Starting out a podcast is not a walk in the park. Sure, it’s a lot of fun. But if we’re comparing this type of business — or really any type of business — to a physical activity, I’d be more likely to use a rigorous and grueling triathlon as my metaphor of choice.
And anyone that’s ever participated in a triathlon will tell you, the work doesn’t begin on the day of the competition. There’s so much training and work athletes will put in before ever even enrolling in competitions. It seems though that many podcasters do not put in the same efforts of preparation before starting their podcasts.
So here are some things that I’ve noticed most podcasters get completely wrong as they launch their podcasts:
1. Most Small Podcasts Get Their Audio Production Completely Wrong
Have you ever attempted to listen to a new podcast only to have your speakers or headphones snap crackle and pop like breakfast cereal? I know I have.
Studies show that sound can play either negative or positive roles in our concentration, mood, breathing, heart rate, and even digestion. How will your audio affect your listeners?
Below are some effects that having poor audio on your podcast can affect your listeners:
- Having poor audio is a surefire way to tell your audience you don’t take your podcast seriously
- Poor audio can make it difficult for your listeners to follow along
- Poor audio makes your listeners question your credibility
- Poor audio makes your listeners associate you with negative emotions
On the other hand, finely tuned and beautiful audio not only disappears when appropriate, letting the user concentrate on the wonder your content creates, but it can also amplifies your content and signal to your listeners the profoundness of your content.
Here are some of the benefits of professionally produced audio:
- Allows you to find ways to keep your audience’s attention
- Signals that you’re a professional and a leader in this space
- Make it easy for your listeners to focus on your content
- Associates you with a sense of wonderment
If you’re not sure where to start with improving your audio, you can check out my others posts, feel free to reach out; I’m always happy to give my feedback and advice.
2. Most Small Podcasts Get Their Web Presence Completely Wrong
If you’re a small podcaster, you know that you have to wear at least 5 to 10 hats in order to get your show published consistently. So why then, do so many small podcasters insist on wearing hats that are wasting their time?
Knowing where you should focus your efforts to get maximum reach per hour of work is pivotal for small podcasts, who don’t have the advertising reach and established following that larger studios have developed.
So what’s my recommendation in this space?
Most Small Podcasts Don’t Have a Website
You need a website, for so, so many reasons. But the short-version of why is that a website will:
- Give you the ability to have Search Engine Optimized show notes
- Provide you a single place to link back to from all of your other marketing channels
- give you a single place where you can optimize conversion of your paid content and merchandise sales.
- Give you a single point of reference to link to all of your social networks
- Collect emails for your email marketing efforts (which is the highest converting type of campaign, by the way)
Most Small Podcasts Don’t Repurpose Their Content and Link Back to Their Website
If you don’t have a ton of time, it’s 100% pivotal that you repurpose your content as effectively and efficiently as possible. For really limited time budgets, my preference is this: Once you upload your new episode to your podcast media host, use that episode to make the following:
- a new episode post on your website targeting and optimized for specific google searches
- As an infographic for Pinterest, with your episode/blog post above being the linked article in your Pinterest post
- An insightful 15-30 second clip for Instagram reels and TikTok
The reason I would focus on these specific activities first is that they have the highest reach-to-time-ratio out of almost any marketing activity barring large ad spends. If you want to go the extra mile and have the time and inclination to do so, you can then repurpose your episode in various other ways across your other marketing channels including email, Facebook, and Instagram posts/stories.
3. Most Small Podcasts Get Their Content Creation Strategy Completely Wrong
Even if you do everything else right, at the end of the day people only listen to content that… to put it bluntly, doesn’t suck.
The problem is that, as humans, we’re all so wrapped up in our own identities and egos that it’s only normal and natural to feel proud of almost anything you create, even if it’s content that just doesn’t resonate with your prospective listeners.
So what can you do do make sure you have great content?
While not every good podcast episode follows a story-structure, almost anything worth listening to has been created with a bit of thought in advance. You’ll want to really concentrate on how you are providing value to your listeners. Here are some of my tips:
- If possible, pre-interview guests to get a feel for what the most impactful questions during your interview will be
- Think about what order you’d like to reveal information throughout your interviews and monologues
- Think in terms of story-arcs and characters
Why Focus on Creating Great Content?
Creating amazing content is easier said than done, and I have a lot of thoughts about how to do this, but I’d like to save those for another post. Instead, I wan to drive home the importance of good content with a few more points:
Good content gives you free marketing labor.
Think about how much work people are willing to do for free when they love and identity with great content. They create, manage and organize subReddits, Facebook groups, watch parties. They share your content across all of their social media accounts. They incessantly recommend it to their friends, families, and colleagues at every chance they get. No matter how huge your marketing budget it, it will always pale in comparison to the amount of organic reach that truly great content can create.
Great content also makes people remember you.
If you can play a role in someone else getting over a bad mood with truly funny content, or give them a personal epiphany or insight they would’ve never had before, they’re so much more likely to remember you and come back for future episodes.