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What makes a great podcast?

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What’s the secret to a successful podcast?

While there’s no magic formula for a successful podcast there are a few key things you need to do if you want your podcast to be referred to as “must listen” rather than “must avoid.”

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Think about your listeners

If you want an audience to connect with your podcast you need to be thinking about them when you’re putting your content together.

That often means leaving your ego at the door and making sure you’re making decisions based on what your listeners want to hear rather than what you want to say.

Why you should design an ideal listener for your podcast

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Choose a niche

This is often counterintuitive for new podcasters because it’s easy to think that trying to appeal to fewer people will limit your audience.  But when you’re starting out if you try to appeal to everyone you actually end up appealing to no one.

The exception to this is if you’ve already got an established profile because then you become the niche.

For example, if Lady Gaga decided to do the Lady Gaga Podcast where she spoke about whatever came to mind that’s fine because Lady Gaga is the niche so her content and idea can be fluid.

But if you’re starting out and you want to grow an audience you need an idea that’s easy to communicate and simple to understand.

If people have to think too hard about the concept or can’t tell if it’s something they’re interested in straight away, they’ll move on and find something else.

Does your podcast have to be niche?

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Deliver your content consistently

If you want to reach the heights of podcasting glory you’re probably not going to get there by dropping an episode into people’s ears ‘whenever you can be bothered.’

If listeners like your content they’ll want to know when they can listen to a new episode and if you expect them to turn up you have to do the same.

Dropping an episode every week is a huge commitment so if that’s not do-able think about breaking your podcast up into seasons.

That way you can let your audience know when you’re going to be in their ears and use the breaks to get ahead of yourself and plan your content for the next season.

Should you release your podcast episodes on the same day?

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Pay attention to the quality of your audio

Gone are the days when you could set up a mic in your echoey kitchen and people would tune in out of curiosity because there weren’t many other shows around.

The podcasting landscape is flooded with shows and the competition is fierce.  So you need to make sure you’re thinking about how your podcast sounds and shipping out the best quality audio possible.

That’s often as simple as moving to a different room or purchasing the right microphone.  But listening to crappy audio isn’t a great experience for anyone and with so much choice out there if your show sounds bad people won’t stick with it.

How to record high-quality audio at home

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Get the chemistry right

This applies whether you’re podcasting solo or with a co-host.

If you’re on your own you need to think about how you’re communicating with your audience because the sign of a good podcast is when the audience feels like they’re being spoken to by a close friend.

To do this you really need to think about how you’re presenting, keep your audience in mind and make sure you’re engaging and connecting with them.

If you’re podcasting with a co-host, as long as they’re the right one, chemistry is often much easier to harness and it’s something that can make people really attached to your show.

If you want to monetise your podcast, run live events or ask your listeners to participate in your content they need to be invested in your show.

That means they need to feel connected to you and that’s all about chemistry.

How to keep an audience engaged when podcasting solo

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Think creatively about how to deliver your content

When podcasts first started there was a belief that the only format was “two people sitting down talking for an hour.”

With so much flexibility in terms of what you can do in your show, there’s no excuse not to try and make it as interesting as possible.

If two people in front of a mic is the best way to deliver your content, great.  But the sky’s the limit in terms of what you could do so make the most of that freedom.

How to make great podcast ads

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Promote the crap out of it

Ain’t no one going to know about your podcast unless you tell them about it.

Promoting your show is an essential part of getting your podcast in front of new eyes and ears and one of the common mistakes podcasters make is they only share their show on the day it launches.

If your show is evergreen i.e. the content doesn’t date, you can post about each episode multiple times a week for years.

If your content is topical you can still post the day of release, the day after, a few days after that and maybe at the end of the week as well.

Platforms like Instagram and Facebook are a little less forgiving than Twitter in terms of message frequency but don’t be afraid to share your show multiple times.

Your audience and new listeners probably won’t see your post until you tweet about it the 5th time and you want to give your show the best chance of being found.

How to promote your podcast

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Put your audience at ease

No one wants to listen to someone who sounds like they’re working out where their podcast is going at the same time their audience.

Sounding in control helps put your audience at ease which makes listening to your show a relaxing experience.

People aren’t going to stick around if listening feels awkward or if they’re nervous for you so practice your presenting and be as prepared as possible so you sound like a safe pair of hands.

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

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Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!

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