So You Want to Start A Podcast. Here's How.
So you're thinking about starting a podcast. We're here for it. Podcasts, in general, are continually gaining popularity. They are an easy, entertaining, and reliable way to catch up on the news, pop culture, or, honestly, anything that suits your fancy. But what does it take to start a podcast, but not only start, but make it worth listening to? We reached out to Andy Culp and Bobby Carroll to chat about their journeys in podcasting, how they each got started, and tips for those starting a podcast of their own. Here's what they had to say.
ANDY CULP - THE DROP
How did you first come up with the idea for your podcast? Tell us a little about it.
After I was a guest on Jake Kelsick's Basixs Podcast, the Heli team encouraged me to think about launching our own podcast. As a founder, I have always been mindful to never put myself in the spotlight or ahead of the Heli brand or too self promotional, however, I was convinced by my team that my story and my role within the company is important enough to step up my visibility. As our company and brand have grown, I have gained the confidence to put myself out there. I cannot thank my team enough for the push; the podcast has been a vehicle for my own professional and personal growth, and has been met with extremely positive feedback from the entire community.
If you had one piece of advice for someone hoping to start their own podcast, what would it be?
The obvious answer here is to be authentic and not be afraid to share your views or edge. The last thing people want to hear is a robotic interview. With any type of content creation, just start moving and trust that, if you focus on speaking about things that you care about with guests that are interesting, you will improve with every episode and that someone out there will want to listen to it.
Any tips for finding people to come on your podcast?
The hardest thing is always to get going when you don't have a track record or many episodes to point prospective guests to. Start with getting people that you already have a rapport with and people who already have some understanding of your brand and personality; this will allow you to get some episodes under your belt that can be leveraged to either folks you don't have a relationship with already and/or higher profile guests. Naturally, positioning the podcast as an opportunity for the guest to amplify his/her company/brand/mission will make it more compelling; it's a free marketing channel. From there, I like to offer some creative/editorial control to the guest and encourage them to take risks with the conversation with the ability to edit/cut anything after the fact.
Any tricks of the trade you can share?
I have listened to a lot of different podcasts and am a big fan of free-form, conversational formats where anything goes and you can get a real insight into both the host's and guest's personality and thought process. With this in mind, I think it's valuable to do a considerable amount of research on each specific guest to identify key talking points or questions that tie directly in to the guest's profile, expertise, interests, passions, etc. At the same time, trying to think about what the listeners/fans would want to hear from you and the guest is critical to making sure that it's relevant and warrants someone taking the time out of his/her life to listen. For Heli's podcast, "The Drop", I always end the conversation by asking the guests a standard question that I ask all the guests. Take a listen if you want to figure out what that question is.
Favorite podcast episode you’ve recorded?
Well, that's easy. The podcast that I recorded with Rhone CEO Nate Checketts was easily my favorite as we simply fell into a great vibe with exploration of relevant business and brand topics that were tied into current social and political issues. There was absolutely zero editing or cuts made to the episode and, while I was a huge fan of Rhone before speaking with Nate, I came away with a new found respect for the Rhone team and brand. On a personal level, I am sure that it was the episode where I really took my own voice to a new level by sharing more of my perspective and views. Outside of that, there has been something special about each of the episodes I have recorded with each of our guests. Check them out here.
BOBBY CARROLL - In The Arena With Bobby Carroll
How did you first come up with the idea for your podcast?
It really came from a curiosity of what drives people to succeed to be their best and what works for them. I first started to come up with the idea last year and then really started to bring the idea to the forefront of my mind in August. I had the fortune of getting to meet so many amazing and fun people in my life during my competitive ski career. I thought it would be fun to pick their brains and hopefully take a few things I could use in my own life. I am quite the talker and have always loved being able to have long talks with friends and family. I thought this would just be a little bit of a continuation of that with the masses being able to listen in and hopefully take one or two things from it as well. It really took some time to try and come up with a name that would get the essence of what I was trying to discuss.
The one that I ended up settling on, “In The Arena With Bobby Carroll”, came from back in my competition days. My dad created a print with me skiing and the famous Teddy Roosevelt speech “Man in the arena”. If you haven’t read it, certainly go check it out. It was a speech that I always loved and I think is truly a great way to live your life. It is much better to dare greatly than be one of those cold timid souls that neither know victory nor defeat! After the name came together, I had a friend help me design the logo and it took a little bit to start to get everything else together. My original plan was to start in April after the conclusion of the ski season either just at my house or a studio space I could rent, but everything started to happen with COVID and I pivoted to recording the episodes remotely. So far it has been a total blast and I have seriously learned so much from every guest I have had on so far.
Tell us a little about it. If you had one piece of advice for someone hoping to start their own podcast, what would it be?
One piece of advice to give is difficult. Like I said I am quite the talker, but a few things to think about would be: just start it, be able to change on the fly, stick to a schedule to keep up momentum and most importantly be yourself.
First one is very simple but you just have to get started, get going, don’t wait. It’s not going to be perfect and the only way you are going to get better is by doing more and more episodes. I am still learning and trying to get each and every episode better and better. You have to come out with the content though. I know many people that are waiting for the right moment or when they feel comfortable. Stop, just release your show, and move forward. It will get better and you learn from it. When I look back on the first couple of episodes I cringe, because I know how much better I have gotten but you have to start somewhere.
One more piece of advice for those starting would be prepare to pivot and make changes on the fly. When I was planning on starting my show, I was planning on doing it in person at my house or renting a studio space. When COVID happened I had to pivot to online shows with guests. I still plan on doing studio shows in the future when I can, but you have to adapt to what is feasible at the time. There are difficulties with doing it online and I certainly believe there is a better element when you have someone right across from you, but with everything going on right now Zoom works.
When it comes to a schedule, I would make sure you stick to a day that you release new episodes. It is critical to your show. You have to hold yourself accountable with what day you get a new show out. I know people that started releasing episodes but stopped after only a couple of shows because they could not consistently keep it up. If you are in it for the long haul you have to stick to your schedule.
Last and certainly one of the most important is to be yourself! I know I can tell the difference when I am listening to or watching a podcast. You need to be genuine. People get a better understanding of where you are coming from and I think a better appreciation of what you are trying to do. It can be harder than it sounds but don’t forget to be genuine and be yourself.
Any tips for finding people to come on your podcast?
Luckily for me I have met a lot of cool and interesting people throughout my career and life. I haven’t had too many issues with getting guests. Most have been willing to come on, have some fun and share their experiences! I would certainly expect to not hear from people, or have long gaps in response time. Everyone is living their lives so don’t expect everyone to be super responsive right off the bat. No need to get discouraged, it is a part of the game. You need to make sure you give them a real idea of what your show is and how it can be a value to them, not just you.
Favorite podcast episode you've recorded?
When it comes to episodes I have recorded it is super hard to just pick a favorite. I really think there is something you can take out of each one and help use it in your life. A few favorites would have to be the episode I recorded with High West Whiskey founder David Perkins, that was a lot of fun. I also really enjoyed getting to chat with Paralympic GOAT Chris Waddle, and Olympic Gold medalist Hannah Kearney was super insightful as well! Each one has been unique. I hope to continue to have excellent guests in the future and continue to learn what drives people to succeed and be their best.