Even if you’ve been podcasting for a decade, you’ve probably never come across a platform like Clubhouse.
Marketed as an “invitation-only audio-chat social networking app” (which will drop the invitation-only function after its initial trial run), Clubhouse allows people to join “rooms” where a host and anyone else who’s invited onto the “stage” can speak in-depth about a particular topic.
If that sounds intriguing — especially as an audio fanatic — read on to learn how other podcasters are using the platform to their advantage. You’ll get a sense for what conversations to join, how to spend your time wisely and how to form connections that can help you both inside and outside the app.
Let’s figure out what this new app is all about — and how to get the most out of it as a podcaster.
What is Clubhouse?
In a recent livestream video titled “All About Clubhouse (For Beginners),” YouTuber/podcaster Pat Flynn likened the app experience to being part of a podcast in real time. You’re listening to a few people discuss a topic you’re interested in, but unlike a typical podcast listening experience, you can ask questions and engage in the conversation in the moment rather than afterwards in the comment section.
So far, the app is both popular and controversial among the podcasting community, but if you’re intrigued by new tools and ideas that could potentially help elevate your voice, you’ve come to the right place.
Note: As of right now, Clubhouse is only available for Apple mobile devices. It’s also in private beta, but you can download the app to join the waitlist.
Navigating Clubhouse is easier if you know what to look for
Being the new kid on the block is always difficult, but at least on Clubhouse, everyone is still fairly new to the game. Keep that in mind when getting used to the platform.
Podcaster Krystal Proffitt says in the Buzzcast episode “How serious should podcasters be about Clubhouse? + December Stats” that the app reminds her of early AOL chat rooms where everyone seemed to be talking over one another because they were so excited to be there. But even though it’s in the experimental phase, she’s done a few things that have helped as a podcaster on Clubhouse:
1. Join podcast-related “clubs”
Simply typing “podcasting” into the search function will display several clubs (which are essentially a collection of people who create rooms around the same topic) created by everyone from big-name podcasters to Podcast Magazine. These are places you know people will be discussing the ins and outs of audio recording, publishing and marketing.
2. Title your rooms strategically
Krystal recently created a room titled “Podcasting in 2021,” which is a little broad, but specific enough that she knew people who currently have their own show would be interested. She’s also seen marketers titling rooms with non-marketing terms such as “Being a Working Mom,” which is a creative deviation from usual marketing topics in order to connect with audiences in a new way.
3. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand, but be polite.
Krystal says only the brave tend to virtually “raise their hand” in a room, and more power to you if you choose to do so, but there is one key etiquette rule to follow: If a moderator brings you “on stage” after raising your hand, mute yourself unless you’re talking. (Hopefully we all learned this lesson on Zoom in the past 11 months.)
4. Follow a mix of new voices and people you already follow on other platforms.
Following people you already respect on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. will help you see how similar minds (or at least people you appreciate) are adapting to the new platform, but connecting with new people is also a great way to make the most of it because you don’t know what to expect from them. Krystal says she recently connected with a woman from the United Kingdom who she didn’t know, and she gained a new Facebook group member out of that interaction.
Clubhouse is fleeting but also a time suck, so use it carefully
Potentially the most unique feature of Clubhouse is that you can’t record conversations, so every room is a one-off moment in time that you won’t be able to capture unless you’re taking your own notes.
“There is no built-in recording system right now, and that’s very purposeful,” Pat says in his YouTube video on Clubhouse. “They want people to feel like they can’t get this later. There’s scarcity involved. This is happening right now and you have to listen to it because it’ll go away.”
Keep this in mind as you’re navigating the platform, but don’t obsess over it, because Pat and Krystal agree that this immediacy factor makes it easy to spend several hours on the app without realizing it. So instead of going down a rabbit hole, allow yourself to enjoy the spontaneity of the platform while also going in with a purpose. Pat suggests the following tactics for using Clubhouse strategically:
- Join rooms about topics that pertain to you and are led by respected leaders in your field, then follow up afterward. Some of the best things that happen because of Clubhouse happen off the app, Pat says, because people meet in that virtual space then connect somewhere else like Instagram or over email to continue the conversation. So in this case, spend your time searching for podcasting-specific rooms and muster up the courage to stay connected after the room has closed.
- It’s OK to just sit and listen. Sometimes you get more out of a room by simply sitting back and observing. Pat says you shouldn’t feel pressured to constantly engage, because some of your best research can be done by paying attention to what’s resonating with others in the room and what’s not.
- Whenever you’re hosting, be personal and intentional. Pat’s biggest pieces of advice for hosts are to avoid bringing more than one person on the stage at a time (otherwise it gets too messy) and to always address others in the room by their first name (and add a personal touch by thanking them for joining as they come in).
The best Clubhouse advice and resources for podcasters
There are already several podcasters you can follow and podcast-specific clubs you can join on Clubhouse, but finding them can be tricky. Other than simply typing “podcast” into the search bar, consider searching the following people and clubs.
- Connect with Women In Tech and We Are LA Tech podcast host Espree Devora on Clubhouse at @Espree. She moderates daily conversations for her four clubs and is constantly helping onboard new users, and her face was literally on the app icon itself for the month of November. (Fun fact: Espree also appeared on our podcast!)
- Sign up for Social Audio Insider, podcaster Jonathan Baillie Strong’s latest newsletter. It’ll help you keep up with the fresh and ever-evolving world of social audio.
- Tune into SquadCast’s weekly chat (at 1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST every Thursday) on Clubhouse. You’ll learn all about remote recording and get insight from some top podcasters.
- Find Dave Jackson of School of Podcasting on the app and follow his advice.
- In the episode “How Podcasters Can Use the Clubhouse App To Build Their Audience,” one of his first pieces of advice is to casually bring up how you have a podcast about a subject being discussed. Your specific point of view will help you connect with people looking for guests on their podcast, who could in turn be great guests on your own podcast.
- Dave added that the best way to connect with others in a room is to ask thoughtful questions, so pay close attention (even though it’s easy to be a passive listener on an audio platform) and ensure you’re completely engaged so you don’t repeat a question that’s already been asked.
- Clubhouse is a great way to gain new listeners, Dave says, but only if you make it easy for people to find you. It might sound like a no-brainer, but he’s noticed many people don’t take advantage of the profile features, so don’t forget to link to your other social media accounts and podcast and/or personal website in your profile.
So, there you have it. A beginner’s look at using Clubhouse as a podcaster. Although it’s by no means a comprehensive guide — particularly because of how new this platform is — we hope you feel more confident diving into this new world of audio-based social networking.
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Niki Kottmann is a writer, editor and occasional photographer based in Cheyenne, WY. She received her Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri in 2016, where she emphasized in magazine writing. This content was produced collaboratively with PodReacher.