In September 2019, we launched a podcast called Make an Impact Show, a podcast for creatives looking to make a positive impact on other people and the planet. In total honesty, I thought I had it all figured out at the time.
tsk, I have had podcasts before, how hard can this be?
I am not proud of admit I was rather cocky, but I guess without that confidence coming from a few old podcast shows under my belt, I would have not learned what I discovered in the process.
For context sake, the previous shows I worked on were released between 5 and 6 years ago. Needless to say, the industry has changed massively.
That has changed in 2019, when there was a dramatic jump. Compared with 2018 figures, the number of people who have listened to at least one podcast in their lives increased by 20 million, and an additional 14 million people described themselves as weekly listeners.
I hope that by sharing my lessons you can take something away from yourself when looking to start your own show.
Define your podcast based on your listeners
Let’s get back to your audience – your listeners, those old friends. You may be like “but Fab, I have no listeners yet, I just got started!” Understanding who you are looking to attract is key when thinking about podcast goals.
The first thing they’ll want to know about any podcast is the same: why should I spend my time listening to this show?
If we believe in the idea that the world goes by via an exchange of value, the time your listeners will put into your podcast is one part of this exchange. What value are you looking to bring back to them?
If you want people to listen, you need to add value to their lives. What’s the benefit to them? Is it to learn? To be entertained? To feel a social connection?
The value is what keeps them connected. Yet, the deeper you can go in understanding who your audience is, the deeper connection you’ll create with them.
Let’s give them a fictional name. Say hello to Becky. Becky is a Creative who just came across the Make an Impact Show. She is a creative looking to kick off her brand and business, she is a side hustler, commuting into London every morning for about 45 minutes.
Becky loves the fact she can listen to a variety of episodes, mixing audio lessons and interviews, all in less than 1 hour.
When it came to Make an Impact Show, we came up with the idea in the second season to alternate solo episodes and interviews to add an element of education to the podcast, since this is what our audience comes back to us for.
We had to adapt to ensure we’d give our audience what they wanted and keep it fresh
This leads me to the topic of consistency.
A podcast can choose solo delivery, two-host banter, roundtable discussions, fiction, live recordings, and interviews. It can even mix them into a fairly predictable pattern. Maybe it’s a weekly show, but once a month there’s an interview instead of the usual roundtable discussion.
Start by thinking up a number of different types of people to represent your own audience. Now give them names and ask yourself: What are their goals? Schedules? Social media choices?
If you don’t understand this, there’s a good chance you’ll end up alienating potential listeners. If your podcast is longer than the average commute, for example, lots of commuters aren’t going to listen to it.
The truth about discoverability
Let’s talk about discoverability, or how easy it is for folks to find you in terms of your podcast goals. Discovery depends on factors like keywords and search engine optimisation. If a potential audience searches for the name of your podcast, you want to show up near the top of their list.
For that to happen, you’ll need a good page on your website with a collection of your episodes and great SEO.
This will overall keep Google happy. There is something to be said about optimising your podcast for podcatchers. Some people will check listings on their podcatcher – a program for downloading podcasts – iTunes, Soundcloud, Pocket Casts are some examples. We use our providers at BCast to help us submit the podcast to relevant places.
To reach these listeners, you’ll need to add professional and enticing artwork and descriptions for these services.
The right tools and the right branding
Great branding is not just a matter of discoverability. The title, artwork, and a polished audio introduction will provide a clear explanation of what the show is about from the get-go and help achieve your podcast goals.
Another great tool for podcasts and setting your podcast goals based on an interview format is the interviewer themselves. We feature 12 interviews per season, and they definitely enhance the podcast in a variety of ways.
Now, I was a journalist in my past life (over 12 years ago), which means I had time to practice my interviewing skills. How can you make your guests comfortable? Do you prefer following a rigid script, or be flexible in your interview style?
Whichever way works for you, remember to make your guests feel at ease. Happy guests will spread the word after you’re done. Make it about them. There is something to be said about choosing the right guests too.
Every topic and every interview should fit the vision for your show. Your content is your value, and quality beats quantity. A listener can switch to another podcast at any time. If you’ve crafted your episodes well, your audience will stay engaged and happy.
The end of each episode can be thought of as a branding opportunity.
Listeners could be left hearing a familiar tune and perhaps a teaser for the next episode. Think of your favourite podcasts. You probably could recognise the jingles out of a hundred. That consistency is key to loyal listeners.
Take time drafting clear podcast goals
If you have read my pieces before, you may know I love talking about purpose and intention. All successful podcasts have clearly defined goals, and that’s something your show should have too.
Your podcast should support your business, but this doesn’t happen by accident. If you want to produce a great show, you have to be clear about what it is that you’re trying to achieve.
Are you looking to generate direct income from online sales, for example? Or are you playing the long game and looking for leads toward future sales? Perhaps you simply want to promote your brand without any direct, measurable financial benefit.
To help you further, here are three macro goals I tend to come back to when in doubt (as a marketer of ten years I am highly goals driven, yet I appreciate not everyone is like me!).
- Brand awareness (discovery by a new audience)
- Consideration (further engagement from your current audience)
- Conversions (sales or sponsorships)
Content and goals go hand in hand. A podcast with great content and no clear goal isn’t going to achieve anything. A podcast with a goal but no value, on the other hand, won’t help you build a loyal audience.
People don’t want to subscribe to a never-ending commercial – they want value.
Make time to get clear on how you can provide the most value to your audience – work on a strong promotional plan, and the rest will follow.
Looking to learn how to monetise your podcast? Check out these three creative ideas.
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My name is Fab Giovanetti and I am a writer, author, marketing consultant, founder of the Creative Impact Group and professional troublemaker. I help people grow their online audience and monetise their content and unleash their potentials as creatives.