There's an old saying that smart people learn from their mistakes, whilst wise people learn from the mistakes of others.
As a podcaster, you'll never be immune to making the odd mistake. But you can drastically cut down on the number of basic, time consuming, and easily avoidable errors you make by having someone on hand to guide and advise you.
That's why some podcasters opt to work with their very own podcast mentor. Is this the right avenue for you though?
Why Hire a Mentor?
Despite there being several podcasting courses available online, some folks still want that one-to-one working relationship that can be offered by having a mentor.
Accountability plays a big role here, because if someone falls behind on a video course, the video isn’t going to know or care. But if you have a call arranged with your mentor every week, then you will be much more likely to get something done. Who wants to spend half an hour listing excuses and apologising?
Your mentor can’t physically make you get things done, but if you’re the type of person that likes being held accountable, this can work wonders for your productivity.
Although podcasting courses are usually easy to understand, many people still relish the opportunity to ask questions and get immediate answers. Especially in person.
Getting on a quick call with someone can feel much more efficient than the long back and forward process of an email exchange. One of the factors that makes podcasting such a powerful medium is the fact that it is a speech-based communication. This can be just as relevant when we’re learning something too.
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Even when we do completely understand something we’ve been taught, we often take a great deal of comfort and confidence from reaffirming it. Asking someone, “So, what you mean here is…,” putting it into your own words, and having them confirm that you’ve understood gives a real clarity to the learning experience.
It prevents you from dwelling on any doubts that you’ve failed to grasp something. It means you can move on to the next section of your learning with 100% focus on the task at hand.
Do I Need A Podcast Mentor?
Podcasting Is My Hobby
Hiring a mentor isn’t advisable for everyone, because it isn’t going to be cheap. So if you’re starting a podcast purely as a hobby, then it's probably not for you. After all, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if your first few episodes were a bit varied in quality. You'd just be finding your feet, and this is unlikely to affect you in any way in the long run.
There’s a wealth of experience in the many different podcasting communities online. Places where you can have questions answered fast and free.
The downside of this is that where there's lots of good information, there's also plenty misguided (or plain bad) information too. There's going to be a bit of a time cost in reviewing all the advice you get, and deciding what to pay attention to, and what to disregard.
Podcasting for Business
If you’re a business or professional and your podcast is part of your plan to market yourself and build authority, then you’ll be much more interested in a “right first time” approach. And one that saves you time too.
The last thing you’ll want to do is take time away from running your business to slowly learn how to podcast.
In this instance, having regular conversations with a mentor can be invaluable. All the fat will be trimmed from your podcasting to-do list. They will keep you on the right track, working on the things that matter, and throwing out anything that doesn’t.
What If I'm Outsourcing?
Many businesses and professionals choose to outsource their podcast production. If you're only hitting record before sending your audio off to be edited and published, would you still need a mentor?
Though you might not need to learn anything about audio production, it can still be really handy to get some training on content creation. A good mentor can help you shape and structure your show — not only in your presentation, but in planning and in the general direction of the series.
If you've never created a podcast before and you need to get it right from the start, then a mentor can still be invaluable. But if you're already confident and experienced in content creation then it probably isn't necessary.
It all depends on how much you've done, and how much you've learned already.
How Do I Find A Podcast Mentor For Free?
If you really like the idea of having a podcasting mentor, but there's absolutely no money available to pay someone, then all isn't lost. Here's something you can try.
- Identify a podcaster in a similar niche to yourself. Someone who has an established show, and who you'd consider successful.
- Approach them with the proposal of a ‘skills exchange'. You could offer to
- Do some editing for them
- Write their shownotes
- Schedule interviews for them
- Help them with their social media and marketing
This might be in exchange for an hour on Skype with them each week or fortnight.
How you set up this arrangement is entirely up to you and your mentor. Just make sure you're both getting value from it.
So, Do I Need a Podcast Mentor?
- Who is my podcast for?
- What aims do I have for it?
- How important is it that my podcast sounds great from day one?
- What is my budget?
- How much time do I have to learn how to podcast?
The answers to these questions should point you in the right direction, based on what we've talked about so far. If you choose to find a mentor, then good luck with the hunt!
Want to Work with Us?
There's many different ways to find your very own podcast mentor, as you've hopefully just learned.
And if it's The Podcast Host team you're keen to have as your mentors, then there's a couple of options available to you.
The first is The Podcast Host Academy. That's our membership site where you'll find all our courses, resources, etc. We've everything in there from planning and launching, to interview and presentation skills, to equipment and editing, to promotion and monetisation. You also get access to our regular live Q&A sessions every 2 weeks, and there's a community forum too. This is the cheaper option, and appeals to people who are happy to work away in their own time, at their own pace.
The second is our Podcast Coaching packages, which are designed for those who'd like to work directly with us on a one-to-one basis. There, we offer packages built around launch, growth, and production. You can even build your own bespoke coaching programme based on your own unique needs, wants, and struggles.
If either of those are of interest to you, then we'd love to help you with your podcast!