So before we get into the nuts and bolts of putting this podcast together for you, I wanted to tell you the story of how the Coach with Clarity podcast came to be. And really we need to go back before Coach with Clarity existed, before I became a coach all the way back to the early 2010s or 20teens, not sure which is right. But I'm thinking it was probably around 2012/2013, somewhere in that timeframe, where I became an avid podcast listener. Now becoming a podcast listener wasn't a huge stretch for me, because I had been an avid radio listener. I grew up listening to NPR, courtesy of my father, and I continue to listen to NPR – first on the radio, now as podcasts. And around, I don't know 2006/2007 that's when I started listening to satellite radio and I had fairly long commutes every day and so I would listen to Cosmo radio on what was then Sirius now I think it's Sirius XM. I honestly don't even know if Cosmo radio is still around. But the whole channel was essentially for the Cosmopolitan reader, that magazine. And I would drive to work every morning listening to the morning show with Taylor. And I would drive home every afternoon listening to the afternoon show with Patrick. And so I got in the habit of listening to people share their stories, share their experiences on a more traditional radio platform. So when podcasts kind of hit the scene, I was certainly not an early adopter, because I know podcasts had been around for a long time. But when I started listening to podcasts around 2012, I do think I was still one of the earlier listeners. And truly what got me into podcasts was the fact that I was living overseas. This was when my husband was stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany. And so I didn't have ready access to local radio in English. But podcasts, podcasts I could download and listen to even though I was living in Germany. So that's what I did. I got really into podcasts while living overseas. And interestingly, I started out with podcasts about running. Because back in the day, I did a lot of long distance running. I've completed two marathons in my life. I have completed, I've lost track actually of the number of half marathons, at least a dozen if not more, plus lots of 5ks and 10ks and other road races. And while those running days are pretty much behind me now, when I lived in Germany, that was a major part of my life, running, long distance running with friends. And so I would listen to podcasts about running in order to help me improve my form and my time, but also to just feel a sense of community with other runners. And so that's where my love of podcasts started actually, it was with running podcasts and then it expanded from there. And now when I think about what I listen to I certainly listen to a lot of news and politics shows. I listen to business shows, shows about spirituality, shows about television shows that I'm really into. I mean, my podcast feed really runs the gamut. But I really believe that in order to create a strong podcast, you need to understand the medium, and the best way to do that is by being an avid listener.
So I almost feel like my years of listening experience set me up beautifully to start creating my own podcast. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. So, 2012 give or take is when I started listening to podcasts. 2016 is when I transitioned into coaching and started my coaching business. And while I was building my business, it became clear to me pretty quickly that if you are an online business owner, if you are a small business owner, content marketing is one of the best things you can do to grow your visibility and your credibility with your audience. So content marketing is essentially creating valuable content as a way to connect with the people you most want to serve. When I started my business, though, I did not immediately have the thought that I should create my own podcast. In fact, I started where many people start, which is with blogging. I thought, if I could write some articles and share them with people, then that could be my content marketing strategy. And so I initially created a blog off of my website. And to be truthful with you, even though I am a writer, and I enjoy writing, I've written a book ACT On Your Business, which you can find on Amazon, I'm still writing, for whatever reason, blogging as a content marketing strategy never felt 100% right to me. I had a really difficult time creating consistent posts. And I was really unclear why I was even doing this. Who was I writing this for? Who was I writing to? How should I be sharing this? Everything about blogging just felt difficult and cumbersome. And I would get in my own head. And I just didn't enjoy it. So even though I did write some pretty decent blogs, I didn't really enjoy the process of blogging.
Now one other thing I was doing around this time, was starting to be interviewed on other people's podcasts. So as I was building connections with other online business owners and entrepreneurs, many of them had their own podcasts. And so I would either pitch myself to be a guest, or sometimes I was invited to come on as a guest. But starting as early as 2017/2018, I began guesting on other people's podcasts. And I had a lot of fun doing that, I really enjoyed the conversation. I enjoyed being able to connect with the host, but also with their audience, their listeners. And I became more comfortable with podcasting as a way of communicating with my people and sharing my message. So it wasn't that long before I decided, “Hmm, maybe I should look into creating a podcast for my own business. Maybe that could be a content marketing platform that would work for me.” And the minute I had that idea and verbalized it, I remember sharing it with my husband. I just got this sense that yes, this is your next step. But knowing me, knowing how I am before I went headfirst into podcasting, I wanted to research it, I wanted to get all of my ducks in a row and really make sure that if I was going to do this, I was going to do it right from the start.
And there were two resources that really helped me when I first started creating my own podcast. Number one, I am forever grateful to Melvin Varghese of the Selling The Couch podcast, and specifically his Healthcasters course. Now I know Melvin's course has evolved over time, and I believe now he's approaching it more like an intimate mastermind than a course. But when I enrolled, it was still a traditional online course. And it walked me through everything I needed to consider as I was preparing, and eventually launching my first podcast. So the Healthcasters course that I bought from Melvin was one of the best investments I made, as I was pursuing podcasting. And the second resource that really helped me was an online membership that's now called the Podcraft Academy. It's part of the podcast host family, so if you go to thepodcasthost.com/academy, you can learn more about that, not an affiliate link. In fact, I'm no longer a member. But when I was first starting out, I found their membership to be so helpful in terms of conceptualizing my show, figuring out what the structure and format should look like and then also how to record and produce a show. So between the Healthcasters course and the Podcraft Academy membership, those two resources were instrumental in developing and launching my podcast. So now let's fast forward, it's 2019 and I am ready to launch my podcast. But as many of you know, that podcast was not the Coach with Clarity podcast. Coach with Clarity is actually my second podcast. My very first podcast was a show called Work Your Inner Wisdom. Now, I am incredibly proud of this show, I created somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 episodes. And I was really interested in examining the intersection between spirituality and entrepreneurship. So it was a hybrid show, in that some episodes were solo, some episodes were interview. But I was always interested in looking at how we could weave in spirituality and spiritual practices, into our work and into our lives. This is a topic that remains incredibly important to me. And I could talk about spirituality and intuition and core values and how it builds our businesses. I can talk about that all day. And in fact, I do talk about it quite a bit on this podcast. I loved Work Your Inner Wisdom, because it helped me learn how to be a podcaster and how to craft a strong podcast episode. I learned so much from creating that show and I met a lot of wonderful people and established some fantastic connections, people that I'm still connected with today. So I'm so grateful for what those 30ish episodes of the Work Your Inner Wisdom podcast provided for me. And yet, I also knew once I got to about episode, I don't know 18/20, somewhere around there, I knew I had a problem. I knew that I had not positioned this podcast, to speak to my expertise, and to tie in directly with my coaching practice. When I was the host of the Work Your Inner Wisdom podcast, I felt like I was a proxy for the listener. And I was exploring topics and asking questions of my interviewees that I thought my audience would ask and want to hear as well. But I wasn't really positioning myself as an expert. And I was not directly tying the content of the podcast to what my business was about, and what I'm about as a coach and as a coach trainer. So I started to get to the point with Work Your Inner Wisdom, where I really questioned not just whether I should keep doing this podcast, but whether I should be podcasting at all. And I had a bit of an identity crisis. So that's why in November of 2019, I placed Work Your Inner Wisdom on hiatus. And when I did, so I wasn't exactly sure what was going to happen moving forward. I didn't know if I just needed to take a break and then I would come back to the show. If I would scrap it all together, if something else would happen. I really had no expectations when I put that show on hiatus. But I took several months off and it became clear to me that while Work Your Inner Wisdom may not have been the right show for my business, podcasting still was.
I maintain that there is no medium that connects people the way podcasting does. It is such an intimate experience to be a podcast listener, to literally have someone's voice in your ears. Whether you're listening in your car or in your home or with earbuds, whatever it is, there is this relationship that is cultivated between the podcaster and the listener. And the intimacy of those relationships mirror what happens in a coaching relationship as well. So I knew that podcasting was still the right content marketing platform for me, but I needed to reconceptualize the theme, the premise of my podcast. And so that's what I did. I took I think about four months off and then I launched the Coach with Clarity podcast in March of 2020. A very interesting time to launch something new, let me tell you. Essentially, the podcast started right as North America began shutting down for the pandemic. So that was a wild time, but I have no regrets. And I am so grateful that I listened to my own inner wisdom. I pressed pause on my first show, and really thought not just about the topics, the themes and what I wanted my listeners to gain from the podcast, but also how I could directly relate the podcast and my content to my business. It felt a little scary, to be honest with you, to start the show and to position myself as a subject matter expert in the world of coaching. I had to do a lot of mindset work around putting myself out there, claiming this space, claiming my expertise. And for the record, that's not a one and done activity. Even now, almost three years into the show, I still have moments where I question “Who am I to be doing this? Am I really allowed to call myself an expert in the art and business of coaching?” So these things continue to come up even now three years into the show. So just sharing that in case you find yourself dealing with those gremlins as well, you're not alone. And that's why we need to have a really strong mindset practice that can support us as we continue to put ourselves out there. I talked about this two weeks ago, on the episode about Voice and Vulnerability: Episode 148, where we looked at how to manage the fears that come up from sharing your voice and your story with the world. So if you haven't listened to that episode yet, definitely check it out. You will also be very interested in the episode that we'll be dropping, I think in two weeks, and I'm doing a follow up. So a Voice and Vulnerability: Part Two but this time, instead of looking at how to manage the fears that come up, we're going to be talking about how to manage the success that happens when you put yourself out there. And how some of the traps of success can get in the way of us sharing our story as well. So that's coming in a few weeks. And I think it's going to be a really powerful episode. So you'll definitely want to tune in in a few weeks for that.
Okay, so back to the launch of the Coach with Clarity podcast in March 2020. When I started, I had a rough idea of how I wanted the show to flow. So I kind of played with the structure and the format of the show for the first 12 to 15 episodes or so. Some shows were solo episodes and I really focused on the foundational components of starting and growing a coaching practice. It's kind of fun going back and listening to those really early episodes where I was clearly finding my flow, finding my footing. And those early episodes gave me an opportunity to play and experiment and to see what I liked, what I wanted to keep doing, what I wanted to change. I really approach this from a place of experimenting and trying things out and having fun. And that's something that hopefully, I've continued to infuse into the podcast even now, three years later. That it does feel like a fun adventure that we're going on together and that we're figuring things out as we go. And there may be some changes along the way but hopefully, there's also some consistency so that if you were to go back and listen to my first episode, and then listen to today's episode. Sure, hopefully there's a sense of growth and maturity in the show, and in me as a podcaster. But also, I hope that the thread, the purpose of the podcast still shines through, which is to support you in building, growing, and scaling your coaching practice, while also developing your mastery as a powerful coach. That through line has remained consistent over the last three years, and will continue to be the guiding light for the Coach with Clarity podcast moving forward. So as I was preparing this episode, I was asking myself, “Why did the Coach with Clarity podcast stick when Work Your Inner Wisdom didn't?” And I think there are two reasons why. And the first, we've already addressed a bit, I am much more clear around how the Coach with Clarity podcast is a platform for my business and how it directly connects to the work that I do, the offers that I have available to my clients and members. So there's a really clear link between the show and its content, and what I do as a coach and coach trainer. So that's number one. Number two is I have developed systems that support me in creating, producing and sharing the show. And having those systems in place has been vital to the show's longevity. If I did not have those systems in place, if I was constantly reinventing the wheel week after week, I don't think I would have had the tenacity to stick with it, to be honest with you. So let's talk about what some of those systems look like. And I've broken it down into four categories. And they are creation, recording, production, and sharing or marketing. And I do have systems for each one of those four areas. Some are a little better defined than others. But I'll walk you through briefly what those systems look like as I'm creating the show.
So the first one is creation. This is coming up with the idea and all of the material that I want to share in an episode. Periodically, I will sit down and brainstorm a list of topics that I want to cover, maybe guests that I may want to invite. And I'll just let things flow onto the page to see where my interest is being drawn. And what I may want to talk about on the show moving forward. That brainstorm list I then kind of condense, I find patterns, I see if there's some ideas that want to go together. And then I've got a list of topic ideas for the show. From there, if there are particular people I want to interview, I will reach out with an invitation. And then I'll start to create a schedule or a calendar of when I might want to record and release that episode topic. But here's the thing I need to be really honest about. While I may have an editorial calendar, it is highly flexible, I believe in making space for the magic, and in being responsive to the current needs of my audience and of my business.
So for example, the episode that I did a couple of weeks ago on Voice and Vulnerability that came up because of a conversation I had with a client of mine. And then the episode that I'll be recording and releasing in two weeks from now the second part to this Voice and Vulnerability concept came because I was speaking with a client of mine who had a really successful outcome, and found that the success was tripping her up as well and making her feel vulnerable. And I realized, “Oh, there's a flip side to this that I didn't explore sufficiently in that first episode, I need to go back and add more to it.” And so that's my effort to be responsive to the needs of the people that I serve. And so I will bump a topic a couple of weeks, or shuffle things around on my content calendar. And I really try to follow the energy and flow of what wants to be created and what wants to be shared on the podcast. Because in many ways, this is a co-creative act. Yes, I am the person speaking, but there are also people behind the scenes doing a lot of work to get the show out to you, talk about that in a second. And I also feel like I am communing with a spirit outside of myself. Maybe call it intuition or inner wisdom, call it spirit or universe or God, whatever language works for you. But I do get the sense that when I am creating really anything, a podcast episode, a book, a course, you name it, I am doing so in relationship with an energetic essence outside of myself. And that's why I find it so important to remain responsive when it comes to topics and what I want to share and when.
But eventually, I have to pick a topic for the week because I have committed to showing up every week for you on the Coach with Clarity podcast. So I will choose a topic and I start creating a loose outline. Really, it's just kind of some hand scratched notes. But when I approach a topic, I do like to think about the what, the why, and the how. So what a given topic is, what it means, why it matters to coaches in particular, and then how we can take this topic and integrate it into our work, into our relationships, and into our life. So once I start formulating that outline and I'm thinking about the what, why and how. I'm also then thinking about “How can I illustrate these points with stories, with examples from my own life or from my clients experiences?” Because I find that while it's helpful to share the what the why and the how it's the stories and examples that really bring it to life and allow listeners to see themselves in the process and to imagine taking whatever it is we've talked about and implementing it in their own lives as well. So I'm always thinking about the what, why and how and the stories or examples that can complement that content. And then as I'm wrapping up, I'm thinking about “What are the takeaways and to do's that I want my listeners to think about? What are the key points that I might want to summarize, and what am I challenging them or inspiring them to do after they stop listening to the episode?” So that's typically how I approach creating a solo podcast episode. It's a little different with interviews in that I like those conversations to be organic. So I do prepare, usually six or seven questions in advance that I may want to ask the person I'm interviewing, but I am also much more likely to go with the flow and see where the conversation goes. So I do prepare for interview episodes b ut I would say my outline, my questions are not quite as detailed as the prep I do for my solo episodes. So that's my system for creating the content for a show.
The second piece then is we have to actually record the show. For me, this comes down to knowing what software I want to use in order to make the recording a seamless and easy process, I use a free tool called Audacity to record my solo episodes, I also use Audacity to create a backup recording of my own audio when I'm doing interviews. For interviews, I started out simply using Zoom, because you can set zoom to create separate recording tracks, so that there's a track for each speaker, that makes it great when it comes time to edit it, which we'll talk about in a second. And so Zoom can be really good for interviews. I've also moved to something called Riverside, which is a recording platform, that's great for interviews as well. So once I know what my software is, then the process of using it and and working in it is pretty easy. I do find that when I'm recording my interviews, I essentially just press record and we go, there's not a lot of stopping and starting. As opposed to my solo episodes I will often talk about something for a few minutes, and then stop, pause, check my notes and decide, “Okay, where do I want to go from here?” So recording my solo episodes is a little more of a start/stop procedure than my interviews. But that works for me, that's the system that works for me. know there are some podcasters that just press record and go and that's totally cool. But for me, the stop/start approach works pretty well.
Alright, so now let's talk about the third piece, which is production. Now when I started the Work Your Inner Wisdom podcast, I edited and produced probably the first 8 to 10 episodes on my own. I learned how to do so through the Healthcasters and the Podcraft Academy. And I quickly realized that not only was I not very good at it, I also didn't enjoy it. And it was taking tons of time, way more time and energy than I really had to devote to it. So at that point, I made the decision to work with a freelance podcast editor who would handle the basic editing for me, and then provide me with a finalized version that I could upload to my hosting platform and then disseminate on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, etc. When I took that hiatus and started thinking about the Coach with Clarity podcast, I worked with a production team from the very beginning. I did a podcast audit with Britany Felix of Podcasting for Coaches and we were able to kind of talk about the new concept for the show. And then from there, she and her team did all of the editing and post production work for every single episode of the Coach with Clarity podcast. So huge shout outs to Britany and Alex with Podcasting for Coaches, they are the ones responsible for making me sound great every week, I honestly could not do this show without them. They also work closely with my extraordinary Operations Manager, Robyn, because Robyn is responsible for creating the show graphics, for managing the transcript, for ensuring that everything gets on the show notes page the way it's supposed to. She works in tandem with Britany and Alex and their people. So really, it's the three of them working behind the scenes to get the episode ready for you. I'm now at the point where I manage the creation, the prep and the recording, but other people manage the editing, the post production, and the marketing materials.
And so that takes me to the fourth piece, which is marketing. I personally find this to be the hardest part about podcasting. Because it's one thing to have a show. But if no one's listening to it, it can feel like you're just talking to the void and it's not serving you and it's not serving your business. So you do want to make sure that you have systems in place to help you share the good news about your podcast. So that can look like posting on social media, Facebook, Instagram, using audiograms, maybe using quote cards, having those graphics available so if you have a guest on your show, they can use those graphics and share the episode with their people too. So social media can be a really helpful way to market and share your podcast. If you have an email list you definitely want to be sharing the show with your list so they know “Another episode dropped and here's what it's about. Come take a listen!” And the other great thing about podcasting is that you can essentially create a resource library for your people. So anytime you are answering a question in a Facebook group, or if you get an email from someone with a question about whatever it might be, it is highly likely that at least one of your podcast episodes can answer that question or be a resource for that person. And so then you can link to your show, when you are providing that information, I have found that to be an invaluable way of connecting with and serving my people, to just drop the link and they can either listen or read the transcript. But really marketing your podcast means talking about it, making sure people know it exists, where they can find it, how they can listen. It means maybe pitching yourself as a guest on another podcast. And then perhaps the audience for that other show might come listen to yours. There are all sorts of ways that we can market our show. And for me, that's where the real work begins. So perhaps that's something we'll explore in greater depth in a future episode.
But now I want to conclude with some advice for those of you who may be thinking about starting your own podcast, or who are podcasting and looking to take it to the next level. So there are seven pieces of advice that I want to share with you. Number one, I want to encourage you to listen to podcasts, both as an audience member and as a colleague. I find that when I listen to other shows, I am able to identify what it is I like about them, what I might want to incorporate into my own show, I find it very inspiring. There have also been shows where I've listened and I've been like, “Nope, don't like that not doing that not going to listen anymore.” So notice your own reactions as a listener first and then as a fellow professional. What are some tools tricks, tips that you might be able to learn from one show that you can then incorporate into yours. So number one, listen. Listen closely as both an audience member and as a colleague or fellow podcasting professional.
Number two, be clear from the start about your podcast's concept, and its role in your business. And as I shared with you already with Work Your Inner Wisdom, I was really clear on the concept but I was not clear about the role it played as a platform in my business. And that is something that I was much more thoughtful and intentional about with the Coach with Clarity podcast. Now I understand both the concept for the show and how it serves as a pillar for my business. So that's piece of advice number two, be clear about your concept and the role of your podcast in your business.
Number three is to play with the structure and format to see what works for you. You may decide you want solo shows, and then maybe you know what it might be fun to have a guest interview. Maybe you want more of a hybrid approach where you alternate between the two. You might want to play with the frequency, do you want it to be a weekly show, a monthly show, twice monthly? These are all things that you can explore with especially when you're first starting and give yourself permission to experiment and to figure out as you go, what is going to work best for you, your show and your audience.
My fourth piece of advice is that as you experiment and you start to find out what works for you, create systems to support that. Because when you have a repeatable system, you will save yourself time, energy and money in the long run. So this system can evolve over time, it does not have to be perfect or set in stone from the beginning. And I encourage you that when you can enlist support from others, whether it is a freelance editor or you're working with an entire podcast production team. If you can bring in that support, it will make it so much easier for you to create content over time and to support the longevity of your show.
Tip number five, invest in a good microphone. Audio quality is key. And in fact, studies have shown that if the audio is poor, people stop listening pretty quickly and they don't return. So the good news is you do not have to spend hundreds or 1000s of dollars on a good mic. In fact, the microphone I'm using is the Audio Technica ATR 2100. I think it cost about $60. So again, we're not talking something cheap, but we're also not talking something that's going to break the bank. So there are so many good quality microphones out there in that $50 to $100 range. And I strongly recommend if you're planning on starting your own podcast, or even if you're planning to be a guest on other people's shows, go ahead and invest in a good microphone. It will make all the difference.
Tip number six, remember that podcasting is a long game, so plan accordingly. It takes time to develop a podcast to grow an audience, and to see the results of your hard work. I know it can be difficult to be patient, believe me, I know. But give yourself and give your podcast the time it needs to find its legs to find its audience and to start working for you. It really is a long game.
And the seventh and final piece of advice I have for you, is to center your listener at every stage of your podcast. So in the creation stage, I'm always thinking about “Will this topic be of interest to my listener?” In the recording stage, I'm asking myself if what I'm sharing is interesting. Is it useful? Is it practical? During the production, we want to make sure it is a pleasurable experience to listen to our show. So investing in whatever tools or people you need to ensure that the audio quality is high, it's one of the best things you can do for your listener. And then of course, when you're marketing your show, and you're talking about it, how are we serving our current and future listeners as we're promoting our work? So that's the seventh thing is to center your listener at every stage.
Well, my friend I hope you have enjoyed this behind the scenes look at the Coach with Clarity podcast, as we celebrate episode 150. I cannot believe we've made it this far. How exciting. I want to thank you for being a devoted listener of the Coach with Clarity podcast, I make the show for you and with you. So if you have thoughts about topics you'd like to see explored on the show, guests you'd like me to invite on, I would love to hear from you. You can find me on Instagram or TikTok @CoachWithClarity or you can just send me a good old fashioned email email@example.com is my email address. And I would love to hear how the Coach with Clarity podcast is impacting your work and your life and what you'd like to see on the show moving forward. Alright, my friend. That's it for me this week. I will be back in your feed next week with another episode and until then, my name is Lee Chaix McDonough reminding you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity.