The only way I got through English class (in any grade) was by cheating. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true.
I was a dyslexic kid who tested at a second grade reading level when I was entering the eighth grade.
I felt stupid and worthless.
If you had told me then that I would one day be the author of a book that would appear on the front table of every Barnes and Noble in the U.S., I would have thought you were crazy and/or lying.
Crazier things have happened, however, and I credit podcasting with making this dream a reality.
Striving for greatness
Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get out of school each day and hit the athletic field for sports practice. It was the one thing I felt good at.
In fact, I became obsessed with becoming great at sports to make up for my poor performance in school.
My hard work paid off, and I ended up playing football professionally.
But after a career-ending injury in my rookie season, I found myself feeling stupid and worthless again — living on my sister’s couch, broke, and clueless about how to move forward.
Fortunately, my obsession with greatness stayed intact, and I managed to hustle and work my way into a new career that involved connecting with many inspirational and successful people.
I decided to launch my podcast, The School of Greatness, to interview these incredible people and learn from them.
I never could have imagined how quickly it would grow or where it would take me.
A couple of years later, I found myself with millions of downloads, hundreds of thousands of listeners, and the opportunity to interview rock stars like Tony Robbins, Arianna Huffington, and Julianne Hough.
My obsession with greatness was now bigger than just me. It was affecting so many people, and I knew I needed to share what I was learning on an even bigger platform.
I decided to write a book.
Why podcasting is the perfect preparation for writing a book
The irony was not lost on me, considering my academic record.
However, there are a few things I learned while podcasting that translate extremely well into writing a powerful book.
Here are my top five reasons why podcasting is the perfect preparation for writing your next book.
1. Podcasting creates a vulnerable, intimate space for real conversation
There’s nothing like sitting across the table from another human with nothing but a couple of headsets and 45 minutes to have a genuine conversation.
Cell phones are put away, emails are on hold, and eye contact is expected.
In today’s world of constant distraction, this environment creates space for some of the most authentic, powerful stories I’ve ever heard.
It’s a goldmine for book material.
2. It facilitates your research
To prepare for each interview, you need to research guests before they come on your show. And by doing this, you break down your book research into small, bite-size chunks each week (or however often you podcast).
Before or after an interview, I end up having great conversations with my guests about what I’ve learned from them, and I can ask follow-up questions from my research.
Researching topics for your book is no longer overwhelming. Instead, it’s a fun, engaging conversation with a new person each time you record an episode.
3. You build your book’s audience and promoters
My book sales largely come from my podcast listeners and my podcast guests’ followers. This is the genius of podcasting.
You not only build a loyal, connected following of fans who want more of what you’re already giving them, but you develop strong relationships with hundreds of guests on your show who also become promoters of your work.
Since book marketing is now all about your own efforts, this is priceless.
4. Podcast transcripts become the first draft of your book
The best stories, quotes, and big ideas for my book were already written.
The transcriptions also helped me and my editor identify my voice and translate it into my writing voice. This was a lifesaver.
5. Writing the show notes for your podcast is practice for writing your book
A key part of any podcast episode is the show notes page, typically written as a blog post, that includes all the links mentioned in the episode, as well as a summary of what you cover.
I like to write a brief but compelling introductory paragraph to my show notes for each episode, where I share my thoughts about what I learned from my guest, what the experience was like, etc.
This is great practice for me to develop my authentic writing voice, and it gives me an opportunity to stop for a moment and think about what I did learn from the conversation.
Later, when I was writing my book, I was able to easily scan through these blog posts and remember the highlights of what I learned from each conversation without going through the whole episode transcript.
A fun, manageable way to write a powerful story
Despite the benefits I’ve outlined above, you may still be hesitant to start a podcast. I get it.
It’s a lot of work and can seem overwhelming when you’re on the outside looking in.
But writing a book is overwhelming, too.
There are many ways to write a powerful story, and podcasting is a fun, manageable, and valuable method for entering that world before you’re ready to actually put pen to paper.
If I could give one piece of advice to aspiring authors, it would be this: learn the art of conversation, relationships, and listening, and you’ll have more quality material for a book than you can ever use.
There’s no better way to do this than podcasting.