether it is through the pat down podcasting platforms, the Chris spangle show, you know, I love doing this stuff. I love creating content. I love figuring out new ways to connect with audiences. I love the conversation I have with those audiences. And it's such a privilege to get to do this. And it's such a privilege to have people listening. And I just really do appreciate it. And I would say that, talk to your podcasters. Talk to your favorite podcasters don't be shy,

send them DMS. Let them know what you think of their work. Because when you have your own podcast, you're going to greatly appreciate it. It's sometimes the meal that keeps you fed in famine. So thank you for listening to podcasting platforms, make sure you go to podcasting and pick up this guide pick up how the 18 questions everyone needs to ask themselves before they start a podcast. And it's gonna really help you get on track faster. It's based on 20 years and 30 million 30 million downloads of experience. And I just hope people find it helpful. I don't know if people are finding it helpful because nobody said anything. So if you downloaded it and got something out of it, I'd love to hear from you. Please email me at Chris at podcasting and Thank you so much for listening and we will see you again next Wednesday.