Some people that want to start a podcast feel they need a co-host or to interview someone to start one. When they cannot find someone, they give up. There is no need for a co-host or interviewee, but a solo host needs to prepare more before recording. To be a successful solo host, a potential host needs to choose a format for a podcast. While there are some advantages to having a solo podcast. There is an opportunity cost that comes along with the solo podcast.
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Formats to Use
One format a host can use to create content for a podcast is to gather listener questions to answer on the podcast. A host can gather questions from their listeners with a survey. A host can promote the survey using social media. Giving a link to the survey and mentioning the answers will be on the podcast. Soon, listeners will email questions for the podcast.
Review Other Content
Another format for a host is reviewing other content. A host can review content related to their industry and then give their take on the content. For example, a comedian can watch comedy specials during a podcast and give their opinion about the special.
Create a Format
A host can create their own method of presenting information to a listener. For The Building an Indie Business podcast, I created my own format that is "State, Reason, Example." For the format I state my claim, I give my reasons for making that claim, and then I provide an example of my claim. One episode I stated that "I get ideas for episodes while I work. An episode that resulted from work was the "Vanilla JS dark mode" episode. I got the idea for the episode after adding a dark mode to my website.
Benefits of Solo Podcasting
When a host is recording alone, there is less equipment and software involved in the process. With less equipment or software there are fewer chances for an error happening during recording.
Can Record at Any Time
When interviewing someone, the time to record needs to account for both parties. This may take some time, or one person involved has to make some sacrifices. A solo host can record any time without constraints. Subtracting a barrier from the content creation process.
Easy Way to Get Started
By podcasting solo, a host can try podcasting. On a solo podcast, a host has total creative control and has the liberty to experiment with the podcast. Doing a podcast with a guest or co-host can limit creative control. If a solo host records a few episodes and decides podcasting is not for them, there is no harm done. If the host wants to change anything, such as the format or flow of the podcast, they can make changes.
When a host interviews guests, the host must spend time searching for guests. By hosting a solo podcast, a host can focus more on content. Sometimes the amount of time between recording will change. For one episode, a host might have 2 weeks to prepare. For the next episode, a host has three days to prepare because they had trouble finding a guest. The amount of preparation time impacts the quality of the podcast. If a host has more time to prepare, the host will create better questions to ask. Increasing the quality of the podcast. This is not an issue for solo podcasts.
Disadvantages of Solo Podcasting
Hard to grow passed host’s network
Having guests is one method to grow an audience. A new audience discovers the podcast when a guest promotes their appearance. Being introduced to a guest's audience introduces a host's content to people that would not have found it. For a solo podcast host finding new listeners beyond their network takes time. Continuous guests would make growing an audience easier. New people would find the podcast with every guest.
Only Source of Content
When having a guest on a podcast, the host can rely on the guest to create content for them. Being the only person on the podcast means being the only source of content. If the host is having a bad day when recording, the content will suffer, and the audience will notice. If the podcast quality continues to go down, some people might stop listening.
Benefits of interviewing
Expanding the host’s network
Having guests on a podcast is one method to grow a host's network. Which is a missed opportunity for hosts. Although, listeners will reach out, and a host can grow their network with listeners.
When hosting a podcast alone, there may be a day when a host needs to record but does not want to. Having a guest or co-host creates a sense of responsibility. A host does not want to waste the guest or co-host's time by having to reschedule.
Many comedians host a podcast. A comedian's podcast allows fans to connect with the comedian. The comedian creates another source of income.
Some comedians might use their podcast to work out material before trying the material on-stage. Giving listeners a preview.
The most important factor for any podcast is the value a listener receives. For a podcast to have value, the content needs to educate or entertain the listener. There is nothing wrong with having a co-host or doing interviews. Not having access to them should not stop someone from starting a podcast.
This post is an excerpt from the Open Podcast Community book. Which is available for pre-ordered here.