5 Easy Steps to Start Your Podcast & Build a Community of Listeners

The Cheddar was a podcast started by my dear friend Katie and I, stemming from the fire in our bellies to empower women in technology and spread awareness and related issues. As part of our mission of empowering minorities in tech, we’re sharing our best practices learned from pressing record. We can’t wait for you to tune in!

“Wait, why did you name a women-in-tech-empowering podcast after cheese?”

Start with your purpose and passion, the why behind making a podcast.

An illustration of cheese

Having internal benefits and external benefits for starting your podcast are both equally important. Visualize internal benefits: conducting research, starting a personal project, and spreading awareness about an important issue, to more the external: building a community of listeners, collaborators, and potential fame. This process shapes what your target market should look like and what you’ll really gain from recording. When Katie and I started The Cheddar, the most important thing for us was to conduct personal research on gender bias in tech and spread awareness while building a community (whether large or small). We made sure not to make it a “number’s game”. We would be ecstatic with a couple of listeners, because we knew we could deeply impact those lives.

TLDR: Make sure you are making a podcast for the right reasons. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.

The name behind your podcast.

This is step #1 of creating your brand. Ours is The Cheddar. We find it helpful for people to ask questions like, “wait, why did you name a women-in-tech-empowering podcast after cheese?” It sparks curiosity to keep the conversation going, as we connect the dots between our name and purpose. We also named our podcast The Cheddar as to not dig ourselves into a content hole — we wanted a name that allowed us to branch out into different areas if the demand was there. The Cheddar is synonymous with “the good stuff” or “the money” and delivering this caliber of content was what we wanted for ourselves and our listeners. People love stories, you give em’ a good one with your name.

Have an accountability partner!

Madison Ross and Katherine Sutton

This is by far the most important and the reason for our initial success. Whether it’s a co-host, a friend, or a roommate, tell someone about what you’re doing. It may seem silly or impractical, but having someone excited to hear your content and see your progress is what kept us on task and excited to produce quality content moving forward. Tell them how often you plan on making episodes (per week, biweekly, per month, etc.) and that way they can provide feedback. You’ll get excited that you at least have 1 listener out there waiting for your latest episode to drop.

Brand the heck out of your podcast.

As business students, this part came the most naturally for us, but we still faced some challenges. In our first 6 weeks, we rebranded 3 times! Once we knew we had found the right fit, we blasted it on social media everywhere. Start now by drawing logos, creating color schemes, making social media accounts for your podcast, and asking your friends for feedback (see #3)! The best way to know what you want is to start following social media accounts with a similar theme or message. Create something similar until you find your own flavor. Use your branding process as an opportunity to network and connect (think LinkedIn!) with individuals in your target audience. This is how you start building your community beyond your family and friends.

There’s never a “good time” so start recording ASAP.

Our podcast is certainly a work in progress, but that doesn’t mean listeners can’t gain valuable information from it! We find it exciting to see our progress from Episode one to Episode five. It encourages us to get better and keep creating content, adapting as we go along. Nothing is perfect and you’re never going to be ready. Take that jump and HIT RECORD.

What podcast are you creating? Be sure to tell us on Facebook or Instagram @thecheddarcast. Want to tune in to The Cheddar? You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Overcast, and Anchor.

Your Cheesy Gals,

Mads and Katie

Madison Ross and Katherine Sutton graduated from FLA Class XIII.

Madison Ross is studying Information Systems and was on the FLA Historian Committee during her sophomore year. She is interested in technology’s impact on society and aspires to establish a support system to encourage more women to pursue careers in tech. On her free time, you can find her recording episodes of her podcast “The Cheddar,” recovering from her first half marathon, and competing in hackathons nationwide. Feel free to email Madison.

Katherine Sutton is studying Information Systems on the combined MSISOM track in the Warrington College of Business. She is interested in using technology to better our everyday lives. On her free time, you can find her recording “The Cheddar” Podcast to increase women’s representation in the tech industry, reading biographies about influential entrepreneurs, and continuing her lifelong search for the best buffalo wing. Feel free to email Katherine.