August 11, 2015
/ by Erin Feldman
Podcasting is an alluring medium to PR pros, marketers and communicators. With the tool, you can reach a highly engaged audience that—wonder of wonders—really and truly wants to hear from your brand. They’re loyal and vocal, too, meaning they’ll share the podcast with friends, family and colleagues.
What subjects make for a good podcast? Honestly, just about anything. There are no hard and fast rules. The medium can be used for thought leadership, to offer an insider’s view into a particular industry, to tell people’s stories … you get the idea.
The secret to success, however, is to choose a subject and format that meets your brand’s objectives. You can go for the entertainment value, and it does have a role to play no matter the subject matter, but entertainment alone may not get the job done. What are you trying to do? Spawn word of mouth? Offer educational content that not only gets the podcast shared but also leads to referrals?
Determine what you want to accomplish first; figure out the format most likely to reach your audience; then consider these tips. They’ll take your podcast to the next level, ensuring growth and ongoing engagement.
Obviously, right? But a lot goes into making quality audio. Think about where you’re recording the podcast. Is there a lot of background noise? Echoes? Acoustics and environmental noises matter, so pay attention to them.
Sound also relates to microphones, headphones and audio editing software. All three pieces are mandatory. Consider them the prerequisites for starting your own show. Do not pass “Go”; do not collect $200; do not put the podcast out into the world without having the three elements in place.
You’re better off heading to jail than putting out a low-quality podcast. Just as you can’t win Monopoly without some property to your name, you can’t win the podcast game without a decent microphone, headphones and software.
Headphones and microphones are in ample supply. This list from Dan Benjamin, a long-time audio producer, is superb: http://www.podcastmethod.co/. As for software, starting points are GarageBand, Reaper and Audacity.
Want even more tips on producing a ‘Grade A’ podcast? Click here for our free tip sheet!
No, no, not who’s hosting the program. Who’s hosting the podcast files? While you can host them yourself, the solution poses dangers. For example, there may not be enough bandwidth. And what if your brand changes hosting services? Your podcasting feed will be dead in the water.
Most professional podcasters recommend using a third-party service. That way you don’t have to worry about bandwidth (at least not as much) or an RSS feed going kaput.
Speaking of RSS feeds, they’re key to a successful podcast. So is SEO. Both are essential to submitting your podcast to directories like iTunes and Stitcher and getting it found. Use descriptions, tags and show titles and notes to your advantage.
Promotion involves turning to other channels. Use email newsletters, social media, visual media and your website to draw people in. An additional tip here: pitch your podcast to someone else’s program. It’s the influence factor at work. Plus, people who already listen to one podcast are more likely to listen to another.
Images: Mark Strozier, M. Strozier, M. Strozier (Creative Commons)
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