Most people who provide content online do so through the more traditional text medium of blogging. But if you stick with a single platform, you are really missing out on your chance to expand your user base and offer something special to your readers. Which is where podcasts come in, one of the most popular means of engaging people from all over the world.
Websites like Single Dad Laughing have expanded to provide podcast versions of their blog posts (another good example: MyBlogGuest podcast). It has shown a real market online, where some people prefer to listen to posts while they do other things. Likewise, actual podcasts without associated blogs have been making leaps and bounds lately, gaining hundreds of thousands of listens per episode. It is a really impressive thing to see.
How Do I Become a Good Podcaster?
There isn’t a whole lot to the art of podcasting. In many ways, you are going to be following the same rules that would apply to any kind of content.
Keep It High Quality
There is nothing worst than a badly recorded podcast. Both the sound quality needs to be high, and so does the actual content provided in that recording. So you have to have good sound equipment, a reliable service for hosting, plenty of topics to discuss, a well formulated format, good guests, plenty of knowledge on the niche and several ways to listen, such as stream and MP3 downloads. Some podcasts, such as The Atheist Experience, even offer a video version of each show that can be viewed on YouTube or a cable access station in their local town.
There is no quicker way to lose an audience than being inconsistent with your podcast. You should have set days you update, whether it is once a week, once a month or once every few months. Make sure there is a set schedule people can follow. Your format should stay the same so it is sustainable in the long term and recognizable to those who listen, so they can follow along.
Listen to Your Listeners
Is there something your listeners really want to see? Maybe a topic people have been wanting covered? Take the time to listen to them, and make sure you have plenty of ways that they can contact you. Have an email address dedicated to feedback or stories. Have a Facebook and Twitter account they can jump into in order to get show updates or chat. Foster a sense of community, and use that to improve your podcast over time while engaging your listeners on a more intimate level.
Going off on the occasional tangent is fine, but not it is takes away from the quality of your podcast. Or, if it really cuts into the time discussing the topic of that particular show. Remember that the podcast is there for a reason, to discuss a specific niche. Each episode is meant to reflect a more specific area within that niche. Stay on point as much as possible, because going off on constant rants can be incredibly annoying for the listeners who tuned in to hear you talk about a particular issue.
Exploit Current Events
Has something big happened recently? An election? An award show? An earthquake? Current events can be a good way to start a dialogue or give you a topic for your podcast that is relevant at that moment in time. Themed shows based around events usually get a high number of downloads.
Want to really engage your listeners? Then let them call into the show and talk to you! Some of the best weekly podcasts out there right now are call-in shows that use a Skype, Google or other free phone number for people to give you their opinions or just say hello. Be sure to tell them the topic of the episode beforehand, and watch as the calls roll in. You will want to have someone handling screening.
Use Featured Guests
Is there someone from another blog you really like? Or another podcast owner that you think would make a good fit for an episode? Having a featured guest works in the same way a guest post does for a blog. It is a great way to increase your listeners by engaging their own followers, and get a fresh perspective. It also lets you have an interesting conversation with someone else in the same general niche as you.
Above all, you need to be likeable. If people don’t enjoy your voice, manner and personality, you are only going to gain a small following and probably no dedication. Be personable, and create a relationship with your listeners.
Do you have any tips for becoming a good podcaster? Let us know in the comments.
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