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Podcast Pointers: What, Why and How?
October 22, 2019

Our podcast courses are becoming more popular than ever and that’s hardly surprising given the growth of this kind of audio content.  According to a recent report by Ofcom

“Around 7.1 million people in the UK now listen to podcasts each week. That’s one in eight people and is an increase of 24% over the past year – and more than double over the past five years. Ofcom research also found that half of listeners have joined the podcast wave in the last two years.”

Podcasts are a great way of making a strong connection with your target audience and establishing yourself as an expert and thought leader in your sector.  We’d love to see you on one of our podcasting courses some time soon but in the meanwhile, here’s a brief guide to the kind of thing you’ll learn plus some tips on creating a great podcast – and getting it out there.

 

Audience

As always this is the most important consideration and we stress that fact in our podcast workshops, as well as our media training and presentation training courses.  Who is your audience?  Where are they?  What do they like?  What do they want to know?  Why would they listen to you rather than someone else?

Subject

Once you’re clear on this you can decide on the subject matter of your podcast.  What are you going to talk about?  Is it different from the competition?  If so, how?  What’s your angle, your Unique Selling Point?  Very importantly, is there a gap in the market?

The host(s)

Who’ll host it?  Will there be a co-host?  Will they resonate with the audience?  Is there a rapport between the two of you?  You’ll want a style that is contrasting but also complementary.   So, who’ll do what on the podcast?

The name

Choose a name that is distinctive.  It should intrigue but also mean give the audience a good idea of what they’re going to get.  This is your headline, in effect.  Switched on Pop, for instance, looks at music from an enthusiastic but intelligent point of view, while How I Built It, produced by NPR in the US, is an interview with an entrepreneur about their experience creating a business.

Length

Two minutes is enough for many people these days but ideally your podcast should be around 30 minutes.  Make sure that people know how long it’s going to be and in essence how much they’re going to get from each episode.

Format  

A good podcast should have the variety and flow of a good TV or radio show or a magazine.  We explore this further in our podcast courses but here’s a suggested template:

  Intro music

  Hello and welcome

  Introductions (“My name is…and with me is…)

  A teaser about what your listeners are going to hear and learn

  Ad spot (if you’ve managed to sell some airtime!)

  News /what’s happening in your world

  Interview

  Ad spot

  Discussion

  More news and discussion

  Interview

  Call to Action, i.e., “Don’t forget to subscribe…” or “Listen out for our next edition…”

Cover art

Make it stand out.  Remember that it will only be around the size of a postage stamp on iTunes and other media so keep it bold and simple.  Complex graphics and subtle effects will be lost.  Don’t just think of the subject of your podcast but consider the tone and style.  Your artwork will have to reflect this too.

Music

Theme tunes or “stings” as those little jingles between different sections of a TV or radio programme are called, will help to give your podcast a more slick and professional sound and feel.  Melody Loops is one of several places to find music.   Otherwise search for “royalty free music.”

Guests

Who will provide information, insights and perhaps useful tips and advice for your listeners?  As well as useful content, having guest on your show adds variety – it’s a different voice and personality – and most guests will help with promotion as well.  They’ll usually talk about their appearance on your podcast on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other sites.  You can also return the favour with your social media.

Be realistic about who you’re going to approach.  It’s unlikely that an A list celebrity will be available but anyone promoting their book, their organisation company or their podcast is more likely to agree to give you their time.  Journalists are usually happy to offer their thoughts (we’re journalists ourselves, so we can say that) and someone representing a charity or campaigning on an issue will also be more willing to do you a turn.

Keep a note of who’s appeared on your podcast and what positive publicity they got for themselves or their cause as a result.  With hard work and persistence as your audience and reputation grows, you’ll be able to attract higher profile names – it’s a virtuous spiral.

Don’t forget to offer your services as a guest to other shows.  Again, there are great opportunities for positive publicity and social media content as a result.

Podcast equipment

It’s worth investing in at least two good quality microphones.  A set of headphones will allow you to monitor the sound quality – are you too loud, for instance, compared with the voice level of your guest, or vice versa?

Mac’s music app GarageBand is great for recording and editing.  Other programmes that we’d recommend include Adobe Audition and Audacity, which both work with Mac and PC.

Bear in mind that, as with the radio programmes, some of your contributors might be remote rather than coming to your studio.  Apps such as Ecamm Call Recorder for Skype (Mac only) or Pamela (for Windows) can help here.  For better audio quality opt for specialist services such as Ringr.  Many also feature a facility that will allow your guests to contribute from their own phones.

Hosting

You’ll need a podcast hosting service, such as Buzzsprout so that you can submit it to iTunes.  Hopefully your audience will so love your first effort that they’ll be ready for more of them straight away, so launch three or four to start with – the equivalent of a podcasting box set.

Promoting it!

Finally, you’ll have to promote your beautifully produced podcast.  Inviting people to subscribe is important and you could also consider creating a dedicated website as this gives you plenty of options for publicity and promotion.  Submit it to podcast apps such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google.

 

We can tell you so much more during our podcast workshops and answer all your questions, but we hope that this has been useful.

Why don’t you check out our blog section for other media training tricks and tips or contact us here if you would like to find out more about starting a podcast.

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