This is the Part 5 of our podcasting series: Listen In. In this series, we reach out to various podcasters to cover a variety of different ways to make your podcasts successful. You don’t want your podcasts to go in one ear and out the other. We’re here to help, so all you need to do is: Listen In!
Last time, we covered the importance of getting high-profile guests for your show. Having the strategy to find and book high-profile guests to interview for your podcast is a crucial part of running a successful interview-based podcast. If you do not have a strategy in place, you will most likely find yourself scrambling to book your next guest to fit with your schedule. If you have a podcast and you bring in guests on a periodic or regular basis, then you need to make things as easy as possible for your podcast guests so that their experience of being on your show is enjoyable and easy for them.
However, you can’t execute a strategy unless you can build your podcast first. Below, you’ll see that we’ve reached out to a variety of podcasters for their advice on how to start a successful podcast.
“When I first started I was quite off the cuff in that I had an idea of what I was going to cover but no detail on my key points or references. Whilst I managed to wing it, it meant there was a lot more editing to do afterwards and I didn't get all the info that I wanted.”
- Hannah Munro, Lead Solution Consultant, Itas Solutions“Above all, you need to have a solid strategy and vision in place.”
- Vernon Foster, Host of MicScience: Podcast for Business
Given that most of the content is generated by the person you are interviewing, it may be surprising that the major responsibility of fashioning a show worth consuming still lies in your hands—and this doesn’t simply mean asking the right questions either. It’s about displaying genuine interest, providing a consistent flow, vibe, sincerity, concern, as well as digging deeper, defining the unclear, attracting stories, avoiding awkwardness and being conscious about all of that at the same time. Seem like a lot? Don’t worry; with a well-planned strategy at the helms, you can be sure that your podcast won’t crash and burn in the process.
Take each step in building your podcast one at a time, and never stress too much about botching an episode – everything is a learning experience. Find some friends and do a few practice runs to test your format!
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“Podcast regularly, partner with others - and be willing to promote their related businesses, and offer info listeners can't get anywhere else. Be a general free resource so that you can be a paid specific one down the road.”
- Alina Adams, Alina Adams Media
“The number one thing people need to do is be curious enough about their guests that they can hold up a conversation. A podcaster needs to be able to carry a conversation all the way through if they get a low energy guest. Because sometimes you will.”
- Tracee Sioux, Tracee Sioux
Relationship building is of utmost significance, because people like to work with those that they know, like, and trust. Therefore, you need to build relationships with the right people long in advance. We all have something of value to other people. If we can ascertain what they need and help with that, that can become a mutually profitable relationship. Just asking someone for an interview (or favor) may not work, so sometimes you need to offer value first without asking for anything in return. A great way to provide value is through advice and promotion. The good thing about podcasting is that it only becomes easier to find guests to interview.
“Starting a podcast can be a lot of fun. The trick to a successful podcast is knowing the topic of the show really well and being an expert in your topic. Be consistent, pick a day and time and stick to a schedule, that way your listeners know what time you are on every week and this will help you to build an audience.”
- Robert O' Haver, Search Talk Live
“When first starting my podcast, I contacted other successful political podcasters I knew to get learn how to get started. I then researched several hosting sites and compared their side-by-side features. I needed a relatively inexpensive hosting site that provides several hours of time, and I needed a virtually painless uploading process.”
- Ryan Miner, Underwood Strategies, LLC
As podcasts are growing in popularity every day, it seems most people have their own podcast or at least an idea for one, but finding a host for your podcast isn’t as easy. The size of your podcast can determine the best host for your show, although choosing the best one could still be tricky.
Firstly and most importantly, having your own website is your first step in getting your podcast hosted, but not all website hosts are effective for podcasts and other media. Many have strict rules and will ban users from storing large downloadable audio or video files as they bog down their servers, hence the need of separate podcast hosts.
Building a personal website could provide you with more freedom and the ability to present your “brand” more effectively. However, you can’t expect your podcasts to be able to reach a larger audience as quickly.
“Read reviews of existing Podcasts in your vertical, especially the negative ones. The point is to look at what people find lacking, frustrating, negative about other Podcasts - and be sure to do well in those areas.”
- Dan Shure, Evolving SEO
Reading such reviews can help you make a critical assessment about how your show can evolve, and you can utilize the suggestions by acting on them and seeing what happens. This may open the way for you to go in a direction that nobody else has before.
“New podcasters do best if they have a clear description of the theme, or vision, for the podcast and the target audience. Consistency is important, even though people subscribe to podcasts and listen at times convenient for them, continue to create or broadcast on a schedule.”
- Jennifer Perry, Lone Wolf Communications, LLC
Consistency is one of the simplest, yet most heavily overlooked traits for shows in general. You need to understand that your audience came to you for a reason, so it’s important not to be betray their trust by being inconsistent. If you feel that you would like to touch upon a new topic or a completely new formula, then start another podcast!
“I started my podcast with a Yeti mic and a Snowball mic, and used the free GarageBand software on my MacBook. I researched the prices and reviews for mics until I felt confident, and polled my peers, asking if the content I wanted to produce would be something others would be interested in. From there I mapped out potential interviews and the stories I wanted to tell.”
- Celina Levin, In Focus Females
When you record an interview, you have the option to record it as an “audio only” file (MP3) or as a video (MP4). Both are quite easy to do, however, audio is the easiest – it is also the cheapest.
In case you are a beginner that would like to have a video podcast, you should consider creating an audio podcast show to start with and build up to a video if you think your listeners would value a visual element to your show.
Your initial goal in purchasing equipment is to obtain the gear that most podcasters are actually using. Do not go for a list of highly expensive gear beyond your budget, especially if it may not be necessary. A microphone and a windshield may be all you need initially, and you can continue to purchase more high-end equipment as you grow in size.
Your guests are busy people, and you should make things as easy as possible for them by doing your homework right. Building your podcast effectively will build your audience as well, in the long-run. Don’t expect to build a show on the backs of your guests. Have a strategy and plan in place to run your podcast effectively.
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