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4 Reasons You Need a Powerful Why For Podcasting (As a Guest or Host)
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Starting with why is vital for any business, and the business of podcasting is no exception. Remembering the people who will ultimately listen to our interviews is key to succeeding in podcasting! As podcast guests and hosts, we serve our listeners, and remembering why we’ve decided to serve our specific niche, is paramount to succeeding in podcasting on either side of the mic. Join us as Alex Sanfilippo reminds us all why we podcast.
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Let me ask a simple yet powerful question. Why do you podcast? Whether you’re a podcast guest or a podcast host, why are you in podcasting? What is the purpose?
Studies show that people who are succeeding the most in podcasting have a very stable and strong WHY i.e. their primary motivation for a starting podcast. And this is true for people on either side of the mic, both podcast hosts and guests.
Yet most people are getting into podcasting because it looks exciting. There’s no denying that podcasting is trending right now. Nevertheless, if you jump on the podcasting bandwagon without first developing a WHY your podcasting journey is going to be short-lived. In fact, current industry statistics show that only 6% of podcasts go beyond the 10 episode mark.
Also, many people who have tried guest podcasting have only been featured in one or two podcasts. Many likely didn’t have a strong WHY driving their efforts; it just seemed like something fun to do. And for some of us who are exploring our hobbies, that’s okay.
However, if you’re serious and want to take your podcasting game to the next level, then having a WHY will be essential.
That being said, what makes having a WHY a requisite for success in podcasting? In this article, I will answer that question.
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1. A Powerful WHY Comes From a Place of Service
Here are some common reasons people get into podcasting:
- I want to get rich
- I want to get out of debt
- I want to quit my nine to five job
- I want more influence
None of these reasons is a good WHY. I’ll take that a step further—getting into podcasting because you want to provide for your family isn’t a good enough WHY.
As noble as it is, the keyword is still “your” family. A WHY has to be in service towards somebody else; without that, it is not big enough.
I don’t mean to discourage anyone from podcasting. Truth be told, there are many easier ways than podcasting to make money and gain influence. You should podcast because you genuinely believe it’s the best medium through which you can serve others.
Let me use myself as an example. As a Christian, I always look back to the life of Jesus, who had a big WHY that was focused on service toward other people. I’ve done my best to mimic that in my own life, which has helped me develop a strong WHY.
Whether you are spiritual or not, I encourage you to take time and think about why you have a podcast and how it’s serving and helping others.
This means, when you sit down to think of your podcast, you think about that person that’s going to be listening to you. You’ll think about that individual who’s going to take action based on what you say and why that matters.
This is so important. If you don’t get this first part, none of the additional points I share below will work.
2. A Compelling WHY Keeps You In The Game
At times, life becomes challenging and podcasting is no exception. As I already mentioned, most people who start a podcast eventually give up. That’s because it’s a lot of work, and most people throw in the towel when it gets tough.
However, when you remind yourself why you got into podcasting in the first place, it gets a lot easier, or at the very least, you get more motivated to push through. In this way, your WHY draws you back to what you’re doing and acts as a reminder that it’s going to be worth it.
It keeps you in the game even when everyone around you seems to be quitting.
3. A Stable WHY is Your Compass
Need some clarity along the way? Your WHY will act as a guide on your journey of podcasting. For example, when you are asked to be on a show that doesn’t align with your WHY it is easy to say no. Because that’s not a direction in which you’re best able to serve other people.
On the other hand, if you have a show and people are always pitching to be on it, it’s easy to say, “No, I can’t have this guest on my show.” Reason: They don’t align with the WHY you have for your show or the people you’re trying to serve. This way, your WHY can serve as a reliable compass for your podcast.
This is something I have relied on in my own journey of podcasting.
I receive email pitches frequently, and if I didn’t have a strong WHY it would be so easy to get overwhelmed.
Now I can quickly filter through them and easily spot one with the potential to help me serve my audience better. This is another excellent reason to make a WHY.
It will keep you on track and make saying no much easier.
4. A Strong WHY Compels You to Action
When I first got into the content creation game, I was really insecure. I was not confident at all in what I was sharing.
For a long time, most of the content I worked on just sat somewhere in a draft folder, gathering dust. I remember at one point, I saw that my WordPress blog folder had surpassed 100 draft blog posts! While some were incomplete thoughts, most of them were actual posts that I wasn’t confident enough to share.
All these thoughts of self-doubt lingered in my mind. Is this good enough to share? What if somebody doesn’t like it, or worse still, gets upset about it?
I’m sure many people can resonate with these feelings of inadequacy.
However, once I developed a strong WHY I was able to go back through all those posts and say, “you know what, by it sitting in this draft folder, it is not serving any of the people that I have set out to.”
And with my podcasts, I was able to acknowledge that I’m not the best podcaster yet, and that’s okay. I’ve got a lot of room to go. We all do!
I’m still a work in progress myself, even after producing almost 200 episodes. The difference is that now I can say, “you know what? This serves somebody; it will serve the person my WHY is about. I owe it to them to get it out there to the world.”
One of my mentors, the famed Seth Godin, has on several occasions told me,
“Without shipping your creative work, i.e. getting it out in front of the world, that creative work isn’t serving or helping anybody. As a matter of fact, you could be holding somebody back from the breakthrough that they are currently searching for in their life.”
By taking action, whether you feel confident or not, and getting your podcast out there, you might be the change that somebody needs in their life to make it to that next level.
As long as the content aligns with your WHY, and there’s somebody you’re serving, put it out there to the world!
Regularly Review Your Why
Have you ever been to an organization and saw a beautiful piece of artwork on the wall with their mission, purpose, core values–their WHY?
We’ve all probably seen that before. Yet, most people don’t actually read those.
This actually reminds me of a story from back when I had a corporate job.
At the time, I was working for one company that had a two-story banner made and placed on this giant wall in the building. It had the company’s core values and mission written on it in giant text.
Then one day, during a company-wide meeting, the company’s president asked, “who knows our mission and our core values?” Only one person raised their hand! Believe it or not, only one person actually knew what was written on the massive banner that everyone walked past every single day!
The reality is what’s talked about in the halls is more powerful than what is written on the wall. This is why you have to write your WHY in your hearts. Unless you review it often, it will end up being a pretty piece of paper sitting in the corner, or maybe something you wrote on the bathroom mirror and never look at it again.
Regularly set time aside to review your WHY. This will help you remember that you’re serving other people, keep you in the game, be your compass and ultimately compel you to action.
To round off this article, here’s a quote that’s imprinted on my life:
“What we do for ourselves dies with us, but what we do for others echoes into eternity.”
I believe that podcasting is one of the best mediums out there right now to get your WHY out there and to serve the world in a more intentional way. I hope this post has inspired you to sit down and think about why you are doing what you’re doing in podcasting.
About the speaker: Alex Sanfilippo
Alex Sanfilippo is the host of the top-rated podcast called Podcasting Made Simple. He is also the founder of PodPros.com, a software company focused specifically on the podcasting industry. Alex and his team have created popular services like PodMatch, a service that matches podcast guests and hosts together for interviews, and PodcastSOP, a project management tool that helps podcasters keep up with their episode releases.