Podcasting is one of the most popular and rising forms of broadcast out there. There is something quaint about the format: almost anyone can do it, and for the time being, it’s an open frontier for ideas.
At its most basic, a podcast is a series of audio files released consistently, hosted online for folks to download and now stream. Anyone with a good idea, a computer, and a little bit of extra money can begin a podcast.
And although there are big network podcasts out there, there is still this sense that anyone can “make it” in an organic way – just by putting together a quality product that is unique and grabs attention. Your podcast has to be something that people WANT to listen to.
LongerDays sees the podcast format being used in MANY different industries, from educational instruction, to news about niche topics and fields, to giving paid subscribers a bit of bonus content. These statistics show that podcasts cannot be ignored as a real source of media:
Thanks to podcastinsights.com for the above graphic.
While it is true that anyone can start a podcast, making it successful can take some planning. To go beyond a small audience of a few friends, all the way to informing the public at large – and even generating some income – here are 5 tips take your podcast to the next level:
1) What Are You Broadcasting? Who is Your Audience?
The first things to consider are “What is the topic?” and “Who is the audience?”
It needs to be more than just talking about whatever is on your mind, or you and your friends making inside jokes that no one else will understand…
Coming up with a succinct topic will help focus your ideas and “build your brand.” Two people talking about retro video games one week, and current events the next week, will struggle to build return listeners.
Along with deciding on a topic, consider who your audience will be. If your podcast topic is “retro video games” (for example), you wouldn’t want to target people between the ages of 14-18 – as they won’t have the same connection to your topic that 30 to 40 year olds might. When you decide on your audience, this will help focus your marketing, your look, your message, and even the tone of your conversations.
2) How Consistent Can You Be?
How often do you think you can create a podcast episode?
You may be running strong with an episode every week, growing your audience and building momentum – but if you run out of content ideas, and aren’t able to come out with an episode for a month, your audience is going to fall off.
Look at the year as a whole. Figure that you will need to come up with 52 episodes if you want to broadcast weekly, or 12 episodes if you want release episodes monthly, or whatever schedule works for you.
Identify subjects you want to discuss well beforehand, and create a calendar for your episodes. Coming up with engaging content week in and week out is one of the biggest struggles of the podcast creator. Make sure you are able to start fired up, and stay engaging with good topics throughout the year.
3) Get The Gear
Creating a podcast does require a certain investment into equipment. There are thousands of combinations of microphones, headphones, audio interfaces, and computers you could pick from, with different reviews about how good or bad each is.
For ease of entry into the practice, however, you may want to check out the Behringer Podcastudio USB. For just a penny under $100, you should have everything you need to get your computer ready to record your first podcast.
4) Stick to a Format
A consistent format can be very helpful in maintaining listeners.
Some questions you can ask yourself: Will we have interviews? Will we have different segments? Will we have call-ins? Will we want to stick to a similar length each week?
Some of the top ranking podcasts have the same half hour or hour every week, the same format of interview or reporting, and all that changes is the subject. Find a format for your show that works best for you – and stick to it!
5) Snappy Title
Finally, you should always have a snappy title – something that rolls right off the tongue.
“Stories about different people and places in the United States” just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “This American Life.” Bounce ideas off your friends and family, and ask them to be honest. Some of the most memorable podcasts titles are “Lore,” “99% Invisible,” and “Reply All.”
These are all short, easy to remember, and to the point. Workshop a list of titles, and don’t let yourself get too stuck on one idea.
These are some of our favorite podcasts from around the office. It is a collection of different formats, different subject matter, and all folks who started with a laptop and a microphone – and are now listened to by thousands of people every week!
There are thousands of podcasts out there (Apple Podcasts reports over 550,000) and it certainly isn’t easy to make yourself rise above the din. Finding your own voice, creating something special, and sticking with it will help yours rise above the rest.
If you aren’t excited and enjoying putting your podcast out week after week or month after month, your audience will know, so have FUN with it!