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Is Pre-Production the Secret to a Successful Podcast?

Is Pre-Production the Secret to a Successful Podcast?

Discover the power of pre-production in creating a compelling and engaging podcast. Learn why planning ahead is crucial for delivering value to your audience.

Let’s continue our conversation from the past couple of blog posts regarding preparing for your podcast. So after you’ve defined your purpose, the “why” for doing your podcast, and the target audience, the next important step in creating a successful podcast is planning and pre-production.

Now, this phase really involves carefully mapping out each one of your episodes and your content strategy, so that you have everything in place before you hit the record button.

So why is it important to plan ahead? Because you then avoid winging it.

Providing Value

I gotta imagine that in creating your podcast, you are desiring to provide value to your listeners. Well, at least you should be. And if that’s true, the best way to do that is to prepare going into it.

I was listening to someone on social media today talk about why they appreciate audiobooks more than they do podcasts. And I think it’s because so many podcasts have people simply winging it. And he’d prefer people’s best thoughts to their first thoughts.

So, put your best thoughts into each and every episode by planning ahead.

Episode Planning

Have a roadmap for where you’re going with the first few episodes. Plan out the direction. Don’t just create one episode and go one at a time. Maybe that’s where you might head later on. But to start, have an idea of where you want to go for the next few episodes.

Now, what about each episode’s outline? Create an outline. It’s probably not best to fully script every episode. But have an outline that has main points and topics to cover. Maybe it has some questions that you want to use with your potential guest for the episode. Or if it’s Bible-based, you might have scripture references or different quotes that you might use. And it keeps you focused and organized during your recording.

Season Planning

Now let’s pan out a little bit. What about planning out the season? First of all, is your podcast going to be one that is seasonal? That’s often a great recommendation to give people breaks after long stretches of episodes.

Structure the content in each season, maybe into a theme. It allows for these spaces for people to take a breath, to take a pause. It allows you to reevaluate what it is that you’re doing so that way the next season is better than the season before. And it also builds anticipation for that next season. Just like your favorite shows do.

Benefits of Pre-Production

  • Helps your recording process to be really smooth
  • Ensures consistent and coherent messaging
  • Keeps listeners engaged
  • Provides a solid foundation for success

For anything in life, even as a creative, preparation is key. Don’t underestimate the value of planning ahead.

Pre-production sets you up for a great podcast, and that attention to detail will truly pay off. Tomorrow, we’re going to continue our conversation on podcasting as we get into some production tips. Until then, keep creating for God’s glory. Be blessed and be a blessing.

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How to Find Your Podcast’s Ideal Audience?

How to Find Your Podcast’s Ideal Audience?

So, let’s say you’ve already read yesterday’s post on refining and defining your “why” for creating a podcast. Now, let’s talk about your “who.” Who is your podcast for? There’s got to be a specific audience in mind.

They say if you’re aiming at creating something for everyone, then you’re going to be ineffective at reaching anyone.

So, let’s get focused on our audience today.

Defining Your Niche

Defining your niche, that specific topic or theme or area of focus that your podcast will cover, is going to be a big part of figuring out who your audience is. So, what is your message and who needs this message?

A well-defined niche allows you to create content that provides immense value to a particular group of listeners. For example, with the Ordered Chaos Club podcast that I’m soon to create, my broad niche is Christian creatives, right? Those who are living with Christ at the center but want to do so embracing their creativity.

However, that’s still a fairly wide target. To refine it further, I might even need to narrow it down to a specific type of creator. But you know what? I think I want to reach a broad audience of creatives. But maybe it’ll be narrowed down to an age range.

Personally, I’ve been thinking maybe my target is millennials and the next generation.

The more focused your niche, the easier it will be to attract and grow a dedicated audience because they hear their needs being spoken directly to.

Creating an Audience Avatar

When you develop your audience, an avatar might be a good way to go. Defining who these people are helps you come up with a crystal clear picture of who your ideal listener is. We call those audience avatars.

So, what are their demographics? What’s their age? Their gender? Where do they live? What are their interests? What do they care about? What are their beliefs? What challenges do they face? Or are there pain points in life? What do they want? What are their goals? Where do they hang out online?

The more detailed you can get, the better. Give your audience avatar a name and then go ahead and picture them. Maybe even create an image for them and a whole back story to make them truly come alive.

For example, for the Ordered Chaos Club, let’s say, my audience avatar could be “Creative Carol” who’s a 35-year-old millennial, a mother of two who feels pulled between her creative passions and the responsibilities of home and work. She wants community and practical strategies to nurture her gifts.

So, I would craft messages with her in mind, and you would do the same with your niche. Defining that audience avatar will help you do that. You can then tailor your content and messages to speak directly to their needs.

  • What deep questions are they asking?
  • What stories, tips, or resources would provide clarity or solutions for the things that they’re after?

For example, for Creative Carol, I may create episodes on:

  • Overcoming creative blocks as a busy mom
  • Nurturing your creative identity as a child of God
  • Practical time management tips for creators
  • Interviews with creators who inspire spiritual and artistic growth

Reaching Your Audience

It’s important to consider the format as well, the language that you use, even the distribution channels. What would be best to reach and engage your specific audience? The platforms and the mediums your audience frequent should influence where you publish and promote your episodes. We’ll talk about that more in the distribution and publishing conversations.

Getting hyper-focused on your niche and doing that deep work to truly understand your audience will enable you to create a podcast that truly impacts folks.

Your listeners will feel seen, heard, and understood, and they will keep coming back for more. Trust me.

So, get to niching. Refine and define your target audience. Speak directly to their needs and strategically get your message in front of them. That is truly the recipe for podcast success. Tomorrow we will move on to Part 3 of this blog series on Content planning for your podcast.

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Why Start a Podcast? Uncovering Your Driving Force

Why Start a Podcast? Uncovering Your Driving Force

I love podcasts – listening, watching, and creating them. It’s no surprise if you recognize my enthusiasm for communication in general. However, I understand that not everyone shares the same excitement. Nevertheless, as Christ-centered creatives, we all share a common need: finding effective ways to communicate the message the Lord has called us to share with the world. Whether through visual arts, music, or verbal expression via video or audio, podcasting can be a powerful tool.

Over the next few blog posts, I’ll explore some important considerations when creating a successful podcast. Just this morning, I had an great conversation with a brother in christ who felt a strong stirring to communicate a specific message through podcasting. His clarity of purpose left me inspired as he conceived his podcast idea.

Let’s begin with the most fundamental step: Start with your “why.”

Simon Sinek, a renowned author, popularized this concept of identifying your driving force.

When challenges arise, confusion sets in, or motivation wanes, revisiting your “why” will help you regain focus, steady your footing, and propel you forward.

Identifying your “why” is truly the cornerstone of your podcast. Why do you want to start this podcast in the first place? Why not choose a different format, create visual art, or start a blog? What’s the purpose of your podcast? What core message or theme are you trying to convey? What is the driving force behind your desire to share this message? Are you aiming for faith-based discussions, interviews with Christian creatives (like my upcoming Ordered Chaos Club podcast), sharing sermons, delving into Bible studies, or simply having heartfelt conversations with friends?  Is it to inspire, uplift others, or communicate something specific? Is it to promote your business? To disseminate information on a topic?

 Whatever your “why” is, it will help you uncover the core message or theme you’re truly about. This clarity of purpose will sustain you. Clearly defining your purpose will help you stay focused and consistent with your content. Trust me, as you progress in your podcast journey, you’ll face temptations to quit. Around episodes seven or eight, you might start questioning, “Is this working? It’s not as fun as I thought. Why am I doing this?” That’s when you’ll need to revisit your “why.” If it’s truly important to you and you persevere, your “why” will resonate with your target audience, too. When your audience understands your “why,” they’ll keep returning for that very thing that resonates with them. (And we’ll discuss your audience in the tomorrow’s post.)

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How Can Joy Fuel Your Creativity?

How Can Joy Fuel Your Creativity?

As creatives, what we create originates from the depths of our hearts. Even God’s Word reminds us that our mouths speak from the overflow of our hearts.

When we examine the best works of our hands, we often find that the most beautiful creations flow not from a place of stress or anxiety, but from a heart brimming with joy and hope. This joy, particularly when grounded in an abiding relationship with God, provides a sense of fulfillment and purpose that truly fuels the creative passions we are called to pursue. While art should undoubtedly express the full range of our emotions, art that consistently lacks joy and hope can suffer creatively, becoming darker and less inspiring.

Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us that in our challenges and battles, the joy of the Lord is our strength.

For the Christ-centered creative, the joy we find in Jesus not only uplifts our spirits but also fortifies us, providing the strength and resilience needed to pursue our God-given creative passions. When our hearts are truly aligned with God and His joy, we find ourselves more open, free, generous, and willing to take creative risks as we build and create.

The Christian understands that joy is not merely an emotional state but an abiding truth born from the fruit oof the Spirit within us. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Where the Spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.” Our joy and inspiration in the creative process rely on the Spirit of God living within us. Without the joy that comes from God’s Spirit, our creativity will ultimately lack vitality and depth, diminishing its desired impact.

When we create from a place of joy, our work not only uplifts and inspires others but becomes contagious, spreading positivity like a viral infection that transforms ordinary work into something extraordinary, as the Spirit of God inhabits it. However, when our hope diminishes and our joy wanes, our creative output mirrors that reality.

Albert Einstein recognized the playful nature that results from joy, stating, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” It’s in that playful spirit that we not only create smiles but also experience genuine joy in our hearts. Conversely, when that playful Spirit is absent, our creative endeavors can feel more like a burdensome process than a delight.

Therefore, let us stay connected and devoted to the Father, recognizing Him as the source of our joy. Let us remain in community with others who will encourage and support us. Such community is what the Orderd Chaos Club, when launched, will hopefully be. I would even recommend practicing gratitude, for training our hearts to be grateful helps us maintain a hopeful and joyful outlook on the life and the work we’ve been entrusted with.

The joy of the Lord is your strength today, Christ-centered creative. So go forth, be joyful, and create with joy.

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Is Creativity a Binary Concept or on a Spectrum?

Is Creativity a Binary Concept or on a Spectrum?

My 11-year-old son is on the autism spectrum. As I’ve engaged more deeply with people on the spectrum, especially the young, I’ve noticed that autism manifests uniquely in each individual. It’s not a one-size-fits-all diagnosis; there’s a spectrum of behaviors and traits.

This observation has led me to reflect on how we often perceive many aspects of life in binary terms: black or white, yes or no, up or down. However, reality seldom fits neatly into these categories. More often than not, the answer lies in shades of maybe rather than absolute yes or no.

My wife is well aware of my tendency to operate in extremes. I am either fully engaged or completely detached, rarely finding a middle ground. This got me thinking about creativity and whether we view it as a binary concept.

Is creativity really black and white?

It’s intriguing that in a society with many artists and creatives, we often overlook the complexity of creativity itself. We tend to categorize people as either creative or not, without recognizing the spectrum of creativity that exists. You are not simply an artist, the epitome of creativity, or just plain not creative. Just as individuals on the autism spectrum exhibit diverse traits, each of us carries the creative DNA of our Creator and have a diversity of creativty baked within us. We all have at least a drop of creative potential because we are made in the image of God.

For some, creativity manifests in visible talents like illustration or performance. For others, it may remain hidden and, consequently, undernourished. The diversity of gifts and talents God bestows upon us is meant to be utilized and stewarded uniquely by each person, much like our unique fingerprints.

But what does creativity look like if you’re not someone who typically thinks of yourself as creative?

Accountants, spend time creatively developing efficient systems and processes, finding ways to minimize tax liabilities, identifying innovative solutions for financial analysis and reporting. Mechanics are like artists when they are troubleshooting complex mechanical issues, finding creative workarounds when missing certain parts, and improvising tools and techniques for specific repairs.

If you’ve ever seen a chef creating a beautiful meal, it’s clear why they call it the culinary arts. Or consider a teacher designing engaging lesson plans, finding creative uses of simple school supplies to create something beautiful with their students, or developing teaching methods to suit different learning styles through differentiated instruction.

Sales people develop innovative marketing strategies, administrative assistants find creative ways to prioritize tasks, and adapting care plans to meet individual needs as a nurse are just a few examples of how many “non-creatives” go unnoticed as some of our most brilliant creative minds. We should all recognize that we were made by a God who not only embodies creativity but who pours it into His creation and calls us to harness it.

One of the greatest tragedies of the human experience can be forgetting, or worse, never realizing our human potential.

Those who have been deemed creatives often see their creative potential with bright and bold eyes looking to tap into it, but many who have falsely received the designation of “non-creative” tend leave that box unexamined. As a result, the world doesn’t get to experience the fullness of the creativity within them. Non-creatives, you have been living creatively since your birth. Now it’s time to embrace and nurture it. Who knows how far we, as God’s finest creation, can go.

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