Your local gym or fitness club is a good metaphor for understanding how people approach the craft of podcasting. Here’s how to keep your microphone out of the juice blender.
I recently rejoined the gym. It’s not a brand new gym, but it’s a gym that’s a brand new to me. I’m not going to name the gym, but if Los Angeles had a fitness center, it would be called this. Anyhow, it’s a nice place. I’ve been a couple of times now starting with a yoga class to get some flexibility back into the old body before I do anything more drastic.
As I sit on the bench waiting for the room to clear out so I can go do yoga, I observe the other gym patrons. And I’m struck by the realization that the fitness center is a great metaphor for podcasting.
The building itself and all of the equipment inside represent the tools and services we working podcasters use to make our podcasts. As you’ve no doubt noticed, there’s a lot of equipment and gear in the gym that you never use when you go workout. You probably don’t use half of what’s available. You have your go-to tools, and you largely don’t even consider the rest. To at least some degree, you don’t use that other stuff because you don’t know how to use that other stuff. Or why you should use that other stuff!
Let’s dig deeper into the people metaphor. Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of people found inside a fitness center. The people working out — patrons — represent working podcasters like yourself. You don’t know how serious these patrons are. They could just be in there like me trying to get limber once again (as if I ever was), or they could be training for the next marathon, or they might be professional bodybuilders. Who knows? The same holds true in podcasting. You don’t know how serious they take podcasting when you encounter another podcaster.
The second type of people are at the gym are usually not working out, but are instead assisting the patrons of the gym. Personal trainers, you might call them. These people represent the professional service providers found in the podcasting industry. Audio editors. Copywriters. Podcast strategists. Personal assistants. Anyone really who offer ways to help podcasters with their craft.
Some patrons, perhaps most, only use a limited set of equipment for their workout. They check-in, workout for a set period of time, and then they leave. That’s the same pattern a lot of podcasters employ: they ply their craft using one or two pieces of equipment to make their podcast episodes, and they’re done. In-and-out. No muss. No fuss. And that’s perfectly fine. People who approach podcasting like that are why we’re approaching 900,000 podcasts.
For most of these people, all the equipment they don’t use is superfluous. They see no need to use more equipment because they either don’t understand the equipment itself or the don’t understand how using that equipment during their workout might benefit them.
Enter the gym-employed personal trainer. Their job is to get you comfortable with the equipment you aren’t comfortable with so that you keep coming to the gym. The metaphor breaks down a little here because most podcast service providers — I’m thinking hosting companies or fee-based software — are quite passive in their approach to education. It’s often relegated to a small support staff, a few help desk FAQs, or videos. But rarely will they pursue a customer to make sure they know to use the services in the same way the gym won’t stop calling me to schedule a session with a personal trainer. Hrm. Maybe there’s wisdom in restraint.
Where the gym-employed trainer can show you how to work any of the equipment, they probably aren’t much help beyond that. The same goes for podcast consultants. Some, perhaps most, can show you how to podcast the way they podcast, but they probably don’t have much experience beyond that. It’s not like podcasting has a certification body out there vetting the qualifications of someone claiming to be a podcast consultant. (In fact, personal trainers go through more certification than podcast consultants do.)
But beyond the trainers on the payroll of the gym are the “professional” personal trainers who have studied training or physical therapy at university. Maybe they previously worked for a professional sports team or at a sports medicine clinic. These trainers will have a much more complete service offering that goes beyond the confines of the gym they are working in with their clients.
So too is it for podcast consultants who do who have been in the trenches for a long time. (I promise this is not a sales pitch for me. I’m just exploring a metaphor with you.) Truly professional podcast consultants are going to be more qualified to help you make a more well-rounded show or to help you get to the next level with our podcasting.
But the problem with working with truly professional personal trainers is that you must follow their routine. If you instead dictate the type of workout you want to do, the type of equipment you want to use, the frequency and the length of the sessions you want to commit to, and then state what outcome you’re looking to achieve… Well, you’re probably not going to have a very good time.
If the only reason you hired a professional is so that they can show you proper technique, you’re missing out on the larger picture. And probably wasting money.
Instead, you should tell your truly qualified personal trainer the end-goal you have in mind. Tell them what you want to get out of your sessions together, and let them design a workout that’s right for you.
The same thing holds true in podcasting. A good professional podcast consultant will find a way to get you where you want to go. They’ll find a way to use the equipment you have, or they’ll make recommendations of what you need to acquire. They’ll help you craft your message and explore different formats you hadn’t considered. And yes, they’ll do it all within the budget you’ve set forth. Unless they can’t, and then they’ll be honest with you about either what it will take to get you to your initial goal, or they’ll tell you where you can go with what you have now. And then they leave you to make the informed choice. After all, it’s your body. Or podcast.
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Finally, if you are looking for a personal trainer who knows what they’re really doing to help with your business-focused podcast; get in touch with me. Evo@podcastlaunch.pro or go to SimplerMedia.pro to see a list of the services we offer clients today.
I’ll be at Outlier SLC, so please say hi if you are there. And if not, I’ll be back on Monday for another Podcast Pontifications.
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This article started life as a podcast episode. The 255th episode of my four-times-a-week short-form podcast called, oddly enough, Podcast Pontifications. It’s a podcast for working podcasters that’s focused on trends in our growing industry and ideas on ways to make podcasting not just easier, but better. Yes, you should listen. Here’s an easy way: 👇
Evo Terra (hey, that’s me!) has been podcasting since 2004, is the author of Podcasting For Dummies and Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies, and is the CEO and founder of Simpler Media Productions, a strategic podcast consultancy working with businesses, brands, and professional service providers all around the world.