(By Jeff McHugh) If it is your goal to do a podcast, simply whip out your mobile device, open one of the many podcast apps, and press “record.” For many, doing a podcast could be fulfilling for the host, but it often doesn’t attract listeners.
If it is your goal to do an original podcast that people listen to, there are many factors to consider.
When I am approached by a company or an individual with an idea for a podcast I strive to be encouraging, to look at what is possible – and to educate them on a few basic realities.
Podcasting – like any media or entertainment platform – is a crowded battlefield with many casualties. Of all the available podcasts in the world today, 75% are no longer active according to Podcast Industry insights. Many shows never make it to a second episode.
For initial conversations with aspiring podcasters, I try to guide them with simple start-up questions.
How will your show serve and entertain an audience? Good shows are designed to entertain first and inform second. Information podcasts must offer relevant, fact-checked information – content that the listener already cares about — not what they should care about. If a show is extraordinarily funny, humor trumps everything. A red flag is when a company wants to “showcase our brand and services.” That is an infomercial, not a show.
- Do you have an episode plan and show plan?
- A show plan includes:
- Frequency. Will the show post new episodes daily, weekly, monthly? Make a schedule and stick to it. Shows must post like clockwork to retain their audience.
- Multiple-episode content. How does episode one flow into episode two and then to episode three, carrying along as much of the audience as possible?
- A show plan includes:
- An episode plan includes:
- A knockout setup. The first words spoken on the show must grab the audience’s attention.
- Episode start. Place the best content of the episode in the first five minutes, where podcasts lose 20-30% of their audience.
- Episode end. Schedule the second-best content of the episode at the end, where the host can tease the audience into staying tuned.
- Pattern disruptions. Good podcasts re-engage the audience with some kind of change every 2 ½ to 5 minutes. Change topics, shift hosts, bring in new guests, add benchmark features.
- What is your business plan?
Budget and account for these items:
- How will you monetize the show? Advertisers? Subscribers? Client referrals?
- Editing and distribution. Consider outsourcing to an excellent, affordable production company like EditMyAudio.com from our friend, Tessa Hall.
- Audio: Microphones, soundproofing, etc. Cheap equipment sounds cheap.
- Graphics: Your show’s thumbnail logo is a make-or-break factor in attracting first-time listeners. Invest in a great one.
- Promotion: How will listeners find your show? Consider the cost of advertising on other podcasts.
- Have you done a competitive review? Studying what other podcasts in your genre are doing will help determine how your show needs to be different and how high to set the bar to compete.
- What are the stories you will tell? Imagine that a person wants to start a wine podcast. Our advice is stories, not stuff. Wine fans can get information about vintages, growing seasons, grape varietals, etc. from an app. A good wine podcast tells stories about interesting winemakers, how they began, life challenges and winery setbacks, and happy endings.
Jeff McHugh is known for developing remarkable talent for both morning and afternoon drive. He brings an uncommon mix of positivity, creativity, and strategy to the shows that he coaches. He is a member of the team at the Randy Lane Company. Reach Jeff at [email protected]