Podcasts are a great way to build genuine connections with your audience and establish yourself as a thought leader, and with over 7.1 million people in the UK listening to podcasts on a weekly basis, it’s time to press play on podcasting and get your business on-air. In today’s post we will be sharing 10 tips to help make your podcasts a hit.
Start with the ‘why’
I’m sure we’ve all heard of Simon Sinek and the ‘Golden Circle’ – if not, it highlights the importance of starting with the ‘why’ as opposed to the ‘what’ or ‘who’ – and it’s a framework that’s very relevant in podcasting. Before you even think about recording your podcasts, you need to look at why you are starting them and use this to guide everything that follows. Your ‘why’ could be anything from improving retention rates to increasing traffic to your website: ultimately, it should be aligned with your goals and add value to your business.
Research, relevance, results
Before you start planning or recording your podcasts, you must first take time to research your target audience, competitors and the industry you’re planning on speaking about. You need to understand what your audience is interested in so you can produce relevant and engaging content, however you also need to make sure you’re offering unique content that helps differentiate you from your competitors. Using consumer research as a basis for your podcasts will help ensure you are producing the right content at the right time, whilst keeping up-to-date with industry trends and news can set you apart from competitors and help establish your brand as a thought leader.
Once you’ve established why you are starting your podcast and who you are creating it for, everything else should fall into place.
Consistency is key
Don’t leave your listeners guessing. Make sure you set a clear schedule so your audience knows exactly when they can expect your podcast to be published; you may choose to post new episodes daily, monthly or perhaps even in short seasons consisting of a set number of episodes. A great way to manage your audience’s expectations is by using your introduction to communicate your schedule, for example if you decide to release a short series, you may choose to start with “welcome to episode 1 of this 6-part series”. Your outro is another great way to remind your audience of your schedule, simply by saying “we’ll be back next Thursday” you are setting a reminder to the listener.
Top tip: consider pre-recording episodes to avoid producing low-quality, last minute content or missing upload dates.
Two heads are better than one
Guests are a great way to introduce different perspectives into your podcasts, bringing fresh, insightful content, making your shows more entertaining for the listener. By bringing in a range of industry experts, you can help improve the credibility of your podcast and build a stronger reputation within your industry. Oh, and of course there’s always the benefit of increased exposure; if someone has taken the time to be on your show, naturally they will want to promote it to their audience, and if your podcast is good, they will soon become your audience, too.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
We’ve already touched on the importance of preparation and planning in terms of research, but now let’s look at it in the context of the podcast itself. Although you may have established a relevant topic for your podcast, it’s all too easy to get sidetracked – especially if you have guests – which is why planning is fundamental.
This isn’t some big Hollywood film, so we’re not expecting a word-for-word, perfectly executed script, but before each show you should plan what you want to talk about, following key themes within your chosen topic. If you are going to be interviewing a guest, consider preparing a list of questions and allow time for them to prepare answers in advance. This will not only help ensure your podcast remains relevant throughout, but will also encourage your guest to provide more well-informed, in-depth answers and gives them an opportunity to address any issues they may have surrounding your proposed questions, helping to avoid any awkward moments on the show.
…And we’re live
You want your audience to focus all of their attention on listening to what you have to say, and that won’t be the case if they have to decipher low-quality muffled audio or cut through distracting background noises. Having clear, high-quality audio creates a more professional image for your business and can help keep your audience engaged, thus communicating your message more effectively.
It’s a numbers game
When it comes to analysing the performance of any marketing channel, the metrics you use will be dependent on your goals. When it comes to podcasts, key metrics typically include average listening times and number of downloads, as these can be useful when it comes to planning your future podcasts, helping to identify topics of interest to your listeners as well as underperforming subjects which you should consider avoiding.
Repurpose your content
Your podcast will produce a lot of valuable content that can be repurposed for your other channels – from social media posts to blog content for your website – to help increase your ROI and reinforce the message you are communicating. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘work smarter, not harder’; why should you spend hours producing new content when you have material that speaks to (quite literally) your audience and addresses everything they want to hear.
Podcast audiences are (generally) very forgiving – they aren’t expecting an Abbey Road masterpiece – in fact, it’s the ‘unedited’, conversational tone of podcasts that gives them their trusted reputation. The term ‘unedited’ is used loosely, as of course you will want to remove any major fumbles or unnecessary pauses. Equally, small stumbles and displays of genuine emotion are welcomed; it’s what helps build that strong connection between you and your audience by showing them that you are human, too.
The parts of your podcast you may want to consider spending more time editing are your intro and outro. Create a strong first impression and get the audience engaged from the very beginning by adding music to give your show some personality and raise the production value, or perhaps add some episode teasers, hooking your audience by using exciting quotes from the show (the more outrageous, the better), giving them no choice but to listen to find out more. When it comes to your outro, end with a clear call to action, driving your listeners to take action whilst you have their attention. Give your audience clear instructions and you will create a memorable lasting impression and see results.
Are you still listening?
Now you’ve spent all this time recording and editing your podcast, you’ll want to make sure it’s accompanied with a powerful marketing strategy to ensure it reaches the relevant audience. From creating a powerful podcast title and description, to producing transcriptions and accompanying social posts. You need to put the time and effort into getting your podcast seen (well, heard) by your audience, otherwise what’s the point? As a rule, you should aim to spend just 20% of your time creating your podcast, and the other 80% promoting it. After all, greater exposure equals greater results!
The number of weekly podcast listeners has grown by 120% over the last 4 years, and it’s showing no signs of slowing. All you need is a computer, a concept and a microphone, so what’s stopping you?