Podcasting has come a long way. After all, the word itself comes from iPod, a gadget that barely exists anymore. However, the days of this medium being considered quirky are long over. For one thing, they’ve become much more popular than they were before. And for another, you can easily listen to a podcast on your computer, smart phone, smart speaker, or inside your car.
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This popularity and relative low barrier of entry has fostered a new generation of podcasters over the years, and even businesses are looking to podcast as part of their branded content strategy. I have also been podcasting since 2013, and 10 years in have started to livestream all of my podcast recordings, both solo and interview. You’ll have to read to the bottom of this post to find out my advice in this area.
However, like any other form of media or content marketing initiative, you must first build a program and produce each episode before you release it. Furthermore, it’s hard work to ensure that the listener count increases with each episode, and that people remain interested in your podcast. Otherwise, there isn’t much point in doing the hard work necessary to produce and promote an episode. This is why so many people quit podcasting, with the popular saying in the podcasting world being that 80% of podcasts don’t publish more than ten episodes before quitting!
That’s why I am hoping that these podcast tips, culled from my own decade of podcasting, will help you maximize the success of your own show and hopefully keep you invested in podcasting longer.
Growing popularity and reach of podcasts
Before we get started with my list of podcast tips, let’s consider why you might want to produce one. Perhaps the biggest reason is that podcasts are incredibly popular. In fact, 79% of Americans are familiar with podcasting, and 82 million have listened in 2022. To put this in context, 82 million people is around 20% of our population, including children.
Podcasts are growing in popularity globally as well. In 2021, there were over 2 million active podcasts and over 48 million podcast episodes available. Perhaps this is unsurprising when you consider that the equipment required for listening is relatively simple and inexpensive.
Ultimately, podcasts are a highly accessible medium that can be consumed on the go or at home. While Americans don’t commute as much as they did pre-COVID, workers are slowly returning to the office. This should help with podcast popularity even more because these episodes are a great way to pass the time.
Also, consider that podcasts can be easily shared and discovered through social media and other online platforms. People love to share their experiences and great finds on social media. Plus, if they know somebody with similar interests, it’s quite easy for them to pass on interesting information. In the process, podcast episodes can help you reach new audiences and build a loyal following. Of course, to elevate your success, you should follow some or all of the podcast tips in this article.
Benefits of using podcasts for content creation and marketing
Of course, there are many benefits to creating podcasts that go beyond sharing ideas. While ideas were originally the primary impetus for podcast creation, they have become an incredibly valuable marketing tool. Let’s look at some of the reasons why this is true.
Podcasts are a highly engaging medium that can help you connect with your audience on a deeper level. In particular, podcasts with well-written scripts can easily grab and retain people’s attention. Moreover, people love to interact with compelling ideas and quality content. Eventually, this is they’ll start sharing your content with their friends or family. Sometimes they’ll even pass more professional content around to their colleagues. Either way, your company wins.
Podcasting is a relatively low-cost way to create content and reach new audiences. This is especially true when you consider that a relatively basic microphone and free or cheap audio editing software can help you quickly get your thoughts out to the general public. In other words, unlike video, you don’t have very many moving parts for a podcast, nor do you have to buy expensive and fancy equipment. By following my podcast tips, you can get an even better bang for your buck.
Increased brand awareness
Podcasts can help you build brand awareness and establish yourself as an authority in your industry. In this sense, they are much like blog posts. One reason why podcasts work so well is that long-form content gives you time to explain a topic thoroughly. You can also establish your expertise by interviewing other people or using any of several other podcast tips in this article.
Podcasts can drive traffic to your website or other online platforms. Specifically, when you talk about your company or your ideas on a Podcasting platform, people frequently get curious. That curiosity frequently leads to website visits and, in many cases, new sales leads. However, to do this successfully, you’ll need well-done podcast episodes.
Besides generating leads, podcasts can be monetized through sponsorships, advertising, or other means. Sponsorships and other influencer marketing techniques are very popular on podcasts, largely because of podcasters ability to explain and discuss various topics. Monetization opportunities are especially significant when you discuss topics which are of interest to certain industries. Alternately, you can profit if certain products or services can be beneficial to your podcast audience.
Further Reading: The Top 25 Podcast Statistics You Need to Know in 2023
19 Best Podcast Tips for Launching and Growing Your Show
Now that you understand why podcasts are such a powerful tool, let’s look at different podcast tips that can help you make the most out of your show. These tips can be relevant whether you’re starting a branded podcast, sharing professional expertise, or just having fun.
I’ll do my best to list these in order from launching to growing.
1. Conduct market research to understand your target audience’s needs and preferences
This is the golden rule of marketing: Understand your audience.
Before you even start planning your podcast episodes, one of the most important podcast tips is to know your audience. To do this, you must first identify your target audience. For a business, this is typically some variation of your buyer persona. For a non-branded podcast, it’s more a question of who would be interested in your chosen topic.
Once you’ve chosen your target audience, research their interests and preferences. This is relatively easy for niche topics and B2B brands. However, it’s much harder if you’re creating a more generalized podcast. Beginning by doing a search in your favorite podcast to find out what shows your target might be listening to is a good start.
Finally, use social media and online communities to gather insights and feedback from potential listeners. This will help confirm or fine-tune your understanding of what will capture your audience’s attention.
If you’ve been podcasting for awhile, look deep into your analytics and see if you can find trends in download numbers based on different topics or interview guests.
2. Use brainstorming techniques such as mind mapping or word association to generate name ideas for your podcast and episodes
One of the biggest podcast tips out there is that you want a catchy or intriguing title for not just your title but for every episode that still includes your target keywords, and coming up with one often involves brainstorming. Start with a broad list of words related to your podcast and its topics or themes. Usually, you’ll want to develop a significant list of keywords.
Another tip is to use mind-mapping software to organize your ideas. This automatically cuts through the noise and distills your smaller ideas or related themes into bigger ones. By consolidating ideas, you can make it much easier to pick the right one.
This is also where AI tools such as Jasper can come in handy.
Once you’ve run out of topics, use word association techniques to generate new ideas. By identifying new ideas, you can get ahead of your competition more easily. That’s because the newer ideas are less likely to have been taken by other content creators or at least have less competition than the most common themes.
Finally, narrow down your list by considering your target audience. Your show’s name should appeal to your target audience to the greatest extent possible. This is true even considering the need to have the show match your personality and branding considerations.
3. Use design tools or templates to create eye-catching cover art that reflects your brand identity
Next on my list of podcast tips is making your show distinctive. One of the best ways to do this is with high-quality cover art and graphics that reflect your brand. Most importantly, choose a color scheme that reflects your brand identity. If you’re starting the podcast to share your personal expertise, then pick a color scheme that suits you in your theme. For a branded podcast, you’ll typically use company colors.
With the colors in mind, use high-quality images and graphics. Branded podcasts should always have company or brand logos. And for individual podcasts, once again, pick something that is consistent with your theme and personality.
If you need to make graphics from scratch or tweak brand assets, use design templates in popular graphics apps such as Adobe Express (shown in the video above) or Canva for inspiration. These templates were designed to help people make great graphics, usually with minimal effort. However, no matter what you choose, keep it simple and easy to read. Otherwise, you may make people go elsewhere before you’ve even started.
Finally, compare your cover art to the podcasts in your niche. Does it stand out? Is it appealing? Relative? If you’re feeling good about your work so far, you can move on to the next stage:
4. Choose a reliable hosting platform
Even podcasts need a hosting platform, and one of my best tips here is to pick something that works well for you and your audience. To make that decision, first, consider the cost and features of different hosting platforms. The worst thing you can do is pay too much for too few features. Likewise, you don’t want to break the bank on stuff you don’t need.
Especially when you’re starting out, look for a platform that offers reliable uptime and fast load times. Otherwise, you risk having people give up on that all-important download or streaming session. There are few things that limit your opportunities as much as a poor user experience. To that end, you should also make sure that the platform is easy to use, both for you/your employees, and your end users.
Finally, check if the platform offers analytics and tracking tools. These functions let you track your audience and improve the show to maximize performance. And if you are developing this for a company, there’s a chance that the platform’s analytics can be integrated into other marketing tools. Depending on your setup, that could be a major bonus.
I use and love Buzzsprout myself and would highly recommend them.
5. Get the right equipment
No list of podcast tips would be complete without talking about equipment. Although you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get good quality gear, you don’t want to produce a podcast with inadequate equipment.
These are my tips for success:
- Invest in a good-quality microphone. Look for something that is designed for recording sound. If you need ideas, check out the numerous equipment review websites or ask for recommendations. Don’t over-invest here: As a beginner you shouldn’t be paying more than $100 for a microphone, and as your show grows feel free to splurge! After 10 years I am finally upgrading to the $250+ Shure MV7 pictured above.
- Consider using a pop filter to reduce background noise. People love clear audio for their podcasts. Plus, many people listen to podcasts in noisy environments, so you don’t want to add even more noise.
- Use headphones to monitor your audio. While this step may seem unnecessary, it’s one of the few ways you can avoid talking to a brick wall if your mic or computer quits recording. It also makes you focus on how your audio sounds so that you ensure you are the proper distance from the microphone while you talk. I personally skip this step after many years of podcasting, but if you are new or haven’t done it recently, it’s a great idea that can help you potentially improve your audio quality.
- Use a boom arm so that your microphone can be flexibly placed in any location near your mouth. Plus the boom arm will help help improve audio quality by minimizing shock noise as well as clear up more space on your desk.
6. Develop a consistent episode format that includes segments such as an intro, main content, and outro
Consistency is important, as it’s part of your show’s branding. To do this, start with an attention-grabbing intro. People will know from the intro that they’re listening to your podcast and not someone else’s if you do something distinctive.
Next, use a consistent format for each episode. Listeners want to know what they can expect from episodes, and as you deliver, they’ll keep coming. As part of your format, include segments such as interviews, news updates, or listener feedback. This gives your audience some variety while remaining consistent.
Finally, end with a clear call to action. This can be something simple, like “see you next week,” or a more demanding CTA, like “check out my website.” For this one, you can always make it different when the situation warrants.
7. Use an editorial calendar or content planning tool to map out your episode topics and release schedule
One of the most important podcast tips is to plan your episodes in advance. This allows you to do your research, write your script, and invite any guests. You should never be in a situation where you need to press the record button but you don’t know what to talk about or who to interview.
To make this easier, use an editorial calendar to organize your topics and guests. For commercial podcasts, consider adding the podcast schedule to your overall marketing calendar so that everyone’s on the same page.
Topic-wise, consider seasonal or holiday themes for your episodes. People love to feel that they’re celebrating holidays with you. The appropriate holidays may vary based on your target audience, so watch the analytics for those episodes carefully. Finally, release new episodes on a consistent schedule. When you do this, people will look forward to the next episode and listen more often.
8. Invest in creating a podcast website
The next point is going to talk about submitting your podcast to podcast directories, but before doing that, you’ll want to make sure you have a website to point your listeners to. Better not, instead of trying to create a podcast website on your own, why don’t you just use an easy-to-use solution such as the one I use pictured above – my recommendation is to use PodcastPage like I do. That website was setup in less than an hour with no web coding required! You can use your podcast website as your main website or to create a subdomain like I have in https://podcast.nealschaffer.com.
Further Reading: A Complete Guide to Creating a Great Podcast Website
9. Research popular podcast directories in your niche or target market and submit your podcast for inclusion
No matter your niche, a great way to get more podcast tips is by looking at the competition. It could be that you have a few that you’re following already or that you listen to. But at the same time, you should look for other ideas. An easy way to do this is identify and use popular podcast directories such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Keywords should return several podcasts in your niche, or that appeal to the same people.
Once you’ve worked through the mainstream forums, research niche directories related to your topic or industry and see what they have. This should let you identify more opportunities for growth. It might also help you finalize your show name, such as if the one you picked originally is too close to another one.
After you’ve checked out your options, submit your podcast to directories for inclusion. I can’t quite say the more places, the better because you want the choices to make sense. However, picking more than one will significantly increase your opportunities for audience growth. Finally, monitor your directory listings for reviews and feedback. With that information, you can improve your show.
The image above is from Buzzsprout, which makes it easy for you to submit your podcast to various directories inside its app.
10. Optimize the descriptions for each of your episodes by including detailed show notes, keywords, tags, and other relevant information
You should always include detailed show notes with each episode. These notes help people decide if they want to listen to your episode, and you can demonstrate the show’s worth their valuable time. To help your shows get discovered, use relevant keywords and tags in your show notes and episode titles.
Also, include links to resources mentioned in each episode. Not only is this a listener convenience, but it also helps build your credibility as an SME. Finally, encourage listeners to leave reviews and ratings on directory listings. Not only do reviews help you improve your show, but they also help attract listeners.
I mentioned the use of AI before, but one AI tool specifically for podcasting that I have fallen in love with and pictured above is Podsqueeze, which can be a serious time-saver and help you craft better show notes.
11. Promote your podcast on social media
Even the best podcasts need promotion to grow. These podcast tips will help you accomplish that task efficiently.
Many creators forget one of the most important podcast tips for audience expansion: social media is king. If you wouldn’t forget to market your business on social media, you shouldn’t forget with your podcast, either.
To get started, choose social media platforms that align with your target audience. For example, if you have a very young audience, then TikTok and Snapchat are good ideas. Business-related podcasts belong on LinkedIn and maybe other forums. Pick the platforms where your target audience hangs out.
Next, share new episodes on your social media channels. Doing this lets people associate you with your content. Additionally, it makes sharing your content much easier, both on social media and other methods. Remember to encourage listeners to share your podcast on social media, whether using your promotional posts or their own.
Next, you need to make your podcast more visible. One way is to use hashtags related to your topic or industry. If you don’t have a good hashtag collection (and even if you do), keyword research can be very useful. Also, analytics will help you find keyword opportunities when used properly.
Engagement is a two-way street, so don’t forget to engage with your audience. You should respond to comments and messages and interact with reviews as appropriate. As your podcast grows, you might also want to set up a Facebook Group for the show.
Finally be sure to use a mix of content types, such as images, videos, and text posts. You could also try to use audio sound bites, like the ones that Buzzsprout makes it super easy to create as in the picture above, to promote your podcast on social media.
Further Reading: 9 Steps to Build an Effective Social Media Strategy for 2023
12. Use podcast advertising to reach new audiences and drive traffic to your podcast
Besides your organic efforts, consider using paid advertising to reach new audiences. Some of the lesser known podcasting apps such as Overcast (pictured above) offer a way to advertise that is better than social media ads because people can directly subscribe to your podcast from the ad. The other podcasting app which offers ads that you should try is Podcast Addict.
13. Collaborate with other podcasters to cross-promote and grow your audience
Finally, collaborate with other creators in your niche. Not only can this be a lot of fun, but it lets both of you share ideas with each other’s audiences. For instance, in marketing, you might have someone in the influencer marketing space collaborate with a Facebook ads specialist. A guest appearance on each podcast lets people see what both of you have to offer. This is commonly known as a podcast swap.
As you collaborate, cross-promote each other’s podcasts on social media. You can do this in several ways, such as by posting links and announcements to that episode or by talking about the collaboration. Either way, this technique is among my top podcast tips as it helps both shows grow.
14. Monitor your analytics
Use analytics tools such as Google Analytics (now called Google Marketing Platform) or Chartable to track downloads and engagement. These numbers help you see how well your show is performing overall, so you can shift strategies and improve download numbers. You can make changes to your topics, social media content, and ad strategies. Analytics information is invaluable to not only improve the show but also adjust your promotional strategies.
Also, monitor reviews and ratings on podcast directories. This can not only show you when something you did on the show was popular but also allows you to put out fires before they destroy your listener numbers. Also, you never know when looking through reviews will give you ideas (or identify what your audience wants).
15. Leverage email marketing
Most people think of email marketing as the domain of e-commerce brands and other traditional businesses. However, this is one of my well-kept podcast tips. Email marketing keeps you and your podcast top-of-mind for your loyal listeners and encourages them to share it with others.
Here’s how to do it.
First, use email marketing tools like the one I use, ConvertKit, to build an email list of subscribers. You can gather those emails through opt-in forms on your website or by using other tools, like perks for signing up, that let people add their emails independently.
Next, send regular newsletters with updates about new episodes or special promotions. This way, you’ll provide value to your email subscribers. Ideally, these newsletters should be frequent enough to get noticed but not be sent so often that you’ll annoy your readers.
As part of your newsletter, include links to resources mentioned in each episode. If you don’t mention resources, then come up with something else, like a link to your website.
16. Offer exclusive content
If you want to monetize your show (and you should, if it isn’t a marketing tool), then here are some podcast tips to help.
Besides sponsorships, one of the best ways to make money is through subscriptions. To make this worthwhile, you should create bonus episodes or content for subscribers. You can do this in any of several ways, such as going more in-depth into a theme discussed in an open episode or covering something different. One way to choose a topic is to ask people on social media what they want to learn about.
Similarly, you can offer early access to new episodes or behind-the-scenes content. This might be less work than dedicated show episodes, which is especially useful in the beginning. Finally, use a membership platform such as Patreon to offer exclusive content. Platforms are useful because they handle the billing for you, so you can spend time creating.
17. Collaborate with listeners
One thing that people love, both in podcasts and other media, is collaborations. In this case, they love working with their favorite creators. Not only does this help share ideas within the community, but it also helps people see you as a content creator who cares about their opinions.
There are several ways you can try listener collaboration:
- Encourage listeners to submit questions or topics for discussion. They should do this through your website or an email address that’s dedicated to the show.
- Use listener feedback to shape future episodes. You can get feedback by watching your podcast reviews and other public forums. Or, you can ask people what they think.
- Offer listener shoutouts or other rewards for engagement. People love shoutouts, and rewards can be quite fun. This has the dual purpose of rewarding your active listeners and increasing your engagement rate.
Keep in mind that there are many ways to collaborate with listeners. Social media is one of the most valuable places to find and solicit feedback, so don’t be afraid to ask questions of your community. Doing this will also give you more engagement on social media, which is great for their algorithms.
18. Leverage Video
If you’ve read until now, I am assuming that you are well into your podcasting journey just like me and have tried everything that I have mentioned until mine.
What more can you do, you are asking yourself.
I was just like you. Until one day I decided to record a video of myself recording a podcast episode, which I thought I could repurpose at a later date.
As I was preparing for the recording on Zoom, I saw that I could easily livestream the episode on YouTube.
The rest is history.
If the whole intent of your podcasting is to share information, why are you limiting your information to those who listen to your podcast?
If you only get 50 downloads an episode but can get 50 more views for your podcast content, haven’t your doubled your total audience?
That was my epiphany moment that i explain in the Livestreaming Changes Everything episode above.
For more tips on how podcasters can better leverage YouTube, check out my interview with Vyyyper from VidIQ:
19. Host live events
The last of my podcast tips is to hold live events. Admittedly, this is more difficult to do than many of my other suggestions. However, for the right podcaster (or a creative one), live events are a great opportunity.
One way to have a live event is to hold a Q&A session with listeners. In a virtual world, you could have people call in as they do on the radio. You can also use Zoom or another video-compatible platform to make a video format that’s also played on Facebook Live or a similar platform.
Another option is to leverage conferences or events. For instance, you can host a live recording of the podcast. This gives listeners an opportunity to look behind the scenes of their favorite show. Similarly, a meet-and-greet lets you make great videos and meet your listeners. Especially if your podcast is heavily tied to your personality, this option can be pure gold.
Best of all, when people meet you personally, it can boost their loyalty or familiarity with your brand.
Recording and distributing a podcast while continuing to grow your show and reach more people is a lot of work, not to mention that there’s a lot of competition in most niches. Luckily, there are plenty of options to increase your chances of success. By following these podcast tips, you can make the most of your efforts. And, trust me, treat podcasting like any other marketing effort: It is a marathon, and not a sprint, but the people you meet along the way and experiences you have will be rewarding enough to sustain you or your business in many unintended ways!
Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash
Podcast Tips FAQs
Creating a great podcast is all about finding your voice and staying true to the content that excites you. It’s important to stay focused on your niche and deliver consistent quality with every episode. From scripting and recording to editing and marketing, there are countless steps you can take to elevate your content and build a loyal following. But at the end of the day, the key to making a great podcast is simply being yourself and sharing your passion with the world.
When it comes to speaking on a podcast, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, be authentic. Your listeners want to hear your true voice and personality. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Be confident and speak with conviction. Remember, you are the expert on your topic. Second, be mindful of your tone and pace. Speak clearly and at a consistent speed. Don’t rush through your words or mumble. Finally, engage your audience.
There are certain key elements that define what makes a podcast successful, and these include a stimulating and captivating host, skillful editing, engaging storytelling, high-quality production value, and a clear focus on an overarching message or theme. These elements work in harmony to capture listeners’ attention and keep them hooked, ensuring they tune in week after week.
These are the steps on how to do a podcasr for beginners:
1. Decide on a topic that you are passionate about and want to share with others.
2. From there, you’ll need to invest in some equipment, such as a microphone and recording software, to ensure that your audio quality is up to par.
3. Once you have everything set up, it’s time to start recording and editing your episodes.
4. Don’t forget to promote your podcast on social media and other platforms to increase your listenership. With a little bit of practice and dedication, you’ll be on your way to creating an engaging and successful podcast.
Creating an entertaining podcast isn’t always a walk in the park, but with the right approach, you can keep your listeners engaged from start to finish:
1. Make sure you’re passionate about your topic and knowledgeable about the subject you’re discussing. By doing so, you can infuse your episodes with enthusiasm and insights that your listeners can’t get enough of.
2. Consider using humor, storytelling, and varying your tone and pace to create a dynamic listening experience.
3. Focus on delivering valuable content that your audience can use, and be sure to interact with them by answering questions and incorporating feedback.
4. Be yourself and don’t try to mimic others. Authenticity is key, and if you’re having fun and enjoying the process, then your listeners will too.