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Just yesterday, I got a call from a young magazine publisher. He had heard about Podcasting for Communities from a mutual friend and wanted to find out how to start a podcast for the magazine.
He said that they had been thinking about it for a while and wanted to ask me about what equipment he should buy.
That’s where a lot of people think the starting point is. To be honest, so did I at one time. But it is not. The starting point is exactly the same as any other project – you don’t buy the kit before you know what you want to do.
You start with The Purpose. Yep, you and the people you’re starting out with might be all excited about the shiny new things – and let’s face it, who wouldn’t be? – but that is for a little later on.
Larry Gifford has had an extensive radio career in the USA and now in Canada. He produces The Radio Stuff Podcast. He says that having an intention is really important. Larry told me in an interview you can find here on podcastingfor.com that the intention for The Radio Stuff was and is to connect radio lovers around the world and share great ideas and be positive about the radio industry. He told me “It’s really about following our curiosities and talking to interesting people.”
If you are in a community group, discuss the project with the whole team so everyone buys into the idea. Even if you are a one person operation – many podcasters are – you should still think this through for yourself. And yes, write it down and every few weeks, re-read the purpose and ask, “Is this what we’re really doing?.” And maybe once every six months ask yourself if the purpose is still relevant. As other volunteers join your team you can talk to them about the purpose and describe what it is you are all trying to achieve together.
Once that’s sorted out, you are probably going to think about the format or formats you are going to use. You’ll be a few steps closer to the shiny new things.
As your podcast or project continues, you are going to wonder if you are having any impact. Only you can define what you want to achieve with your project.
Even though seems like early days, this is also the time to decide how you are going to evaluate the podcast. To know if you’re making any difference, you need to know what to measure. I strongly suggest you build in how you are going to evaluate the podcast at this early stage.
The magazine publisher was off to a good start. The magazine had a very specific purpose. We talked about that and began to discuss formats.
What’s the takeaway from this? Podcasting is like any other project you do. If you want to start something, start at the beginning.
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