Believe in You, Ignore the Assholes, Kill that Content
Holy suggestive title Batman! What on earth could you mean? Well history friend, if you're a history podcaster, odds are you have encountered that disease which all creative people encounter at one point or another. Impostor syndrome. Here, we take it apart, with some love, as well as some tough love. Curious? Read on for Part 4 of the History Podcasting Platform...
Let’s get this out of the way first of all. I’m not an expert by any means. I never got a PhD from promote-your-podcast-ology, and I struggle a great deal sometimes with some of the issues we’ll be covering over the course of this History Podcasting Platform. I'm not perfect, but I'm also honest, and I want to share my experiences, in the hope that they help you. No silver bullets here, just honest history podcasting advice from a history podcasting who wants to make this his full time, totally full time job someday. Ok? Shweet.
This week, to start us off on this journey, we’re going to have a chat, to make sure we're on the same page as I roll out the History Podcasting Platform. We start with the most important part of this whole process – content. So let’s get started.
Let’s start with some questions:
· Do you worry that your podcast doesn’t matter?
· Do you wish more people would respond to what you do?
· Would anyone even notice if you stopped podcasting?
· Do you ever feel like quitting?
· Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, blowing through the wind…
I could add dozens more to that list. Unless you’re someone with ironbound confidence and no self-doubt, I would wager you’ve felt at least one of these at some point. It’s time to do what I (try to) do with these thoughts – call them out for what they are. These thoughts are assholes. That is what they are. What do we do with assholes? We tell them to get stuffed (or something a little less PG). Seriously. I don’t want to make the first instalment of this series dark, but I do want to be real with you guys.
What you do does matter.
It matters when you get up in the morning facing a full day of work, and you know that you’ll be up well into the night working on your latest episode. It matters when you bring something of quality to someone and help them learn something new. It matters because you are doing so much more than any person who might ever look down on you for your hobby, or try to belittle you. It matters because I know for a fact that you have made people’s lives better. It matters because those 5, 25, 55, 5,000 or whatever number of listeners you have, all look forward to what you do. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be there. Unless your show goes from listeners to absolutely zero, you are to take those assholes (remember the name given to negative thoughts!) and, to borrow The Rock’s line, ‘stick them straight up, their candy ass!’
What you do matters. It matters so much, and if you don’t believe that, then sorry, but you’re wrong, and we need to have words. From this point onwards, once you start reading further down, we are not going to talk anymore about assholes. We’re going to talk about how great we are, how valuable what we do is, and why you should take pride in what you do, no matter your audience size. OK? GOOD!
Now then, let me tell you something else.
Your content…might be crap.
Ok, I know that was a bit of a bait and switch, but hear me out. It’s very unlikely that your content is crap – notice that I said might! – but it is possible that your show is…if not crap per se, then maybe a bit rough around the edges. On the other hand, it is also possible that your show is not in need of any improvements at all.
If that’s the case, then nope, try again!
Your show doesn’t have to be crap to be in need of improvements. As someone that produces quality content, quality should always be your guiding line. Since quality can vary from week to week, from script to script, from interview to interview etc., it is possible that last week’s episode isn’t as good as this week’s episode, or vice versa. Where am I going with this? To a very simple destination – I call it, the land of always striving to improve.
You are only as good as your podcast. It’s such an obvious thing to say, but in this series, we’ll be talking about everything from social media, to listener engagement, to monetising, to technology, to production process – so much stuff. At the end of the day though, if your podcast is not as good as Billy Audio’s over there in the corner, then Mr Audio will get listened to, and your podcast will slide down the list.
Now sometimes, obviously, there’s nothing you can do about Mr Audio’s podcast coming first – people have favourites, and for whatever reason, I’m just not as popular as Dan Carli…I mean… Alright, look at this way; Mr Audio may be more popular than you, he may have a staff of people promoting his shows and he may shoot to the top of the New and Noteworthy section of iTunes and leave you in the dust. But imagine how much easier this situation is to take when you can look at your podcast and know ‘I am just as good, if not better, than him/her.’
I’ll tell you from experience – it is much easier.
Nobody wants to admit that their show is lacking, but knowing it’s as tight as possible is worth every bit of effort. As we said, your show being tight and shiny doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, what it does mean is you can hold your head up high. How do you know if your show is up to scratch? Well, are you embarrassed to play it in front of a room full of people? Does your other half or best friend never get a look in because you don’t like how it sounds or how the end product turned out?
Be honest with yourself, and you’ll save yourself so many headaches down the road.
Try this small test. Ask that person to listen, and be in the room while they listen. If you can feel yourself getting embarrassed, then ask yourself ‘why?’ Is it just because of the awkwardness of the situation, or because you actually don’t like what you’re hearing? It’s weird isn’t it, how we don’t mind releasing stuff to people we don’t see, but when people we know and respect come into the equation, it can often be a different story.
That’s going to do it for our instalment of the History Podcasting Platform this week. Next week, stay tuned as we ask:
“Have you considered whether it’s time for something completely different?”
Oooh, what can this mean? Find out next week. Found this helpful? Why not check out WDF’s Facebook group, where I aim to build the kind of history podcasting community you see written here, where everyone is there to help, there are no stupid questions, and I make the occasional wrestling reference (but only if you’re good!). Until then, my lovely history producers, thanksss for reading, and I’ll be seeing you all next week!