There are now over 265 million smartphone users in the USA alone. That figure is set to rise by another 20 million in the next four years.
With a great technology like podcasting—that anyone can use—the latest stats confirm just how popular the audio content format has become. In other words, those smartphone users are tuning in and listening to podcasts.
If you want your own podcasts to be heard, you need to know how to make a good podcast.
The latest stats tell us there are over 700,000 active podcasts and more than 29 million podcast episodes out there. Impressive and scary at the same time!
There's no need to panic, though. We're going to give you some podcast tips and tricks on how to stand out and a few basic guidelines on how to grow your audience.
What's your motivation for producing a podcast? Some people do them for fun, which is great. Everyone should have fun producing great content.
To be successful at it, however—especially if your podcast is business-oriented— you need to work out what the purpose of your podcast is and what its goals are.
People like the most popular podcasts not only because of their content but because of the personal spin that the podcaster puts on the subject.
Finding a niche where you know you can enjoy yourself and make a difference are the aims. Being yourself and applying your individual touch to your podcasts will go a long way to your podcasts gaining listenership.
So many podcasts fail to hold listeners' attention because they try to say too much about everything at once. They spread themselves thin and wide. The worst thing to do is switch on the mic and start talking without preparing anything.
Great podcasts dive deep, are well researched, and give detail.
Many podcasts take the form of interviews. This entails pre-production work. You have to find guests, book guests, and make sure you have a whole lot of facts and info on your guest and the subject being discussed.
With audio by itself, every second counts. The better your research, and the better the questions you ask, the less editing you have to do afterward.
Long silences and coughing and sneezing into the mic are no-go areas, and these have to be edited out.
Post-production is probably the hardest part of the process. When you're editing, you need to develop an ear for the art of storytelling. Remember that editing is also about putting together a package your followers will feel is worth listening to.
You want your listeners to feel that they are receiving a coherent, rounded program. You want your listeners to feel like it was worth spending time hearing what you (and your guest) had to say.
You probably will make a few technical errors when you start, but there is nothing like practice to make you improve!
Post-production also involves putting together material that promotes your podcast and figuring out the strategies you're going to use to do that. Decide early on, for example, what podcast channels you're going to use.
If YouTube is one of them, you have the option to provide a transcript of your audio.
Sound quality is important and is almost a whole topic on its own. Our advice is to invest in recording equipment that is a little above entry-level. Test that the equipment is functioning properly before you begin the podcast.
Face it, lots of things can and will go wrong while you are recording. A guest might not show, you might have technical issues in the middle of recording, or sudden distracting noises might come out of nowhere.
The important thing is not to stress.
You need to relax and take these things calmly. Carry on with the podcast if these problems are not disruptive to the audio.
The main thing is that the audience can hear you and your guests.
So you've produced great content. What now? You have to promote it.
You have to get your material out on to the social platforms where your target audience is.
Posting on your own site is the first step. As with all content, ensure that you use strategic descriptions and trending keywords. Remain faithful to your own brand, however and strive for consistency.
Sharing on relevant social platforms is a no-brainer: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and TikTok are all great options. Keeping abreast of the latest developments in social media has to be part of your strategy.
Your decision on which platforms to use will depend on which channels you want to use to promote your podcast.
For example, some hosting services distribute your podcasts to Spotify, iTunes, and Google. Other services make them available on a wider range of channels, including iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Overcast, and Android. Some provide a full transcript and show notes.
Deciding on these things is part of your strategy, but also points to how much you intend to communicate with your audience.
Preparing several posts in advance, with planned regular posting is still one of the most successful strategies out there, whether you're doing it daily, weekly, or once a month.
Track visits to your page. Affordable, and free, monitoring and analytics software exists, and this can be useful to find out if you're on target as far as your audience is concerned.
The "insights" part of the analytics is very useful. It can help you know what messages connect with your audience and what time of day they're most active.
If you get a lot of hits within the first hour of posting on Instagram, for example, the algorithm will favor that post and make it more visible on the discovery page. This will get the attention of people who are interested in pages similar to yours.
Use appropriate hashtags, but not too many. Too many hashtags are just annoying. as a lot of people follow specific hashtags. Captions should be short and sweet, and keep graphics simple.
Dong both these things will boost your visibility and SEO.
It's quite expensive to get a good production setup put together when you first start. Start simple and upgrade your hardware gradually.
Starting with the basic microphone on your laptop is not ideal, sound-wise, but it works and gets the job done.
Audio software can also be expensive, but most computers have simplified audio capturing and editing software.
Once you have got the hang of that, you can progress to more complex systems.
Once you gain a significant following, you might think of monetizing your site. And then you can invest in state-of-the-art equipment, and make new goals for your success!
You're doing podcasts because you're passionate about them, right?
Do it consistently, focusing on topics that you are truly passionate about. Work at making every podcast better than the one before. You'll soon figure out from experience a few things of your own about how to make a good podcast.
That hard work can pay dividends and you’ll achieve an engaging product that attracts the listenership you're aiming for.
Whether you’re starting a podcast for business or personal reasons, it can be a very successful digital marketing tool if used correctly.
Check out our blog for additional tips on working the social media angle.
We're also happy to help you with any questions you have about our favorite topic: digital marketing. Get in touch!