In this episode, join our host Ann Tsung as she embarks on a nostalgic journey, recounting her path to crafting a remarkable podcast that has greatly benefited countless listeners in their daily lives. Delve into the intricate stages of her podcast, spanning pre-production, production, post-production, and budget considerations, alongside the pivotal initial strides that birthed this impactful show.
It’s time to uncover the finer nuances of fashioning your own podcast show as Ann delves into the essence of podcast creation!
00:00 Announcer: If you’re struggling with your vitality, energy, mood, focus, or sleep, this podcast is for you. Your host Dr. Ann Tsung, ER doctor and aerospace flight surgeon, will help you reach for the stars and remove the barriers or blockades that have been holding you back from living your best life. If you’ve been challenged by your health, relationships or productivity, then it’s time for a breakthrough. So here’s your host Dr. Ann Tsung.
00:42 Dr. Ann Tsung: Hello. Welcome to It’s Not Rocket Science Show. I am your host Dr. Ann Tsung. In this episode, I’d like to talk about my journey in the podcast creation. We’ll talk about the cost, the initial steps I took, lawyers I spoke to, how I hired a podcast marketer and a producer, like a creator, essentially. Then we’re going to talk about some of the supplies, the hosting accounts I had to get. We’ll talk about the recording itself, the podcast recording portion, and we’ll talk about post-production. So essentially, I will list out for you a series of action steps that I took and some of the cost associated with it when I decided to begin this podcast. So let’s go ahead and dive in.
01:32 I first had the idea after meeting a podcast creator and a marketer at a Mindvalley conference early 2020, actually before COVID hit. That idea had been in my head for about a year before I actually took action on it. Because at that time, I was busy finishing the aerospace medicine fellowship and also, I went to Russia after I was hired on as a flight surgeon by NASA. So it took some time, but that idea had been brewing in my head for about a year. Finally, in 2021, I decided to take the steps and just go for it because I wanted to make my voice heard. I learned all these things about productivity, about health, and about mindset. It is just a more effective way for me to share what I’ve learned with the world. And I had to get over my fear of speaking to the public, of really not being afraid to be my authentic self. Because all I can do is be me. I just think that’s actually the number one step when you are creating a podcast: don’t be afraid of being yourself, speaking up on what you believe in, speaking your truth. Don’t think about what other people are going to think of you. Because as long as your intentions are true, then there’s nothing to worry about. If you’re doing and saying things you believe in, then there’s nothing to worry about. You’re just being yourself. So I think that’s step one when you’re deciding to start a podcast.
03:11 Then later on, I actually did this later, I spoke to a lawyer way later. But I would suggest actually speaking to a lawyer — I hadn’t at the time — at the very beginning. Because when you think about your podcast ideas and, for me, as a physician, I need to decide whether I’m going to be hosting this podcast more as a physician or a coach. I am not giving medical advice. I’m more like a coach and not giving advice as a doctor or a physician. So after speaking with a lawyer — Lisa Fraley was who I spoke with — we decided that in all of the naming and the website, I cannot put Dr. Ann Tsung on there. I can put my credentials like MD and MPH, Master of Public Health. But I can’t do doctor so and so because it’s implying I’m giving advices or talking as a physician. That has other legal ramifications. I didn’t do this consultation until way later when the logo has been made, the website has been made, and I had to go back and change, like, take out doctor from everything. So I would suggest speaking to a lawyer, deciding whether you’re going to be a coach or a physician, if you are a physician, and speaking with a lawyer to make sure you have the right disclaimers to protect yourself and the right privacy terms in all of the documents that you need for your website.
04:42 Number two, I would highly suggest hiring someone to help you guide you through the process. I hired the podcast marketing coach and creator. It costs $10,000 to produce and create the first five episodes. Know that it includes everything starting from scratch. It’s like a turnkey podcast creator company. I would say when you’re looking to hire someone to help you, definitely, you got to talk to their references, at least three references. It will be better if it’s somebody in your field, of course. Then number two, you will look at their professionalism, of course, their timeliness, punctuality, and who’s working on the team. You look at their deliverables. You make sure you understand the deliverables that they’re going to give you. Like, how many edits are they going to be doing? Are they going to be doing the show notes for you? How are they doing the handovers for you, if they’re handing over things to you? Are they going to be doing audio, video editing, and any social media posts for you? So all of those things are different items that people can offer. It’s just very important to look at the final deliverables list on the initial consult. Make sure you really understand basically what all it entails.
06:07 Then after I hired my marketing coach, then the first thing really was to talk about, what is my passion? What is the topic I want to discuss? There’s a lot of things I’m passionate about. But really, what it boils down to is productivity. It’s on health. It’s on deep relationships, creating deep, lasting relationships. A lot goes into it like functional nutrition, longevity, mindset, morning routines, habits, et cetera, et cetera. But really, what it all boils down to are those three topics. And so now that we have those three topics, we go ahead and talk about the pain points. What problems are you trying to solve with your podcast? We list out those pain points. Those are the pain points that we’re going to be using on the website and also the podcast’s about information section. For health, a lot of times, it’s like we lack energy. We can’t get up without needing coffee or some sort of caffeine. We can’t last through the whole day. We couldn’t spend time with our kids or our friends after work. Or productivity, we’re distracted all the time. We can’t ever focus. We can’t finish what we want to do, or we don’t even have the motivation of what we want to do. Then also relationships — relationships with ourselves, being true to ourselves, and relationship with our family or loved ones — a lot of times, there are friction there. There’s long-lasting friction there. That takes a lot of forgiveness, a lot of compassion, a lot of active listening, non-violent communication. So those are some of the pain points I dive into my website.
07:57 Then after that, you want to think about your ideal target audience and how you can help them. So when I think about my ideal target audience, it’s almost like an audience like me who wants to learn more — professionals, high performers already. They want more in life after they’re already successful by measure of the world, but they feel like there’s something missing, that they’re not fully complete or happy. They want to be able to produce more, to achieve more. They want to have loving connections, deep relationships with others and colleagues. I would say it’s somebody who is probably in their 20s to 40s, a female professional who wants to be able to have self-care for herself, joy and happiness for herself, and be able to give to her family, and be a thriving professional as well and thrive in her work and be successful in her work. So you can get very, very specific about your target audience as well. You can even have the location on where they live, their exact age, their exact profession. So it’s kind of like the avatar. You want to think about your avatar. And then after that, you think about, yes, the problem that you’re going to solve for them. For me, I decided that I’m the person who can help people create time, create vitality, create deep relationships so that they can achieve peak performance and fulfillment in life.
09:36 Then after deciding on the topic, all those pain points, the next thing that I did was that I picked a color theme for my website. I picked green and white because it has to do with health and wellness. The title actually was an idea from my podcast marketing coach. I would say go to the trademark website, and search for your podcast title that you come up with to see whether it’s been trademarked or not. And if it hasn’t, it would be a good idea to do it. Also, look up the domain name to make sure that it hasn’t been taken. I pick It’s Not Rocket Science Show because it was free. I also picked the domain of Ann Tsung, MD as well just to make sure I have that, and Dr. Ann Tsung just to make sure I have that covered. Then you would use the title of your podcast and the color theme to create your logo, and also a banner for the website. I got the website domain for about $12 each domain. Then the next step will be to write a short bio and then a long bio for the website: who you are, why should they listen to you, what you’re passionate about. Then in my long bio, I discussed why I created this podcast.
10:58 Then following that, I created a free gift for others so that when they come to the website, they will be able to receive a free gift from me. It’s the principle of reciprocity. My idea at the time was to create a productivity course, a mini course, for seven days. Initially, it was a PDF, but I thought it would be more impactful when people can hear from me. So I recorded seven days’ worth of video. I placed them on YouTube. That’s unlinked. I hired someone to create a MailChimp campaign. Essentially, when the customers enroll, when they go on the website, they’ll see free productivity or a free gift on how to 2x or 3x your productivity in half the time, three power action steps. They put in their email. Then every single day, they will receive the email with a link to corresponding day of the course. I believe I’ve over delivered in terms of value in providing a seven-day course delivered to email every day without the listeners having to log in anywhere to listen. So that’s my free gift. Also, the next thing you want to think about is creating an irresistible offer and an amazing, amazing experience for the audience so that if they leave a review, they will be able to enter to win this experience with you. For me, I created a VIP Day with me, where I’m going to look at every aspect of their life and see where it is imbalanced, and see how we can take steps in optimizing their whole entire life. This is usually not offered to anyone. I don’t see anyone for this. So this is a very rare access for people to be able to talk to me one on one. So that is what I created. Then we’re going to move on to supplies and hosting accounts. So those are kind of the intellectual work that you have to do, the creative work, essentially: pain points, podcast title, logo, banner, your bio, writing bio (long and short), creating a gift, writing the ideas of a gift, and then creating an amazing VIP experience.
13:31 Now onto supplies and the hosting accounts that you will get, I printed this banner from OfficeMax. It’s 3 feet by 1.6 feet, and it costs about $14. Then some of the other supplies, of course, the microphone that I have. I have the Audio-Technica ATR-2100x. It has a USB that can connect. It’s a cardioid dynamic microphone. That costs about $99. I also have the microphone windscreen. That costs $7 for five of these. I’ve only used one so far. The microphone stand, that costs about $14. Essentially, we’ll hook it up to your desk, so you can move the microphone however you wish. And a shock mount so that if you accidentally bang your desk, it’s not translated to the sound in the microphone. That costs about $13. A travel case — if you plan on traveling with your microphone in doing interviews — that’s about $14. I initially recorded with a webcam on my Mac, then my webcam broke. I got from a recommendation the Logitech Brio 4k Ultra HD business webcam. That costs about $172. I believe the quality is much, much better than my Mac webcam anyway. So it was a good thing maybe that it broke so that the quality can be better for you, too. I also got a ring light that sits in front of me. When you have better lighting, the video just looks so much better. That costs about $24. So all in all, the actual supplies cost me about $357. That’s the actual supplies.
15:20 Now, you want to open up some of your accounts. So if you don’t have social media accounts like Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, then you open them up. Then you make sure you promote yourself: podcast show host, the name, the podcast website name, et cetera, et cetera. The Zoom account, I record it on a cloud. I obtained a professional Zoom account, so I can record it onto cloud. That’s about $160 per year, which equals to about $13 a month. You’ll get a hosting website account for your podcast. So you will submit to the hosting website account, and they will distribute through all the platforms like Spotify, or Apple Podcast, or Google Podcast. That costs about $49 a month. I also have a Fusebox player, but there are a lot others out there, a player that’s on your website that connects to your episodes so that when the clients or the listeners go, they will be able to just listen off of your website. That costs me $190 a year, which is about $16 a month. So all in all, from the accounts, monthly recurring cost is about $78 a month for me. This is not including the production, the post-production costs.
16:40 Now we’re going to move on to the podcast recording itself. So you want to determine the length of the podcast. Depending on your topic, of course, and depending if you’re interviewing someone, for me, I initially started with small topics. Because I was modeling Jim Quick’s podcast but like small bullet points, actionable points. It worked well for me initially to start. Then when I started interviewing some people, it took, a lot of times, about 30 minutes. Then it took an hour to really dive deep. So I determined that, typically, for my interviews, I’m going to have about 35 to about an hour length. For my own podcast episodes that I’m speaking, my ideal time is probably going to be 30 minutes or a little bit longer. Because I think where I’m going to be moving towards is diving deeper into a topic as well. Also, the production to post-production, many of them are up to 60 minutes. The pricing doesn’t really change if it’s shorter. So it’s better for me if I have the podcast with more details and to dive deeper.
18:03 Then I took, a while back before I started the podcast, I took a public speaking class on Mindvalley. It was really enlightening to understand how to use different tones, different volumes, pauses to speak to your audience, and also how to speak to your audience while looking at the camera instead of looking at yourself like this. It does take some practice to look at the camera. When I initially started, I had a post-it right next to the webcam that says “Look here.” I have a post-it that has the summary or the outline of what I want to talk about. So I would suggest taking a public speaking class even just online. I think it would really serve you well, especially if you have to give presentations anyway, in learning how to organize your thoughts, learning how to not read off of your outline but just know how to transition and how to speak based off of something in your head, if that makes sense. So then you would record. As your first episode, you can either record an introduction episode, just who you are, why you started this podcast. You can record then episode one, which is, for me, I recorded something on imposter syndrome which was something I had to overcome, and it was huge for me. I combined the introduction and the imposter syndrome in one. But I think for the future, I probably would do the introduction as a separate short episode. Now, you can do it however you like, of course. Then you want to record a disclaimer for the end of the episode if you have one. My disclaimer is essentially, this podcast does not substitute medical advice. By medical advice, it doesn’t substitute for physicians or other health professionals’ opinion, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Then you pick your intro and outro music, and make sure that the music has the right licensing. You can purchase this one-time fee, and that would work. You can either record your own intro. Introduce yourself. Here’s your host Dr. Ann Tsung or a little bit about what this podcast is about. You can have somebody else record it for you, which is what I did, or you can record it yourself.
20:36 Now, regarding interviews, you can reach out to people you already know for interviews, or you can ask for referrals. So I interviewed somebody that my podcast creator worked with and thought would be a good interviewee for me. Then later on, I reached out to my coach. I reached out to the very successful people I knew, like a real estate investor and also a real estate construction company, agent company, Harmoney lending company, Kekoa Lwin. He, to me, was successful in my opinion, so I interviewed him. Then you can get referrals from those other people. It just kind of snowballs. It’s pretty awesome. Then when you’re interviewing someone, I will have them sign a guest media release form. Essentially, they’re releasing the rights to you that you can use this audio for edit it on your own, for social media, for marketing reasons. Now, for me, because I’m affiliated with a government institution, with a university, I actually have a media consent form that I have. If I’m being interviewed, I have the interviewer sign it. Essentially, they can only use the content for their podcast episode only and anything related to the podcast episode like marketing or social media posts. But if they’re going to use any of the content for any other purposes than the podcast, then they will need my consent. Just because I need to see that it is not endorsing anything, which I usually don’t want to endorse any brands at all whatsoever. If they’re the brands I use, I will provide multiple other brands or other hosting companies to use if possible. Basically, everything I have listed. All the brands I have listed for you. Again, I’m not endorsing them. Those were recommended to me. There are many, many options that you can pick. Just pick the best one for you. But I just wanted to tell you what I’ve used so far and what’s worked for me. Again, they’re not endorsed by university or any government institution.
25:07 So that is essentially my journey and all the steps I took and approximate cost of everything that I’ve done so far. I hope that has helped you in some way to understand the process and what it took to start. From my first initial steps to going live, it took about, I would say, 10 months or so. But some of it is because of me. Because sometimes I had to give the deliverables. Depending on your time and how busy you are, you might not be able to give the deliverables that quickly. And so, again, the initial steps: speak to a lawyer, hire a podcast creator or a marketing team to help you. You want to think about the passion and topics you want to discuss. What are your customers or ideal target audience or avatar’s pain point? What problems do you help them solve? Then you’ll be picking your color, logo, creating the banner. Oh, and also you want to get professional photos taken for your website, if you don’t have any already. Get your website domain. Write your short and long bio. Think of a gift to the audience when they come to your website. Think of an amazing VIP experience for them to have a chance to win if they write you a review. Regarding the supplies, you want to get your microphone, microphone stand, the wind screen, the shock mount travel case, webcam if you need one, a ring light. You can print a banner for your podcast if you’re doing video recording. Open up all your social media accounts. You want to get your Zoom cloud recording, whatever you want to use, your podcast hosting website, your online website player account. Then you move on to the podcast recording portion. It would be a good idea to think about online public speaking class or training course. Determine how long you want it to be, how frequently you wanted to post. You start recording an intro episode — most important topic for episode one. You can record your own intro, outro over the intro, outro music or have somebody else do it for you. Make sure that the music has correct licensing for legal purposes. Then start reaching out to people for interview. Make sure you have a media release form and a consent form, if you need it. Then make sure you find somebody who fits your post-production needs if you want somebody to edit everything, have the shownotes, have the social media posts ready, have the video clip ready and posts on all the social media websites.
29:14 Announcer: That’s it for today’s episode. Head on over to iTunes and subscribe to the show. One lucky listener every single week that posts a review in iTunes will win a chance in the grand prize drawing to win a private VIP Day for a health and life makeover with Dr. Ann Tsung herself. Then be sure to head on over to itsnotrocketscienceshow.com, and pick up your free gift from Dr. Tsung. Then join us on the next episode.