We love podcasts and if, like us, you have considered starting one then this post is for you. Especially if you want to know the process of how to launch a podcast. We are thrilled to chat with Suzy Chase, host of the number one cookbook podcast Cookery by the Book. With fifteen years of podcasting experience, Suzy pulls back the curtain on how to launch a podcast with these seven great tips. A former major market radio on-air personality and cookbook publicist, she takes us through the steps of how to start a podcast from concept to launch. Listen to Suzy’s podcast Cookery by the Book, follow her on Instagram and discover her favorite shops Shop Local with Suzy Chase.
Answer Your “Why”
It may seem simple, but the first step to gaining clarity around your podcast: ask yourself, “why?” Starting a podcast because it’s all the rage right now won’t be enough to keep you going into episode 30. So, why podcast? Does it make sense for your personal or business’s brand? Do you want to build thought leadership in your industry? Have you recently lost your job and want to keep your resume up-to-date? Do you have a personal story to tell? Do you have a unique perspective on a popular trend? Are you a stay-at-home Mom or Dad who wants to create content? Podcasting takes a considerable amount of time, so knowing your “why” will help establish reasonable goals for yourself and your show. Through my years of audio consulting, I’ve seen the most long-term success from creators who have a personal connection to their topic. Think about it: you’re likely to spend up to five hours a week researching and digging into your idea. I blended my passion for radio and cookbooks into Cookery by the Book. When answering your “why” think about what excites you about your topic or idea. Think about the audience you’ll be serving. My cookbook podcast community mostly consists of home cooks and people who love reading cookbooks. They fuel me every day!
Establish Your Niche or Create a Sub-Genre
Storytime: When envisioning Cookery by the Book podcast, I noticed there weren’t any shows dedicated to cookbooks in the food category, so I established the cookbook sub-genre in the food category. Same with The Groove Radio, way back in 2003. I had a soul music mixshow in iTunes radio, which morphed into an audio blog in 2004. When podcasting came on the scene in 2005, I converted my shows to an RSS feed and was a pioneer in the music podcast genre.
The takeaway? Take the time to explore similar shows in Apple Podcast and Spotify. Listen to shows in your category and see what speaks to you. What are they doing that works? That doesn’t? Is anyone already doing what you want to do? If so, tweak your idea — personalize it. Even if there are 100 podcasts about coffee YOU are unique so YOU can make a different show.
Once, a chef contacted me to tell me he wanted to start a podcast about cookbooks, but he put his own twist on it. He had the clever idea to interview cookbook authors in their kitchens while cooking a recipe out of the cookbook. That is one example of how to personalize a podcast idea so that you’re not duplicating an existing style or niche. Plus, creating content for a micro niche is far easier than working with a broad category like cooking. Remember, a podcast made for everyone appeals to no one.
Nail Down Your Format
Tap into your unique talent when you visualize your show. Are you a gifted storyteller, a good listener? As an introvert, I’m partial to the interview format because I love to listen and draw the story out of my guest. Get to know other formats of podcasting, such as educational, interview, conversation, solo-cast, co-host, roundtable, and storytelling. Build your format for your strengths and make sure your format is flexible enough to keep YOU interested and inspired.
Your podcast format will also give you a clear roadmap for your shows, so you can plan and build content. For instance, if you choose to host guests, you can reach out to thought leaders in the space and schedule them ahead of time. If you’re telling a story, you can plan the narrative or chapters.
Nailing down your format and a roadmap helps you plan the length of your episodes. If you create a consistent, quality show you will have a success story.
Plan Your First Ten Episodes
Now that you’ve got clarity about your sub-genre, your format, and your “why,” it’s time to sit down and plan out your first ten episodes. If you plan to publish weekly, that’s a little over two months of content. It may sound like a lot, but life happens! Don’t back yourself into a corner. When I say plan the first ten episodes, I mean prepare, prepare, prepare.
Now is the time to dig into the research. Can you think of ten guests to interview? Ten key subtopics to discuss? Ten narrative twists? Heck, do you have enough content to get you through the first ten episodes? If not, your idea might be better suited as an intentional audio mini-series, a social media series, or a blog post with chapters. And that’s okay!
For Cookery by the Book, I very carefully curate the content calendar. For example, I will never release two vegetarian cookbooks back-to-back. I also take into account cookbook release dates. It’s always good for the episode to be released the day the cookbook is released so that the author has more content to share, and the podcast gets picked up as part of the book’s publicity.
Flexibility and problem-solving are essential in planning too. I recommend keeping an eye on global news. When COVID-19 was just starting to rear its ugly head in Italy, I was getting ready to release an episode about a canned goods cookbook called Take One Can noting that Americans were beginning to stockpile canned goods. I also reached out to three cookbook authors I had previously interviewed (and not yet released) to re-record a short quarantine cooking segment. I popped it into the beginning of the episode and it made for a very timely episode that would have been rather tone-deaf otherwise.
Schedule Time in Your Calendar
Podcasting is so much more than sitting down, turning on a microphone and talking off the top of your head. Growing an audience requires a consistent time commitment! For me, it’s turned into a part-time job. Crack out your planner and pencil in about five hours each week to research, plan, contact guests, design marketing material, record, edit, and more.
Ideally, you should be posting a new episode every week, but of course, your schedule has a lot to do with your why. I’ve seen many hobby podcasters post sporadically and are perfectly happy doing so. Brands and businesses will want to keep a consistent schedule.
For my Cookery by the Book podcast, I routinely spend a good week reading the cookbook, researching the author, and making a recipe or two out of the cookbook. I then spend a couple of hours developing my interview questions. Editing for my 30-minute podcast regularly takes two hours.
Industry vets report that podcasts “podfade,” or stop producing new content, by their 7th episode. Through consulting, I’ve found there are many reasons for podfading: podcasting is too much work, it’s not fun anymore, or hosts lack episode ideas.
Create a Social Presence
You’re lucky to be living in the time of social media! When I first launched The Groove Radio in 2005, social media wasn’t even a glimmer in anyone’s eye. I highly recommend starting a social presence when you launch your podcast. It’s free marketing! Post quotes from the episode, an audio snippet, a blog, and interact with listeners. Follow other podcasters and influencers. To keep your presence focused, don’t intermingle it with your personal accounts. Unless you’re well-known or extending your brand, create a new account for your podcast.
Social is a great way to engage with potential listeners and give them a taste of your show. It also fosters a sense of community, so your listeners can interact with each other and with you. My cookbook podcast is a very formatted interview style where I don’t lead with my personality, I lead with questions. I use my Instagram stories on @Cookerybythebook to give listeners a glimpse into my everyday life — walking around my neighborhood, going to restaurants/bars in New York City, and cooking recipes out of the cookbooks featured on my show.
You can also use social media for diving more in-depth on your guests (if you have guests on your show). For example, every episode I ask the cookbook author what their all-time favorite cookbook is and use that to make a graphic for my Instagram account. Don’t forget to make a hashtag for your podcast!
Get Your Voice Heard
In 2005 I attended podcast meet-ups and it was a bunch of dudes and me, the only woman at the table, talking about gear, tech and software at an Irish pub. I had come to talk about concepts, visions, and creative ways to use podcasting. From day one I’ve been championing podcasts as a creative outlet. Podcasting has come a long way. You can google the gear but the inspiration is inside of you. The wide world of podcasting is open for you and your dream. The popularity of podcasts continues to grow, hop on board!