Insights Gained From 100 Episodes: My Top 3 Takeaways
Reflections, Insights, and Lessons from a Podcaster's Journey
1. Ask a Better Question
In the early days of my podcast, my focus was on sharing the inspiring journeys of thoughtful and determined guests who were making a real difference in their communities. Our interviews would take place in a spare room in our apartment and often last up to 3.5 hours as we delved into the guest's life story. I found it rewarding when guests would reflect on their life experiences and understanding how certain events from their childhood had shaped their decisions in life.
Nowadays, I strive to improve my craft by studying great interviewers like Sean Evans and Ariel Helwani. I have come to understand the impact that a single well-crafted question can have on a guest. This is because it can make them feel seen, valued, and understood. I remember Tim McAlpine being the first person to notice how some guests were taken aback by a question and visibly impressed by the depth of my knowledge and research. This observation made it clear to me that my value proposition was in my ability to ask thoughtful, well-developed questions that make for a more meaningful interview experience for both the guests and listeners.
2. People are Incredibly Generous with their Time
Having interviewed more than 100 guests, I am constantly amazed by how generous people are with their time. Initially, I was hesitant to invite anyone onto the podcast, feeling as though I was intruding. Thus, I began by interviewing local leaders and community-oriented guests from my region.
However, as the podcast has grown, I have had the pleasure of speaking with individuals from across North America, including those with large followings on social media. It is incredible to see how willing they are to be guests on my show. The experience of having someone you admire and look up to being so open to sharing their time is truly remarkable. Although they say never to meet your heroes, luckily I have no regrets.
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3. You Never Know Who’s Listening
A major reason why many podcasters quit is due to the lack of immediate growth in their audience. In my case, the first episode received a lot of initial interest from friends, family, and acquaintances, creating a sense of great excitement. However, over time, this initial interest from close acquaintances waned. This can make one wonder if the content is not engaging enough, as only a few listeners remain.
It is essential to remember that the size of the audience doesn't determine the value of the podcast. Consistency and good content will take you farther than you can imagine. Whether you have 10, 100, 1000, or 100,000 listeners, you still have true supporters who are engaged and appreciate your work. Also, you never know who your listeners are. I have received feedback from book clubs discussing my episodes, met with people who call themselves avid listeners, and read touching comments from listeners about how much an episode has impacted them personally.
Therefore, the key lesson is to appreciate and be grateful for the support you receive, regardless of the size of the audience, and keep in mind that you never know who may be tuning in.