Everything You Need to Know Before Launching a Successful Podcast
Forget about blogging or vlogging, podcasts are the new online trend. Today, you can find a podcast about any subject you can imagine, from news to comedy, to business and technology. Starting a podcast isn’t quite difficult, but there are a few things to keep in mind, before making your voice heard by the whole world. Like every new project, it’s a good idea to have some guidelines traced out, in order to be successful and attract new listeners with each episode.
Plan your content
Many people overlook this step and go straight to just pressing REC. It’s not enough to just upload an hour of you talking about random subjects every week. You will need to choose a topic and stick to it. This is what attracts the audience’s interest and what makes them look forward to the next episode.
Choosing a topic
Your podcast needs to be focused on a particular niche, in order to build a regular audience. Think of something you would like to talk about, something that you’re interested in and you can speak about for more than 100 episodes. As you get more popular, you can expand your niche and talk about other subjects that are related to the main topic. For example, if you like to talk about the latest technology trends, try focusing on mobile phones first and expand your topic to game consoles or even artificial intelligence later on, after you’ve built your audience.
You can choose to do everything on your own or co-host with someone that has the same interests as you. Maybe you have a friend who likes to talk about business as well and you can start this together. The advantage of having a co-host is that you can split the work. From finding the topics for each episode, to editing and promoting. But make sure you both have the same level of commitment and your schedule is compatible.
After deciding on the topic and hosting, it’s time to decide on the length of the show. Truth be spoken, there is no exact formula for the length or episode format. It all depends on the topic. It is better to keep episodes a bit shorter, than go off-topic for 20 minutes just to keep episodes an hour long. There are podcasts that go for 20 minutes, while others stretch for more than two hours. Just pick whatever works best for it and stick to that formula. You can play with this for a bit in the first few episodes and see how the audience reacts.
Style and Format
Again, this depends on the topic. You can choose to make a solo show, co-host or have guests that you can interview. Guests can help you get new listeners, especially if they already have a follower base. First, you will need to choose an intro and outro song. When choosing music for podcasts, try to keep it simple, yet recognizable, so your audience will associate it with your work. Then, you can split the episode in half. First, talking about the main theme yourself, as some sort of introduction, and do an interview or review in the other half.
Invest in equipment and software
In order to record your episodes, you will have to invest in some equipment and software. While there is a bunch of free recording software that you can choose from, which are great for beginners, it is recommended to invest in one that has various edition options, to make your life easier. Look online, read reviews and try demos before deciding on a software. While all software works good for solo recording, if you plan on doing remote interviews or co-hosting, choose a service that is specially designed for that.
Don’t make the mistake of buying a cheap microphone, as you will be finding yourself spending an unnecessary amount of time editing your recordings to compensate for the poor audio quality. Invest in a good microphone to save yourself time and show your audience that you are a true professional.
You will need to also edit your thumbnail. Give the fact that your podcast is entirely audio, the thumbnail is the only way you can visually express. If you don’t have any graphic design experience, try collaborating with someone who can create that for you. While the thumbnail may not be bigger than a postage stamp, it can be used to make your podcast recognizable. Stick to something simple, yet eye-catching.
Promote your podcast
There is no point in having a podcast, if no one is going to listen to it, so make sure you invest time in properly promoting it. The easiest way to do this is on social media. Make a Facebook or Instagram page for your podcast and make sure you mention it at least twice during your episodes. This will give people the opportunity to find your page and share it with others. Make sure you upload teasers or content related to your podcast to build up interest and keep your audience engaged. Launch discussions and questions in the comments and try to respond to messages as much as you can, because keeping communication open with your followers is extremely important. You can even make a habit of answering questions on podcasts once a week, so your audience will feel engaged and included in your work.
Word of mouth is an extremely powerful advertising method, so make sure you ask your listeners to subscribe and share your episodes, along with their opinions and reviews. Make time to read them and learn from what your audience has to say. They might actually give you ideas for future episodes or tips to help you improve.
Another way to boost your rankings for search engines is to include transcriptions in your episode description. You can include the key topics or questions and answers and even part of the interviews, to help your audience in case they want to look up a part of your content.