Pro podcaster Marc Maron once said, “It’s not difficult to do a podcast … but it’s hard getting people to listen.” Anyone can turn on a microphone and start talking, but how do you get people attracted to your show?
Well, who better to learn the ins and outs of podcasting from than the pros? Experts in the industry are all saying the same things over and over, and we’ve compiled a list of their shared advice below.
- What Makes a Good Podcast Great?
- 3 Reasons Podcasts Are So Popular
- Conclusion – What Do Experts Say Makes A Great Podcast?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What Makes a Good Podcast Great?
These industry veterans have carved a path for themselves in digital audio production and entertainment. Now, they’re sharing all their insider knowledge in this article to help beginner podcasters get the best chance at success.
If you want to launch a successful podcast and attract listeners, keep reading. This article is full of tips from other popular podcasters like Joe Rogan and Pat Flynn, who will give you the knowledge you need to create and host a successful podcast that audiences love.
3 Reasons Podcasts Are So Popular
The podcasting medium has risen in popularity over the past decade. This intimate art form deconstructs a story to its basic parts in an audio format. It is popular for a few reasons, including:
- In a hectic world, it has become the new “talk radio” of commuters during the week. It is perfect for hearing stories while driving, exercising, or running errands as an alternative to music.
- It allows people to hear great bite-sized information for self-improvement or education. This makes it an interesting medium for many creators with skills they want to share and information to spread.
- People can connect with creators more personally through podcasts. Podcasting gives the host more room to breathe than an average interview or even a usual lecture or performance.
Now, let’s dive into 6 pro tips for success when starting a podcast.
1 . The Podcast Idea
The subject matter of your podcast is important for a few reasons. It determines whether someone will test out your show or not.
To create the most engaging podcast, your topic should be something that you are knowledgeable and passionate about. The creator and host of the podcast, “With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus” came up with the idea for her completely improvised podcast with guests because she is an avid improviser. It’s something she enjoys and is good at. She had access to other popular comedians she could invite as guests and was experienced enough to hold her own as a host of the show.
Producing a podcast is hard work. Choosing a podcast name or topic you think will be popular that you have little interest in will make it even more difficult. If you wouldn’t listen to it, you shouldn’t make it.
The podcast you go with should be specific and appealing to a wide audience. For instance, if you choose the topic of cooking, you may have thousands of other podcasts to compete with. If you choose more specifically vegan cooking, you will narrow down the podcasts you compete with. While your audience shrinks, you can more appropriately target the right listeners and find devoted listeners who are excited that their niche is being explored.
Keep a consistent structure and stay on topic so that listeners are always getting the type of content they expect. A content mismatch can lead to low ratings from people who tuned in expecting something different. First of all ask yourself should I start a podcast? Without this simple question being answered your will really hit a wall.
2 . The Podcast Host
What makes a good podcast host is the ability to both engage with the audience and entertain them. A good host has to have the energy to sustain this media form on audio alone while remaining authentic and trustworthy to the audience. The key features that are essential for hosting are:
- Enthusiasm and passion
- Being a compelling storyteller
- A unique style or tone
- A new perspective or voice regarding topics discussed
- Consistency of values and vision
If the format is centered on interviews, which many podcasts are, the host should also be good with people. They should have insightful questions that speak to what the audience would want to ask if they could.
If you have never hosted before, practice is essential to deliver compelling conversation without getting tongue-tied. Diction and focus are huge when it comes to being a great host. Many people tend to speed up their speech when they get nervous so remember to breathe and slow down if you get frustrated or tongue-tied while recording.
Further Reading: How long should a podcast be?
3 . The Schedule
If you want people listening to your podcast, they need to know when and where they can find it. This is where a publishing schedule comes into play. Many podcasting experts create a set day that they release each episode. The consistency of a schedule builds anticipation for each new guest or new topic, and also makes it easier for people to keep up to date with your world.
Decide how often your will publish your podcast, whether your show will be released weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly. Be sure to leave yourself enough time between episodes to interview or record, edit, and advertise the next podcast episode. You don’t need to sacrifice your life and free time to churn out content. Your audience will appreciate the work you do on your timeline.
Along with a planned schedule comes the ability to advertise consistently on social platforms. You can always plug that a new episode comes out every Monday, or every other Tuesday, or whatever you choose.
Be sure to have your publishing schedule viewable on your website or where your podcast is found, and even announce it on the episode. Think of this information like posting your business hours.
4 . Production Quality
Just like any other piece of media, production quality will inevitably affect success in one way or another. With podcasts, in particular, the sound is of special importance. Poor audio clarity can make the listener work harder to hear you talk when they may want to be relaxing and enjoying. This can even overshadow otherwise interesting stories and guest appearances.
To drive listenership and set your episodes up for success from the start, make sure that you equip your team with the right tools. Unfortunately, the built-in laptop mic won’t quite cut it for recording. If you want to create an engaging listening experience, be sure to pick up a recording kit along with editing software. From production to post-production, having the right tools means ensuring focus isn’t taken away from the compelling content by the faulty or poor audio quality.
In addition to sound, you can improve your production value instantly by adding video to your podcast. While buying or renting the extra equipment to record video can be expensive, it also opens another monetary possibility. Whether it is a wide release and available for free or only accessible for those who pay or subscribe is up to your team to decide.
5 . Engagement With Your Audience
Whether you’re recording an interview show or just talking frankly to the person listening, engagement tends to feel more personal than other mediums. Because of this, many podcasters choose to engage further with their audiences by asking for a comment, question, or even call-in. This serves to build a back and forth that keeps listeners interested and keeps the conversation relevant.
Like Marc Maron said, “Engaging people to watch can be difficult, but is essential. It doesn’t matter if you have the most interesting show on the planet if nobody is listening to it.” Some of the most unique ways that pro podcasters engage with their audience include:
- Fan/listener spotlights
- A personal story or comment submissions on a theme or general
- Fanart competitions or submissions
- Advice segments or Q & A requests
One of the best ways to accept these submissions and garner community is by asking for them to be submitted publicly on social media. This can be done through the use of a hashtag. This serves as free publicity for your podcast while also serving a valuable creative purpose for your listeners.
6. Planning For the Future of a Successful Podcast
Good foundational planning for whatever course you may take as a podcaster can set you up for a great launch. While this phase is essential, it can be intimidating to know how to start.
There are lots of ways to improve the popularity and viewership of your show. If you feel like you’re getting lost in terms of what you should focus on, these are the primary features that must be determined to get started with planning your content:
- Topic or idea
- Title and episode title conventions
- Tools, software, and equipment to film and edit
- Content release or a publishing schedule
- Length and structure of the show
To determine many of these features, you’ll want to consider your target audience and the type of life they live. Thinking about who you want to be listening to your show can help you choose relevant guests for interview segments and choose the most optimal schedule and length of the podcast.
If you think that a lot of your audience are people commuting to and from work, you can plan to post longer episodes that range from thirty minutes to an hour. If you think your show is more popular with fast-paced learners who want to glean data from your talk show then fast, quick bite-sized talk segments might garner more success.
Pete Holmes, comedian and host of the popular podcast, “You Made It Weird”, once spoke on his gradual loosening of his understanding of the rules of podcasting. He said that he was left feeling unfulfilled when he restricted his early episodes of this medium to a shorter length. Once he opened them up to fit his content and his audience, he felt happier with the result.
Conclusion – What Do Experts Say Makes A Great Podcast?
With passion and practice, anyone can create a podcast they are proud of. But, if you want high viewership and a dynamic web presence, there are a few more things you can do to improve your chances.
Quality, consistency, and passion create the perfect balance for a popular program. Passion and energy from the idea to the host and presentation to audience engagement drive results. Consistency in scheduling and planning keeps things professional and makes it easy for fans to find you.
Use this guide and these expert tips to help you improve your production from the moment you turn on the mic to the week of release.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Still have questions left unanswered? The following may help!
How do you make a unique podcast?
How do you avoid the pitfall of generating and producing an idea that has been done before? To ensure that your idea and structure are unique, specificity is key. Draw from your worldview and personal experiences to create something that no one else could make.
In a sea of podcasts, how will yours be different? Another way to make a unique experience is by creating great features like:
- Live streaming events with a chat feature
- Videos along with sound for the podcast
- Merchandise and extra content
How do I make my podcast stand out?
You can start making your show stand out to others with the title.
When you post a podcast to the internet, the only way that a stranger will click on it without seeing a piece of your advertising is because of the title. Your title should hook the listener. It should be engaging and descriptive in a few words, with a twist that conveys your genre or tone.
A comedic podcast could have a joke as the title. Your audience should know the genre from the title right away, whether it is true crime, comedy, advice, or some other subject.
Shows starring celebrities should have their name or the name of the celebrity guest in the title. You want to put the thing that will grab the viewers’ attention upfront. Use descriptive words that highlight the theme of each episode to hook potential listeners and get them interested in your show.
You can make your show stand out in other ways, including:
- Professional logos
- Engaging cover art
- Relevant guests with niche expertise
How can you expand a unique podcast’s audience?
Have you tried implementing several of these tips already? If so, you can expand your audience by expanding your platform.
Not all podcasters utilize the many other digital platforms to engage with their audience. These include:
- Show websites
- Live show tours
- YouTube content
- Guest appearances on other podcasts
Each of these is an investment with different levels of financial and time commitments. Be sure to weigh the strategic gains you want to make with the level of investment that video of live show performances requires.
Also, think about the way that you could monetize these extra features by putting them behind a paywall or offering them as benefits to those who subscribe or support the show.