5 Things I Love About Podcasting (That You Might Love Too 馃槉)

Inspiration Lab member Laurel Senick鈥檚 surf documentary, Any Given Morning, appeared in the Cucalorus Film Festival and won awards at both the SoCal Independent Film Festival and the Rinc贸n International Film Festival. She has completed her first novel, Foam, and is currently working on her second novel, Luminescent. Besides surfing as much as possible at her home break of Wrightsville Beach, Laurel is the host of an ocean-themed podcast called Post Session Podcast. Here she writes about her love of podcasting.

I have fallen in love with podcasting... not just creating my own, but also listening to them. Last summer when my co-host and I decided to create a podcast blending our love of the ocean and relevant issues of the day, I had never listened to one. Obviously, I had lots of catching up to do, especially since there are more than a million active podcasts available. It didn鈥檛 take long to find a few series that I love and now I anxiously await their new episodes. And I鈥檓 not alone. Did y鈥檃ll know there are 62 million Americans listening to podcasts each week? And according to Nielsen research, those podcast listeners are more likely to follow companies and brands on social media. Below are five things I love about making a podcast 鈥 and I hope they will inspire some of you to give podcasting a try.

1. Having a Co-Host Ashley, my podcast co-host, lives with her husband and two children on a sailboat traveling half the year, which, as you can imagine, limits our time together. We met at church and became fast friends. Although we have different opinions and backgrounds, we both love the ocean. We participate in different sports, but we both love a challenge. We鈥檙e on different life adventures, but we both love writing about them. Hammering and hashing out podcast specifics with a friend makes the hard work enjoyable. It doesn鈥檛 hurt that we do it at one of our favorite coffee shops or on my back porch. Not only is it a chance to hang out more, but we keep each other accountable to our commitments, our podcast, and our writing.

2. It鈥檚 Fun And since I鈥檓 an Enneagram Seven, I love FUN! In today鈥檚 market, whether you鈥檙e a real estate agent, retailer, or rolfer, building your brand and platform couldn鈥檛 be more critical. But how many of us love posting on social media? Not me 鈥 it鈥檚 a chore. As a writer, agents and publishers want to know your social media numbers before they bother to look beyond your query letter. Hallelujah podcasting has become a thing! A big thing. If you have a passion, a skill, or service you want to share with the world, podcasting allows you to go much deeper than a tiny square allows. If you鈥檙e comfortable talking about that thing you do, and you should be, podcasting can be fun for you too. Regrettably, there is one caveat: You still need to post on social media, so it doesn鈥檛 get you completely off the hook. But it does allow you to reach more people who are genuinely interested and invested in you.

3. Using the Microphone I would be full of false humility if I didn鈥檛 mention it. Like many young girls growing up, I loved participating in dance performances鈥 err鈥 recitals and acting in plays. I even wanted to be an actress on the big screen. As an adult, I鈥檝e performed with local dance and theater productions, and once starred in a local garden center commercial. Unfortunately, my big screen break never came, and my performances were never acknowledged except for one. After a Cape Fear Shakespeare performance, a reviewer wrote that based on my accent, I must be from 鈥淪outhern England.鈥 So when Ashley mentioned over coffee wanting to do a podcast, before she even finished her sentence, I shouted, 鈥淟et鈥檚 do it!鈥 We recorded our first podcast one week later. If the idea of talking into a microphone fills you with giddy expectation mixed with a good dose of eustress, the good kind of stress, you may love podcasting too.

4. Not Using a Script We started with a script, but quickly moved to an outline. Reading a script lacked spontaneity and energy, which keeps our listeners engaged. Hearing for the first time Ashley鈥檚 views on a topic or an incident that happened allows me to respond with all the in-the-moment excitement and oomph her story deserves. Our simple four-part structure helps us stay on track and keeps the audience in the know. With ocean-themed names like 鈥淒ive Deeper鈥 and 鈥淕od Waters,鈥 the audience knows what鈥檚 ahead. But my favorite segment of the podcast is the 鈥淚njustice of the Week.鈥 This is where we talk about something that is really getting under our skin. Think: thong bathing suits.

5. Interviewing Interesting People We are super stoked to move our two-person podcast into guest interviews. I used to fantasize about having my own talk show like Oprah 鈥 and who I would invite? Obviously, Matthew McConaughey. Podcasting is just like a TV talk show, minus the need for hair, makeup, and super-famous people. Our first guest just started her surgical residency at NHRMC and is new to our area and to surfing. She brought stoke (surfing term for excitement), and some unique insights to our theme for the day, which was 鈥淓tiquette.鈥 We had a great time coaching our guest in quirky Southern etiquette, along with steering her away from some serious surfing faux pas. But we also got to hear about her mission to bring not just health care, but quality health care, to impoverished communities.

Those are my favorite things about podcasting, but I can鈥檛 wait to hear yours. The diversity of podcasts is endless. The plethora of genres and voices is deafening, and yet no one can share your skill or passion for (insert your special thing) like you.