Podcasting isn’t easy and since I launched my podcast, the Marketing Mashup, I’ve learnt a few things about what you should and shouldn’t do.
Quality is important to make you stand out
I listen to a lot of podcasts and there is a lot for me to choose from. I can listen to business, tech, football or story-based content. I’ll also try a lot of new podcasts and if I don’t like them, I’ll stop listening and unsubscribe. This is why it’s so important to have a good quality podcast, but it can be broken down into two different subsections. Audio quality and content quality — both are equally as important in my eyes. With the barrier to entry for producing amazing audio quality so low, there is no excuse to neglect it. You can pick up some great microphones for less than £400 and from then on you’ll have great audio quality. Then you can consider the content quality, because people won’t listen if your content isn’t good — so put time into that.
Set a day or frequency you’ll be putting your podcast out so that people know when to expect your episode to be released. For instance, I release the Marketing Mashup podcast every other Monday, that way, people know exactly when they can expect to listen to the next episode. Another example of this is The Vergecast, which I always listen to on my drive home every Friday and I can always expect an episode to be released on that day. Set a schedule and stick to it, people will start to get used to releasing episodes at a regular cadence.
Choose a good hosting provider
You need a way to get your podcast out there and choosing a good host will make sure it’s reliably distributed to the listening apps (Apple Podcasts, Spotify etc). If you’re just starting out and are looking for a free option, Anchor is a good choice (acq. Spotify 2019). It’s super easy to set up and they’ll automatically to submit it to the listening players. However, I wouldn’t recommend it as then you don’t own your podcast feed and if you eventually want to switch, it’s hard to do so. Instead, I’d recommend using a paid-for host such as Transistor (starting at $19 p/m) or Simplecast (starting at $15 p/m). These hosts offer websites, an embeddable player and options to control your upload options, add detailed show notes and more.
Find the best guests and make it fun for them
*this point only applies to interview pods
I hear so many podcasts where the guest are (1) unprepared and (2) are asked the same questions they have been asked on every other podcast they have ever been on. You’ll get a much better interview if you send your notes well in advance and ask them to make their own notes. In a recent episode of the Marketing Mashup I did with Paul Jacobs, he had written down two pages of notes and research which he could refer to throughout the recording. It made for a much more pleasant podcast for both of us as he wasn’t caught too off guard with my prepped questions and he had some really interesting references throughout. And as for sourcing the best guests? Write a list of guests that you think would be excellent on your podcast and reach out to them. Then do a quick call before to check you have chemistry (because a podcast where the hosts don’t have chemistry is more boring to listen to than you think).
It’s hard to grow
It is really bloody hard to podcast, especially if you have no existing audience. As there is no organic way of growing on a single platform — like on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube etc — you have to leverage your other channels as much as possible and also try to tap into those of your guests. I’ve not done this step yet but try to do guest appearances on as many other podcasts as you can think of too.
There is so much more involved in producing a podcast than you might think and it’s super time-intensive. I think in total I spend about 20 hours a week on the podcast (and that is with a full-time job). Here’s what is involved in producing an episode from start to finish:
- I’ll send an email to the prospective guest
- We exchange a few emails to arrange a time
- I’ll then relentlessly research and type up episode prep notes and send to the guest
- Travel to the recording, record for an hour and a half
- Write show notes
- Write transcription
- Create promotional assets (video, social, blog post)
- Publish to podcast host
- Promote on Twitter, LinkedIn & other relevant places throughout the 2 weeks
Starting a podcast has been brilliant so far and has opened up so many different opportunities to meet some incredible marketers. It’s not been easy and there is far more to it than you might anticipate, but the feeling of having people listen to your episode and send you a message saying that they’ve enjoyed it or extracted some value from it is a really good one.