When we started The Cloud Pod (TCP), we had no idea we’d eventually record 100 episodes — especially Peter, who thought this was going to be a one-episode schtick.
But here we are, 100 deep, and we’re taking some time to reflect on what we’ve learned along the way.
7 lessons we’ve learned after recording 100 podcast episodes
Truth be told, we weren’t really podcasting pros when we started TCP. Sure, we had a handle on the basics, but we were definitely overthinking a bit (see: lesson No. 1).
And let’s not forget that one episode — we’ll go ahead and call it our Worst Episode Ever™ — when we had audio issues. We had to redo the episode, and the whole conversation was completely awkward and stilted because we knew what we were going to say the whole time.
But it’s fair to say we’ve worked out the kinks, so we’ll share with you what we’ve learned.
1. We just hang out like we’re good friends catching up
When starting the pod, some of us were worried about putting a megaphone to our opinions. It’s easy to share your thoughts in a room with three or four buddies — but on a podcast? That’s recorded? That how many people will hear? And that will live in the ether forever? That’s a bit daunting.
After several episodes, we became more comfortable with the idea of trusting ourselves and our opinions.
A couple of us also worried about planning each episode. What would we talk about? What were we trying to say? What content did we want to highlight?
But we soon realized this wasn’t the right approach. We had to relax a little and just pretend we were in a room with our friends, drinking a beer and chatting about things like AWS, Google and Microsoft. After all, when we listen to other podcasts, that’s exactly how we digest the content — like we’re sitting around with our pals, not listening to a perfectly outlined story.
2. But we do keep our audience — that’s you! — in mind
So each week we’re sitting around and catching up with our old friends. But that doesn’t mean we can just forget about our audience.
Sure, some of us got into Cloud 10 years ago, but that’s not necessarily the case for all our listeners. Some are brand new to this world, so even if a topic seems a bit rudimentary to us, our listeners may find it super valuable.
We always want to strike a good balance of topics to cater to beginners and experts and everyone between, so that’s something we continue to keep in mind as we figure out our discussion points for each episode.
3. Treat podcasting like exercise
For us, podcasting is this weird thing because it’s not necessarily a job but it’s not necessarily a hobby. It falls somewhere in between. It’s a bit like exercising — it takes some discipline.
How many times have you said, “Ugh, I don’t want to go to the gym tonight” but then you went and you felt fantastic afterward? It’s exactly the same thing with recording a podcast. Although we may not always be in the mood to hop on the mic, it’s always fun and rewarding.
Plus, you keep your brain exercised — literally — especially for those of us with day jobs. If it weren’t for this podcast, we wouldn’t be so keen on industry news and trends. We would otherwise put it off reading the news… just like the gym.
4. Find the right duo — or quartet
When we first started talking about doing this podcast, we weren’t sure how many people we wanted on here. Just two? Or did three make sense? What about four?
We think we struck the perfect balance with this quartet we’ve ended up with. There’s a natural camaraderie between all of us, and it’s all around a good, fun dynamic.
Plus, each of us have different opinions on different topics, so we’re able to really provide comprehensive coverage for our listeners, which ups the value of the podcast.
5. Don’t be afraid to try new things (or ditch whatever doesn’t work)
Anyone remember when we did the Weekend Update Lightning Round? Yeah, that didn’t work out so well. For the first two weeks or so it was fun, but after that, we were all like, Whew, we’re not comedy writers. This is hard.
So you may have noticed that segment quietly died off…
But you know what? That’s OK. Podcasting is a malleable platform, and we have room to try new things.
In fact, in 2021, we want to start getting more selective about the stories we cover. Instead of covering as much as we do now, we’re thinking about doing a top 10 sort of situation, so each topic has more room to breathe.
But don’t worry. Even as we consolidate some of our content, we don’t plan to kill Lightning Round.
6. Podcast interviews are not the devil
Back when we wrote our reflection of 25 episodes, we vowed to never do an interview show. Well, here we are at 100 episodes — and we’re also doing interviews. (Here’s our most recent, in case you were curious.)
No, they’re not a constant thing, but we realized they were necessary for two reasons: 1.) Hearing straight from the experts is valuable for our listeners, and 2.) We have sponsors willing to pay us for these types of episodes.
So this interview format is a great, natural way to have interesting people talk on the show and for us to sell some advertising, which, in turn, allows us to do even more cool stuff for our listeners.
7. Enjoy your show!
Sometimes, after you sink time and energy into creating something, you’re done with it — wipe your hands clean and move on to your next project.
But we’ve taken a different approach: We listen to every single episode the day it drops. Sure, we just recorded the episode a week ago — it’s still pretty fresh — but we still gain new insights on the topics we talk about. We think of new topics we can talk about or topics we can dive into deeper.
And here’s the thing: Even after 100 episodes, we still enjoy listening to our episodes, and, as a podcaster, that’s important.
We are offering merchandise for 75% off in celebration of 100 episodes! Use Code 2020Sucks or 100Episodes to receive the discount!