Launch a Podcast like a Product Manager
Bring product management into everything you do.
Half a year ago an idea was slowly blooming. I should do a podcast about product management. Like any other thing I do, in order to bring it from idea to launch I approached it like a product manager.
Start with Why
The first thing I had to ask myself was why do I want to have a podcast. As Simon Sinek says: you should always start with why. In my case it started from the same reason I started my blog or I started mentoring. I wanted to share my knowledge with others and help them grow like I did.
I have found out that I often repeat the same lessons to different mentees in different situations. I wanted to bring the mentoring experience into this new medium.
Find your Niche
There are already quite a big number of podcasts about product management. For a product (in this case a podcast) to succeed it has to bring something unique.
Being a heavy listener of podcasts, I already know many of the other podcasts on product management. Most of them focus on the person they are interviewing and what was his way for success.
I decided to do something different. I wanted to focus every episode on a specific challenge a product manager faces and do it with product managers that are currently facing that challenge and not necessarily have mastered it. Together we can discuss and seek ideas and solutions. A kind of a mentoring session.
Another decision I made was to do the podcast in Hebrew (apology for my English readers). The reason was that as good as my English it, I feel more comfortable in Hebrew and I live in Israel. Also, there are less podcasts in Hebrew about product management. From time to time I will also be able to do special episodes in English when the right guest comes.
Get Feedback (and Ignore Some)
The next thing a good product manager does is talk with people about the idea. I talked with various type of people to learn about whether the idea was good or bad. I talked with mentors, mentees, podcasters, and listeners (i.e., both people from the industry and customers).
Some reactions were positive and some reactions were skeptic. The right thing is not to get discouraged, but get the right tip that works for me from every discussion.
For example, I learned that it may be challenging to bring mentoring into the medium because people may not want to talk about personal things or about their colleagues in a public medium. No issue. I would keep the general direction of focusing on the idea, but will keep the level of intimacy each guest is prepared for. By promising to cut anything that the guest does not feel comfortable with, it’s possible to get their trust.
Some podcasters told me I should do it alone so nobody will hold me back, and some advised to take someone for the road to help. For me doing it together with someone was the best way forward. I talked with several potential candidates until one of my mentees (Eyar Zilberman) was enthusiastic to join the challenge. It was the best fit as we already had a very good connection and he shared my “why”.
Learn the Technology
The next thing was to read as much as you can about how to launch a podcast, where to host it, how to record it and so on.
Luckily, there is so much material online that it’s no brainer. In less than a week we became experts on podcasts. I still don’t understand people who start a podcast without doing some minimal read. This is true for every product. The age of information has made it very easy to learn so much on almost anything you want.
I was told by many podcasters that it takes time to learn. Like any product if you are not embarrassed by your first MVP, you launched too slow.
So we went and recorded 3 episodes. For the first episodes we did not even have a good place to record in. But they were still great. In the first episode I have frozen, in the second I was tensed, and by the third I finally got relaxed. In each episode we learn and get better both by analyzing what we did good and bad ourselves, but also by getting feedback from our listeners.
Build a Community
Every product needs a community, and a podcast even more. Even before we launched the first episode we started building a facebook community, and started sharing with them what we plan to record. When our first episode launched we already had a small eager audience.
Having a group of early adapters helps us get the right feedback from our listeners and improving with each episode. We also ask our guests what we can do better and how we can improve.
A community that loves our podcast also helps spread the word and helps making the podcast better by asking questions and participating in the journey.
Iterate and Improve
To summarize a journey of a product is about listening. The audience listens to you, and you listen to them. As the audience gets more comfortable with your product the feedback becomes better and more specific, and if you listen properly you can constantly improve.