A great podcast starts with a great idea — something so unique that only you can bring it to life. From there, you’ve mapped out every detail, created amazing cover art, and even booked a few of your dream guests. But even the most compelling content can fall victim to the woes of podcast production, the RSS feed, or worse…a misread audience.
You’ve worked hard to get to this point! Before getting in front of the mic, don’t blow it with these missteps. Here are 5 rules for podcasting responsibly.
- Schedule like a boss
Once listeners discover your show, they are going to expect to hear from you on a regular basis. Before you start recording, that schedule should be determined by a.) your content, and b.) what you can easily work around. Don’t feel the pressure to drop an episode every week, especially if your content heavily relies on research and fact-checking. Many successful podcasts distribute on a bi-weekly, or even monthly, basis. The beauty of podcasting is the flexibility it offers so at the very least, plan ahead and record in advance.
2. Check one…check one, two
High-quality audio starts with the basics, so make sure you’re consistently following the best practices of recording. Use the best quality mic your budget can afford and record in a quiet space to obtain uncompressed audio that already sounds great. But remember that $#!& happens…mics break or Skype decides not to cooperate. Don’t panic, and make sure to always have a backup plan (and a backup mic) to prepare for the unexpected.
It’s also helpful to know how the most popular podcasts out there are exporting their audio. At what bit rate are they exporting? In mono or stereo? Check out this in-depth analysis here.
3. Own your feed
Choosing to host your show on a dedicated platform, or using your own URL. If you do go with a third-party service, make sure you can take your RSS feed with you as you grow and your needs change. There’s also the argument for choosing a podcast host designed specifically with podcasters in mind in order to get reliable analytics and the support you need. Think Megaphone or Libsyn versus SoundCloud. For more on this visit our post on finding the right hosting platform.
4. Edit mindfully
And by that we mean take your audience into consideration. This is the time to make some hard decisions. Maybe cut that 10-minute sidebar that has no bearing on your topic or those inside jokes no one else will get. When deciding what to cut, put yourself in your listener’s shoes and be deliberate. Why do they subscribe your podcast? What benefits are they hoping to get out of this episode? Keeping your content laser-focused will prevent those listeners from tuning out.
5. Check in with your fans
Podcast discovery largely relies on word-of-mouth, so ignore your fans at your own peril! Aaron Mahnke of Lore puts it best:
“You aren’t the authority on whether or not your show is good. You’re not, sorry. Your LISTENERS are. Also, you loving your own show won’t grow the audience.”
It can be hard to get out of your own head, so checking in with your fans every now and then can serve as a barometer for your success. Your listeners aren’t going to dig every word you say, but if the overall growth of your podcast is stagnant it may be an indicator that something is off.