Podcasting Practices For A Great Show
A podcasting practice help podcast creators like us start better when working on our shows. The goal is to maximize the show's chances of success by incorporating tried and proven behaviors and strategies.
With podcasts becoming a popular platform for many brands and businesses, they're setting the standard by constantly providing high-quality content. However, many businesses need to catch up to expectations. It might be challenging to ensure excellent production, especially if you need to learn effective podcasting practice(s).
You can use this 5 podcasting practice as a guide to propel your show toward your success.
Podcasting Practice 1: Leave a Great First Impression – Make a Statement With Your Episodes About the Quality of Your Show
Remember that you're not at the finish line yet just after launching your podcast. You have to keep cranking that content machine to see real growth in your listenership. A crucial podcasting practice is deciding on a title for each new episode. This is the first thing a listener sees and will influence whether or not they tune in.
A lousy podcast episode title is more detrimental than you think. It's unfair to have produced the best possible content, and the episode title limits the show's reach, discoverability, and impact.
Choosing the right title for your episode can be challenging, especially if you want to create one that fits your brand while still giving listeners an accurate impression of the episode. An excellent episode title is similar to the headline of a news story, article, or blog post. Strong enough to persuade listeners to pay attention. Written in a way that hints at what to expect from the episode.
How do you come up with memorable titles for your episodes? What are the considerations? And are there any “rules” to follow? Invest the effort into this podcasting practice to avoid making your show an afterthought.
Be aware of your listeners' behavior
Knowing your audience is the oldest (but most effective) in the book of podcasting practice for getting on the good side of your listeners. Spend ample time researching your target audience, studying their behavioral patterns, habits, and interests, and noting themes that are important to them. These steps are critical if you want to write a headline people will click on.
Knowing your listeners will also help you get inside their brains and decide which terms and phrases they will use to search for your goods, which will contribute to your keyword research. A good podcasting practice is to remember that your podcast episode titles are created for your listeners.
Take your keywords and use them wisely
So it's about more than picking a title for your episode. It's up to you what your episode will be about and why. Consider your target demographic when creating your next set of episodes — podcast listeners who still need to discover your show.
- What kinds of keywords are they looking for?
- What are the questions they're looking for answers to?
- How are you best positioned to help them?
- Make it as apparent in your episode names as possible that this is exactly what they're searching for. Remember that delivering your promise in the episode should not be “clickbait.”
- Because podcast directories are search engines, make sure your titles are the type of things that will appear in a search on that topic.
Be mindful of your word choices
Being intentional (a great podcasting practice), insightful, and creative with your words to describe your work may extend its impact on the world and open the way for new listeners to discover your brilliance. Once you've decided on your primary and secondary keywords, make sure to employ them in particular and distinct ways in the following places:
- About 60 characters for the episode title (five words or less) centered on a keyword
- Prevent repetition!
- Maintain consistency in your episode titles if you have a recurring identifier for sorts of material
To avoid listeners turning to other shows for their topic of interest, your choice of words should be clear, short, and straightforward – providing them with the exact episode they are searching for. So don't be vague; provide adequate detail while remaining concise!
Have an eye-catching podcast cover art?
Images motivate people to try out your podcast. The design of a podcast's cover is the first thing listeners notice. If a podcast has a great cover design, listeners can assume that it speaks to the quality of your podcast. When they see the cover image, people will form opinions and assessments about your work.
While the substance of the podcast keeps listeners coming back for more, the cover image serves as a “hook” for new listeners. For you to entice your listeners to subscribe or to return, there must be a compelling incentive for them to do so – hence the podcast itself must be of high quality.
Visually engaging cover art captures attention and distinguishes you from the competition. And, as with other platforms, effective design leads to higher traffic. You want listeners to recognize your content among the hundreds, if not thousands, of podcasts available in every genre. Otherwise, once a potential subscriber switches to a competitor, you risk losing them forever.
Now, what makes good cover art?
- Easy-to-read title text
- Colors that catch the eye
- Professional design
- No hard-to-see elements
- A design that communicates what your podcast is about
The title is the aspect that tells listeners about the topic of your show. The other element of the artwork serves as a backdrop that either improves or detracts from your central message. You don't want a shabby front cover to turn off your audience and ruin your presentation.
Window shoppers for podcasts will use the artwork to decide whether to click on the description, learn more about the show, or listen to your most recent broadcast. When developing your podcast art, keep in mind that it’s an important part of promoting your podcast.
Podcast Practice 2: Develop a System for Consistency
Imagine you're sitting down to watch your favorite TV show. You'd been looking forward to the next episode for a week. You sit down with your bowl of popcorn, ready to enjoy the show. But wait, it's not available! The new episode is due, but it has yet to be released. The show's creators have yet to comment. Was it called off? Was it moved to a different time?
Inconsistency like this harms your relationship with your audience. If your audience can't rely on you to be consistent, you might as well not give it your time at all. They want dependability. They want new content to be released consistently. Having a system for your production schedule is another podcasting practice you need to add to your list.
A podcast schedule works best when you plan the big picture first, then map out the details, regardless of the type of show you produce. This podcasting practice keeps your priorities in check and prevents you from getting bogged down in the minutiae of podcast production. Here's a breakdown of some tasks involved in creating your podcasting schedule:
Plan out your editorial calendar
A podcast editorial calendar is a big-picture view of your show's upcoming episodes and stores it in a digital calendar or project management software (more on that later). You probably have a lot of episode ideas with different variables, so keeping them all in one place is a great way to stay organized—especially if you collaborate with others.
An editorial calendar also assists you in visualizing and adhering to your publishing schedule, whether one episode per day or one episode per week. Ideally, you should have at least one episode for each release, but planning ahead can help you avoid running out of ideas.
Here are some good criteria to include for each entry in your editorial calendar when implementing this podcasting practice:
- Whether it will be a video podcast, audio-only, or both
- Target publish date
- Episode season and/or number
- Episode topic or title and guest (if applicable)
Tip: If you're still in the planning stages of your podcast, recording a few episodes before your official launch date is a helpful podcasting practice that make you stay consistent from the start.
Define your tasks as a podcasting practice
Your editorial calendar is only as good as the tasks you add to it. Be sure to look over your work before the end of your project. This will allow you to identify sections where changes or improvements are needed.
It's also good to review your calendar regularly, even if you're not working on a specific project. This will allow you to track your content production goals and ensure that you meet them.
Here are some fundamental components of podcast production to keep in mind as podcasting practice:
- Research your topic
- Find and book a guest(s)
- Create a podcast script
- Edit the episode after recording it
- Include ad breaks or ad readings in the episode
- Make a show description and show notes
- Make episode artwork
- Publish the episode
- Create and schedule promotional content for social media, email, and websites, among other platforms
Breaking down your production process into manageable chunks also helps you identify which tasks can be delegated. Doing this can give you more time to focus on creating content for your show!
Create a standardized production workflow for your podcast
Producing a high-quality podcast consistently takes a lot of work. While listeners expect all of your upcoming episodes to be of the same or higher quality, podcast creators are not machines that run indefinitely. You will inevitably run out of ideas or creativity at some point, and you may even feel like giving up.
To avoid burnout and failure, practice working with a predefined process layout or podcasting workflow that meets your project requirements. Podcast workflow is an essential tool for many successful podcasters, as it aids in breaking down the podcast creation process into manageable chunks.
For your first podcast episodes, you should avoid using a podcasting workflow. It's a good rule of thumb to design a podcasting workflow after 5-6 episodes because your team can only identify an adequate flow for your process after a few successfully published episodes.
- List all your tasks in podcast production
- Document your checklist
- Assign tasks to your team and create checklists
According to a saying, failing to plan is planning to fail. This is especially true for your podcast production, where you must be consistent with your publishing schedule and content quality to cultivate a loyal audience. This podcasting practice will help transform your production chaos into a well-organized process.
Podcasting Practice 3: Make Sure to Take a Break
This is a podcast dilemma. I know you want to continue regularly publishing podcast episodes and grow your audience; however, you also need to take a break from time to time (I want you to look after yourself).
When you take a break from your podcast, this is referred to as a ‘podcast hiatus.' A hiatus is an intentional pause in the continuity of activity. So, what should you do?
As always, it depends! The specific conditions of your podcast and listeners determine it. It also relies on the length and time of your podcast break. And it also depends on why you're taking a break.
We've all heard the expression “out of sight, out of mind,” which is also true with podcasts. If you stop routinely releasing episodes and need a plan in place, your audience will rapidly find another show to spend their listening time to.
So how do you take a break from your show without losing your audience? Here are some tips:
Communication is key
Communication is essential in relationships, and it's no different between podcasters and their listeners. If you want to retain your dedicated listeners and the momentum you've built around your podcast when you go on a break, you must prepare your audience. If they know when to expect a break and when to expect you back, they'll be more likely to stick with you until then.
When you disappear without explanation, they'll probably find another show to fill their time and suit their needs. Preparing your listeners for your podcast break is the most critical approach for sustaining the momentum of your show.
Inform them ahead of time that there will be a change. Give them notice that you'll be taking some time off, that your show will run differently during the holidays, and when new episodes will resume.
This way, they will be able to understand what happened to you and understand why your show has abruptly changed. Most importantly, they won't leave because you've made it clear that you'll be back.
Record in batches
We all do our best to stick to a timetable and be present for our audience. Except for that, life sometimes gets in the way of our best efforts. The time you set aside to record a new episode soon became consumed by an unexpected meeting or a last-minute assignment. When this happens, you scramble to research, outline, and record your episode in a short amount of time.
As a result, you end up releasing subpar content, or none at all. By batching your episodes, everything is much more planned out, and you've already set out a much larger chunk of time to accomplish it. Plus, when things get rough, and life becomes busy, you'll have a few extra episodes to fall back on when the unexpected happens.
And what's so great about this podcasting practice is you can record episodes in bulk before your scheduled break and schedule them to publish aligned with your editorial calendar. This is quite simple if you're only going to miss a few episodes.
You may stick to your routine by recording a little extra in the weeks before you take time off. Your listeners will like your episodes, and you will enjoy your break, so if you can make this work, it'll be a win-win situation.
Insert seasonal podcasts
Podcasting in seasons works similarly to seasons in television shows. We listen to a podcast regularly, and then there’s a long gap until the next one is released. Season podcasting allows podcasters to give their listeners time to digest the podcast's material without worrying about a regular updating schedule.
Let me clarify: any podcast can use the podcasting in-seasons strategy. A season is a time period when podcast episodes are typically released. The seasons usually run between two and three months. Podcast episodes aren't released during this time. Then, after the season is through, a new season begins.
Season podcasting does not imply that each episode will only be available for a single season. There are usually a few stand-alone episodes released at random and can be released at any time and aren't required to be part of a season.
To podcast in seasons, what podcasting practice should you do?
- Sit down and think of a topic you're audience often asks you about (most likely, this is closely related to your niche)
- Break down the topic into individual lessons
- Map out each episode with high-level bullet points
Seasonal podcasts aren't for everyone
Seasons are helpful for specific podcasts, but it's only for some. Some podcasters produce in seasons to produce good seasons, just like a TV show. When some podcasters vary their focus from one theme to another during their podcast, they establish seasons. And some podcasters develop themes based on lifestyle rather than substance.
They manufacture in batches and publish for 6 months before taking a break and repeating the process, referred to as a season. It's okay if none of this applies to your show! Most podcasts are episodic and don't need seasons.
Stay consistent even when you're on a break
Whatever strategy or combination of strategies you use while taking a podcast break, one of the most important things you should do is to be consistent and true to your word. If you promised to share bonus episodes with your listeners during your time away, whether through your “going away” episode, your social media channels, or your email newsletter, make sure you follow through. Most importantly, if you indicated you'd be returning with a new episode on a certain date, you must follow through and appear on that date!
Remember that one of the unique aspects of podcasting is the relationship that develops between you and your listeners. However, this relationship is built on trust. Since this is a special relationship, your audience will accept your need to take a break from the show. Still, you must honor that relationship by delivering what you promised and showing up when you said you would.
Release trailers or sneak peeks
As your break ends, another excellent podcasting practice to keep your audience's attention and build anticipation about your show is to release a trailer for your upcoming content (it can be for a new season). You can also offer some sneak previews of what your listeners can expect as you prepare to share fresh content with them. You can share these sneak peaks on social media, but you should also consider making trailers or mini-episodes for your podcast.
These won't only help to get your community of committed listeners excited about what's to come. Still, it'll also be a fantastic opportunity to introduce new listeners (who you gained by implementing the podcasting practices I mentioned!) to you and your show. Make these trailers entertaining and informative about what listeners might expect from your podcast when it resumes.
Podcasting Practice 4: Search Engine Optimization
Being found online is a huge factor when growing your podcast audience. Podcast use has increased consistently in recent years and will continue to grow as more people use podcasts to improve their digital news, education, and entertainment. While people create podcasts for a variety of reasons, the primary goal is for listeners to listen, love what they hear, and then listen some more.
However, it's only possible if a podcast is easily found online. And this is where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in.
SEO aims to enable search engines to find your online content. Most people would immediately think of Google, which is true. Google is an integral part of the SEO process for most online platforms.
But, when it comes to podcasts, remember that each hosting platform has its built-in search engine (think Spotify or Apple Podcasts, for example). As a result, you must optimize your podcast to achieve the most remarkable results for where you want it to be found.
Follow these tips, and you'll stand a much higher chance of your podcast showing up on search engine results:
Build a home for all your episodes
Podcasters frequently follow the famous Field of Dreams quote, “If you build it, they will come.” Regrettably, this is rarely the case. This is why you may need a podcast website.
After you've launched your podcast, the next step is to attract people to listen to it. Sharing your latest episode on Apple or Google Podcasts is a great first step, but you need to do more to have a successful show. A podcast website is an excellent way to increase listenership while enhancing your content through blogs, images, and other media. I use my website to share information about myself and my work and reach new audiences.
Your website doesn't have to be fancy, but as a podcasting practice, it should have the following:
- Podcast About Section
- Show notes
- Contact Details
Research and relevant podcast keywords
The title of your podcast is the most important keyword, so make sure you use the most appropriate one. It will impact whether your target demographic engages with it, so it should always be precise and descriptive while still considering character limitations.
You must know what keywords to target if you want your content to rank on Google search results pages. You should research to determine what are the right keywords for you. Keywords with large search volumes, but low competition are great to target because they're easy to rank for.
However, if you're just starting podcast SEO, focusing on less competitive keywords is ideal. After establishing some authority, you can strive to rank for the more challenging ones. You can use these tools to get you started on your keyword research:
- Google Trends
- Answer the Public
- Keyword Surfer
- Google Podcast Manager
- Keywords Everywhere
- Also Asked
- Google itself!
Pro tip: Don't make the mistake of using the same keyword for multiple audio episodes. You risk jeopardizing your progress if you utilize the same keyword on every episode. Even though one keyword is related to another, it's still crucial to plan for one distinct keyword per episode. Remember that your listeners should be familiar with your keyword.
Understand the importance of transcriptions
A transcription can make your podcast more accessible to listeners by providing a clear, readable summary of everything covered in the episode. Most first-time visitors to your podcast may opt to read a transcript to determine the value of your content.
A transcript allows your listeners to read along while listening to your podcast. Take it a step further by making the transcript interactive. Listeners can scroll through the episode by clicking on a word and jumping to that place in the audio. You'll also provide a better UX (User Experience) for desktop audiences who might prefer to read a blog post or listen to a sample of material on social media rather than a whole audio-only episode.
Podcast transcription can be time-consuming, but it's well worth the effort if you're serious about growing your audience and improving your SEO. Fortunately, numerous tools are available to help you transcribe your audio files. Go through them and remove all the ‘ums' and pauses.
Pro Tip: this is where you can add more keywords if necessary, even if they weren't included in the audio.
Include episode show notes as a podcasting practice
Show notes are the text that appears alongside each episode of your podcast. They often include a brief overview of the episode, introductions to guests, and topics discussed on the show.
The notes should contain a breakdown of some or all of the topics or stories covered in that episode. You can even include timestamps for each topic to help your listeners find a particular segment. This description can be simple or detailed, but remember to strike a balance between having enough content to make the notes effective and having too much content, which makes it less appealing.
Your notes should include the following:
- Summary of topics and time stamps
- Names and bios of guests
- Quotes or excerpts
- Related links to relevant websites and social accounts
Have written content for each podcast episode
Written content serves two purposes for your podcast. For starters, it increases your website's authority on a specific topic. Producing continuous written content related to your niche (and content) helps search engines know what your website is about — and thus your podcast. And the higher the quality of content you have, the more authority you'll have. As a result, when someone searches for a “podcasting practice,” Google is far more likely to recommend your podcast over others.
Second, it allows potential listeners to locate your episodes via different media and enables you to recycle the content you worked so hard to create. Recycling material in this manner can increase your website's authority and search engine rankings while utilizing the information you've previously published!
Make your podcast shareable on social media
People don't automatically associate social media with SEO. However, it is. There's a clear relationship between social media participation and search engine rankings. The more your audience interacts with your podcast on social media (by loving, commenting, and sharing), the more credible you become with search engines.
Some social media channels go viral more than others, but they'll have the ability to help you reach new audiences. Your potential audience may come across your posts and interact with your page if you use hashtags, follow specific topics, and comment on relevant conversations. This could result in engagement and new listeners or followers for your show.
Interacting with your current followers and listeners is also a terrific podcasting practice to keep them interested and returning to your future episodes. Your followers' interaction with your content can boost their exposure to your comments and articles.
Which social media platform should you use?
- Facebook – you can build a specific page for your podcast, form a group for a topic/brand, or post links, status updates, etc. A page is similar to a standard Facebook profile in that you may share information about the podcast (description, image, contact information) and content through posts. Text, images, videos, and links can all be included in these posts.
- Instagram – it's better suited for audience discovery. You can tag your posts with hashtags or search for themes, then follow and comment on relevant profiles. To attract potential listeners, provide graphics and videos, stories, and reels.
- Twitter – this platform makes it simple to discover content from people you don't directly follow. Be active by commenting on tweets, starting intriguing topics, and gaining new followers. Since you can quickly create a separate profile for your show and publish it there, Twitter is one of the most popular social sites for podcasters.
- YouTube – consider using YouTube as a podcasting platform. Every month billions of people visit YouTube. When recording your podcast, you can use video rather than audio and quickly repurpose the content. Furthermore, YouTube is an excellent platform for growing your organic reach.
What should you post on your social media as part of a podcasting practice?
- Podcast website links in your bio
- Questions to ask your guest
- Share quotes from your podcasts (if you have tweetable moments, you can repurpose them here)
- Share lessons from your podcast episodes as threads
- Just socialize with your community and avoid continually trying to “sell” your service or product
Always prioritize quality above quantity. You have to feel obligated to engage in all platforms at once. If your brand naturally has a higher presence on one or more channels, focus your efforts there. Do what works best for your brand, and be bold and try new podcasting practice or back off from what isn't working.
Podcasting Practice 5: Upgrade Your Equipment and Recording Space
Quality audio is critical in podcast, both new and well-established. Background noise or hollow audio that sounds like it was recorded on your phone will inevitably reduce listenership. Even if you have a terrific podcast brand and theme, it will suffer if you don't implement the right podcasting practice.
You don't need the market's greatest external microphones and audio equipment. There are fantastic solutions for any budget that offer high-quality results. The good news is that making your podcast seem professional doesn't have to be expensive.
Regarding podcasting equipment, you most likely already have an internet connection and a PC or laptop. The next podcasting practice to take is to determine the best way to record your audio. Amazon has some reasonably priced microphones. However, read the reviews before making your ultimate pick.
Ensure that you have these on your list when you do an upgrade:
- Recording headphones
- Microphones for podcasting
- Soundproofing equipment
- Podcasting editing tools
The first significant challenge for budding podcasters is upgrading their podcast equipment for the ideal setup. Fortunately, there's no magic formula for choosing the right tools. Your podcast kit should be tailored to your needs and the benefits you hope to gain from podcasting. You can use this guide as to what podcasting tools you should get and how to upgrade your podcasting studio.
Evolving with the Right Podcasting Practice
What I've covered here is just the tip of the iceberg — there are many other podcasting practice to consider when thinking creatively about your podcast. I encourage you to experiment with new ideas regularly and never lose sight of your connection with your listeners. Continue to assess the content you're producing, the sound of your podcast, what your listeners are saying, and the areas where you need to improve and implement a more effective podcasting practice.
Remember that podcasting is a journey, not a destination. Because the medium is constantly growing, your podcast will be a work in progress. Keep at it, try which podcasting practice works for you and you'll undoubtedly notice positive results!
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