Content has been king – and will continue to be – for a very, very long time.
When it comes to podcasts, that’s no different.
So that’s why if you want to start a podcast -you’re going to need a bulletproof process to churn out better, more exciting content.
Great content doesn’t just mean enjoyable past-time listening. It means content that your audience is going to love engaging with as much as they can!
But first – why should you have a podcast of your own?
It’s one of the most explosive mediums you can be on at the moment. Almost 80% of podcast consumers already listen to an average of 7 hours of content per week!
Without going too much into the boring numbers; there’s a simple explanation.
More and more Americans are hopping on this train, and you don’t want to fall behind. With a reasonably allocated budget and some pre-planning, you can get a head start with your channel.
Here’s a rundown on the most updated podcasting tips out there right now.
Plus; podcast channels just became the latest, hottest addition to content marketing.
Why should you start focusing on a content strategy for all of your podcasts?
To kick things off – it’s one of the easiest ways to get ahead of the competition. People take their smartphones everywhere they go and listen to their home assistants more and more.
If you’re not already with a decent podcast channel, we can almost guarantee you that your competitors are already five steps ahead -gunning for the audience you’re about to lose.
Content marketing isn’t just solely focused on blog posts and social media anymore -so get with the game.
Investing in a bulletproof content and podcast guide is something you need to have done. Like, yesterday.
It needs to be comprehensible, precise process that you stick to when fishing for ideas. Or when you’ve hit a brick wall with thinking of new episode themes.
Regardless, viral podcast content has nothing to do with luck. Careful planning is due here -so pay attention to the next few steps!
1. Before each episode – mind map.
Have a rapid-fire round with yourself to come up with brand new, exciting and unique ideas.
We have to highlight mind maps for this step. Start with the main theme.
Let’s say you run a business advice podcast -and you want your theme for the week to be startups. From that general idea, branch out even more. Think “startup myths debunked,” or “how to grow your startup network,” so on and so forth!
Now keep this in mind! After you take this massive brain dump of ideas -you’re going to want to refine it.
Start asking the right questions. Will your demographic resonate with this? Has this topic been covered way too many times? Who has done this before -and how can you offer a different perspective? Can you lead your audience back to any past articles or content?
If you want to skip the whole jotting ideas down on pen and paper; that’s fine too!
MindMup is a free online mind mapping software that simplifies a ton of this process. You can also just as easily access all of your past works.
This means you can add, edit and totally re-organize your previous mind maps for new episodes! This makes it easier to pick up where you left off and keep track of what you’ve already done.
2. Understand what your audience ACTUALLY needs.
One of the best podcasting tips anyone can give you? Always have intimate knowledge of your target listeners’ grievances. This includes what they’re talking about, new frustrations that have risen in your niche, etc.
You need to be on the front line of every conversation, pronto!
Ever heard of a customer journey map? Basically, it’s a process that most businesses would come up with to scrutinize each step taken by their potential consumers to get to their product/service.
After your mind map in Step #1, you can start narrowing down the topics and content your listeners WANT to hear, instead of making rough guesses.
You could find countless examples and work-ups for a customer journey map online; there’s no need to sweat it coming up with a complicated diagram.
Questions you need to ask yourself will look something like this:
· How do you guide potential listeners to your channel?
· Which content is probably going to work better for engagement?
· Why do certain episodes perform better than the rest?
Then, come up with your own version of a customer journey map to improve the credibility of your content.
Start with understanding + establishing your channel through these ways:
· Forums and discussions
Get ahead of the conversation by finding out what’s buzzing in your niche. Scour platforms like Reddit, Quora, etc. to advise those who need it. After that, offer your podcast link below so people can find out more on their own time!
Besides being a gold mine of industry experts, LinkedIn is a fantastic way of keeping up with the professional world. If you’re just podcasting as a beginner so far -here’s one of the best places you can get a peek at content that’s going viral.
· When in doubt, ask!
What better to gauge your audience’s emotions and behaviors than asking them? Run a quick daily poll on your Insta and ask the right questions; like how they first stumbled onto your podcast, have they actually benefited from the advice, things they want to hear in the future, etc.
All three options are the holy grail for content marketers. You can understand what the world is talking about -and take advantage of talking about hot, viral content on all of your podcast episodes.
3. Think about your voice.
We’re not talking about tweaking your actual voice.
Your “voice” here is the unique persona and personality that embodies your podcast.
Any good podcast guide will definitely mention the need for you to establish your own voice for your channel.
Are you sarcastic and witty with your advice? No-bullshit and direct to the point? Maybe extravagant and larger than life?
Interesting content is going to draw in audiences, yes!
To really maximize your impact and create stuff that people keep coming back to; pay some attention to deliverance too.
So sprinkle your own je ne sais quio through everything you do. It doesn’t matter how compelling or well-informed your content is if you’re going to sound like a robot on your episodes.
4. Start monetizing your podcast!
Monetizing your podcast might sound like you’re doing this specifically for profit -but lo and behold!
It’s an underrated podcasting tip that allows you to curate better, more dynamic content frequently.
Pay attention to this tip because it’s the best of both worlds situation.
Not only are you getting the chance to make money in real-time for all your efforts, but you’re offering more value to your listeners’ time.
How? By offering them proven solutions to improve whatever aspect of their life at hand. Pretty simple stuff.
Here are some of the easiest ways you can get started, especially if you’re podcasting as a beginner:
· Generating leads
Think of this as a little affiliate marketing through your podcast channel. You recommend a product/service that is going to solve a problem your audience faces. Make sure it’s of fantastic quality and screened extensively -so your audience understands that your channel can be counted on for amazing suggestions.
· Selling sponsorships
Besides being a great way of monetizing your podcast -this amps up perceived value for your listeners. Sponsorship/ads can be heard by the trademark, “…this episode was brought to you by…” and is a great way to boost your credibility. Midroll has a fantastic selection of advertisers and respectable rates to choose from.
· Advertise your own products and services
You wanted to start a podcast to get your personal brand noticed by the masses. Why not do that? Obviously, you don’t want to stroke your ego for a half-hour straight – but hear us out.
Take a few minutes of each episode to talk about your ventures. Maybe it’s a brand new eBook that you’ve written., or it could be through an online course you’re holding on Udemy. It could even be something as simple as the latest article posted on your blog.
Either way, each interested listener is now a potential customer of whatever you’re selling. Hook, line, sinker.
5. Decide on a podcast structure, but be fluid with variety.
The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes interviews phenomenal businessmen and women from all over the globe.
We Study Billionaires is a conversation between two people regarding the successful minds of investors.
Lore (one of the most successful dark tales podcast channels around) delves deep into the storytelling of bizarre.
No matter what style you choose to adopt for your channel -it needs to be totally kickass at conveying your content.
The worst mistake you can make as a podcasting beginner is to probably have aaaaallll this fantastic, one-of-a-kind ideas festering in your brain, but fall short in the way you present your information. Such a waste!
Let’s say you’re running a dating advice podcast.
You might be able to scatter a few interview-like episodes with love gurus and relevant experts once in a while…but is it sustainable framing your entire podcast to operate that way?
Where are you going to find this evergreen supply of professionals? If they’re not experts -are your listeners even bothered to listen to interviews of regular, run-of-the-mill people recount their lovesick experiences?
The last thing you want to do is to change up the channel structure abruptly for the lack of proper planning. If your listeners even get a whiff that you’re fumbling in the dark with this; they’re good as gone.
Be 100% sure of the mainframe you’re going to build your episodes around. It’s entirely up to you if you want to switch things up every now and then, but keep the consistency as much as you can!
We’ve narrowed down a few examples if you’re starting out:
· The Storytelling Podcast
Stories will always have a timeless way of capturing the attention of your audience. People want to stay for the beginning, build-up, climax, and conclusion -it’s just neurological!
Podcasts based around stories are a powerful tool you can use for your listeners to empathize with you.
How you work up a storytelling podcast is entirely up to you; since there are no real two same ways to go about it.
Above all – building rapport and intimacy is critical here. Instead of keeping it straight to the point (and sometimes clinical) with facts + data; you can afford to have more frills here.
Of course, it’s always essential to study your niche before you jump into storytelling.
It’s important to note that while some listeners are inclined to listen to detailed stories – not everyone might share the same sentiments in your audience.
We’re guessing if your niche is something like digital marketing; people would prefer something more direct, right?
The storytelling structure comes highly recommended if you want to start a podcast based on real crime recounts, fantasy tales, sci-fi, society, and culture or even news stories that are good topics for discussion.
· The Interview Podcast
Interview based podcasts are a great route to take if you have the resources to experts from your niche.
However, this structure of the podcast involves a little bit more effort than the rest. You’ve got to start looking for relevant industry professionals, start emailing and reaching out to them. Of course, it’ll then take a substantial amount of time to come up with dates and content that would suit both sides.
If they can meet up in a studio -great! Otherwise, you’re left at the risky chance of Skype calls and Internet connections.
To start a podcast that involves mostly interviewees, we suggest that you invest a little more time with networking above all.
Branch out to the right people, establish your dominance a little more in said niche.
This would not only allow a higher chance to have guests respond back to you – but for listeners to pay closer attention to your podcast. Thus, increasing the likelihood of your content becoming more viral!
It goes without saying that you need to be well prepared for each and every episode. Never wing it – always, always perform the necessary background research about your guest before interviewing them.
It also helps if you ready a list of questions on hand during the episode!
· The Solo Podcast
The solo-based podcast is pretty much one of the most popular ones around.
Essentially -these are the best types of podcasts to go with if you’ve got a whole lot of expertise and lessons to share with the rest of the world.
Don’t confuse this with the storyteller technique though! Stories require you go to intimate detail and knowledge for each episode – but solo podcasts are a little more freehand.
If you’re starting, solo episodes are the best way to kick things off.
You’ve got total control of your schedule, editing becomes more manageable, and it’s a fantastic way to enforce your personal signature to audiences in your niche.
Look at examples from the Dave Ramsey Show -one of our personal favorites!
Running a solo show as he does lets him have the total creative freedom of what he chooses to put out; whether it be through advice and tips, personal experiences, or anything of the sort.
All of this becomes super important towards your branding strategy as well. If you’ve managed to gain devoted listeners tuning into your advice every week, they’re bound to flock to your social media pages, personal website, YouTube channel, etc.
· The Conversational Podcast
A fairly common type of podcast, conversations are mostly an exchange of opinions between two or more hosts about anything at all.
If you’re lucky enough to find a co-host (or more than one at that!) whom you great chemistry with; this is an interesting option to explore!
Often, these co-hosts individually present their own persona to the show.
You might have the chatty, likable Person A in one corner. The quiet, sarcastic Person B. The rowdy, outgoing Person C to wrap it all up.
A great example of a conversational podcast is the one with the Try Guys.
Listening to them is the equivalent to being in the background of old friends catching up. It’s quick-witted, filled with rambunctious dialogue and laughter most of the time -and just all-around easy to listen to!
Another plus point? Conversational podcasts give more people the chance to collaborate on ideas, topics for discussion, content strategies, and more.
It’s just like we mentioned before. Producing riveting content also takes into account how you frame it, so make sure you’ve got a diverse set of co-host(s) to amp up the excitement!
6. Promote more giveaway contests.
Who said anything about giveaways being limited to Instagram and the rest of social media?
As long as there’s free stuff, discounts, or merch involved – you can bet on people flocking to grab what’s available.
So, apply this same reasoning when you start a podcast!
You can quickly draw more listeners in this way. It also makes for a more energetic, and value-driven content strategy; so your listeners always feel like you’re keeping them in mind above everything.
Podcasters have been doing this since the start of time. Usually, this involves listeners leaving a review on iTunes, subscribing to a YouTube channel or an email list -which will then allow for them to qualify to be in the running.
Of course, you’ll have to set aside a certain reward for the selected winner(s).
If you don’t have the budget or resources for merch and other tangible prizes -consider something like free access to one of your paid eBooks/online courses or guides that would benefit them greatly.
7. Encourage a two-way communication channel.
It doesn’t matter which podcast format you choose to employ. At the end of the day, your channel always has to be about the ones listening.
No doubt about it that everyone starting a podcast is after some sort of self-expression, and that’s okay! However, you still want your listeners to understand that their opinion matters to the progress of your channel.
We cover in exhaustive detail the importance (and benefits!) of customer loyalty right here.
One of the most golden podcasting tips out there? If you want people to start paying attention to you; pay attention to them FIRST.
Ask your listeners weekly questions. Give them some daily challenges. Urge them to report their feedback -and then start mentioning them on your episodes! You could even go the extra mile and tag them on social media.
It’s not rocket science to make people feel appreciated.
Another way you could encourage a two-way process is to also respond to their questions and problems while you’re hosting your episode.
Chances are, other listeners might have the exact same issue. This can also be a source of simple, engaging, user-generated content with little to no effort at all.
8. Don’t skip on the visuals.
That’s right! It may not seem that way since podcasts play heavily on audio content – but graphic content matters more than you could ever imagine.
Let’s say you’re on the hunt for a brand new true-crime podcast. The first thing you notice off the bat is the attractiveness of their podcast thumbnail -that’s just how the human brain responds!
Also, we’re pretty sure you’re not even going to bother clicking through a cover that looks like it was made on MS Paint.
9. Pay attention to your episode description.
Last but certainly not least; pay attention to your channel descriptions.
This includes any channel information, episode titles and descriptions as well as other relevant SEO keywords that should be included.
Including the right SEO keywords, especially, is key!
If you’ve got a potential listener scouring Spotify for his/her latest “modern business” fix -there are certain words you want to utilize constantly.
Words like business and technology news, startup advice, professional tips, or anything of the like are commonly used in the descriptions of popular channels.
We even have a little cheat sheet for you that breaks down all the worst things you can do with SEO – and how to do it right to drive an insane amount of traffic in the future.
There are tons of elements to factor in before you start a podcast -but don’t let that deter you!
Having an awesome podcasting content strategy doesn’t require you to crack your head and obsess over each episode going viral.
In all actuality; it requires you to be consistent with what you put out, disciplined with seeing each step to the very end – and then reaping the benefits of what you sow.
If you take anything from the above podcast guide at all; let it be this.
Put your podcast listeners at the forefront of everything you do.
Be it through a two-way communication process, or the proper research into relevant topics needed, do these two steps right, and you’re guaranteed to thrive as a podcaster.
As always, happy hustling!
Jesslyn has been a senior content strategist and writer for personal finance and side hustles for the past 4 years. She believes in the power of an idea and breaking the rules whenever necessary. Above all, balance is everything. When she’s not writing up a mad scramble, she leans towards wine bars and yoga studios on the weekends.