By Guest Writer Sonny Etchell
I have to say my Alcohol Free Life podcast from The Sober Club is my absolute passion, and I only wish I had started it sooner! Its brings so much engagement, (and has earning potential if I target the right brands) but above all it keeps me connected with followers who then join my community and buy courses / books et al. I am also fortunate to have some amazing guest interviewees!
I asked Sonny Etchell who offers podcast startup / production / editing services agency to offer us a few tips
Toying with the idea of starting a podcast? Or perhaps you already have a podcast but want to optimise it for greater success to promote your business and online presence. Podcasting is now incredibly popular and can be a great way to give people a more in-depth insight into you and the message you’re trying to get across through your business.
Here are 5 tips to achieve success with your podcast that you’ll be glad you knew before start:
1.Quality over length
Don’t fall for the trap of thinking that podcasts must be hours long. One of the best things about podcasts is the long form conversation which allows people to converse in an uninterrupted, unedited format. However, this should only apply if the topic warrants having a lengthy runtime. For the most part you want to be concise and keep your listeners attention. You’d rather have a listener make it to the end of your 15 minute podcast, than only get 15 minutes into your 90 minute podcast.
Once you have decided on an approximate length, make sure all your episodes are roughly your chosen length. You want to maintain people’s expectations so avoid having a 30 minute episode one week and an hour long episode the next. You also want to be consistent with the day and time your podcast is released so your listeners know when to expect your episodes.
The Joe Rogan’s of the world can afford to have 3 hour long podcasts as they’ve reached the level of notoriety at which their die-hard listeners sit through it but don’t think the same applies to you! Especially when starting out, keep it coincide and don’t make your episodes longer than they need be.
To avoid burnout, use seasons. By splitting your podcast into seasons, you can test the waters to make sure that it is something you can sustain. Many podcasters make the mistake of starting to release episodes without any indication of an endpoint. They put the expectation on themselves to release episodes indefinitely, without a break which you may find you will need!
2.Don’t lose sight of the what and why
What – what is your podcast about, what purpose does it serve?
Why – why are you doing it, Why should people care?
Like most forms of content creation, the key to a successful podcast is consistency and you won’t be consistent if you’re not talking about and researching something that excites you, something you could ramble on for hours about on a weekly basis.
Of course episodes should be well prepared, with notes or bullet points of your talking points and questions for interviewees (even writing a script can be a good idea). However, you should want to talk about your topic because you’re relentlessly passionate about it. This way you’ll never run out of things to say and your enthusiasm will keep your listeners engaged.
Remember to always keep your audience in mind. What are their needs? What problem am I trying to solve and why should they keep listening? Put yourself in their shoes to help make sure you’re always delivering useful information.
If you have an idea for a podcast in mind but are still not sure it is sustainable, try this. Write down 10 episode ideas. If you struggle to think of 10, you may want to reconsider the subject matter of your podcast.
3.Don’t neglect sound quality
A surefire way to ensure someone stops listening to your podcast is, simply, if it’s unpleasant to listen to. You don’t need to spend thousands to have a professional, high quality recording setup but it’s worth investing in good, minimal equipment that will provide you with clear and crisp audio without breaking the bank.
All you need is a basic setup consisting of your computer, a mic and some headphones. If you’re doing video podcasting, a decent external webcam works just fine.
When choosing a mic I would recommend a USB mic as they are super affordable and plug straight into your computer.
Here are 2 of the best affordable USB mics on the market:
4.Don’t do it for the money
The reality is that there is lots of competition now so think about anything you can do to make your podcast standout as much as possible. More importantly, take pride in the fact that you’d do this podcast whether it made money or not because you want to grow your business and get your message out there. Perhaps you want to drive more traffic to your website or grow your email list or maybe you just enjoy talking into a microphone with some friends!
See your podcast as an asset that, while may not be bringing in any significant income, is promoting yourself and growing your online presence.
Always be ambitious and if you do get to a point where you can have sponsorships then all power to you! Landing sponsors often comes down to how many downloads you regularly hit but it’s not the only way to monetize a podcast. Really knowing your niche could mean even with a relatively small number of listeners you could attract sponsorship revenue.
Although podcasting takes a lot of preparation and hard work, it shouldn’t feel like work when you’re actually doing it. However if you’re starting a podcast because you’re seeing dollar signs in your eyes, it might be time to rethink.
Not sure what to name your podcast? Here are some pointers:
- Keep it specific. You don’t want anything that is at all vague
- Make sure the name is memorable and rolls off the tongue easily
- Keep the name in line with/similar to your business name or brand
- Make sure the name is available and hasn’t already been taken
5.Get an editor
In an ideal world, once you’ve finished recording your podcast, you’d hit a magic button, sending your podcast into the sky where it will land on peoples phones ready for them to start listening.
The reality is that recording the podcast can often be the easy part. It is what goes on ‘post production’ that can be the most boring, tedious and time consuming aspect to starting a podcast.
If you’re someone who is able to outsource editing I would recommend it because it takes that responsibility off your shoulders, freeing up more time for you to focus on making the content of your episodes as good as possible. Unless you’re someone who enjoys this part, slaving away editing your podcast might discourage you and make you question whether it’s all even worth the hassle!
There are also several other odd jobs involved in getting a podcast off the ground such as creating Podcast artwork, sourcing free to use music and setting up your hosting platform to distribute your podcast to places such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Of course this is a ‘shameless plug’ but I offer podcast editing services ranging from weekly editing of your episodes (should you already have a podcast) as well as a full ‘podcast startup package’ including podcast artwork creation, music sourcing and uploading to platforms for those brand new to the scene who need a helping hand getting your podcast off the ground!
Thank you Sonny! Here is another article with tips from experts including moi (!) on starting a podcast