I’m a big believer in side projects as a way to improve your personal brand, join a new platform and reach a different type of audience, learn new skills and add that to your expertise, and have fun at the same time. And podcasting is a great such side hustle, that pays off in the long run.

I once hosted the Let’s Reach Success Podcast, but then devoted all my time to full-time blogging.

I started without knowing anything about podcasting, with bad quality of the first 10 or so episodes, pivoted a few weeks ago (meaning I changed the overall strategy of the show), made it to the iTunes’ New and Noteworthy, had people reach out to me that wanted to be featured on the podcast (but rejected them as it’s still a side project for me and I won’t be doing interviews any time soon), and more.

It’s been a pleasant and challenging journey. Most importantly, I stayed consistent with the weekly show. I started that in the end of November 2015, published an episode 2-3 times a week for the first few ones, then it’s been a once a week show ever since (think I missed a week this summer, though, due to traveling and stuff).

I learned how to work with audio content, and that is a pretty valuable skill in the digital world. I also started speaking a bit more confidently, had the chance to appear on iTunes and Stitcher where I can’t otherwise reach anyone, and built some discipline as an episode takes a lot more work than a blog post.

I don’t regret it and I’ll keep coming up with a new episode each week.

It’s high time I shared my experience though, and this Podcasting 101 tutorial will be a nice way for beginners to understand why podcasts matter so much, why they are still a valuable medium, and also what the first steps to take are.

Many are scared of the tech part of all that. But believe me, I was absolutely unfamiliar with anything I’m doing effortlessly about the podcast now. It takes no time to learn it, there are enough free tools out there, you’ll just get a simple USB mic, and with all the videos you can watch on YouTube about each step of getting the show ready for launching, you’re good to go.

But, of course, to truly take the decision to become a podcaster (which is a cool and respected thing to add to your portfolio and description on all your social media networks) and stay motivated long enough until you actually have listeners and recognition, you need to know the ‘why’ behind podcasting.

Why Start a Podcast?

1. You build a stronger relationship with your audience.

Regardless of the industry you’re in, with podcasting you have the chance to connect with your readers or customers on a deeper level. Simply letting them hear your voice will make them feel like they know you better.

2. You improve your speaking skills.

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Over time, you become more relaxed while talking into the mic, you get more comfortable with your voice (it sounds weird the first time you listen to the recording), you fix your intonation (it won’t sound so monotonous after some time), and you become a better communicator.

Once you’ve built your social skills behind the screen, it’s a no-brainer to practice that in real life too.

3. Branding.

A podcast would be a fantastic addition to your online presence and personal brand.

You’ll have your own show, and just like having a self-published book, that makes people take you more seriously.

4. You grow your audience.

By appearing on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and more platforms for audio content, you get the chance to gain new fans.

Whoever likes you, is very likely to visit your site, subscribe to your newsletter, connect with you on social media, and buy a product or service of yours in the future.

5. You offer even more value.

To make it in the digital world, you need to be giving a lot in the beginning without expecting anything in return. If you charge for everything on your website, people will simply prefer other platforms with free content.

That’s why every site – be it personal or business one – has a blog and publishes insightful and inspiring articles frequently. That’s why you’ll see freebies on every page that give you a ton of amazing information, and visitors are only asked for their email in return.

With podcasting, you give people free audio content and that makes all the difference.

They’ll appreciate it. And if you find a way to stand out from the crowd, either by talking about your subject of interest very passionately, or by inviting experts to share life lessons on the show, or by doing an extensive research before each episode and thus making it full of facts and stats that will leave people speechless, you’ll gain listeners.

6. You become more tech-savvy.

If you’re an aspiring online entrepreneur, a freelancer, or already a business owner, you need to be improving your digital skills and build new ones all the time, or you risk being left behind.

Working with audio content, using a mic, editing the file, using tools for streaming, and uploading it to a platform of your choice that will distribute it to all important places online, and even extracting the show notes and creating a post about it on your blog, all that makes you more tech-savvy.

It’s one step closer to working with video in the future and create online courses, for instance.

What’s more, with audio content you feel more comfortable to do new things too. I, for instance, created 2 quick audiobooks after I had around 20-30 episodes of the Let’s Reach Success podcast released, and when I felt more comfortable using a mic.

7. Podcasting helps you dominate your niche even more.

To be known online, you need to be considered an expert in your field (whatever it is that you write about, research all the time, are passionate about, have experience with, etc.) And talking about it on a podcast will let you take this further.

Everyone has a blog these days, but still only a few dedicate the time and effort to create a podcast and stay consistent with it.

That will differentiate you from your competitors and will give your audience yet another way to learn from you – while on the go.

Which takes me to the next reason why you should start a podcast.

8. It’s more convenient for people.

podcasting is convenient

You’re doing your followers a huge favor by providing audio content on the topic they want to learn more about.

With a podcast on the subject, they can listen to it while in the gym, commuting, driving to work, jogging, or while doing chores at home.

Such form of multitasking is productive.

Not everyone has the time to read long, informative articles. But by simply talking about your niche, you can easily reach the busy individuals too and improve their life.

9. Your show can become a hit.

Pat Flynn from The Smart Passive Income Podcast and Tim Ferriss from the Tim Ferriss Show didn’t know much about podcasting in the beginning either, and – which is more important – didn’t know where this venture could take them.

Today, they are 2 of the most popular business shows on iTunes and millions of people are listening to them every month. It has even become the main way for finding their sites and anything else these 2 entrepreneurs have to offer.

So, my point is, you can never know what this side project of yours will result in. But, as someone trying to build things online and live a lifestyle of freedom and independence, you must give podcasting a try.

Do you have a podcast already? Are you listening to podcasts in your niche and do you find them helpful and more convenient for learning stuff?