Podcast host, producer and coach Addy Saucedo remembers being wowed from an early age by the conversations she heard on the radio.

“Talk radio and podcasting really changed my mental state of learning,” says Addy on an episode of Between 2 Mics . “It comes down to the conversations, stories and knowledge being shared.”

Addy enrolled in audio engineering school with the hopes of launching her career in radio. On the first day of class, she was surprised to see only a handful of women in the program. By the middle of the semester, Addy was one of just two women left in the class. Looking at the industry landscape, she also realized landing a radio job was going to be tough, so she decided to take matters into her own hands.

“What is preventing me from having my own show?’” Addy remembers asking herself. She bought her own audio gear and started a podcast.

Addy figured an independent project would help her gain useful experience without having to “ask for permission” — and if she happened to land a radio interview, the podcast could serve as a resume-booster.

Little did she know, podcasting would become her career.

Today, Addy aka “The Podcast Planner” lives and plays in all things podcasting; she is the education & community manager at Simplecast, a podcast hosting and analytics platform. She also runs Modern Vintage Radio, a podcast company that produces shows and provides educational resources to help new podcasters.

Here’s how Addy carved her own path in podcasting, and how she encourages others to do the same.

Leverage your skills to create a product

As Addy established a reputation as a podcast educator and mentor with a passion for elevating new voices, her focus shifted when she started taking on paid clients.

Addy saw an opportunity —  one of the biggest challenges for podcasters is sifting through the noise to find the most relevant and up-to-date information to help them run their shows and stay organized.

“While I was working with clients, I would create these documents and resources from scratch,” explains Addy. “Multiple times, they kept saying, ‘You should just put this in a book.’”

In 2016, Addy released “The Podcast Planner,” a workbook to help podcasters plan, record and publish their content.

Unlike other  resources, Addy says The Podcast Planner is super simple — with an emphasis on actual planning. 

“I want people to stop reading, stop watching videos, and stop consuming all this knowledge — I want them to get to work. That’s what the planner’s all about,” says Addy.

The workbook offers basic templates, including a podcast launch checklist and a yearly editorial calendar to help people “easily tap into their creativity, and hit record.”

“It acts as your north star,” Addy says.  “Even if you need to pivot, you still know what exactly you need to change and refine.”

Focus on the big picture

It can be easy to get caught up in the hype and popularity of podcasting as we move into 2020.

But Addy urges both corporate and independent producers to take a step back and outline a focused, specific content strategy.

“How does the podcast align with what’s true to them?” asks Addy. “What is the best way to strategize and leverage it as an extension of who they are to further connect with their audience and customers?”

The good news is Addy believes answering those questions is as simple as it sounds.

“Ask yourself, ‘Where do I want this to go? How is a podcast going to support everything I want? What are the results I want?’” advises Addy.

As far as Addy is concerned, focus is essential for good podcasting.

Pay attention to the industry (and your analytics)

When Addy isn’t working on The Podcast Planner, she helps podcasters tell great stories by producing educational blog posts and webinars at Simplecast.

To keep content relevant, Addy gets her inspiration directly from user questions, support channel discussions and activity in Simplecast’s Facebook groups.

“FAQs give you a pulse check on where the industry is,” says Addy. “How are [podcasters] feeling? What are the problems where people continue to hit that wall time and time again?”

Addy creates “bite-size, consumable information” to educate podcasters. Her goal is to provide just enough satisfying content for readers or listeners while stimulating curiosity — “that’s how you best learn,” she notes.

She says it’s important to use the tools available to you, including audience analytics. Addy advises podcasters to think beyond basic ebbs and flows in listenership — like which listening devices people use, where those people are from and which episodes are the most popular.

Hot tip: “I know they’re just numbers to some, but those numbers hold a lot of gold for you,” she says.

Form true connections with your listeners

According to Addy, social media makes it easier than ever for content creators to form connections with their listeners — and vice versa.

Addy says one of the best pieces of advice she’s been given about podcasting came from business coach Cliff Ravenscraft, an OG podcaster. 

“He said, ‘Try to learn at least 10 names of those who listen to your show. If you can learn those names, then you know you’re doing a great job of interacting with them, connecting with them beyond just publishing, and hoping that they listen. There’s somebody else listening on the other end.’”

Addy suggests podcast producers take Cliff’s tip to heart by connecting with 10 listeners by the end of the year.

“That in return changes the whole experience, not just for you, but also for the listener,” she explains.