5 Common Podcasting Fears In Nigeria and How To Overcome Them
Lately, I have been speaking to people who should be podcasting. When I talk about the prospect of launching a podcast, I sense an immediate fear. This is fine if it instantly fades away, but most times, it stays.
In some other case, it is not fear per se but excuses that can fill a whole exercise book. If you have your fears about launching a podcast, this is really for you.
Maybe my story will help
To tell the truth, I was not only scared as hell when I was going to launch my first podcast in January 2015. I was broke as well. I did not have money to even set up the cheapest website. Not to mention the fact that I knew nothing about podcast at that moment: My friend, Taiwo Akinbolaji, had just mentioned the word “podcast” to me a few weeks ago.
I had no time too: I had only one week to my final exams as a Civil Engineering student. To make matters worse, I had registered for 17 courses (7 more than the average) in a successful attempt to graduate with a first class. So talk about podcasting fears or excuses, I had them all.
But you know what? I launched on the 4th of January. I didn’t need a website, I had WhatsApp. Yes WhatsApp! It sounds funny right? yeahh
The rest up to this point is a story for another day. So far, my podcasting journey has sent me to places I would never have been: RED Media Summit 2015, Sterling Bank’s MTE 2015, Lagos Business School, MIT BootCamp in Seoul, South Korea (though I couldn’t make it for financial constraints) and others I should not mention now. As a result, I have met people I would never have met in my life, had I allowed my podcasting fears to hold me back.
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.
In spite of the enormous benefit that can come a podcaster’s way, many people still fear starting one. And I can understand why. However, these fears should never hold you back.
Five common podcasting fears/excuses
To return to the subject, I have listed below five common podcasting fears that can prevent you from launching a podcast. Attached to each fear/excuse are ways you can overcome them.
Note: This podcasting fears are based on my experience and that of a number of other Nigerian podcasters I spoke with.
5. It is too expensive, I don’t have money
You don’t need a dime to start a podcast if you have a smartphone. This I know from experience. What you need is the desire or drive; money is no excuse at all.
WhatsApp and podcasting
As mentioned earlier, I was so passionate that I launched on WhatsApp with no editing skills or kobo spent! And I even went ahead to build a team around that!
It was not until after the first month, I began to learn how to manage a website and upload the audio I record (using my smartphone) on a free media archive online.
If running a website as media host is a bit technical, start on WhatsApp and share with friends. Thank God you don’t have to pay to use WhatsApp.
Just pick up the phone, play a song in the background, hit the voice recording button (the whatsapp record button is better if you are sharing via whatsapp), talk about what you love, and share these content on a regular basis with friends and family. Even though it is technically not a podcast, it is a good way to start while you raise money and learn how to podcast.
Read Also: When is it called a Podcast?
Taking it a step further
If you are a little bit serious about podcasting, a 6,000 naira unidirectional condenser mic with a 3000 naira mic stand connected to your laptop is all you need to produce a great quality podcast. That is how much? N9000.
Now, set up a WordPress website (free) and host on SoundCloud (free for the first 180 minutes), Archive.org (completely free but a bit slow). How much is that? Still less than 10k!
How to Overcome this Fear
Launch on WhatsApp. Don’t even call it a podcast yet, just say “this is me sharing my thoughts”. While to do this, start learning more about podcasting.
If you are a bit serious, speak with friends who know about WordPress. Ask them to set up one for you in a exchange for a favour. You can set it up yourself, it is quite simple. Record with “Smart Voice Recorder” app from Google PlayStore, upload on your WordPress website, and share. Don’t worry, you will learn as you grow.
4. Podcasting is too technical to handle
This fear/excuse is knowledge based. They say, information is power. If you want to cheat a man, keep information from him. If you want to control him, sell him propaganda.
If you want to scare a man, lie to him. Tell him that podcasting is too technical.
You don’t need to have a university degree in sound production to use Audacity, the best and easiest audio editing software (it is free by the way). You don’t have to speak like that Radio Nigeria presenter, you can ask Mr Dayo Samuel of the Nigeria Podcast Network. You don’t have to learn any code, to set up a WordPress website. There are page builders out there like Visual Composer, you can use. So tell me what is technical there?
Yes, there are a couple of things you need to learn. What you know today, you didn’t know a few days back. So when did learning become a scary thing to do?
How to overcome this fear
Understand that learning is a process. You don’t need to know everything about podcast before launching one. The beauty of podcasting is that we all learn as we go.
Akanmu Stephen of the DressUp Academy shared his story with me:
“… my voice was never my fear, my fear was these: Was I ready enough to start? Will my production be top notch? Will my show come off as professional? I was not even an expert yet…Despite all these fears, I still carried on to launch the Dress up Podcast…I overcame these fears by consistently working on myself and improving my podcasting technical skills.”
3. I am not sure I can be consistent
When Femi Luther- Abegunde of the Reflection Podcast, launched his podcast, one fear he had was how he would consistently churn out episodes.
In his words, “I started doing podcasts about 2 years ago. Prior to this, I had been into public speaking for years…With the internet evolution…, doing a podcast came to my mind… The first voice from the devil that came was “Will people listen to it?” while the second voice was “How do you sustain this with your busy schedule?”
Another Nigerian podcaster, Uwem Uwemakpan of the Afropreneur Podcast pointed this fear out: “My main fear was more of the time factor. I am sort of a perfectionist…I thought I wouldn’t be able to sustain [my podcast] consistently. Secondly, I was hungry to scale fast in terms of the numbers of listeners even though I knew this will take time, consistency and ‘relatable’ content.”
In spite of these fears, they all still podcast today. The issue of consistency is an issue of planning. If you can plan your content, chances are that you will stay consistent.
How to overcome this fear
Make sure content for your podcast is within your reach. Plan these content for at least a month prior to production. Record as many podcast episodes that you can at a time and keep them for emergency situations. Even if you are the “real time” kind of podcaster, it doesn’t hurt to have emergency episodes!
2. I am not sure my voice is good enough
Haaaa, I hear this a lot. First of all there is nothing like “bad voice” in podcasting, you can ask Dayo Samuel of the Audacity2lead Podcast. By the way, Dayo is a front-runner when it comes to podcasting in Nigeria. From his experience, he will tell you that if you can communicate and you are authentic with your content, people will listen! People will connect with you and will relate.
Podcasting transcends the smoothness or texture of a voice when your message speaks to people.
Here is the story of another Nigerian podcaster, Toluse Dove Francis of the Eat Fit Podcast: “Thanks for this Samuel Adeoye. For me the fears were many. One, was I good enough to run a podcast? I had been writing for long, both on my site and for others but podcasting? [Besides]’ I am a shy person; I prefer to hide behind the pen than the mic. Three, who would listen to my ugly voice? …But how did I overcome these fears….. I told myself one day after a midnight conversation with Dayo Samuel who had complained to me about a back ache that I was going to start same way I started blogging. I decided I wouldn’t pay attention to my voice but wait to hear from people.
My first podcast was terrible…I must confess, it wasn’t a funny experience. I continued still. I have not been regular but I am way better than I started. Each time I see the stats, I know I can do better but I am overwhelmed that people are listening or downloading.”
How to overcome this fear:
Don’t give a damn; just hit ‘publish’!
When Segun Akiode launched his podcast (Career & Employability Talk) in July 2014, he did not like the sound of his voice one bit.
“At first, my voice was sounding strange to my ears. [I was] afraid how others would perceive it or [if] anyone will download it at all…I clicked publish anyway and in few hours of publishing it … I actually saw downloads. Are you serious? Seems I made some sense after all, even with poor audio quality”, he said.
Although, he stopped podcasting “after two episodes for lack of good audio equipment and time to keep at it”, he came back in January 2016. And has since published 39 episodes and received tonnes of positive feedback from many who value his content.
Again, I repeat: “don’t give a damn about what people will think”.
1. Who will listen to me?
This is the last of the top five podcasting fears your can have in Nigeria. This is especially crucial because of a perceived belief that Nigerians prefer foreign over local content. But most times, this belief is overrated.
Another reason for this fear is this: we live in a content creating world. Consequently, the rate at which content are being created per second is bewildering! It is easy to be overwhelmed by this. You keep wondering: “how will I be heard?”
It is simple: create authentic content consistently. Find a problem only you can handle well and solve it with your podcast.
Indeed, creating authentic content too can be another issue too. Nonetheless, don’t let it hold you down. Fumnanya Bernard of the Limit Breaker Show once fell into this. Quoting her: “For me, I tend to be a perfectionist, and I always feel there’s one more thing to learn…I happen to be in a niche that’s kinda saturated, but I wanted to be different. This made me procrastinate. I eventually had to start any way even though I didn’t get the authenticity part right at the beginning. But I overcame all this when I started [podcasting]. I’m still not excellent at it yet, but I am sure I am not where I was when I started. I hope this will help anyone who reads it.”
Even if it is your story, a battle you overcome, a trend you see, an experience, or knowledge based on that experience that you have, people will listen. There are people out there who need what you know. There is always a market for you if you are solving a problem with your podcast.
In fact, you should be more worried about the problem you are solving than the number of people who will listen to you. By the way, you should understand that it takes time to build audience!
Your content might be great but people are weary of trusting you too early. They want to be sure you can be consistent. Other times, they just haven’t found you yet. It is now your duty to make sure that they do.
How to overcome this fear
Find a problem that you know a sizeable number of people in your community, state, or nation have. Can you solve this problem with your experience, knowledge or network? Or is there a possibility that you are learning faster about the issue than anyone else?
If yes, just start podcasting about it and forget about who will listen. You will be amazed the quality (not necessarily quantity) of people who will connect with you and make you better for it.
You did not cover my fears
Perhaps, your kind of fear was not covered in this post. Let me know in the comment box below. You can be rest assured that you will get a response fast.
Again, it is perfectly alright to have podcasting fears, or any fears for that matter. However, it is unacceptable to let your fears hold you back. You have not only heard from me but from ordinary people who are pioneering podcasting in Nigeria. If they can do it, you can do better.
Think about what you have read; come back later and read it. Make sure they stay with you until you launch your podcast.
I would love to hear your story!
Samuel Adeoye (popularly known as “Se7en” or the “Startup Engineer”) is an entrepreneurship enthusiast and the lead podcaster at Podlobe. He is also a big fan of Manchester United.