“I had been wanting to get back in to podcasting for quite a while, but I couldn’t decide on the format for the show,” John Hawkins said. “My previous podcast was more of a Weekly WordPress news show, and I knew that wasn’t something I wanted to do again. Then, at WordCamp Vegas in December, I did a presentation with Dre Armeda that we framed more as an interview than a presentation. Dre asked questions about business and life in general and I told stories about how me and my company have handled things over the past 5 years. When it was over, I immediately knew that this was the format I wanted to go with. Not a straight-up interview, but more of a simple conversation as if we were just sitting in a pub talking about whatever topic came to mind.”
“I’m doing the recordings, I’m doing the interviews and I’m doing the post production. I don’t really see that changing any time soon,” he said. “I think of the podcast as an extension to my blog. I try to write my blog posts to be informative, but with a bit of entertainment splashed in. That’s my goal with the podcast, too. I think there’s a lot of space in the edu-tainment niche for anybody who wants to get their voice out there.”
John Hawkins says that because of what he does for a living and the people he knows, a large number of his guests come from the WordPress community.
“I suspect a large part of my audience will be others in the WordPress community looking to learn bit more about the people I interview,” he said.
In the first 2 episodes, he says he’d learned some new things about producing podcasts.
“Because I’m a nerd, I thought it would be fun to have each episode be 42 minutes long. But, because I’m trying to make it feel more like a conversation, I don’t want to just cut somebody off if they are in the process of making a point or asking a question. So the 42 minute idea died after 2 failed attempts,” he said.
“As for things I plan on trying,” he continued, “I’ll be at a conference and sharing a home with a group of people. After the conference, we plan to record a ‘special episode’ where we discuss the conference while it’s all very fresh in our minds. If it goes well, I’ll make it a regular thing on the show any time I head to a conference.”
John Hawkins says that if you’re looking to start a podcast and you’re interested in building a following, he thinks consistency is mandatory.
“If you say it’s a weekly show, be prepared to record a show every week,” he suggests. “Imagine if Game of Thrones posted on their website Sunday afternoon “No show this week, we’ll be back next week.” You’d flip out, right? Hopefully you have people listening to your shows who feel the same!”
He also suggests new podcasters start off with setting goals for their show in order to keep themselves on track.
“When I started the podcast, I had two goals with it,” he said. “To learn and to have fun. Set your own goals for the show. Then, work every day to reach those goals!”
By the time the second episode with Brandon Dove was released, John Hawkins said he had guests booked into May 2015.
“Before I launched the show, I reached out to a number of people about being guests on the show,” he explained. “Amazingly, not a single person said no.”
“I just finished producing episode 3 with Chris Brogan which was a lot of fun. And next week I’ll be chatting with Jason Tucker who is the guy who taught me everything I know about podcasting,” he shared. “One of my goals with scheduling guests is to try and get them either just before or just after they have something big going on. For example, Jon Brown is getting ready to run the very first WordCamp Maui. He’s a first-time organizer at a first-time event. The event is taking place on February 13, 2015 and we’re recording on February 9, 2015. I’m really looking forward to talking to him about everything that’s going on in his brain just days before the event.”
John Hawkins says the #VegasTech community can get involved with Hawk Talk Podcast to make it a success!
“The two things I need most are feedback and exposure,” he said. “Let me know what you think of the show. What you like, what you don’t, if there are any guests you’d like to hear on the show, etc. And anything you can do to help get the word out about the show, that would be a huge help, too!”