“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”– John Wooden
So you want to make a podcast?
As the year has gone on and people have had more time at home, more and more podcasts have dotted the landscape. Here at 2 East 8th we’ve run a few podcasts like the Mind Gap Podcast and The Best Bar Podcast Ever and have a few podcasting tips to share. After years of trial and error, we’ve discovered that proper planning is one key to podcast success. If you want to know how to become podcast famous overnight we’re still figuring that out too. However, if you want some podcasting tips to build a cast that will last, we’ve got you covered.
Why start podcasting in the first place?
Before you go too far you have to define what it is that’s making you want to begin podcasting. If you’re in it for the money, well we suggest you start reconsidering right away. I’m sure if you’re here you’ve asked yourself how much do podcasts make? For most people, as the article points out, the answer is nothing. Don’t let money be your measure of podcast success as there are far more successful podcast examples that aren’t in it for the money than those that are. Deciding what your motivations are is key to making a podcast work.
We wouldn’t want to discourage anyone, but podcasts, like anything you create, look, and feel best when you’re doing it because you enjoy it. Many people start podcasts because they have something to share, whether it’s advice, expertise, or just their thoughts. Many business owners have taken to podcasting as a form of audio blogging to help gain visibility. If you intend to enjoy yourself, enrich others or both, and you’ve got your eye on building something over time your odds of success become much greater.
Define your program and come up with a name
When it comes to defining your podcast, there are a few key questions you’ll want to ask yourself:
Who is my target audience?
Odds are high you’ll start out with no listeners, and that’s OK – the Mind Gap Podcast started there too. Think about who listens to podcasts and who from that group you want to speak to. If you can put together a profile of who you want to draw in, you’ll have an easier time coming up with topics and your podcasting format decisions. The folks over at Blog Talk Radio have put together a great article on creating your audience persona you can look at if you need help getting started on this task.
What is your podcast format?
There are so many ways to set up a podcast you’re almost spoiled for choice. You can have a solo podcast, employ a co-hosted system, have guests, or do something performative. Whatever you choose you’ll want to make sure it plays to your strengths. Also, know that this choice will also impact other aspects of your planning. If you have a co-host or guests you’ll need to be a master of scheduling. If you go solo you’ll rely on no one, but then it’s on you to bring it every week.
What is your podcasting schedule and episode length?
Your choices when it comes to format will have great influence on your podcasting schedule. One thing that’s been proven though is you need to be consistent. If people don’t know when to expect new episodes or there’s too much time between your releases, it will be very hard to establish any kind of following. The Mind Gap Podcast has developed a dedicated weekly schedule which is what works for us. Evaluate your time commitment and figure out if daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly works for you.
Your podcasting frequency will also determine how long your episodes could or should be. Not many people have the time to listen to a daily podcast that lasts an hour and fewer can keep up with such a torrid pace. Since Mind Gap Podcast is a discussion with and without guests we often let the flow of conversation dictate the final episode length. We did however land on 90 minutes as an average that we try to shoot for. Podcast statistics show that people subscribe to as many as 7 podcasts at a time and you want to have enough content to keep them entertained, but not so much they can’t keep up.
What are your podcasting topics?
Whew, now that you’ve sorted all that out you have to decide what you’re going to talk about. You can go the analytical route and run keyword research on your topic ideas, but we don’t recommend chasing trends. Trends are fickle and too much time spent trying to keep up can impact the quality of your podcast. Many podcasts are discussion-based where the topics revolve around a theme, while others are instructional and tap into a talent or specialty. Just make sure it’s something you know and enjoy. If the Mind Gap Podcast had decided to be about politics, it’s a sure bet we would have lost our minds by now or quit long ago. Politics is always trending and we have opinions we could talk on for hours. It just isn’t something we love though so we likely wouldn’t have made it past 14 episodes with that structure.
How should you name your podcast?
What’s in a name? Well if you want to get noticed in the world of podcasting it turns out quite a lot goes into a name. There are tools out there that can help such as a podcast name generator. For even more on choosing a name check out this great guide on choosing a domain name. This allows you to plug in your keywords or topics and feeds you some names that aren’t already taken (very important). It even allows you to see if the domain name for your new podcast is available in case you want to create a website, which is a great idea for longevity.
Make sure you get a name that helps define you and it wouldn’t hurt if your name was easily searchable. As you may find out certain aspects of your podcast are easier to change than others. You can change your schedule, format, and topics to some extent without losing a listener base. Changing your name will suddenly make it either harder to find you or lose parts of the base you’ve built. Changing your name is akin to hitting the reset button on your podcast.
What does podcast success mean for you?
As you’ve gone through this article, you may have noticed that Mind Gap Podcast didn’t actually follow all of our own advice (run a Google search of “Mind Gap” and you’ll see what we mean). The fact is we’ve learned a lot in the last 5 years – things we can impart to make it easier for you to go forward and have a successful podcast. Success is what you make of it. For us, success is getting to talk about topics we find interesting with people we like while making some people happy. We’ve been doing it for 5 years and we are excited to keep doing it. Decide what podcast success is for you and craft a plan to reach that. Also, don’t be a stranger. Drop-in and say “Hi” when we stream live on YouTube, leave a comment below, or drop a review on any of the podcast aggregators out there. Once you have your podcast up and running, let us know and we’ll make sure to stop by and do the same.