Currently, there are over 700,000 active podcasts available to over 73 million monthly listeners in the U.S. alone. While this might seem like a daunting number to go up against, the public’s appetite for podcasts has been growing exponentially for years and shows no signs of slowing. Now is the time to share your ideas with the world, so long as you are purposeful in creating a quality experience for your listeners.
Starting a podcast
We asked 10 veteran podcasters and long-time podcast enthusiasts for their input on what makes the best podcasts and what they look for in the content they listen to.
1. Be consistent
“I have found that consistency is key and is a proven strategy for anyone just starting out. Also, with the development of a marketing strategy, a podcast with a distinct direction or clear niche can go a long way. Audience involvement is a great way to engage by allowing questions to be asked or to share information.”
“Developing an audience for a podcast should be looked upon as building a community. A community with similar struggles, desires, needs, and ways of thinking. Even better if you can unify the community with a community lingo. Think about how successful Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift have been building and unifying a community of raving fans by pointing out that they have more in common than what separates them. They refer to their fans as Little Monsters and Swifties.”
-Jeffrey Shaw, Brand Consultant and Author of LINGO
3. Be purposeful with your content
“I’ve been listening to podcasts for years and what I look for in a podcast is content with context. Anyone can ramble on about a subject with guests but my time is short and valuable so I need to get the key insights quickly. I appreciate podcasts that are geared towards proving the listener with the information and story as quickly as possible without the need to take up 2 hours of my time to insert advertisements or random messages from sponsors that are irrelevant.”
“The success of a podcast depends on how excited you are about it. Self-promotion is the best marketing because it shows you're excited about your content and, therefore, so will your audience (of course having a specific target audience is key). I've been able to grow my following on Instagram via the podcast as I promoted it incessantly on social media, and with the help of my guests as well.”
“A podcast has a needle in the ears of its listeners. It has the opportunity to leak ideas into the listeners’ minds with long-form conversations or investigations. True crime shows reveal things about the world we never knew. Dr. Phil’s new show is a bit of disappointment in the true crime arena, but it fully recognizes that people go to podcasts to attain a new lens on the world for new refractions of thought. In a “horizonless acoustic space”, it is easier to bring viewers into foreign lands on a far cheaper budget than on television or in film. Podcasts have a wider window into seedier minds than most documentaries can offer..
Long form podcasts like JRE, Armchair Experts, Guys I F*cked, and Pardon My Take are so successful because they are habitual fixes for the listeners. Days without feel like incomplete or unused days. Becoming a staple in someone’s life is the key to long-term podcasts.”
“A big mistake podcasters make is to 'rip and run'. Real success for a show relies on benchmarks, reverse engineering, and recalibration. As a podcast producer, my biggest tip is to air-check every episode in real time and assesses the content by asking two basic benchmark questions, What's in it for the listener? and Have I delivered on my promise? If you can't instantly answer these questions then edit it out.”
Ensuring quality for your podcast is essential. Make sure you’re using the top audio editing software on the market to help your show sound its best.
7. Network and promote your show
“Networking! We find that developing genuine relationships with likeminded people has brought us the most success. It has increased our word of mouth and connected us with more potential guests. We make an effort to go to events that are relatable to our niche as well as slide into the DMs of anyone who we think we could learn from!
I love listening to podcasts that offer tangible tips in a list format and also interview style podcasts where I can learn from successful people who are where I want to be. ”
“If you want to launch a successful podcast, your audio equipment should not be an afterthought. If the production quality is poor, your listeners won’t stick around. Either invest in the right equipment for creating audio content, such as a microphone, headphones, room soundproofing, and software or find an affordable studio to record. If you’re looking for some possible options, try reaching out to local business incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, or colleges. Many small recording spaces will rent by the hour and may offer discounts if you’ll include sharing on your podcast that you’re recording from their venue.”
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Piper Thomson works with G2 as a Content Marketing Associate. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, they graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in Sociology. Their interests include podcasts, rock climbing, and understanding how people form systems of knowledge in the digital age. (they/them/theirs)