A podcast should help you communicate with your customers and be a source of useful information, information that they will actually want to listen to. While some people believe there is an audience for just about any kind of content, if you really want to use your podcast as a way to improve your business and maybe even make money, it needs to be a topic (or at the very least, a stance of a topic) that people will be excited about. Once you’ve decided on the basic content of your podcast, we have five tips to help make your podcast successful.
1. Get the right equipment.
You may think that a MacBook and a headset are all you need to make a podcast—and you may be right, if you want your podcast to sound like a voicemail you’re leaving on someone’s phone. The podcast is the newest and best version of the radio show, so it should sound like it. Listen to a few of the most popular podcasts. For the most part, they will have excellent quality sound—this is because they have invested in the right equipment. No matter how much someone enjoys listening to the content of your podcast, if the quality of the recording is distractingly bad, you will eventually lose that listener. How do you find good equipment? Look around the homepages for your favorite podcasts. Many of the list the equipment that they use. A favorite among podcasters, especially those who are just starting and who don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a microphone, is the Blue Yeti USB. Competitively priced, it works with just about every computer.
Here is another microphone and podcast kit that got good reviews on Amazon:
2. Don’t just talk.
A podcast, unless you want it to sound slightly manic, should be edited, both before and after. What does that mean? It means that before you start the podcast, edit what you want to say. Make sure it is all relevant to one topic and that tangents are to a minimum. The last thing you want to do is get distracted. You want the podcast to have a somewhat consistent pattern, ensuring that your listeners know what to expect. Once you’ve recorded the podcast, go back and edit it. Tangents and mistakes should be removed or re-recorded. If your podcast has a segmented structure, it will be easy to take out or re-record a piece of it, without the entire podcast sounding as if it is cut and pasted together.
3. Choose the right topics.
What are the right topics? In short, the right topics are anything that you feel passionately about, within the scope of your podcast’s theme. You may love new products, but if your podcast is about advertising, spending an entire podcast talking about the latest product releases is not appropriate—unless you want to talk about the way that products are marketed and how your listeners can employ those same strategies. You also want your topics to be unique. If a person can find the same topic on another podcast, and especially if that podcast is popular, they are going to choose the other podcast. Find a unique way to discuss your topics and develop your own style and voice. Feel free to glean ideas from other podcasts in your niche, but don’t be a copycat. If you are going to discuss the same topic as another podcast, acknowledge the reference, but be sure that your discussion expands and expounds on their take.
On a personal note I think that the best podcast you can find on the web is This Week In Startups, Entrepreneur Jason Calacanis does an amazing job hosting the most interesting people in the startup business industry, if you can learn to do a podcast like him you are golden.
4. Brand the podcast.
As with any product, in order to be successful, your podcast will need a consistent brand. An excellent name is the first place to start. It should reference your topic and your business, if possible, as well as being memorable, so that listeners can easily find it and easily recommend it to their friends. Rather than trying something artsy or too referential, go for something basic and descriptive. A thriving website, with plenty of keyword rich content, is also a must. It should either have a page where visitors can listen to the podcasts, or have links to each individual episode. This page can be separate from your other webpage, but the two should be linked in some way, so that visitors looking at one or the other will be funneled towards the podcast or towards making a purchase. An appropriate logo is also a must. On iTunes and listening websites, the logo will be the face of the podcast. It should grab viewers’ attentions and reference back to the content of the podcast.
A great branding opportunity in my opinion is giving out coupon codes on your podcast. When you do this make sure to brand the codes, every coupon code should have your name in it.
5. Build an audience.
A solid website, dedicated solely to the podcast, is a great place to start. It should be professional and clean, and it doesn’t even have to cost you money. A WordPress site usually gets the job done. One great way to build a loyal audience is to provide avenues for audience participation. Live chats are a great way to do that, as are polls and surveys. As you publish your podcasts, you should be able to track which episodes get more traffic than others. Analyze those episodes and determine why those are more popular than others. Use social media and your main website to spread the word and encourage listeners to subscribe so that they don’t miss a single episode. The formula that has worked for content creators for years is to simply ask those that enjoyed the episode to subscribe—a large portion will.
If you need hosting
Follow these tips and you will have a successful podcast up and running in no time! Good luck!
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