Written by StreamYard
9 Tips To Create A Compelling Podcast
Now more than ever, you have several incredibly attractive formats to share your content. Blogs, videos, social media posts... but did you know that the popularity of podcasts continues to skyrocket?
At the time of writing this article, there were more than four million podcasts registered on platforms like Apple Podcasts, Audible, and Spotify, which means that there’s always something else to listen to!
If you are considering joining this movement, though, you might be a little scared. How can you make sure your content actually stands out against a sea of offers? Well, we are here to help. How, you ask? Simple. By showing you some proven tips to take your podcasting to the next level.
What is a Podcast, And Why Is It Such a Popular Format?
We will start with a mandatory fly-through over what a podcast is and why it’s become such a massive medium.
Simply put, a podcast is a digital audio or video program (yes, it can be either!). But unlike radio or TV, this program is available for streaming or download over the internet.
Podcasts can cover a wide range of topics and formats, including interviews, discussions, news, comedy, educational content, and much more. They are also typically episodic in nature (so you get new episodes released regularly, like every week, month, or so). Lastly, podcasts can be accessed on various devices, such as smartphones, tablets, computers, and dedicated podcasting apps.
That’s it. That’s all you need to know about the definition. Of course, though, we need to mention the reason behind why podcasts are so popular!
The Many Benefits of Podcasts
Let’s quickly go through the advantages of sharing your content using podcasts. These are, somewhat in order of importance:
- Accessibility: Podcasts are incredibly accessible because you can listen to them anytime, anywhere (for example, while commuting, working out, or doing household chores). All you need is an internet-connected device and a pair of headphones or speakers.
- Super-diverse content: There's a podcast for virtually every interest and niche out there. No matter if you're into true crime, history, self-improvement, technology, or comedy - you'll find something to hear (and it will probably be great).
- Ease of production: Podcasting doesn't require a massive production budget or a professional studio. In fact, many podcasts are created by individuals or small teams.
- Long-form conversations: Podcasts often feature in-depth, long-form discussions and interviews. These go beyond the surface-level content found in shorter formats.
- Community and engagement: Podcasts often foster a sense of community and engagement among listeners. For example, many shows encourage interaction through social media, feedback, and listener questions.
However, there’s much more. Podcasting has opened the door for a diverse range of voices and perspectives. And, if you are a creator, you have multiple ways to monetize your material. You can, for instance, use sponsorships, advertising, and listener support and offer premium content for paid subscribers.
Defining a Good Podcast
There is one more thing we want to cover before moving on to the heart of the article, and that’s what makes a podcast good.
Of course, we understand that defining a good podcast can be somewhat subjective - because what makes a podcast good can vary from person to person. However, there are several key factors that can contribute to a podcast being considered high-quality.
The first of them is whether the content is engaging. A good podcast offers content that is interesting, informative, entertaining, and/or thought-provoking. It captures the listener's attention and keeps them hooked to an episode. But the best podcasts also have clear and high-quality audio. Listeners should be able to hear the hosts, guests, and any other audio elements without distractions or background noise.
So, when we go through our tips below, we will explain both how to make your content great and how to make sure the production value stands out, too.
Our Tips For Starting Your Podcast
Some podcasts prioritize in-depth educational content, while others may value humor and entertainment. Whether your style, we hope these tips come in handy when producing and distributing your very own podcast episodes.
Tip #1: Start With Your Goals and Topics
The most important decision you will have to make when starting your podcast is defining what you want to talk about. It can also help to think in terms of “why”, rather than just the content itself. Why do you want to talk about this particular topic? What about it motivates you or inspires you?
Here are some common reasons that might make you want to do a podcast:
- You want to start a business or generate an income.
- You want to be recognized as an expert or industry leader.
- You have a unique message you feel you need to share.
There are many other reasons, too, but these cover the majority of common goals. So, always start with them, as they will determine other things that come later.
Once you know your goal, you can think about your main podcast topic or topics. Based on our experience and knowledge of the industry, those who enjoy their topics do much better. Listeners can just tell when someone is interested in something, and passion is hard to fake.
Don’t be scared to do a topic that others have done, too. As long as you have a unique angle, your new podcast can still stand out. However, it’s a good idea to survey the competition to see what you can bring to the table. For example, you can listen to other people’s podcast content and ask yourself: What else would I say about this topic?
Tip #2: Be Specific
As we have mentioned above, whatever topic you want to discuss, there’s probably already a podcast for it. Or a dozen. But your voice is unique, so you can attract your own audience. In fact, it pays to be quite specific and niche!
What do we mean by niche? Let’s see an example. The Dollop is a podcast hosted by comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds. It takes a humorous and irreverent look at historical events and figures, often focusing on lesser-known stories from the annals of history. In each episode, one host (usually Dave) researches and presents a historical topic to the other (Gareth), who typically has little to no prior knowledge of the subject. The result is a hilarious and sometimes absurd exploration of history.
The Dollop succeeds because it combines the niche interest of history with comedy. So, instead of a dry recounting of facts, the podcast is more of a comedic conversation (and one that sheds light on bizarre, shocking, and lesser-known aspects of the past). So, despite its niche focus, The Dollop has garnered a dedicated and growing fan base.
Let’s quickly cover a few more examples of how you can create a niche within a more prominent topic:
- Technology → Smart Home Automation
- Travel → Solo Female Backpacking
- Parenting → Raising Twins/Multiples
Tip #3: Consider The Name
You might have known for a while what the topic of your podcast HAS to be. But what about the name? That’s a tricky one.
Think carefully about your brand here. Once you settle for a name, chances are you won’t be able to revert it. Don’t worry, though. People will listen to you because of what you have to say, not what you call yourself while doing it. Still, names matter.
The first thing to keep in mind is that the podcast title needs to be unique, relatively interesting, and easy to find in searches. While there is no specific formula, you should at least try to avoid names that are too generic (“My Podcast” is a big no). A catchy title is also a good idea. Many podcasts use alliteration (two or more words starting with the same letter), which always sounds kind of better.
So, here are a few considerations for naming your podcast:
- Catchy names can draw attention and encourage people to listen.
- Creative names can spark the imagination (and make listeners wonder why you chose to name your content that!)
- Clever podcast names and wordplays are great, too, of course. If you can come up with them!
In the sea of podcast sameness, a unique name is probably your best bet. Some good openings include things like “The story of...”, “Secrets of...”, and such.
If you can’t come up with anything, don’t be scared to use a name generator. Spotify, in fact, has a cool one that gives you great ideas and also features a pretty aesthetic to inspire you.
Here’s an important tip, though: Before you commit to a name, do a little research. See whether there are other shows called the same, check if the domain is available, and make sure nothing is already copyrighted.
Tip #4: Invest in Good Equipment
Behind any successful podcast, there’s good equipment. If you don’t have the right microphone, your content will be limited. And, of course, it helps if you also invest in some decent-quality headphones, mixers, and possibly lights and a video camera (if you’re doing a video podcast).
So, let’s cover the basics in terms of hardware.
Anyone wanting to create a podcast requires a set of basic equipment and tools. Specifically:
- A good-quality microphone. The microphone is crucial for recording clear and professional-sounding audio. The Blue Yeti or the Audio-Technica AT2020 are popular picks for podcasting.
- We also recommend closed-back **headphones. **They allow you to monitor your audio while recording and editing. Plus, they help you catch background noise and ensure audio quality.
- Many podcasters also choose a pop filter, which is a screen or shield placed in front of the microphone. The goal is to reduce certain sounds (like plosive "p" and "b" sounds) and prevent them from distorting the audio.
- If you're using an XLR microphone, you will also probably need an **audio interface **to convert the analog microphone signal into a digital format that your computer can process. Standard options include the Focusrite Scarlett series.
- Lastly, you’ll need a computer (laptop or desktop) with enough processing power and storage to record and edit audio. Both Windows and Mac computers work for podcasting.
Now, for the optional equipment:
- A boom arm or stand can hold your microphone in place, keeping it steady during recording and allowing you to position it at the correct height and angle.
- A shock mount can isolate the microphone from vibrations and handling noise, further improving audio quality.
- To improve sound quality and reduce echo or background noise, you can consider using acoustic treatments like foam panels, bass traps, and diffusers in your recording space.
- To store and back up your podcast audio files, it's a good idea to have an external hard drive with ample storage space.
- And don’t forget to check you have all the necessary cables to connect your microphone to the audio interface and the interface to your computer!
Remember that while quality equipment can enhance your podcast's audio, content and engaging delivery are equally important. Start with the essentials, and as your podcast grows, you can invest in additional equipment to improve your setup further.
Tip #5: Choose a Format and Episode Length
Once you’ve set your home studio up, it’s time to start thinking about the podcast episodes themselves. Mainly how long you will want them to be. Preparing a script for a 20-minute story is not the same as making a season composed of several hour-long shows.
Generally speaking, most podcasts range between 10-20 minutes (“bite-size”) to the medium length of 30-45 minutes. But there are longer podcasts that last an hour or more per episode.
Let's see some steps to help you make these choices.
First, consider the primary goal and purpose of your podcast. What message or content do you want to share with your audience? Are you educating, entertaining, inspiring, or informing?
Then, get to know and understand your listeners. Figure out your target audience's preferences, needs, and habits and consider factors such as their commute time, interests, and attention span.
We also briefly mentioned formats. Some common formats include:
- Solo Podcast: You host the show and present content on your own.
- Co-Hosted: You and one or more co-hosts discuss topics together.
- Interview: You interview guests or experts on specific subjects.
- Panel Discussion: Multiple hosts or experts discuss various aspects of a topic.
- Narrative/Storytelling: You present a scripted story or narrative.
- Roundtable Discussion: A group discusses a topic in a casual, conversational manner.
All of these will affect the episode length to some degree. Complex topics may require longer episodes. But also, longer episodes require more editing work, so keep your available resources in mind!
Consistency is key here. Always stick to a consistent format and episode length to help build audience expectations and loyalty.
Tip #6: Use a Publishing Schedule
Using a publishing schedule for your podcast can also help you maintain consistency and grow your audience (and who doesn’t want that?!).
A publishing schedule creates an expectation among your listeners. When you consistently release episodes on specific days or times, your audience knows when to tune in. This predictability builds trust and reliability, making your podcast a regular part of their routine.
Listeners are also more likely to stay engaged and subscribed when they can rely on your schedule. What's more, a publishing schedule helps you plan and organize your podcast production process. It sets clear deadlines for recording, editing, and promoting episodes, reducing last-minute rushes and stress.
In summary, a publishing schedule is a fundamental tool for podcasters. It fosters consistency, builds trust, and maximizes the impact of your podcast. It also streamlines your workflow, supports promotional efforts, and contributes to the overall professionalism of your show.
Tip #7: Rely on a Trustworthy Platform
To make sure your podcast recording is top-notch, you will also need some good software. For example, audio recording and editing software to capture your podcast episodes and make any necessary edits.
Popular editor choices include Audacity (free), Adobe Audition, GarageBand (Mac), and Reaper. As for recording, we believe StreamYard is the best remote podcast recording platform out there — especially if you want to talk to guests across the world. And it gives you complete control over your podcast production because you get raw local recordings of your conversations. And the best part is, being all hosted on the cloud, you don’t need a massive hard drive to store your audio and/or video. Nor do you need to download any software — it all works r ight from your browser.
As for podcast hosting, popular choices include BuzzSprout, LibSyn, and Spotify for Podcasters.
Tip #8: Don’t Forget To Include Ads
If you are an avid podcast listener, you know that most of them include several ads sprinkled across the different sections of an episode. This is natural, as practically all content creators need monetary support to produce their podcasts!
So, when you’re recording yours, make sure you leave some spaces to add ads. These can be a combination of the following:
- Pre-roll ads, placed between the intro of your podcast and the main content.
- Mid-roll ads, living in the middle of the story.
- Post-roll ads, set up between the content and the podcast’s outro.
Whether you’re just getting started or you already have some sponsors, it’s always a good idea to plan for these ad breaks as early as possible.
In other words, including ads in your podcast can be a valuable source of revenue, but it's essential to do so thoughtfully and strategically. For example, you should always partner with advertisers whose products or services align with your podcast's niche and audience (as relevant ads are more likely to resonate with your listeners).
It's also important to clearly disclose to your audience when you are sharing sponsored content or advertisements. Remember: Honesty builds trust and transparency with your listeners! So, when it's possible, work with advertisers to create ad scripts that are engaging, informative, and in line with your podcast's tone and style.
Tip #9: Measure and Adapt
Measuring and adapting your podcast based on analytics is also a crucial aspect of growing your content business.
Some of the things you can track include listener metrics, such as downloads, listens, and audience demographics. Pay special attention to how individual episodes perform. For example, you can identify which episodes resonate most with your audience in terms of download numbers and listener engagement.
You can also analyze listener retention rates to understand at what point listeners drop off during episodes (something that will also help you identify segments that may need improvement). Lastly, don't forget about geographical data, device data, and listener feedback.
Podcast hosting platforms often provide analytics dashboards to help you gather this data. Comments from your listeners can also help you gauge how well your podcast is doing and whether there are other things you can try to increase your audience’s engagement.
Here are a few other ideas to play with your podcast’s data:
- Encourage listener feedback through surveys, reviews, or social media. Understand what your audience likes, dislikes, and wants to hear more of.
- If you promote products, services, or premium content in your podcast, track conversion rates to measure the effectiveness of your promotions.
- Establish specific goals for your podcast, such as increasing listenership, engagement, or revenue. Your analytics should align with these goals.
- Based on your analytics, experiment with different content formats, episode lengths, release schedules, and promotional strategies. Iterate based on what works best to make a great podcast.
- Conduct A/B testing to compare the impact of different elements, such as episode titles, cover art, or ad placements, on listener engagement.
- Analyze the performance and strategies of other podcasts in your niche to identify trends and opportunities for differentiation.
Launching a podcast is one of the coolest things you can do. Remember: Everyone has a unique voice, and yours should be out there, too.
In this article, we have covered all the basics of podcast production, from editing software and podcast equipment to podcast tips for picking a name and publishing your episodes. Now, it’s time to get that recording going!
If you’re seeking a comprehensive yet easy-to-use recording platform that allows you to create your own podcasts, look no further than StreamYard.
Start spreading your message — try StreamYard for free today!