If you've ever had a pet in your life, and produced a podcast, you can probably see the similarities easily. If you're thinking about starting a podcast, or considering adopting a pet, you can learn a lot about either endeavor by examining the other. What do I mean? I'm trying to show you how podcasts are like pets. The short version is, if you take care of them, they will take care of you. Let me give you some details.
1. Podcasts and pets can always surprise you.
You can plan ahead, follow all the checklists, consult with experts, buy all the necessary gear, and still, your podcast and/or pet will find ways to surprise you. For example, housetraining accidents happen. Or, you can publish a new episode, to find out that your LUFS are -10.
As therapists say, “plan, don't project.” Have a plan in place, and a backup plan in case that fails. Don't project anxiety onto the situation. If you're getting ready to have a cocktail party, you'd take the dog for a quick walk before your guests arrive. If you're getting ready to record an interview, make sure you have everything you need. Don't let nervousness about things you can't predict be in charge of the situation.
2. They always need more care than you expect.
My cat used to carefully extract used guitar strings from my husband's workspace trash can, so she could bat them around the house and bury them in the carpet fibers. Not only do they hurt if you step on them, they get sucked into the vacuum cleaner, and the sharp end of the guitar string can tear apart the vacuum hose. Now, I make sure she and I have plenty of playtime with one of her hanging toys, for a few minutes a day. In return, she doesn't go after the guitar strings.
Animals need routine, just like your podcast needs a reliable workflow. These routines might seem boring. However, they give your pet and your podcast a framework over time, to rely on. The pet knows what to expect. Your podcast listeners know what to expect. You know what to expect. Plus, it's easier to meet those expectations.
Both podcasts and pets require patience.
3. Podcasts and pets have lives of their own.
Ever wonder what your dog thinks about all day? (Squirrels. It's definitely squirrels.) What's going on when the cat stares out the window for five minutes, immobile, then suddenly tears across the apartment, like they're late for something? Life for them is mostly about you, sure. You feed and care for a pet, just like you record, edit and upload your podcast episodes. But, your podcast and your pet each have a relationship to the larger world that you don't control. Somewhere in your neighborhood, there's a person who looks forward to seeing your pet iguana at your window on their way home from work every day, just like there's someone halfway around the world who looks forward to hearing your podcast.
The good news is, people who appreciate your podcast can help it grow. They can share your podcast with others, write reviews, and help you find resources.
4. There's a bond between you that no one truly understands.
No pet person wants to admit this. Sometimes, you're on the way out the door, on your way to a social engagement, work, or an appointment, you look into your pet's eyes, say, “I'll be home soon,” and you think… “this little furry/scaly/feathery life is more important. Their happiness is essential to my happiness.”
Sometimes, your podcast is like that. You'd rather work on your show than do “normal stuff.” Your friends and family might not understand. They might say, “sure, I get it, you love your work, you love your cockatoo.” But, your podcast's well-being can become important to your emotional and mental well-being in a way that can make you restructure your social life, finances, and sleep patterns.
5. Podcasts and pets help us connect to the larger world.
I walk my dog early in the morning, at midday, after dinner, and before bed. She's really old, and walking from one end of the block to the other is a lot for her, let alone turning around and coming back. But, she sniffs enthusiastically the entire way, collecting a thorough profile of every home on the path.
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Needless to say, every child who lives on the block comes running, screaming, “PUPPYYYYYY!!!!!” holding their hands out for her to sniff, and to pet her. Fortunately, the parents follow closely behind. A friendly, calm dog is a great icebreaker. Even the one person who's afraid of dogs let me know, “I'm afraid of dogs,” and I said, “Okay, I won't bring her near you,” and that's been fine.
Pets and podcasts are a great way to show your value system. Other people's pets or podcasts are a good way to get to know them too.
Not everyone is going to like your podcast, just like you wouldn't walk your dog down the street and expect every single person to say, “May I please pet your beautiful dog?” But, the people who do like your pet, just like your podcast, will because you have some values in common.
With patience, preparation, routine, and love, both your podcast and your pet can help you make the world a better place, and, in turn, make you a better person.
We can't help you take care of your pet, but we can help you prepare to launch your new podcast. Our Launch Essentials Podcasting Course includes every step you need to share your ideas with the world. It includes videos, reading materials, and more, to help you plan, record, publish and promote your podcast. Try it now!