A Dummies Guide to Successful Podcasting
There can be little doubt now that the popularity of podcasts has skyrocketed in the last year. With barely any barriers to entry and a burgeoning community of global listeners, it makes sense that podcasting has become a must-have marketing strategy. But how do you make sure your podcast is one of the good ones?
Have Rough Drafts
It’s okay to have a period early on where you are finding your footing but consider making more episodes than you initially release so you can find ways to be consistent. Still, don’t let perfectionism hold you back- take a leap, and learn on the factory floor.
Record episodes as if you were going to actually release them, and then send them to people you know and trust. Get their feedback by asking questions like “did you get bored at any point while listening?” “How was our audio quality?” and “Could you follow our discussions?”
If the answers are less than positive, think about how you can refine before publishing your final versions.
There’s a good reason consistency is one of the primary pieces of advice you’ll get when starting your podcast. Listeners want to know what to expect when they first subscribe, whether its an upload schedule, discussion topics, tone, and episode length.
Think about how often you can feasibly record, edit and publish your episodes. There is a good chance this isn’t going to be your full-time job, not yet at least. If putting out a quality episode every week isn’t going to work for your schedule, don’t force it.
Set the Tone
Think about what tone you want to set for your podcast. Is it going to be educational and intellectually stimulating, or laid back and conversational? It’s important that you get this right early on, and stick to it.
If your listener is expecting comedy and the episode unexpectedly takes a dark tone, they’re going to think you’ve pulled the rug from under them. This isn’t to say you can’t change up your format or tone, just make sure you mark these as special episodes.
Know Your Medium
It’s a lesson taught in many creative writing classes: it’s hard to be a great writer if you’re not a great reader. The same goes for podcasts.
Listen to podcasts voraciously, and think about what those podcasts do that you could learn from. This isn’t a call to plagiarise, obviously, but rather an invitation to think about how to make certain concepts your own.
Sound Quality is Key
Podcasting might have a lower barrier to entry than film or TV, but it does still have some upfront costs. Fortunately, high-quality microphones are much cheaper than they once were, so you should consider investing in one if you are really serious about this new project.
Another key factor in sound quality is being aware of how your mouth sounds. Think about how hard your “p”, “b”, or “t” sounds are hitting the mic. You might want to invest in a pop filter, or re-orient your mic.