By Emily Merrell
It seems like everyone and their mom has a podcast at the moment, yet starting one seems so daunting. How does one actually start a podcast? Unless you have the patience of Buddha, it’s hard to sift through all the noise and articles out there. Thank goodness for Christine O’Donnell. After years as an on-air journalist, she turned to the podcasting world, specifically teaching individuals how to create one. From insight on what tools to record with, along with which platforms to promote on, Christine is the podcasting guru we’ve all been waiting for. She even has a course that helps individuals every step of the way in starting their audio journey.
SDS: As an on-air journalist for the majority of your career, how did you apply what you learned in broadcasting to podcasting?
CHRISTINE O’DONNELL: As a journalist sharing compelling stories, finding good characters and interviewing people in a way that connects with an audience gave me purpose every day! I loved sharing human connections to people as they watched the news in their living rooms, on their cellphones, at work, etc.
With podcasts, you get to do the same thing! Stories matter! Knowledge helps people. And podcasts really dig into stories and topics. I also learned that there are skills I used as a journalist that can be utilized by others to create compelling and fulfilling podcasts. I love teaching other people and watching them succeed. It’s the best!
SDS: You shared that podcasting has grown leaps and bounds since 2008. What are the benefits of podcasting for a business and what sort of podcasts do you want to see more of?
CO: Right now more than 100 million Americans are listening to podcasts EVERY MONTH. It’s part of their daily habits. Even in the midst of COVID-19, the podcasting industry is still seeing bigger listenership compared to last year’s numbers.
This is a place you can connect with your audience, meet with them in their homes, in their cars and even while they shower…FOR FREE! Podcasts help businesses grow their customer base and engage with that base, as well as grow their areas of expertise.
Podcasters gain instant credibility and notoriety in their niche. Having a podcast also helps grow a business’s online authority and SEO, which ultimately helps connect with more people. Lastly, your podcast becomes a place you can sell your own product.
SDS: You’re a podcasting producer and coach. For those interested in starting their own podcast, where do you recommend they start?
CO: You start a podcast by asking yourself “WHY?”
Do you want to become a true authority in your niche?
Do you want to make more money?
Do you want to have fun with your friends?
Do you want to create an engaged online community?
Do you want to grow your email list?
Do you want to educate people?
Is this topic your PASSION?
Do you want to share a story?
Knowing your WHY will help you be purposeful and goal-driven when planning out your content, booking your guests and creating your marketing strategy. You can check in with yourself through the process to make sure you’re still on the same page.
SDS: Bright Sighted Media is your podcasting company and you’re a wealth of podcasting information. How did you get started in the podcast world?
CO: Two years ago, while I was on maternity leave with my son, I was brainstorming with a friend on how we could have a creative outlet together and perhaps make some money as a side business.
Then, once I returned to work, I was tasked with the full concept development, production, launch and distribution of a podcast for a leading health and wellness influencer. In less than five months, with zero marketing dollars on the podcast, my strategy landed the show on the top of the charts. It grew to one of the top 5% of podcasts worldwide.
SDS: Not only are you running your business full-time, you also offer media training and are expecting your second child. What advice do you have for working moms balancing it all? Have you figured out a way to make it all work for you?
CO: Ha! There is no balance. There is only chaos. I do what I can every day and try to cut myself a break when things don’t go as I planned. But, I also have a system and a rough schedule that helps me stay on track.
I wake up around 4:30 to get some work done/have some alone time before my son wakes up. (Which could be anywhere from 5-7am –– we’re going through a stage).
7am-12pm MOM TIME
I try to squeeze in a 20-30 minute spin workout while I put on a movie or YouTube video for Asher. Sometimes I also can get some work done during this time, but it’s kind of hit or miss.
Every appointment, podcast recording and meeting goes on Google Calendar. Once it’s there, I do my best to stick to it. I usually schedule things during my son’s nap time or when my husband will be home from work. (He works the early morning shift).
I also work off a weekly task list, instead of a daily. That gives me some leeway if something comes up with my son or my pregnancy. Thankfully my sister is also quarantining with us. While she also has a full-time job, having another person to entertain my son or watch him definitely helps.
Dinner, son’s nighttime routine, bed…
SDS: Lastly, what is one piece of advice you wish you had received when you started your career? How do you implement that piece of advice into your life now?
CO: You may find yourself at a crossroads where everything you believed about yourself and what you thought you were supposed to do in life is put into question. You may find you end up on a new path.
Every new path you find yourself on will help you become a better, stronger, more valuable person that can help others as they navigate their way down their own paths. Keep moving forward. This is life, bumps and all. Enjoy it.
Learn more on the Bright Sighted podcast, “Podcast Coaching with Christine.” Christine recently interviewed Emily Merrell, CEO of Six Degrees Society! You can listen to their conversation here: “How To Get UNSTUCK With Virtual Events”. Our SDS podcast, featuring host Emily Merrell, can be found here. You can also listen to previous episodes on Spotify, iTunes, Google podcasts and TuneIn.