It’s the first anniversary of the Work Alchemy podcast! I’m so delighted to have brought you these inspiring and in-depth conversations with entrepreneurs and leaders who combine conventional business success with really making a difference in the world.
More than anything, that’s what I want for you: financial success + positive contribution = IMPACT. In the podcast, you can learn how these entrepreneurs and leaders did it. And I’m looking forward to bringing you more!
I’ve learned a lot along the way, and want to share it with you, so you can create your own pro-level podcast. Think of this article as Podcasting 201. For the basics, check out What You Need to Know To Start Your Own Podcast.
The good news is, you don’t need a professional studio or dozens of high-level technicians to help you. Podcasting like a pro is accessible to every business owner with even nominal resources.
Here are 8 strategies to up the quality of your podcast to pro level:
1. Create a substantial backlog
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to create a significant backlog of episodes. If you’re broadcasting weekly, then I recommend at least a month ahead. It’s inevitable that interviews will have to be rescheduled and major projects may slow you down in creating new episodes. When you create a backlog, you’ll make better and lower-stress decisions about everything to do with the podcast, from subject matter to technical considerations. Plus, your audience will love the consistency.
2. Surprise people
Once your podcast is up and running for a while, the novelty starts to wear off. Even if your topic or theme continues to engage people, give people a good reason to listen to new episodes by mixing it up.
If your podcast is you alone, then bring in some guests for a panel or interview. Do woman-in-the-street interviews on your topic at an event (so you can regulate sound quality).
If your podcast is a series of interviews, then bring in your own perspective with just you as the host and guest. As I’ve discovered with my own podcast, people want to hear your perspective!
3. Offer different lengths
Your listeners don’t always have time to listen to that full 55 minute interview, even if it was fascinating. Give people a variety of lengths to listen to, so they can choose a shorter episode if their time is limited.
Some podcasts have a defined or consistent shorter length. While that can make it easier to listen, there’s also a limit to how deep you can go with a subject. Make a choice about whether you are going for ease or depth. That will depend on who your listeners are.
4. Listen to your listeners
Consider your topic and your audience. It’s worth getting to know your listeners and their preferences. You can ask people to give you feedback on your podcast, either from your email list or on the podcast itself. Social media is a great way to learn what your listeners want. I’ve gotten so much valuable feedback that way.
5. Engage listeners from the first moment
The introduction to your podcast is important. Write it so that it captures your audience’s attention right away. Use it to set the tone and deliver important information about what’s to come.
Even if people have been listening for a while, different aspects of a familiar introduction will pop into their awareness each time they hear it. So, make every word count.
6. Include a call to action
Most podcasts aren’t monetized directly, so include a compelling call to action in your podcast. Think about how the podcast fits into your overall marketing and business strategy. Keeping in mind how the podcast can influence your business, what call to action will serve that best right now? Asking people to join your email list, offering a product or service, or inviting them to an event are all possibilities.
7. Be careful how you monetize
You can also monetize your podcast more directly. Some podcasts are monetized by advertising, or through corporate or foundation funding. In these cases, state the advertising or funding in every episode, to give people a clear idea of where the financing comes from. That’s a legitimate way to keep your podcast going and even provide you with some income to create it.
I’ve learned recently of a podcast that charges people by the episode to be on it. In that case, the owner is leveraging their large audience to allow people to gain exposure. Keep in mind, though, that many podcasts with large audiences are looking for guests that do not have to pay.
Another tactic I’ve seen is to use this paid approach to be indirectly connected with the famous by association. A word of caution: to maintain the trust of your audience, don’t mislead your people about who you podcast “with” in these paid arrangements. It could well backfire on you if you are found out.
Outside of this practical consideration, I would never advocate misleading people. Be careful not to undermine your credibility with questionable tactics. Once trust is lost, it’s hard to regain. Make your product or service great and develop an engaged community, and you won’t have to sacrifice your integrity to be successful.
8. Help people find the nuggets
Pulling out the great moments in your podcast will draw your audience in a different and attractive way. Send them an email with podcast nuggets, as I have done, or create separate, much shorter episodes with highlights from the full recording. That way, people can just pop in and still benefit from the key points.
I’ve even augmented this approach with my own take on what my guests have said, to add value. All of that can be delivered in a very compact package of time that makes it easy for your audience to read or listen.
Podcasting has become more and more popular as a way for people to promote their businesses. Help yours stand out from this increasingly crowded avenue of visibility by offering a professional approach, one you can be proud of and that fits into your overall strategy.