In keeping with the resolutions I set for this site in this year, I read Everybody Has a Podcast (Except You) by the McElroy Brothers (Justin, Travis, and Griffin of MBMBAM fame). That’s working toward two goals with one action. Points for multitasking!
If you’re unfamiliar with who the McElroy boys are, what corners of the internet do you dwell in that you have managed such a feat? In short, they are a trio of brothers who have managed to make successful careers and businesses from the skill of speaking and conversing. They have created one of the first, and most popular, podcast series (My Brother, My Brother, and Me) along with a popular ongoing tabletop gaming series (Adventure Zone) based on the Dungeons and Dragons system of role play along. Add to that the various other podcasts they have created, guest starred on, tours, etc. and suffice to say if anyone is an expert on the art, skill, and business of podcasting, it would be them.
Of course, with the goal of eventually adding a podcast to the site this year, seemed like an obvious idea to read their book. And it was a good read. Now, to be fair, I am a fan of the McElroys and various of their projects. It’s how I came across the book in the first place. As well, anyone who reads this will definitely find more enjoyment out of it if they are familiar with the trio and their work. That is not to say it will be inaccessible to anyone going in blind, but more so that several of the allusions and personal anecdotes found in the text will make a lot more sense with some background knowledge.
Still, the book does work as a How To Guide even without that background. The brothers provide practical advice on equipment, production, conception, and eventual execution, even giving some advice on potential monetization of any podcasts or series the reader might make. However, throughout the entire book, the brothers McElroy state, restate, and reinforce that there really is no clear path or way to make a well received, popular, and profitable podcast. They fully admit that their success is a mix of hard, diligent work and a bunch of random luck. This is not meant to detract from their success or discourage anyone from attempting to create a podcast; it is instead a call to not chase some imaginary model of success and to actually chase their passion when trying to create something.
And beyond the practicality and suggestions, that is honestly the best advice I, or anyone, could take away from the text. There is no guarantee of grand success, so you might as well try to enjoy the process and work while moving forward.