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Patreon at SXSW: 5 Things We Learned at So, You Think You Can Podcast?

If you’ve been following Patreon's evolution — and reading our blog — you know that podcasting is one of our favorite topics, because podcasters are some of our favorite creators. Whether it’s helping you decide if you should start a podcast, showing you which rewards you should set up for your fans, or giving you actionable promotion tips straight from successful Patreon podcast creators... here at Patreon? We’re a little obsessed with podcasters. We know podcasters with a passionate audience can do really well on Patreon, and turn the most committed of their loyal fan base into paying patrons.

So, when we heard Carmina Barnett, Director of Operations and Programming for Mortenson Broadcasting, and Feleceia Benton, Principle at Zoe Communications Agency, and Frankie Wilson, CEO of VM Communications, LLC, were going to record a live podcast at SXSW called “So, You Think You Could Podcast” we grabbed our laptops, perked up our eager ears, and clicked RSVP’d immediately.

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Through a live podcast, open discussion, and a mixture of education and entertainment, our session hosts led a packed room a few steps closer to making their podcasting dreams come true. Here are some of our favorite takeaways from the session:

1. Speak clearly: It seems super simple, but one of the reasons people will turn off your podcast and find another one is if they can’t hear you or what you’re saying clearly. Of course, you should stay true to who you are and never trash your distinct voice, but annunciate, slow down, and make sure your listeners receive your message.

2. Bring your energy: Listeners don’t only show up for the information you’re sharing — what they also love is what you distinctly bring to the table, like the energy and enthusiasm in your delivery. When you’re podcasting and broadcasting, remember that first and foremost: you’re entertaining. Keeping your delivery buoyant and energetic makes that possible.

3. Focus on your brand: The big brand questions still apply when it comes to your podcast. Ask yourself: who are you creating this podcast for? What does your potential audience need that you have? What do you consider a win? What can you do to monetize? Answering these questions before you press record can help set you up for success when it comes to your podcast.

4. Content planning is key: Podcasts stop from lack of planning; keep in mind that the ability to create a podcast doesn’t mean you’ll create a successful podcast. Planning ahead ensures consistency in themes and topics, which translates to a cadence your audience can count on. Plus, it keeps you organized which will ultimately save precious time so you can get back to creating.

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5. Digital distribution: You could argue that the most important aspect of broadcasting a successful podcast is distribution because if there’s no way for listeners to find you there’s nobody to listen. When looking for distribution channels, think of where your specific podcast should go to break through the noise. For example, iTunes may be the most popular podcasting platform, but just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s the right fit. Think about your audience — where do they listen? Think about yourself and your brand, and look for a channel that suits your needs.

Want to know the bonus info from the session? The key to a successful podcast ultimately can come down to one thing: Authenticity. Being yourself will attract the right audience to you. Don’t lean into what you’ve seen work for other creators, your new niche might just be the next big thing.

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