Starting a kick butt podcast is no easy gig.
Podcasting is a fantastic way, however, to deliver consumable content to the right audience in a way they prefer (audio) and via media easy to consume, where, when, and how they want.
A strong addition to your marketing mix, podcasts give you an opportunity to build your audience by merely talking to people. It’s a relevant way to connect, allowing your audience to get to know you.
John Lee Dumas who built his Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast with nothing but an idea to offer new content every single day, says prove your podcast concept by identifying three things.
Here’s JLD’s (as he’s known) Proof of Concept tips for finding your podcast topic or show idea to help you ignite your audio fire:
- Ask yourself how you can “do it differently” as a podcaster.
- Add your USP or Unique Service Proposition …for audio, Pat Flynn calls this “your hook.” HINT: Think about finding a unique spin to add to, or bring something completely new, to a topic.
- Add your personality. Yesssss.
Make Nice With the Mic
Speaking of personality, Jay Acunzo of the Unthinkable Podcast, suggests in this CMI post, you ask this one question before starting a podcast:
“Are you any good on a microphone?”
Besides that, Jay talks about a lot of interesting and valuable techniques you can use in how you deliver your show content, using things like “signposting” to emphasize a point or the use of silent pauses for effect. Take your audience on a journey with you, Jay points out, because you want them to want to come back for more. Operating the mic is a big thing!
Convince and Convert, in a recent Conex Podcast (on the topic podcasting 101) agrees and says, “entertain if you can.” The advice they give for finding your perfect podcast topic is to determine these two things, first:
a.) Do you have something to say? (To add to the discussion on your subject matter.)
b.) Are you enthusiastic and passionate about your topic?
Content is Content
Content is content. So, like anything you produce, taking an audience-first approach is the golden key. Offer consistently valuable content in what you deliver with your podcasting channel to win listeners.
Hey, I think my own content formula, CARE, fits here as a reminder for crafting unique, original, quality work:
In David Siteman Garland’s Rise to the Top Podcast, he talks podcasting with Pat Flynn (Smart Passive Income) and boy did I take notes! Pat’s big tips for finding your audio content key:
- Podcast what’s proven. What this means is you need to determine if your topic is viable. And, in truth, the more popular and more podcasts on a topic, the better it is as an indicator of a big audience. Also, Pat stresses for you to use questions, analytics information, etc. to help guide you. Try to pre-determine if your topic/subject-matter is in demand in the market.
- Add stories. No matter your industry, stories add context and creates a listening experience to a point where people are glued.
- Check out other popular podcasts. Listen to other shows to discover gaps you can fill, borrow ideas, and find new topics for your show.
- Add value to your podcast by answering questions.
- Interview guests in a fun and conversational style. Show enthusiasm which is easy when you’re curious or have a genuine interest in the person and topic. Try asking unique questions other than what’s typically expected and, attempt to go deeper by asking open-ended questions. Try to draw out a story starting with a phrase like, “tell me about a time when…”
- For each episode, create a one minute hook. Pull people in by hinting at the benefits in listening and preview the show’s direction to pique curiosity.
Hooks Help You Get Heard
A hook is an opening or introduction where your goal is to give people a reason to pay attention, a provocative invitation to listen.
Pat and David both use this technique on their mega-successful podcasts. They also suggest, especially for interview episodes, you create this hot intro only after listening to your guest’s answers. This way, you are sure to pull the juiciest tidbit into your enticing hook!
Other tips for your hook include remembering to keep it you-oriented, using loops (or open-ended stories) to tease guests into listening on, and prompting interest by having a unique twist, slant, or angle in your hook. Entertaining is okay but creating curiosity is even better so stay benefits-oriented so people can’t wait to listen.
John Lee Dumas hints at finding a hook for your show topic, in general, by figuring out your sweet spot. He says examine both your passion and your expertise to see where they intersect to develop your place in podcasting.
Of course, there’s one more component to throw into your premier mix, to heighten your chance for sweet success. I know you know what I’m going to say next, but this in some ways is the hardest part, right? Ahhh, of course, I’m talking about finding your audience.
Finding Your Audience
An audience…sweet music to my heart. However, it’s not merely finding them, but reeling them in to gain excited ears eager to listen to your value-packed audio productions! P.S. More than one time.
I’m not going to lie, it feels a little disheartening when you start and only see a trickle of listeners. But, all the podcasters with tons of listeners now, started with just a few and so will you. I feel excited as my listener numbers slowly increase over time.
Pat Flynn offers this advice, “Results take time, so enjoy the journey.”
But I want to do much better. This guide is a collection of the research I did even as my podcast is already available. These are the things I’m reviewing and implementing to improve the MIX/SIZZLE & SHAKE YOUR BUSINESS Podcast as I continue to create and build the channel.
HINT: Everything hinges on building an audience and finding loyal listeners.
In the Conex Podcast mentioned earlier, they talked about the idea that podcasting allows you to have “conversations in public” letting you deliver that easy to consume content in a relaxed, very human and conversational manner. And while they encourage you to go for it if you are excited to help and share, they also suggest essential guidelines.
Top 3 Podcast Guidelines
Conex trims the guidelines, essential for finding and growing an audience, down to these three:
- Your show must be relevant.
- It must be credible.
- You need to have alignment with your content, topics, and show’s theme.
And don’t forget, entertain if you can!
I don’t mind starting with a smaller audience while I’m honing my skills and learning. I’m stretching myself as I go but, want to keep polishing for a top-notch production, eventually.
Tips So Listeners Will Tune In
This is where I may have missed some pieces with my haphazard landing into the podcast world. Can’t help it, I’m a sucker for a challenge. And, I don’t regret jumping right it, using the free Anchor App as my testing platform.
HINT: Please don’t be afraid to experiment or you hold yourself back.
Whether you’re just starting out with podcasting or upgrading, like me, I suggest you do a bit of prep before recording. Pat Flynn identifies the top five things to prepare in advance of jumping off the podcast cliff, and I think they’ll help you dive in more gracefully. Think about and plan these 5 things prior to any recording:
- Your podcast title. You may want to think about the use of keywords here to identify the subject matter for SEO purposes. Hmm. Didn’t even think of keywords but, maybe I lucked out anyway. (You know, the “Your Business.”)
- Host or talent’s (personality’s) name. This is to highlight the “star” of your show:) A business title or description goes here, too.
- Podcast subtitle. This is brief and clarifies what your show is about. Succinctly.
- Podcast summary or description. Another chance to add descriptive keyword copy, concise and engaging. Stick with the iTunes spec of 4,000 characters, max, because they are the number one listening platform. (see graphic below)
- Your podcast artwork. This is like a book cover for your show so go for visual appeal and keep in mind, your artwork makes a first impression. It represents your show and is seen in media players and elsewhere. Go with 2,048 x 2,048 pixels, maximum, for your title image to satisfy iTunes best. Be careful with the copy you use as it’s difficult to see on mobile, a favorite podcast player for people.
Honing in on Who
Who starts with YOU.
Pat Flynn’s first five prep items help you focus on an intentional direction in how you design your show’s image and purpose. But by asking yourself why you want to podcast, you may uncover secrets to who your audience may be and how you can identify what JLD calls, “that one perfect listener.”
When you know your ideal audience avatar, and details of “that one perfect listener,” you can then produce your podcast around their needs. Naming your podcast, for example, so it resonates with both them and you, is SEO-friendly, and hopefully is both unique and memorable, serves your avatar. If possible, JLD says to keep your show name short and sweet and stick with clear before clever.
For artwork, JLD suggests you go clean and not busy. He says to make it simple and pop, using bold colors for easy recognition among the gallery of choices. He says not to use your own image where DSG suggests you do, to establish you as your brand. Of course, most artwork is subjective, so JLD suggests getting feedback before selecting your final look.
Again, your goal is to create a connection and understanding of what you’re about at a glance. Why not try to excite and intrigue? Pop, remember? Be unique.
By figuring out who will benefit from listening to you, you can create your avatar and then work tirelessly to understand their needs. Then, JLD explains, you can show your ideal listener why listening to your podcast is the answer.
Everything from your podcast title to topics, to content, to show notes revolves around your audience. JLD suggests you work from a code: WWYAW. Meaning, “What Would Your Avatar Want?” Build from there and you’re golden.
Don’t be afraid to do it differently!
MIX/SIZZLE & SHAKE YOUR BUSINESS
For me, jumping in on a whim and a challenge means there were no guidelines to how, what, or why I was podcasting. Maybe it’s good to dive in blindly and by default, it makes you a little different, no big plan or dream to chase. I just wanted to mix, sizzle, and shake things up a little for your business and mine.
But the thing is, creating audio content is fun, exciting, and yep, challenging. Still, the rewards are many, both internally and externally. At least for me. Audio is also a fabulous way to repurpose and cross-promote your content. It’s another significant way to connect with people.
What I’m learning is, sharing my thoughts, ideas, experiences, and what I am continually learning, lets other people jump ahead. I feel very good about the feedback from the show, and the many notes and comments about how the podcasts are helping people in their businesses.
I love knowing there are at least a couple of people who enjoy the podcast. And so it inspires this new MSSYBiz website where new episodes, complete with show notes, power links to sources, and more, can live, perhaps even grow.
This site and the information I’m sharing here will take you on a podcasting journey along with me. I hope this first post gives you the critical raw pre-start details you need to think over and plan for. Make sure you’re not caught playing catch-up like I am.
A New Podcast Direction for Starting a Kick Butt Podcast
While I’m grateful for the practice and mega learning experiences so far in doing the 91 published episodes from hundreds recorded, I’m also beyond excited to level it up now.
Now is the time if you are newer to podcasting or are starting to hone in on a viable strategy to create a quality content asset via an audio component to add to your business messaging, brand voice, and content marketing mix.
But, make sure you have plenty of stamina if you want to do a Podcast because this post is only your first, pre-production note. Remember, I told you starting a kick butt podcast is no easy gig. Digging into the how-to, the mechanics, and the nitty-gritty of what you need to know before you start podcasting is next up! Okay?
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Sue-Ann Bubacz is a digital content strategist and writer/editor who works with best-selling authors, media personalities, and prominent artists to enhance their communication, elevate their influence, and transform their creative vision into tangible business results.