If I know anything about aspiring podcasters (from having spoken with hundreds of them over the years) you’ve likely spent countless hours researching and giving thought to planning your podcast.
You’ve chosen your topic.
You’ve invested in equipment – just couldn’t wait could you…. hahaha!
You’ve maybe even recorded a few episodes.
But have you considered working with a podcast coach?
In this article, I’ll be deep diving into what podcast coaching is, why it’s important, and how to choose the right coach for your unique needs.
Introduction to Podcast Coaching
Podcast coaching is a relatively new industry that has emerged alongside the growing popularity of podcasting.
I mean, that’s my polite way of saying it’s been capitalised on by opportunists and try-hards, with a surge in numbers of people transitioning into a podcast coaching role. This pivot typically having been forced to by either the pandemic or a lost job in broadcasting. In some cases, even, a combination of the two!
But for the purposes of this article, I genuinely want to approach this topic with a positive tone.
So that you might find it genuinely helpful in deciding whether podcast coaching is something you need to seriously consider.
So, we’ll stick to analysing the ‘actual’ podcast coaches for now.
At its core, podcast coaching is about helping aspiring podcasters to create high-quality content that resonates with their target audience.
What is podcast coaching and why is it important for the success of your podcast?
As a podcaster, you want to be creating content that resonates with your target audience. But as with many things in marketing and business overall, you don’t know what you don’t know.
If you’re approaching this new type of content marketing from a position of having absolutely zero experience of marketing or content publishing, then you’re setting yourself quite the challenge.
Look, let’s not sugarcoat this. You’re setting yourself up to ‘fail’. Not in the general sense of the word, but in terms of your own goals being met. Because that is the only ‘failure’ we have to go by here.
It’s commonly known that when a podcaster’s expectations are not met, they get disheartened, and they become demotivated to continue.
They participate in a phenomenon known as ‘podfade’.
This is something that has already affected three and a half million podcasts prior to yours.
By working with a coach, you will have an accountability partner that will help you overcome this threat of ‘podfade’.
But more than that, you can gain valuable insights and feedback that can help you to refine your content and improve your overall podcasting skills and therefore, the wider listener experience.
And this is the most important part of all. Understanding what the listener wants and needs from your podcast. Because that’s who matters. Not your mother, nor your Aunt Jackie, or the neighbour’s son Dan.
And a podcast coach can provide the necessary motivation, helping you to stay on track and achieve your goals.
Perhaps most importantly, a podcast coach can help you to avoid common pitfalls and mistakes that can hinder the success of your podcast right from the get-go.
For example, a coach can help you to identify and address technical issues with your recording set-up.
After all, while the biggest percentage of your eventual podcast audience will find you over time, there will be a number who will be listening early on, in the first few months of releasing your first-ever episode.
You don’t want them to listen in only to be totally repulsed by the content, never to check you out again.
Getting podcast coaching right from the start could help you get some vital guidance on how to effectively promote your podcast to your target audience.
Benefits of working with a podcast coach
Working with a podcast coach can provide a multitude of benefits for aspiring podcasters. Here are just a few of the many advantages:
Objective Feedback and Critique
Podcast coaches can provide honest and objective feedback on your content and delivery, helping you to refine your skills and improve your podcast overall. If they’re anything like me, they’ll help you to identify whether you’re even the best choice for hosting your own podcast, based on your delivery. Sometimes it’s worth considering hiring someone in to host for you!
But if it turns out that you are the best choice for hosting your podcast, they can help you to identify areas where you may be struggling, and provide guidance on how to overcome these challenges.
Accountability and Motivation
Podcast coaching can provide the accountability and motivation you need to stay on track and achieve your goals. Your coach can help you to set realistic milestones and deadlines, and provide support and encouragement along the way.
(It’s easy to cancel an appointment with yourself to develop your podcast. You’ll find it more difficult to continually fail to show up for your podcasting coach!)
Improved Technical Skills
A podcast coach can help you to improve your technical skills, whether it’s recording, editing, or post-production. They can also help you to troubleshoot issues with your equipment, and provide guidance on how to create high-quality audio that will engage your listeners.
Understanding Your Audience
Finally, a podcast coach can help you to better understand your target audience, and create content that resonates with them.
It’s more common than you might think, that a business or entrepreneur thinks their idea for a podcast is sure to be a hit, only to find it’s rejected outright by listeners.
This is usually because the targeting is completely off!
If you’re putting out a podcast with a long boring intro and your ideal listener’s psychographic profile suggests they want you to get to the point quickly…. well you can understand how that might be an issue for your growth.
By analysing your audience behaviour and listening habits, your podcast coach can help you to tailor your content to better meet the needs and interests of your listeners.
Negatives of working with a podcast coach
For total transparency and balance, we should also take an effort to look at the negative side of working with a podcast coach.
The cost could be a definite bummer (see more in depth in the below section) if you’re already investing cash into this project and not yet seeing any return.
You’re also going to be imparting a lot of trust in someone who could ultimately prove to have very little interest in your overall success, and this is why doing your homework is so important. You don’t want to look back on this and feel you’ve wasted time and money.
And much like with hiring any other help, you’re going to have to spend some time in managing this person’s dynamic interaction within your organisation.
Is this person only going to be working with you, or do you have an entire team you want them to work with?
You’ll have to give some thought to the level of exposure you’re comfortable with. Also, how much of your company time are you willing to sacrifice for this extra layer of podcast consultancy?
There could also be security concerns which could lead to more paperwork and time impact as things like non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality clauses need to be written up!
Choosing a suitable podcast coach for your own unique needs
Assuming you’re aware of the potential negatives, and you still think hiring someone for podcast coaching is the right move for you…
Choosing a suitable person that’s right for you is essential to the success of your podcast.
Here are some factors to consider when selecting a coach:
One largely unspoken about aspect of podcasting that’s conveniently ignored by a lot of podcast gurus – ethics of podcasting.
There is a shady underbelly in the space which involves questionable ethics around artificial inflation of metrics and ‘chart’ positions.
Their black-hat methods include everything from buying listeners and followers, to using hacks and tricks to manipulate podcast app algorithms.
You want to learn and understand your podcast coach’s position on this. After all, if they’re going to teach you marketing methods that could ultimately bite you on the arse and impact your public credibility, you need to be prepared for that backlash.
And believe me, it’s easy to tell when you’re gaming the system.
My guess is you don’t want this kind of publicity around your podcast.
Experience and Expertise
Look for a coach who has experience in podcasting and a deep understanding of the industry. They should have a track record of success, and be able to provide examples of other podcasters they have worked with. Better still, they’ll have glowing reviews and endorsements. Yaknow, something like this…
It’s important to find a coach whose communication style matches your own. If you’re more serious, are they just a little too far down the aisle on the fun bus? Could you eventually find that annoying? On the other hand, does their super professional approach mean you sometimes find yourself drifting off to sleep when they’re coaching you?
Also, chosen method of comms is important!
Do they communicate primarily through email or phone calls? Are you more of a video chat person? You need to figure this out.
Are they available for regular check-ins and meetings? Make sure you feel comfortable with their style of communication before committing to work with them.
Availability and Flexibility
Be sure to choose a coach who is available and flexible enough to work with your schedule. They should be able to accommodate your needs and adjust their coaching style to meet your unique situation. If you have children, are they patient enough to accept that the call might have to break off half way through while you attend to a young person’s needs.
Cost and Investment
Finally, consider the cost of working with a coach, and whether it fits within your budget. Remember that working with a coach is an investment in the success of your podcast, and can yield significant returns over time. But if the podcast coaching is of a decent quality, it’s not going to be available for ‘Fiverr prices’.
Get clear on what you can afford, and what kind of return on investment you’re comfortable with.
Do they offer trial periods?
Are there flexible payment options?
All worth asking questions on.
Understanding Your Audience
Understanding your audience is critical to the success of your podcast. Your coach can help you to better understand your target audience by analysing demographics, psychographics, listening habits, and other data. By understanding the needs and interests of your listeners, you can create content that is more engaging and relevant to them.
Creating your podcast strategy
Creating a solid podcast strategy is essential to the success of your podcast. Your coach can help you to develop a strategy that aligns with your goals and objectives, and provides a clear roadmap for success. This may include identifying your target audience, defining your podcasting niche, and developing a content calendar. And if they’re any good, it could even include putting together a list of extra steps you can take to really ensure you’re reaching your ideal listeners.
And none of them will be available to purchase for $97 on Instagram…
In conclusion, podcast coaching is an essential component of success for any aspiring podcaster. By working with a coach, you can gain valuable insights and feedback, improve your technical skills, and better understand your target audience. When selecting a coach, be sure to consider their experience, communication style, availability, and cost, and work together to develop a solid podcast strategy that aligns with your goals and objectives.