How do you actually learn to do something? That's a question with many different answers.
Whether it's performing CPR or playing the guitar, you'll find many folks who can do both. You’ll also find many different ways in which they got there.
Podcasting is no exception. Ask some prolific podcasters how they learned; you won't find one reoccurring answer.
Sure, you'll hear things like “just start,” and “you just need to do it,” repeated a lot. But “just starting” doesn't automatically set you up with a topic, episode plan, microphone, media host, cover art, and your show in places like Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
So how, and where, do you learn this stuff?
Taking a dedicated podcasting course is one option. It's the perfect option for some, but certainly not for everyone. Let's see which bracket you fit into.
Paying to Learn
You'll always pay to learn something, one way or another. Either with your time, or with your money.
If you drive a car, then it's unlikely you got there by watching 400 hours of Youtube videos and repeatedly crashing into lampposts.
Struggling to Choose & Use Your Podcast Equipment?
Pick the right gear, and learn how it works: from USB mics to mixers.
If you're someone with a passion for cooking, your journey there might be indirect, with lots of trial and error along the way.
From trawling through videos and books, to asking questions on forums and social media, you'll have found loads of good info and advice, but also plenty bad stuff. In fact, most of your time might've been spent figuring out who is worth listening to, and who isn't. Or worse still, spending a lot of time (or money) on advice you got that turned out to be just plain wrong.
Ultimately, you can pay in time, or you can pay in money. Few people have an abundance of either. It’s all about deciding which one you have slightly less of.
Think About Your Aims
There's also the question of your actual ambitions. Why are you launching this podcast, and what would you like it to eventually achieve?
If it's a creative outlet, where you'll get together with some friends and discuss pop culture or current events, then your eventual goal might be to build a dedicated fanbase around the show. You could maybe even end up monetising it by running a Patreon account, or selling merch. But it's highly unlikely you'll want to spend a lot of money up front to plan and launch it. And your listeners will tend to forgive you if things are a little rough in the first few episodes. Your topic’s data (movies, sports, politics) happens outside, providing something for you to discuss. You don’t have to make the topic exist first.
On the other hand, what if you want to run a podcast to help market a business, product, or service? If you’re already running a business, you don’t have time for trial and error. You need a process to fill with content about your business, not experimentation. Here, you'd be much more likely to invest in something that's going to cut out the noise and walk you step by step through the entire process. Taking a podcasting course allows you to
• build on planned, structured foundations,
• adopt best practices
• use tested techniques provided by experts
• ensure time isn’t wasted.
What Podcasting Course Fits Your Style?
So if you want to podcast for more creative or hobby reasons, and have less money than time, then it's safe to say that a podcasting course probably isn't for you.
If your podcast will be for more business-focused reasons, and you have less time than money, then it's definitely worth considering.
How do you find or choose one, though? There are plenty options out there these days, so how do you know which one is right for you?
The most obvious choices will be from the folks you already follow online. If you listen to podcasts about podcasting, or follow podcasting blogs, you'll find that most of them do run podcasting courses in association with their content.
By joining them, you'll already have that level of trust in the advice and guidance being offered. You’ll also be less likely to worry about potentially wasting your money.
You can also have a look at our Best Podcasting Courses roundup, which features our favourite ones on the market right now.
You might even be interested in our own courses in The Podcast Host Academy too. Here, we have a full launch guide taking your through every step from planning to launching. You’ll find courses on gear, editing, interviewing, presentation skills, promotion and growth, and monetisation. As a member of the Academy, you get access to them all!
Is your style improvisational, or procedural? Do you need to follow a marked path to reach your destination, or would you rather explore, knowing that you may have to start over? Take a look at our catalog of Actionable Courses. There, you’ll learn more about the processes involved in putting together a sustainable, engaging podcast. Whether you want to follow a recipe, or wing it, The Podcast Academy has the tools, skills and support to ensure your success.