The best podcast productions have a plan which starts with the basics.
Ask yourself who is the podcast aimed at? What do you want to achieve? What do you want your listeners to get out of it?
The average time a person listens to a podcast is forty-three minutes. To keep an audience engaged for this long you need a lot of content. One presenter interviewing a single guest for the whole episode is a big ask. It’s better to add variety, with a mixture of guests, possible sound effects and music (sometimes called stings).
Entertainment is the most popular podcast genre, followed by comedy, then discussion and talk shows. This is something to reflect on when deciding the content and style of a podcast, depending of course on who your target audience is. According to research (by AudioBoom) the audience is split, 38% female, 61% males.
Preparation is key
Whilst you don’t want anyone reading from a script (expect perhaps with the introduction), doing a “paper edit” can be useful. This is where you write down a plan of what will be recorded. This could include guests and a rough idea of what they might talk about and for how long; it might also indicate when the podcast is to be broken up with a sting ,or music. You don’t have to stick to this plan rigidly, but it gives a production a structure.
A podcast that is part of a series could include a regular feature. Other parts might be more fluid, guest interviews or recording on location, for example.
Podcasts work most effectively as a PR tool when they are part of a series. A one-off podcast can look like a flop, whereas the goal is to engage and grow your audience. The challenge with this is to make each episode interesting in its own right, at the same time as presenting them together as a suite of podcast programmes.
Things That Work
- Having a variety of voices. This is much more engaging than a monologue, or even a long interview with a single guest.
- Using music effectively. That means choosing music carefully, to set a mood for example, or with a particular purpose in mind.
- Jingles and stings can work well too. Listeners become familiar with them and begin to associate certain tunes with your podcast.
- Sound effects can be included for extra texture and interest.
- A call to action, to potentially drive your audience elsewhere, such as your website
- Asking listeners to interact on social media. This adds to the feeling of community you are trying to build.