Should You Start a Podcast? Answer These Questions First

launching a podcast
Photo by Drew Patrick Miller

Once the refuge of canned radio DJs and people with crummy microphones broadcasting from their parents’ basements, podcasts have, in the last five years or so, because extraordinarily legitimate marketing tools, with the power to reach many listeners for very little money. Data suggests that this medium is only going to get more powerful and popular — which may have you considering launching a podcast for your own business.

Before you go buy a new set of headphones and start coming up with clever names, Kris Gilbertson, founder of who hosts one of iTunes’ top 10 business podcasts and is the author of Podcasting for Profit, Positioning, and Promotion, advises you to ask yourself a few questions first.

Who do you want to attract? “The number one, biggest problem I find…is that they really can’t define who their ideal prospect is for their business,” says Kris. And while listeners and prospective clients and customers aren’t always the same audience, they can have a lot of overlap — which means, before you hit the digital airwaves, you need to know exactly who you’re talking to and why. Defining your audience can shape your content, and help you figure out what your goals are. It’ll also help drive engagement.

Why are you launching a podcast? This seems like an easy question — there are many benefits — but really concretely addressing why you want to launch your podcast is so important. Actually asking yourself this question will prompt you to look at the market and identify who your competition is, and what void you’re filling for potential listeners. What are you bringing people that they can’t get elsewhere?

Is this something I want to stick with? “I want you to stay consistent,” says Kris. It’s easy to get swept up with an exciting idea, but is three podcasts per week really feasible? “I could interview people all day long, but that doesn’t fit into my business model. So you really need to leverage your time.”

What is the goal of launching this podcast? To drive sales? To find a new audience? To help people? Kris says that singling out one goal for your podcast can help you “reverse-engineer” your podcast — when you’re creating goal-oriented content, it’s more likely to be on-message, consistent, useful, and, in the end, successful.

You can learn more about launching a podcast — from the different directories to which technical gear you need — check out Kris’s CreativeLive class, Launch a Successful Podcast.  

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Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.