How to make a successful podcast

April 29, 2020
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April 29, 2020 Ralph van Dijk

Wondering what it takes to make your podcast the one people listen to over the 700,000 series and 29+ million episodes out there?

Two years ago I spoke at Mumbrella Publish about how to make a great podcast. Since then the market has only gathered more momentum and Eardrum alone has produced six new series. We’re clearly doing something right as this week two of our branded shows have been shortlisted at the London International Awards.

I thought it might be time for a recap…

THIS IS NOT RADIO

Listeners have chosen to lean in. This is not passive, it’s active listening, an immersive experience where listeners have decided to focus on you. Tell them why it’s worth sticking around from the outset – even offer a road map for the episode.

EVERYONE IS A PRODUCER NOW

Thanks to services like Splice, The Audio Network & Artlist, you now have cheap access to high quality SFX and royalty free music. Use these to paint a visual picture for listeners and anchor them in emotion. The more they feel, the more engaged they will be.

AL NATURALE

A podcast that sounds scripted is no fun. It may seem counter-intuitive but you may need to record a few times in order for things to start feeling natural – particularly with narratorial podcasts.

LEARN TO SHUT UP

You’re speaking to a guest because you value their insights, let them speak. Be willing to veer off script if what they’re saying is more interesting than what you’ve prepared.

START WITH AN INSIGHT

What unique perspective does your podcast offer? What original story are you telling? We have more podcasts available than ever – the ones that stand out are the ones that help us consider something in a new light – even if it’s a familiar subject.

DON’T SKIMP ON THE DESIGN

Everyone judges a book by its cover – sorry. Aim to define yourself with some eye-catching cover art that really speaks to your audience. This can make a huge difference to the traffic you drive to your podcast via Facebook / Instagram campaigns.

KEEP IT TIGHT AND CUT TO THE CHASE

Avoid the lengthy intros, edit out the waffle and leave them wanting more.

And, since you’re asking, here what I’ve been binging on this week. It’s called Stuff From The Loft by creative legend Dave Dye. Dave interviews all my heroes from the 90s London ad scene – some I was lucky enough to have worked with. It’s pretty rough, it’s pretty niche, but you forgive it if all when you’re the target audience.