Want to Start a Podcast? Ask These Questions First
Welcome to the second installment of the Bliss Blog’s new miniseries: Premium Podcasting Practices. In this post, we help you determine whether you should start your own podcast. Stay tuned for more posts on how you can seize new opportunities and maximize your success in the ever-growing world of podcasting.
Depending on which history book you read, the advent of podcasts started sometime in the early 2000s. They’ve only grown in popularity and number since—1.75 million podcasts and over 43 million different episodes. The medium’s success presents a dilemma for us communications and marketing pros: Do clients need to jump on the podcast bandwagon?
Like every external communication tactic we suggest, it all boils down to compelling content. If you don’t have something interesting to talk about, no one’s going to listen. If no one’s listening to your podcast, it’s not really a podcast. It’s more of a fun audio project. But if you have compelling content to share with an external audience, then the podcast conversation is worth having.
What makes for compelling content? Something that isn’t self-serving. Something that’s informative. Something that an audience would find interesting or benefit from learning more about. The first podcast that got me hooked was season one of “Serial” from This American Life. It was like every great crime movie I’ve ever seen, but multiple crime movies (episodes) back-to-back-to-back and in an audio format. Have something that keeps listeners coming back for more? Then you’re onto something.
Just because you have compelling content, though, doesn’t necessarily mean you should dive into the podcast world. Keep these other considerations in mind:
- Audience – You have to meet your target audience where they are. Trying to reach senior-level executives? One study found that 44% of senior-level decision-makers on LinkedIn (department heads, VPs, owners and C-suite executives) who know what a podcast is say they make time to listen. Trying to resonate with a younger demographic? Stats show that 43% of Millennials and 37% of those in Gen Z consume podcasts weekly. All signs point to an increase in podcast listenership.
- Format – Is your content suitable for an audio-only presentation? If you have a lot to say, the answer is typically “yes.” For quick hitting, shorter commentary, a blog post may suffice. For something complex, a visual infographic may be the best means of communication. But once you’ve decided that audio suits your needs, you need to make sure you don’t cross into “boring lecture” territory. Stay on point and make sure the listener is walking away with an “ah ha” moment.
- Length – Some of today’s most popular podcasts include episodes that are hours long. Others are 5-10 minutes. There’s no right or wrong. Just don’t timebox yourself—script out your episodes and then see where the conversation takes you.
- Consistency – Successful podcasts have a regular cadence. This is typically the hardest part of podcasting, even for us seasoned pros. It doesn’t need to be a strict same day, same time posting, but in order to keep and grow the audience you’ll build, you need to keep them coming back for more. Especially with the level (and number) of competition. It’s easy to look elsewhere if your audience is no longer satisfied with what they’re hearing.
- Production – Don’t let the idea of starting a podcast intimidate you. You don’t need an expensive studio or production equipment. The setup can be as simple as a $100 microphone, a quiet room with no echo and a free audio editor that’s easy to learn. Then pick one of many platforms to host your podcast…and you’re off!
Yes, there are more X’s-and-O’s to a successful podcast: Catchy name, intro and outro music, interesting guests, etc. But the basic ingredients above are what you need to get started. From there, it’s all about refinement and promotion through paid targeting, content marketing, and social media. If the idea of starting a podcast sounds like too big a time commitment, but you have interesting insights to share, you can always pitch them to an existing podcast and join as a guest. There are plenty of high-quality options out there and airwaves to fill.
In fact, at Bliss, I co-host and help produce our podcast series, Fresh-Brewed News, which focuses on the latest trends and news topics in marketing, media, communications and more. I invite you to check it out to see how we’ve approached this medium for our firm.
Bottom line: Don’t jump into podcasts because everyone else is. Do it because it makes the most sense for your business and your audience. If you’re just looking to ride the latest audio tech trend, then you really should be reading a blog about Clubhouse.
If you’re wondering whether a podcast is the right channel for your audience, I’d be happy to help. Please find my contact information below.
Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels