Podcasts have been around for well over a decade but are now rapidly growing in popularity on account of their quality, portability and ability to fill ‘dead time’.
The number of people regularly listening to podcasts is skyrocketing; with weekly listeners more than doubling in the past five years. What’s more, podcast listeners are typically educated, affluent and loyal – a good bunch of people to welcome through the door of your brand.
But podcasting is still in its infancy in terms of the numbers of broadcasters. Compared to blogs (150m) and vlogs (50m) there were a mere 660,000 podcasts as of March 2019.
It’s a good time to enter the podcasting market, hone your skills and use this growing media channel as a way to build an emotionally engaged audience for your brand. Here are five tips from my 2019 brightonSEO talk on how to make a podcast that gains subscribers, mentions, links and which, well, just kicks ass.
Establish a mission
All the best podcasts have a ‘mission’ which they can explain clearly and succinctly to their audience. Make sure yours is a true passion because you’ll need to sustain your own interest as well as that of your audience through potentially hundreds of hours of recording. Don’t feel like you have to follow the norm, though – podcasts come in all shapes and sizes. As long as you follow your own curiosity, you’ll find a niche which shares that interest and success will follow.
“Know that you don’t have to follow the norm! Create a show that’s for you, that excites you & success will follow” –Adelaide Goodeve, The Adelaide Podcast
“Pick an underlying theme that runs through all of your episodes. Ours is topics relating to millennials so it helps us to work out what our listeners would be interested in hearing” – Pippa & Laura, The Millennial Matters Podcast
Create a clever name
There are two main strategies for naming a podcast. Number one is for celebrities, major organisations and popular broadcasters, who have the luxury of a massive following and / or a strong advertising budget. If this is you, the best option may be to name your podcast after yourself and simply gain traction through your already significant popularity. Number two is for newbies and smaller upstarts. If this is you, do some research to find out what your audience is looking for. Use tools like Buzzsumo, Google Keyword Planner, AnswerThePublic and Google Trends to build a powerful picture of your audience. Then create a name they’ll find when they ask their questions online.
“You could have the best content in the world, but if no one can find you or knows about you then you’re not going to grow” – Chris Brown, Undr the Cosh
“Just like in business and life, you can’t be everything to everybody. Therefore my tip is to focus on a niche that you genuinely care about” – Simon Tefula, The Simon Tefula Show
Secure exciting interviewees
Strong interviewees (alongside a brilliant host) are the backbone of any podcast. Firstly, the interviewees will help make each episode interesting and shareable. Secondly, if they have their own following, they’ll share the podcast as well and help you make it famous. Don’t treat interviewees like a commodity – treat them like the VIPs they are.
“Make lasting connections with the people you interview so they’re more likely to share with their audience and tell their friends and family in general to help spread the word” – Lindsay Williams, Language Stories
Craft a solid intro
The first 30 seconds of your podcast are absolutely crucial. Use them to explain to your listeners what they’ll get out of your podcast. Create a jingle using license free music from YouTube Audio Library or similar. And build a sense of anticipation and excitement so people feel pumped up and mentally commit to stay with you through the show. And be consistent with what you’re offering to encourage long-term listeners.
“People will quickly stop following if it’s irregular or doesn’t have a set date” – Tom Bourlet, The Spaghetti Traveller
“Consistency builds audience engagement” – Philippa Hammond, The Other 1%
We’ve covered the relationships you build with interviewees. But the way to sustain a successful podcast beyond the first seven episodes (93% don’t make it that far) is to build a powerful relationship with your audience. Podcasts naturally generate a special, emotional bond with listeners, which is what makes them such successful sales vehicles – 64% of regular podcast listeners have bought something after hearing about it on a podcast. To quote sound consultant Julian Treasure: “The human voice: It’s the most powerful sound in the world. It’s the only one that can start a war or say ‘I love you.'” Build trust and cherish your audience – your business will reap the rewards of their loyalty.
“Don’t feel obliged to upload an episode just because it has been recorded! Instead, make sure that you live up to your audience’s expectations” – Carl Reader, The Carl Reader Show
“I found being very open to and inviting feedback from early listeners helped me mould a show that suited their needs and built early loyalty” – Mike McGrail, The Different Minds Podcast
One extra tip? Get started. Every small step you take will bring your podcast closer to reality.
“Get started. So many people have ideas for a podcast but then procrastinate and create excuses for not doing it. Take the first step today! Secondly, to get started you don’t need a massive budget. Start small then go from there, like I did” – Dan Hawes, Student Diaries & Graduate Recruiters Network