My name is R. Chase Razabdouski. That's a really complex name, but it's what I use in the "real world". My students know me as that, my clients do as well. Online, however, I was having difficulty gaining any traction. Nobody knew me and that meant that nobody cared about how I could help them achieve more or what types of relationships we could build together. This wasn't because of my name being complex, but because of a larger problem: I had no brand.
In 2015, I started working to cure all of these concerns and shortened my online persona to an abbreviated version of my name, Chase Raz. I had experimented with that moniker previously, and had tried to launch several failed ventures over a number of years. I recycled one of these ventures, Multinewmedia, which spoke to my professional passion for business technology and everything that goes along with that interest and started once again down the path towards meeting new friends, colleagues, and partners.
After listening to a number of podcasts that I liked to ease the burden of a long commute, I started thinking, "I could do this!" I sometimes dangerously thought I could even do better than the podcasts I was listening to. I wanted to achieve a community, a voice. I wanted to know that other people cared about the same thing in their professional lives as I did and do.
The process ended up being a bit scarier than I expected so I did everything to ease the burden. For my first episode, I called a good long time friend and had him record with me. He was my first and only guest for years, and he was a part of the show before even my co-hosts. Luckily, he's also entrepreneurial and professional, and his career trajectory is out of this world (from print, to magazine editor and owner, to now a television personality). We recorded as if the silly little project I was working on were real, because I wanted it to be real. Then we wrapped it up, went to lunch, and I remember the feeling I had thinking back over the process. It was joy, pride, excitement; everything just felt right, so I kept going the next week, and the next.
Despite that, I didn't release any episodes for well over half a year. I had to learn and grow with the show. Everything from getting a website to building my RSS feed, which I still do by hand, had to be identified as an unknown, made known, and then implemented. Even a tiny thing like a podcast is a lot of work before it becomes routine and easy.
In the first three years, I released 30 episodes per year. Now, in the fourth year I'm aiming for 40. It's a lot harder than it sounds. "Feast or famine" is a phrase that comes to mind, and part of my job as host of Multinewmedia is to not let the listeners know when we have 10 episodes ready to go and we're just waiting around. Likewise, they shouldn't know when I'm barely stringing together our most base-level quality content.
I teach at a university full time, and both of my current co-hosts work full time jobs as well. It's not easy to align schedules, and you find those in the podcast circuit are all used to it. I've recorded during the early morning on a Sunday before when it was overnight from Sunday to Monday for my guest who lived halfway around the globe. I've recorded in daylight, at nighttime and everywhere from my home office, to public outdoor areas, to anywhere I can find to sit down with someone in front of one of my portable microphones.
I pay for all of that equipment out of my small business checking, because Multinewmedia is technically and legally owned by my consulting and corporate training business. It's a community outreach, if you will. I spent a couple hundred dollars over three years on two or three microphones, a sound board, and more wires and cables than I care to admit or to deal with.
I'd really like to suggest to new podcasters (or bloggers, or YouTubers, or anything else!) that you find what you love and let other people do the rest once you can justify the cost, or as people are willing to come onboard with you as a part of the journey. I record everything, do post-production, upload, release the episode, do the cover art, make the website... the podcast is my passion project, but it won't always be forever. As I want to move on to new things but still remain the host, I'll have to keep including more people. Sometimes that will cost me, like having show notes created so I don't have to write them, and other times it's free. That all depends on the community and partnerships you can build. Admittedly, I wish I were better at community building, but that's why I podcast. I want to learn to be better at it.
Well, let's be clear. So far there is no financial gain. Whatsoever! The podcast has been an expense for my small business. I haven't even successfully converted the show into any type of content marketing for my other ventures or projects, although that may change. I refuse to "sell out" but at the same time, I have a newer venture where I run online training in the same space, business technology.
That venture has made more money in three months than my Multinewmedia podcast has made in three-and-a-half years. So, yeah... I just gave my show a new sponsor. But, I didn't do it to promote my more financially beneficial venture, instead, I did it so that the more successful venture can help my podcast. Sure, I'll promote my online training courses on the podcast now, but it's really about what the podcast gets in return: funding, equipment, and hopefully a larger and more engaged community.
For most episodes, I like to record with my co-hosts because they keep me level-headed. But, admittedly, it's a pain. They work full time and don't necessarily have my schedule. We all end up questioning the commitment of others at some time, and that's without factoring how I've needed to grow as a leader over the years in order to orchestrate people outside of the corporate world where I'm used to doing so.
I use a lot of Adobe software tools right now, and I've used Adobe Audition to record and edit from the beginning. Adding PhotoShop in for cover images is fairly new because I used to really like Corel PhotoPaint, but Corel and I fell out a bit as I started moving into video. Their video tools just couldn't keep up and they'd crash a lot. Meanwhile, because I had the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, I could just open up and run Premiere Pro. One might wonder why I hadn't used Premiere Pro all along, but the honest answer is that I was a bit scared of the learning curve. Yes, me, a University Instructor and Corporate Trainer was scared of the learning curve! It wasn't as bad as I made it out to be... that's something we should all know about training and learning, it's never as tough as it seems like it might be.
You don't need to spend money. You could launch a podcast completely for free with the microphone in your laptop or phone, Audacity as an editor on your PC, and a few of the free syndication tools. You may have a little less control, but you can make up for that as you monetize your podcast, if you do decide to monetize, that is. I'm still on the fence about that even though I do display ads on the website.
We organically market through podcast networks. We place our show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and other networks. I actually need to get around to moving Multinewmedia into a few of the newer networks, but services keep popping up that syndicate us from the places we already list. We utilize Twitter mainly, because that's where business and technology professionals are, but I'm really behind and I know that I need to lock down my Twitter strategy and get active on YouTube and LinkedIn as well. Again, go where your community and audience are. Business and technology people? That's where they are.
For any new podcasters, seriously, use us as an example. Use any podcast that's been around for a while as an example. Do they monetize, if so how? Do they sound good, if so how? Visit multinewmedia.com and see what you like and what you don't. Try to find what we do really well and mimic (don't copy, but mimic) that. Put your own spin on it. Find what we do poorly and fix that for your own podcast. I mean, do us a solid favor and reach out to us and let us know we are screwing something up, too. Don't be jerks about it. We're all part of the same family here, and we have to look out for each other. Then, once you think you can get the content creation and publication down, go and find your community.
I'm here now, even in year four. I'm trying to find the right community and make sure that I'm engaging them in every way possible. It's a lot of work, and it's easy to drop the ball. The listeners and the community become the focus at some point and then you no longer have time to worry about upstarts and competition because you realize those things are dumb in the podcast world. Nobody is going to actively tune you out just to listen to me, and vice versa. We can all co-exist and meet our goals. We're a community of our own, in essence.
If you'd like to come on the show and talk business or technology, that's what we're here for. We'd love to work with you, even if you plan on competing against us.