At some point, many podcasters feel the need to share the knowledge they have gained with other less experienced podcasters. Clearly, I’m all for that and think that more podcasters should share their knowledge with others.
But how you do that, and how you bill yourself and the materials you have to present matters. So before you set off on your path, consider your options and make the best choice. For all of us.
Do We Need Another Book About Podcasting?
Many people are drawn to writing a book for the same reason they are drawn to podcasting: How hard can it be? Well… pretty hard, as you know. No, it’s no giant burden to talk into a microphone. We do it all the time. Nor is it terribly daunting to type words into a computer. Again, we do it all the time.
But as you know, working podcaster, making a good podcast is really, really hard. Same goes for publishing a good book.
There’s always room for more books about podcasting. And books continue to be purchased by people looking for answers. But do you need to write a book about podcasting? More to the point; have you amassed the experience necessary to allow you to fill a book about podcasting? Are you ready to put in the work—and I assure you it is work—necessary to publish a great book?
This may come off a bit hypocritical of me, as I had less than a year of podcasting experience under my belt when I started writing Podcasting for Dummies. The same goes for the other early podcasting books like Podcasting: Do-It-Yourself Guide, written by Todd Cochrane of Blubbry and Tricks of The Podcasting Masters, written Rob Walsh from Libsyn. We all made that choice because we had no choice! The medium was brand new. While we’re all three proud of the books we wrote (Rob and I with co-authors), we knew what we were creating. We saw our jobs much as early cartographers exploring a new world and creating quasi-correct maps to help guide the way for other early explorers. None of us thought we had all the answers.
It’s been about two decades since then. That’s eons in internet time, and those initial guides and those that came not long after have been refined by a million others to millimeter precision. So while you can write a book about podcasting today, there’s a lot of ground—and history—to cover. Are you up to that task?
Should You Write A How-To Podcast Course?
The internet is lousy with online learning management systems (LMS) that are almost begging you (and helping you) to distill your knowledge down to a saleable course that you can market to others who want to learn from you.
I’ll bring up the question of experience once again: Have you gathered enough podcasting experience to do that? How will your course stack up against the hundreds (probably thousands) of other podcasting courses out there, some created and constantly curated by people with a dozen or more years of experience?
If you feel you really do have a unique take on podcasting that is worthy of a course, then yes, absolutely, you should make that course. But take some time to do some research on what already is out there, and have a self-check-in to make sure you can deliver the goods. Make sure the lure of huge piles of cash proffered by those LMS tools does not force you to put out an inferior product. Reputation matters in this space, and there are plenty of people with tarnished reputations in podcasting. We have a long memory. You really don’t want to be That Guy.
Should You Become A Podcast Coach?
There are lots of ways you can coach other podcasters, but I suggest you look at a narrowly-defined coaching role. So more a hitting coach than the manager of a baseball team. Or a vocal coach, perhaps. As you know, there are lots of aspects to podcasting. And while lots of people are good at particular niches, most podcasting pros aren’t going to be great coaches for all-things-podcasting.
So if you do want to coach, drill down on what you do best. If audio engineering is your kick, then maybe you can coach people on getting the most out of a particular DAW or a select group of audio plugins. Perhaps you’re an excellent editor of the written word and could coach people on transforming text written to be read into something written to be narrated and heard. Or maybe you’re a Speech-Language Pathologist and are able to coach podcasters on how to get the most of out their voice as a vocal coach. (Side note: I’m starting to work with a vocal coach. I’ll let you know how it goes.)
Is Podcast Mentorship Right For You?
If you're a regular listener/reader of my content and you've been podcasting for a while, you’d probably make a great mentor for another podcaster!
Mentorship doesn’t have to be fancy with a lot of rigor. In fact, I prefer unstructured mentor/mentee relationships (hi, Steph!) where the relationship is symbiotic, each learning from the other.
I also like mentorships that are free. Not that I’m opposed to getting paid. But when payment is part of the mentorship equation, the temptation exists to pack a mentorship program with a bunch of “value bombs” and other gross-sounding things that turn out to be thinly veneered obvious answers. Or maybe I’m too cynical. If you can avoid that and make a paid mentorship program… who am I to stop you?
Just remember that being a mentor is not the same thing as being a coach or a teacher. The dynamic is different when the person on the other end is a student. The expectation of the one passing on the knowledge—that’s you—is different as well. To me, mentorship is much more general and open-ended in nature. Coaching and teaching tend to be best when they are highly specialized and have a well-defined goal, outcome, and end-date.
How Should You Best Share Your Podcasting Experience?
So which is the right approach for you? Should you commit to writing a book? Would a course be better? Should you hang out your shingle as a coach? Or should you seek out opportunities to serve as a mentor? I can’t answer that. And honesty, you may not be able to answer it either. At least not by yourself.
Suggestion: get your peers involved and crowdsource the decision. Reach out to a small number of people you trust—people who know you and who won’t bullshit you—asking for their input. Include a link to this article so they can quickly understand the possibilities and pitfalls. Then review their feedback and make your best decision.
And if a moment of brilliance struck you as you were reading this or listening to the episode, great! You can some me your appreciation by buying me a virtual coffee at BuyMeACoffee.com/evoterra.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll be hosting a room on Clubhouse that’s all about keeping the magic of podcasting alive in you, the person behind the microphone. I’d love for you to join me. And do let me know if you need an invite. I have a few to spare.
Monday is Presidents’ Day in America, and my lovely wife has demanded I take the day off. I do what I am told. So with that, I'll be back on Tuesday for another Podcast Pontifications.