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My little podcast about true scary stories, called Lore, is currently ranked 11 out of all iTunes podcasts. That’s kind of a big deal, I think. There are some other shows doing better. Some guy named Stephen Colbert is sitting at the top, looking down at everyone else and laughing. There’s an obscure radio network called NPR (NRA? NBA? I’m not sure) hogging four of those spots. And then, of course, there’s me.

So clearly, I’m in the position to tell everyone exactly how to launch a Nearly-Top-Ten podcast, right? Of course I am. And boy, oh boy, do I have some advice for you. Want to know how I did it?

I HAVE NO FREAKING IDEA

 

Seriously, I know next to nothing about podcasts. Yes, I’ve talked into a mic for three years on the Home Work podcast, but my buddy Dave does the audio production, and 5by5 does all the backend magic. Me, I’m just a voice. So if I’m really, really honest, I have no clue how this happened.

I use a condenser mic, which is apparently not a good thing. $99 microphones cannot create popular podcasts (*snicker, snicker*). Until last week, that mic sat on a cardboard box on my desk, with no shock mount or boom arm. Like a cave man. I use GarageBand to edit the episodes because Logic seems to be developed by a team of NASA engineers and cryptozoologists. Plus it’s expensive. I have zero “acoustic treatments” in my office, which is shaped roughly the same as the Great Pyramid of Giza and contains nothing but hard surfaces.

I’m breaking the rules, guys (don’t tell mom).

Yet here we are. And now people are asking me, “Aaron, how did you do it? I want to do it too!” and I have no answer to give them. I fell into this, like an I-95 pothole in February. But I have tried to stick to a few things I decided were important from day one. I don’t know if these things are my Secret Sauce, but I sure like to talk about them, so you get to listen:

  • Tell entertaining stories: This isn’t easy, but it’s something I’m apparently good at — or so they tell me.
  • Create a mood: People don’t want to be talked to; they want to learn, be inspired, be moved emotionally, or (D) all of the above.
  • Care: Don’t slap anything together. You might lack some skills, or lots of them, but do your best work wherever you have the chance. People can tell. They have finely-tuned Crap Detectors™ and can smell a lack of care from a mile away.

Will those keys get you to the top of the pile? Not a chance. I left out Luck and More Luck™, which are real things that actually happen sometimes. You just have no control over them. Do the other things so that if/when Luck happens, you’ve got the right stuff to ride the wave.

I won’t be at #11 forever. No one will. But I’ll be damned if I’m not going to enjoying it while I can. When you get there, I hope you do too.