Podcasts have spiked in popularity over the past decade, and it may seem like launching a successful one could be a lost cause. There have certainly been a lot of abandoned podcast shows, but by following some of our tips, you could easily rake in some impressive results over time. No matter what subject matter or category you decide to place your show in, we've got you covered on what to keep in mind as you start your new content journey.
As a formerly successful podcast host, here is my list of the most essential do's and don'ts that you should remember before launching a podcast below.
1. Consistency is KEY.
The biggest way to build success is by keeping consistency with your show, and that includes all ways. Not only should you remain consistent with how often you record and release shows in order to build a loyal audience, but you should also be consistent with your show's content itself. If you have a podcast about politics, it might not be appealing for your audience to hear an episode about your favorite foods and recipes. If you aren't sure what you want your podcast to be about specifically, you can always opt for a variety show, which takes a lot more planning and preparation.
2. Don't deter from your mission or brand just to cater to a certain audience or narrative.
We've seen it happen too many times before. A podcast goes viral or builds a huge following, earns sponsorships and paid deals and next thing you know, majority of the show feels like one big commercial with click-bait soundbites in between. If your show is already gaining success due to a particular aspect you've included, think twice before switching up the script.
3. Research and plan out your episodes.
Many people believe that if they put a microphone in front of them, they can easily curate a successful podcast. While controversial or unpopular opinions might be enough to make someone turn the volume up, a messy format is an easy way to get a one-time listener. As humans with mostly short attention spans, we tend to get distracted from the main points of conversations if we're not careful. It's quite common to hear a podcast that sounds all over the place, making it difficult for listeners to follow the discussion. Try to include segments that have a particular time limit in order to keep things clean.
4. If you have guests, be sure to give them the proper space and engagement to contribute.
It's always exciting when a podcast includes a guest because it's another chance to get a fresh perspective in the mix of recurring hosts. While many guests come with the purpose of enhancing the show, rather than stealing the spotlight for it, hosts tend to disregard the presence of a guest and their stories. If you're inviting a guest, be sure to make them feel welcome, and most importantly, heard.
5. Use the right equipment with little to no background noise
The best part about doing a podcast in comparison to a radio show or a web series is that it can be done just about anywhere and isn't a live show. While it decreases the pressure of having high quality equipment that helps with immediate appearance, you still need the right equipment and environment for a successful recording. Before you purchase any equipment, you have to be sure that you won't be disturbed by a lot of background noise during your recording. The type of location of your recording sessions can determine what kind of microphone would be best. (You can also check out our selection of microphones!)
Fortunately, all that's needed for the basics of launching a podcast is a mic, headphones, a recording interface (or you can use your computer) and your itinerary.
6. Credit any and all sources or ideas talked about on your show if they aren't original.
Making references on your podcast to back up your discussions is always going to be a common recurrence, being that listeners can't actually see what is being talked about. Aside from helping people to find the original source, crediting any and all stories, ideas and quotes is super critical for your podcast's own credibility. If you're constantly referring to social media posts or articles from the web, you should always state the original author's name or handle.
7. Think about the length and people's attention spans.
Let's face it. Our attention spans these days are pretty shot compared to the days before smart phones. While there are many who enjoy listening to long podcast episodes to keep them stimulated at work or during commute times, there are also listeners who may not listen past even just 5 minutes of recording time. Get to know your audience's needs and some of your show's analytics (if you do keep track) after a few episodes to check when could be your best cut-off time.
8. Unless your show's premise is based on news or timely topics, try to keep your content as evergreen as possible.
Unlike many radio shows, podcasts are posted to websites or sources where they could potentially live forever. There's a good chance that your episode could be discovered by new listeners far after its original release date, which means that the content they first hear is the most important. Discussing the latest news stories or topics surrounding particular isolated events tends to turn away new listeners who want to feel connected to the show, its hosts and its mission. Try to ask yourself, "How would someone feel hearing this next month, or even next year?"
In a world full of so much creative freedom, standing out with original content isn't easy, but if you keep at it, you could find a huge pay-off. If you're thinking of launching a podcast or upgrading your current show, check out our list of fresh podcast show ideas, as well as our official equipment guide for podcasters on a budget.