Joko Willink is just one Navy SEAL who has revealed that, thanks to their unique experience and discipline, vets have much to teach the world. Willink, a successful leadership instructor, speaker and executive coach, uses his podcast to share vital lessons he has learned during his many years in the military – including the importance of resilience, perseverance, and tactics and technique to ensure mistakes are not repeated.
One recent study has shown that this year, around 9% of all podcasts in the U.S. involve military veterans – an impressive number considering the number of channels that exist. If you are attracted by the world of social media and podcasting and you feel like you have vital life facts and advice to share, what topics should you cover, and what essentials will you need?
As insightfully stated by Stars and Stripes’ Dan Stoutamire, veterans and active military men and women are currently using podcasts to “bridge the civilian-military divide.” That is, their content is not only aimed at fellow vets and military personnel, but also at the general public.
Even if vets are utilizing podcasts to foster awareness about military issues, those who employ an engaging narrative are able to capture a much wider audience than you might imagine. Just a few popular podcasts you might find inspiration from include Battle Scars, Zero Blog Thirty, and SOFREP Radios’s podcast.
Starting a podcast is affordable, but you will need to invest a few hundred dollars in good equipment. A minimalist setup for recording nature sounds, people and the like should include a good microphone. Don’t rely on a built-in computer mic; it simply won’t capture voice or sounds (think water, group talk, or outdoor interviews) well.
Audio quality is key if you want to stop your audience from tuning out. You should also look into a good set of headphones, recording/editing software, and an ID3 editor – which invites you to store important information about each podcast, including the title and interviewee.
Finally, you will need an account to host your podcast. Just a few to check out are Libsyn, Soundcloud and Blubrry.
In order to build up a solid following, creating a style you are known for can help. You will need to decide the main aim of your podcast – be it to inform, entertain, inspire, or all three. To keep listeners keen, ensure your content is varied.
Include interviews with other vets, interesting life stories, and practical tips on everything from vets’ associations to benefits, training opportunities, and networking/social media groups listeners may be interested in joining.
According to Libsyn, around 7.1% of podcasts obtain 5,000 downloads per episode, 2% receive 20,000 downloads, and only 1% achieve the 37,000 download mark. The statistics show that it is very hard to make a profit from podcasts, at least in the beginning.
Normally, to attract advertisers, you need to achieve a few thousand downloads. Advertisers pay between $15 and $30 for every 1,000 downloads achieved. In other words, if you charge $25 for every 1,000 downloads, you can look forward to charging around $125 per ad for 5,000 downloads.
Successful podcasters like Tim Ferriss make around $60,000 per episode, since they charge approximately $50 per thousand downloads and usually obtain around 500,000 downloads per episode.
Podcasts can be lucrative for vets, but given the wide range of podcasters online, your content needs to be dynamic, informative and entertaining if your episodes are to obtain viral or semi-viral status. Start out by listening to various other vet-focused podcasts and identify what you like best about your favorite presenters.
Think about what makes you unique, and ensure your content is varied, well-edited and well-recorded. Make sure to interview and chat with other vets who have vital knowledge to be shared with your listeners.
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By Lucy Wyndham