What topic do you love talking about with other people?

Do you ever wish you had other people to talk to about your favorite topics or things that you find interesting? Today’s episode might be just what you need! It’s about how you can start a Podclub. 

First of all, what is a Podclub? It is like a book club. But instead of reading an entire book and then coming together to discuss, you only listen to one podcast episode, and then get together to talk about it.

You might have heard me talking about podculb on previous episodes. For example, I brought it up when I told you about Bright Ideas and Brainstorms. Or, maybe I’ve invited you to join me for Podclub or maybe you’ve seen it mentioned on my website or social media. 

What is a Podclub?

I’ve been doing my Podclub since the Spring of 2020. It’s something that I look forward to every month. I’ve gotten so many benefits from hosting it. I’ve met some really interesting people, learned about new-to-me topics and listened to so many new-to-me podcasts that I might not have heard about otherwise. 

If you are interested in a Podclub, or any other type of club, or event, you could start one of your own. 

It’s so interesting to me that at the same time I decided to share my blueprint of how you can start a Podclub, I encountered two similar examples or representations of groups that are similar to Podclub. 

Murder Podcast

The first example is on the television show: “Only Murders in the Building.” 

Have you heard of this show? It’s on Hulu. And it stars Martin Short, Steve Martin and Selena Gomez. Their 3 characters live in a beautiful historical apartment building in New York City.  They get into all sorts of capers and shenanigans and plots and schemes. The way that these 3 characters came together (aside from living in the same apartment building) is that they discovered they were all fans of the same True Crime podcast. 

So the 3 of them ended up listening to it and discussing it together. Then they decided to start their own podcast. Fast forward a few episodes into the series, once they have their own podcast up and running, a few of their podcast fans sit outside of their building, waiting to see them and hopefully get to talk to them. 

It was funny when I was thinking about today’s episode, I realized that group of fans is kind of like a Podclub. Not exactly like the Podclub that I run. But they all share a love of a specific podcast. They get together to discuss it. The group even took a field trip together to see if they could meet some of the creators of the podcast. That’s when I realized, Oh, the entire television show is basically based on another type of Podclub, because the way that the main characters came together was also due to their love of a certain podcast. 

Local Podcast Group

The second example, that came earlier this week was that I was scrolling through social media. Someone mentioned on a comment that one thing that she was looking for forward to this week was going to her podcast group. Someone else commented asking what is a podcast group. She described that she has a local group of friends who all love listening to the same podcast so they get together to discuss that podcast. That’s exactly what I just described in the fictional example on the TV show. 

I think it’s so fun that all of these examples are popping up for me lately. One thing that it goes to show  is how popular podcasts are and how they are making their way into mainstream entertainment and social media. In fact, they have been for many, many years. This realization made me back up a little bit and think about when I first started listening to podcasts.

One of the first podcasts I binged was a popular podcast that many people started as their first podcast to listen to. It was called Serial. As in it’s a series. Every week, each new episode continues the coverage about the same topic. The topic in Season 1 was a murder and court case that happened in the late 90s, in Baltimore, Maryland. The interest in the case was revived 15 years later when a friend of the accused and incarcerated central character, asked a reporter to look into the case and the court proceedings to see if there was anything that could be done. 

Curiosity and Fascination

I remember listening to that series with so much attention and so much curiosity and fascination. 

I don’t think I wondered, at the time, if other people were listening to the podcast that I could discuss the unfoldings with, but I was hooked. If I did happen to meet someone who listened to it or knew of it, I definitely wanted to hear their theories and their takeaways from their listening experience. 

A few years later, I really got the desire and wished I had someone to discuss the case with when  I listened to a second podcast that was inspired because of the Serial podcast. 

The second podcast was called Undisclosed. I got so caught up in that second podcast and I even remember posting on social media at the time, “is anyone listening to Undisclosed, I really need to talk to someone about this.” 

In those early years podcasting-listening years (for me) before I ever decided to start a pod club, I had the early desire for people to talk about what we were all listening to. 

Why Start a Podclub?

Flash forward to today, now I have an established Podclub that meets that wish that I had all those years ago. But, we don’t listen to crime podcasts. But I guess we could, or better yet, you could if you’re interested in those topics. 

The pod cast episodes that I select for the Podclub that I lead. are not about true crime. They’re not about murder. They’re not about court cases. The Podclub that I host is more about personal and self development. But you can make a Podclub about any topic that you want. 

In my Podclub, we listen to a different episode of a different podcast every month. I don’t think we’ve ever repeated a podcast. So we have now listened to episodes from at least 18 or maybe even 20 different podcasts. 

But, Why Even Start One?

You might be wondering, why are you even talking about this? 

Why should I hear about how to start a Podclub. 

I think there are so many benefits that you might enjoy, if you if this strikes your interest at all. It’s pretty low effort and low commitment (those are the the costs). The benefits of meeting like-minded people, getting an expanded understanding or perspective of what you’re listening to. Getting a little bit of accountability. Being exposed to new podcasts and episodes and teachers that you otherwise might not have heard of -all of these rewards make having or being a member of a Podclub totally worth it.

Being in a Podclub creates the time commitment for something that you otherwise might not make time for. There are just so many benefits. That’s the reason why I definitely plan to continue running Podclub for as long as people continue to show up for it.

Starting a Podclub in 4 Steps

I’m going to share my own personal experience of creating and running a Podclub for about a year and a half now.

Then you can take my experience and add to it or substitute or modify it so that it matches what you want for yourself.  When I thought about the most basic way to explain how to start a Podclub, I thought of 4 basic steps: decide to do it, figure out how and where to meet, choose the episode, then show up and discuss. 

Decide to Do It

My experience was that I decided to do it and then I just did it. 

I think the original idea for this Podclub stemmed from a brainstorming activity that I did at the beginning of 2020, when I was trying to figure out how I could meet people and connect with people, even though most of the world was saying home. 

I came up with a lot of different topics of online meetups that people might want to attend that I could host and that I would personally want to attend and pod club was one of the ideas that came up.

So, maybe because of hearing me talk about it today or maybe because you’ve been thinking of doing something like this for a while, you could just decide to do it, and put it out there. 

Put It Out There

There are a lot of different places that you could “put it out there.” 

There are no rules or requirements or right way to do this. There is no minimum or maximum number of people. You and one other friend could just decide to start a Podclub together. 

Or, you could put your new idea on meetup (that’s what I did). you could create a Facebook group. More people are probably accustomed to using Facebook. You could use the Group Invite feature to invite all the people you know. 

The Podclub that I host is monthly. We meet on the first Thursday of every month. 

You could host yours routinely, like I do, or you could do it sporadically. For example,  just whenever you hear an episode or whenever you come across a topic that you want to discuss with others. 

How to Meet

The whole purpose of me starting this pod club in early 2020 was a way to meet and get to know people online because of the physical restrictions at the time. 

That’s the reason that my Podclub meets on Zoom. That’s definitely an option for you if you choose it. But there are so many other options too, depending on where you live and who you know and who you invite. 

It might be nice to meet at a library or in a park or at a restaurant or at somebody’s home. It just depends on what you want, and how you want to meet people and what you feel comfortable with. 

I really like using Zoom. I will continue to use it for Podclub because of the accessibility. Using Zoom means that we’re not denying anyone the ability to join based on distance or geography or ability to get to a location. Really, the only thing that’s required is an internet connection.We welcome people with cameras and microphones on or off. We have had people join with their phones. That’s an option. You don’t even have to be at a computer or have good lighting or a pretty background.

Find Episodes and Promote

Step two is to find your episode. The way that I find my episodes for Podclub is, first of all, I think about what I want to learn about. I consider what I’m interested in exploring more about or I think of people who I’m interested in hearing from.

Our very first episode last year was from Brene Brown’s podcast. I had recently learned that she had started a podcast so I thought it would be interesting to listen to it and discuss it with other people who are Brene Brown fans (as well as people who haven’t heard of her before). 

Another teacher that I love is Martha Beck. When I realized that she had a podcast, I decided to use one of her first episodes as an episode for Podclub too. 

In other cases, there have been authors that I really appreciate, for example, the author of the book Emotional Agility Dr. Susan David. I’m always impressed when I hear her speak and wanted to devote a Podclub meeting to her work, so I just did a Google search for her name with the word podcast, and I found a few different options. 

During one Podclub meeting, we had someone who suggested we have a Podclub discussion about money blocks. 

I spent some time googling and previewing episodes about money blocks. 

Criteria in Choosing Episodes

I have a few criteria that I use when selecting an episode that we will discuss. My criteria are that the episode should be an hour or less, with not too many ads, or too much pre topic chitchat where the hosts, go off on tangents and talk about things that a newcomer to the podcast doesn’t know about yet. 

I’m very choosy about good sound quality, because I know that we’re all going to be listening at different times, doing different things on different devices. I don’t want listening to be a strain for anyone. So if the the sound quality is just too annoying to listen to, even if it’s good content, I won’t usually choose it. 

I’ll preview a few different episodes. I’ll decide on one that I think everyone would benefit from hearing and that would make a good discussion. Then I promote it. I link to the episode on meetup, I put it in my facebook group. I put the link on my website. I mentioned the Podclub topic to people as I run into them. 

Then on the first Thursday of every month, we all show up on Zoom. 

Questions and Discussion

I usually have some questions prepared, which is part of the 4th step. 

Prior to our meeting,I listen to the episode twice. The first time when I’m choosing it. And then again, the day of or the day before pod club. As I re-listen, I try to come up with a few discussion questions about the episode. This is in case we run into a stall in our conversation. I have some questions or specific concepts or verbiage from the episode to keep the conversation going. 

Sometimes we use the questions, most of the time, we don’t need to. 

Our Regular Podclub

A regular podclub for us is when we all get together on zoom at 5pm Arizona time. We have a few minutes of chit chat. If anyone is new, we do introductions so that we all know who we are and where we are in the world. (Yes, we have people from different countries join!)

Then we just dive right into the discussion. We talk about what we liked about the episode. We bring up what we learned. Sometimes we also mention what we didn’t like or what we were confused by.

Frequently there will be some concept or topic that was new to someone so then we can give our own definition or description of that new concept.  Some of us will jump on Google even during the discussion to look up the definition of something or to find further information about a topic that we’re discussing. That’s another benefit for doing it online versus doing it in person, although that would be an option in person to since we all have Google on our phones.

Or sometimes, our discussion will go off on a tangent. 

We’ll share links in the chat sometimes. Sometimes, our discussion will go off on a tangent. The conversation can go way off. We might end up talking about other things that are not really related to the episode anymore. 

Then, at the very end, right around the end of the hour, we will just confirm when our next meeting is. We’ll talk about what kind of episode we might want to listen to for the next meeting. Sometimes we get suggestions. Sometimes we don’t. It’s always a lovely conversation. I always leave having learned something new or having heard a new perspective.

Next Steps

That’s it! That is my experience of starting and hosting a Podclub.

Those are my four steps or loose suggestions and personal explanation of how you could start your own – or something like it. 

If you are curious about starting any kind of meetup, club or discussion group, I think you should just decide on your own purpose and intention for doing it. Think about what you want to get out of it. Consider if you want a theme. My Podclub’s theme is mostly about personal and self development. Maybe your Podclub’s theme could be about personal development. Or maybe it could be about fiction or comedy podcasts or you might be interested in discussing true crime shows or you could focus your Podclub on episodes all about your favorite Reality TV shows. Maybe, you won’t create a Podclub at all. What if you created a DocuClub where everyone watches the same documentary, then comes together to discuss!

There are so many options if you wanted to start a Podclub or YouTube discussion group with business owners. You could listen to or watch all business related episodes. If you wanted to start a discussion group with other real estate investors, you could listen to real estate and investing and money management podcasts. There are so many directions that you could go with this.

Will You Start Your Own (or Join Mine)?

If you decide that starting a Podclub is not for you, but just hearing how this rolled out for me and how it’s become a monthly occurrence for me, hopefully it has inspired you. 

You might want to start a different kind of club. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with podcasts. Or if you’re intrigued by this but don’t want to go through the effort of starting your own, you’re definitely welcome to join my Podclub.

We will be meeting again on the first Thursday of November at 5pm Arizona time on Zoom. I usually keep the Let’s Meet page up-to-date with all my upcoming meetings and events. 

For example, I also host a monthly in-person Journaling and Friendship group to provide some light encouragement and accountability for journaling. 

Resistance Check

One last thing before we end today – let’s do a resistance check!

Did you have any resistance to thinking of starting a monthly meeting, discussion group or club?

Any resistance to looking for and listening to a new podcast every month – and then discussing it with other people?

Are you like me? Do you have some inexplicable resistance to reading when it’s “expected” for a book club, but love to read in general?

What other thoughts or ideas came up for you as you listened to my explanation of how to start a Podclub?