10 Reasons I've Betrayed Blogging for Podcasting (Temporarily)
I haven't really blogged since May! I've wanted to, I've tried, but my head just hasn't been in the right space to sit down and write- especially with some of the things that I've been dealing with lately. So I've been focusing more on doing the Talking Taiwan podcast as you can tell from my last couple of posts, but I don't really count those posts as actual blog posts. To me they are simply previews and descriptions of my Talking Taiwan interviews. I actually miss blogging! And I'm feeling a twinge of guilt for not keeping up with my blogging.
This led me to think about why it's been easier for me to focus on podcasting over blogging, and to write a post about all the good reasons to do a podcast. But rest assured, I'm not giving up blogging or writing. I'm still more in my element when I'm writing, more so than podcasting.
Being in the role of podcast host, which is a bit like being the host of a talk show, does not come naturally to me. Don't get me wrong, I love people and always enjoy meeting new people. I try not to pass judgment or to make any assumptions about people. If you really listen to what people tell you and share with you, they might surprise you. I find that there's usually something I can learn from others. Each person has his or her own story, world view, or personal experiences. That's what I enjoy about podcasting- delving into people's personal stories and experiences.
I'm just not one of those people who has the "gift of the gab." And I'm definitely more the type of person who "thinks to talk," and not one who "talks to think." You probably won't catch me going off into a soliloquy during a podcast episode. But I think that a good podcast host needs to know how to make their guests feel comfortable, and when to inject more into the conversation in order to get their guests to talk in more detail. After all, interview style podcasts are really just a conversation. More on that and other things I've learned from podcasting in a future blog post.
So why have I been podcasting more than blogging?
1) It's relatively easy to produce/create content
With an interview style podcast, like the Talking Taiwan podcast, the prep involved is minimal. It basically involves reaching out to prospective guests, doing some light research on them and the topic that you'd like to speak to them about, and preparing questions to ask them.
In my case I'm particularly fortunate to have a whole team helping me to produce the Talking Taiwan podcast, as I wrote about in this previous blog post. But you can really do it yourself. All you need is recording software that works with Skype and a microphone for yourself. And if your interview is well structured, you probably won't have to do much editing to the recording. Check out these posts on how to start your own podcast on The Podcast Host and Entrepreneurs on Fire.
2) It's a great excuse to meet and connect with interesting people
What better excuse could there be to connect with someone than asking to interview him or her and to give them an opportunity to share their ideas and projects with a broader audience? Because of the Talking Taiwan podcast, I've met and spoken with authors, film producers, musicians and entrepreneurs, just to name a few. I've had very few people ever say no to being interviewed for the Talking Taiwan podcast. Sometimes people are not available right away, but if you circle back and follow up with them, surely you'll be able to find a good time to interview them. Once you've connected with someone and interviewed them it's a good idea to stay in touch them, and to see what they are up to, and to even ask them to recommend other guests for your podcast. You never know, you might one day want to have one of your previous guests back on your podcast.
3) It's a great way to learn new things and to exchange ideas
You can certainly use your podcast to inform, educate or explore topics that are related to current events or that are completely new to you or your audience. Approach your podcast interviews with curiosity. Invite experts to share their thoughts and opinions, debate and exchange ideas. Once you have an engaged listener base you could even ask your listeners who they'd like to be interviewed or what topics they'd like discussed on the podcast.
4) It helps to improve my conversational and speaking skills
If there's one thing I've learned about podcasting, is that it is a sort of conversation. In general my style is to let my guests do most of the talking but then again, I can't let them go off on too much of a tangent. It's my job to keep them on topic or to bring them back to the topic at hand. It's also important to know how to speak with your guests so that you put them at ease.
5) It's another way to reach and build your audience
For me, I normally communicate with my audience by blogging. When I podcast, I'm reaching out to a different audience or to my existing audience in a different way. Also, when your guests share their podcast interview on social media or use it on their own website or for other promotional purposes, you and your podcast will be introduced to your guest's followers/audience. And your guests in turn get exposure to your audience. It's a win-win situation.
6) There's something very personal about podcasts
Hearing your voice and the voice of your guests makes the experience more personal for listeners. And it creates a personal connection. Also, people can pretty much listen to podcasts anywhere, at their convenience- while driving, commuting, at home doing mundane errands like folding the laundry, while working out, and so on. You get the picture. It's as if they've transported you into their personal space.
7) It's easy for audiences to connect and consume
Podcasts are free, as long as you have an Internet connection. People can subscribe to your podcast and download and listen to episodes on the go. And for some, it's easier and more convenient than sitting down to read.
8) It's relatively inexpensive to do
According to this post on Entrepreneurs on Fire, equipment would cost anywhere from $26-60. There are also free sound recording and editing programs like Audacity or GarageBand (for Mac users).
9) It's a different way to present information and ideas
With a podcast, you can use sound to communicate in different ways. Sound and music can be used to create a particular ambiance, or to create a scene in one's mind. There are definitely some innovative ways to make use of sound in a podcast.
10) It's a great way to create and/or collect content for other mediums.
I'm not talking about simply creating a word-for-word transcript of a podcast episode. That's the most obvious type of content you could create from a podcast and it can be done easily enough through a transcription service. What I'm talking about is creating future content derived from podcasts. For example, many of my recent podcasts have been about Taiwan-related events that happen in New York during the summer. In the future, I might write a blog post or do a podcast offering a preview of what Taiwan-related events will be happening in the summer in New York.
Aside from these 10 reasons to podcast, it's been very personally rewarding, especially when I've gotten personal messages from new listeners who have just come across the podcast. They've thanked me for covering topics that they care about on the podcast. I'm definitely looking forward to growing Talking Taiwan's listener base and to engaging more with my listeners.