Updated: Jun 18, 2020
This is a question I get asked a lot. Where did the idea come from? Why did you want to traipse the streets of Dublin with a backpack asking people what their personal definition of success was? Why didn't you just start a Youtube channel? My answer is always the same. Podcasting is a new superpower and once you tap into it, there's no going back. It's a type of bug similar to travelling, the thrill of diving deeper into someone's life's work, the enjoyment of sitting down with role models and having a causal conversation over a cappuccino - is unmatchable. After all, I'm a journalist by profession, nosey by nature and curious since birth. Podcasting is an incredible medium that allows you to share important stories in the most relaxed, conversational way possible. With that in mind, here's my five personal reasons as to why I started a podcast.
1. Create Opportunity
As a graduate, I had fallen into a rut of chasing introductions, launching myself at cemented doors that were not going to open, come hell or high water and getting frustrated at the lack of media opportunities in my city. A career in journalism was slipping further and further away every time I planted my tired butt on the bus seat to my 9-5 each morning. I couldn't understand why it wasn't happening for me. I was really trying and nothing was changing. But that's just it - nothing was changing because I hadn't adjusted my plan of action. I was plodding along with the same strategy even though it was failing. In essence, I was waiting for IT to come to me rather than just pulling my head out of the sand and creating IT for myself. Coming off the back of a three year journalism degree, I had all the skills sitting there ready and waiting to be used. So one morning on my two hour trek to work, whilst listening to the soothing voice of Guy Raz on NPR's How I Built This, I decided to just go for it. I took the leap and made it my mission to create the opportunity for myself and I've never looked back since.
Podcasting gives you the ability to turn yourself into a host, producer, editor, social media manager, booker - what ever it is you've been dreaming of being, podcasting will allow you to try your hand at it from the comfort of your bedroom (to begin with!).
2. Gift of Storytelling
Alluding to it in the introduction of this blog, I am a fanatic for a good story. They say that the gift of storytelling is the greatest vice we've been given on this planet and I've pretty much based my whole life around this idea. Think about it for a minute. Everything that occurs in your day to day or on a larger, global scale, is in fact one big story. Stories of what's been, what's happening now and what's to come are the driving force behind what we do and how we behave. With that in mind, now you may be beginning to understand the power you have when in charge of a microphone and directing a narrative. I have always wanted to be a medium for storytelling whether that be via playing a role in a musical or leading a conversation in a hosting capacity and I quickly found podcasting to be the best way of fulfilling this craving for me. The intimacy of a long form, unpressurised chat, allows for a subject to completely open up, creating the feeling of two friends chatting about life. You definitely don't get that from a studio setting, audience in tow, bright lights and cameras daring you to make a mistake (whilst I adore TV work too, there is just something unique about podcasting that I'm trying to portray in the best way possible here).
3. Sharing is Caring
Whilst currently, I am in no way raking in millions of listens on a daily basis, I still feel anyone with a podcast provides an invaluable chance to their interviewee for that good old shameless plug. Podcasts being such a hot topic at the moment, there is no better way to spread brand awareness, whether that be of a product or personal nature, than to hop on a podcast and share your visions, ideas and message. This phenomenon of media is not going anywhere and due to the points made in the previous paragraph, has the ability to skyrocket your 'likability' as you can really show the listeners who you are as an individual, without the smoke and mirrors. I love the thought that by coming on my show, that individual may gain even one new customer or fan by allowing them access to a whole new set of ears and minds. By hosting a podcast, you've created a platform with the power to promote, share and propel others onto the global stage by showing the world how incredible they really are through their life story and to me well, that's just priceless.
4. Inspire and Motivate
I think this one pretty much speaks for itself, but I really do think the ability to make people feel differently after listening to either your words or that of your guest's - is something else! I experienced this first hand after feeling a jolt of motivation the moment I pressed play on the likes of Steven Bartlett and Gary Vee. Creating a show that leaves people inspired and full of energy to achieve and accomplish, is a big goal of mine and hopefully something that is already happening through my twice - weekly episodes.
I once had a fellow podcaster describe interviewing as completing a mini MBA and I have never heard anything that rang so true. From the very first time I sat down in front of a guest I have been learning. Learning about business, navigating life, failure, success, regret - I could go on forever. You see the best way to educate yourself is by doing yes, but also perhaps more importantly, by listening to others. Taking time to observe where they made their mistakes and how they recovered will have an impact on how you behave when faced with similar situations. If you've already had an insight into a possible outcome, you'll think before acting in the same way. Podcasting is an ideal way to gain a diverse education not just into people, but the affairs each one is concerned with. Through my show, I set out with the aim to cover a range of industries and personalities with no boundaries as to how far I'll search for guests, in one big attempt to educate myself and my listeners.
So there you have it - reasons why I started a podcast and why you should too!