The proliferation of smartphones and other mobile devices with broadband connections has made podcasting an ideal channel for claiming the attention of targeted prospects and getting them to buy from you.
But things have changed: It used to be that by simply launching a podcast, you’d attract an audience. So few shows existed that listeners happily subscribed to any quality show related to their interests. Today, the selection has grown significantly. But don’t let that scare you away from podcasting. There’s still plenty of opportunity to create a popular show. If you spend a little time crafting a show that’s truly unique, you’ll already be ahead of 90 percent of the podcasts available in iTunes.
Here are my three top tips for creating a podcast that will stand out (Please note that while I focus here on audio podcasting, the principles apply to video podcasting as well):.
1. Target a specific audience. A show that’s made for everyone ends up reaching no one. Precise audience targeting makes it much easier to get listener attention. It’s also much easier to sell to an audience when you’ve precisely targeted their unique needs.
For example, a podcast that talks about general fitness is too broad in its scope. A better approach would be to specifically help pregnant women stay fit during pregnancy, then lose the baby weight after birth. An alternative effective approach would be to target men who have more than 50 pounds to lose. A good rule of thumb is to niche down two additional levels in the topic and/or audience.
2. Differentiate your format. Browse the podcast directory in the iTunes store. Listen to half a dozen shows related to your topic. Note what they do well. Find out what’s still missing. One tip is to read the most critical reviews to find what’s missing for the audience. Use this information to set your show apart.
Choose a format that’s different than other shows in your market. If most of the other shows use an expert interview format, consider a format that consists of short tips, step-by-step tutorials or answers to listener questions. If all the other shows are 30 minutes or longer, you could consider a format that’s under 15 minutes.
3. Be consistent. Your show should become a habitual part of your listeners’ routine. They’ll listen to it on their commute, during a workout at the gym or while walking the dog. This means you need to publish frequently and consistently. A good rule of thumb is to start with a weekly release. Also, release on the same day every week.
Professional production at the right price
Your show has about 10 seconds to make an impression on a new listener. Both the quality of your content as well as the production quality of your show contribute to this first impression. Here are four simple ways to get professional audio quality:
1. Buy a good microphone. A quality mic is an investment that pays off. Head to your local music supply store or electronics retailer—they’ll point you in the right direction. Many top microphone manufacturers now make models specifically for podcasters. Expect to invest at least $75. Get a USB microphone if you plan to record directly into your computer. Not only is this the easiest set up, it also gives you the highest quality audio.
2. Use a pop filter. A pop filter looks like an embroidery hoop with a pair of nylons stretched over it. If you’ve ever seen a pop star recording in a studio then you’ve seen them singing through a pop filter with the microphone on the other side. The purpose of the pop filter is to get rid of nasty breathy sounds that our mouths make when we say words starting with letters like “p” or “t.” Not only is it distracting for listeners, it’s a sure sign of an amateur production. Get a pop filter that mounts to your microphone. It’s usually attached to a small flexible arm that allows you to place it about an inch in front of the mic.
3. Edit your show. Don’t expect yourself to nail a recording in one take. Record your show in sections. Use as many retakes as you need. Then send it to someone for editing. You can also learn to edit it yourself using a free program like Audacity. Editing your show removes the pressure to be perfect while recording and also makes for a clean finished product.
4. Create an audio brand. Radio has given listeners certain expectations about what a professional show sounds like. A professional show has an intro, theme music, and an outro. This is your show’s “audio brand.” It serves as an instant cue to the listener that you’re serious about your content.