Do's & Don'ts on Creating a Great Podcast

voice booth microphone

by Jeffrey LeClair

Keep your Podcast Short.

15 -30 min is a great length.. Now, if you have loads of great content and can keep the listener's attention for a longer duration, then go for it. With a strong guest or subject, 45 min -1 hour is possible.

Know your Target Audience.

Identify your target audience, then design your podcast to capture their interest. Create a podcast with your listeners needs in mind. Once you know your target audience, all the other ideas should be modified to suit that specific market.

You are Not making a commercial.

Creating a podcast masquerading as nothing more than an advertisement for your business is self serving. The listener will see right through that and will most likely stop listening. Podcasts are meant to be information intensive and you should be supplying content that is rich and relevant. Let the listener decide if you are knowledgeable about a subject and they might come knocking at your door for your services.

Be Relaxed.

The most effective podcasts I have heard are where they're having a good time, and it really shows.

Keep it Interesting.

Create short segments that are diverse. Appropriate music and sound effects between segments aid production values and help keep moving things along. MTV is our generation, whether you agree or not. Audiences like it varied. Fast. And with substance.

Be organized. Don't ramble.

Flipping on a mic and babbling for an hour is the biggest mistake a podcaster can make. Take the time and prepare a script or at least a rough outline of what you'll be talking about. If your podcast is an interview, prepare your questions in advance. Your guest should be forwarded a copy, that way they can be confident and coherent. You don't have to stick to it verbatim, but it should help keep your podcast from becoming chaotic and wasting the listeners time. If you are not interviewing, write out an agenda taking note points of what is to be discussed, this will ensure the podcast moves along quickly.

Stuff, stuff, stuff.

Stuff as much good information as possible into your podcast. People's minds move faster than your mouth. Pack your podcast full of quality content. Move at a quick pace.

If you've got quality content, podcast regularly.

Quality is much better than quantity. Listening to an excellent podcast every three months, is much more appealing than a mediocre weekly segment. When the listener commits to a podcast by pushing 'Play', you have both their attention and their trust. Be wise. Treat them with respect. Develop your audience. Let them know you.

Use professionally recorded audio.

Seriously folks, I can't stress this enough. If the audio sounds like it's at the end of a tunnel it can ruin a podcast. Using your computer with it's built-in mic just won't cut it. Care must be taken to record broadcast quality audio that needs to be seamlessly edited, and processed. Use the services of a professional recording studio with quality mics, preamps and processors. After all, this is their expertise.

When doing interviews, know your subject.

Do your homework. Be prepared.

Stale topics.

Do something fresh. With so many interview subjects , approaches and topics, it's a challenge to find fresh subject matter and ideas.

Be natural.

Be yourself.

Be prepared to '86' a show.

A bad show should not be aired. Whatever the reason.

Background music and musical cues.

Music can be a bonus to a podcast. Decide when to use it. Judiciously.

Identify yourself.

Date. Issue Number. Topic. Guest, etc...  at the start of the show. If you have a list of email addresses, links, and so on, save it till the end of the show. Get on with the podcast.

Market that sucker.

Publish your podcast on as many sites as possible. Make it easy to subscribe. Promote yourself.

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