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A comprehensive, helpful guide to create successful podcasts

by Casey Schmidt  |  April 8, 2020

4 min. read
A desk with podcast tools.

Podcasts are growing in popularity and are tackling a wide range of topics, making them suitable for all types of different audiences. If you’re considering entering the world of podcasts, it’s important to do some research to determine what types of things work and what fails. Luckily, I’ve created a simple guide to help you create your own successful podcasts.

Some tips to help build a successful podcast

The basics often go overlooked when starting a podcast, so make sure you’ve laid a foundation that will give your show a chance to succeed. The first and truly most important part about a podcast is the equipment you use. Podcast tools are more important than the ideas you have and content you create. This is because podcasts are different from a blog or an article.

A blue microphone.
High-quality hardware is a podcast must.

No matter how old the computer you use when typing a blog, the audience sees the font and the text exactly the same as if you had typed it up on the best computer on the market. That’s not the case with podcasts. Bad audio quality ruins the show and turns away audiences. Now, that doesn’t mean that it’s necessary to have the most expensive equipment on the market. However, it’s important to use quality tools that cover all the audio quality bases. These typically include a nice microphone with a stand/mount and a pop filter.

The next important thing after the audio and content-quality is the regularity of the show. It doesn’t matter how interesting the topic is, audiences will desert the show and never come back if the episodes don’t come out on schedule. Imagine hearing the first episode of a podcast and loving it, only to find the next episode doesn’t come out for another 6 months. You would certainly not wait around. Make sure your show keeps a tight schedule to maintain audiences.

A podcast icon.
Make sure your show runs on a schedule.

What are some of the most successful podcasts?

Topics that typically go over well in the podcast community are often things that are currently in the spotlight in terms of news, events, etc. Keep in mind that there are some real positives and negatives when making this type of content. Certainly, if your show is some type of news show that follows current events, it could potentially be long lasting. However, if you create a show based on some hot issue, chances are the podcast will be short lived.

Another thing that seems to be popular is the concept of somebody who was famous from another subject area who then branches out to a podcast show. Of course, we don’t all have this option (we’re not all celebrities) but it does provide us with some reasonable ideas. For one, it could influence the types of guests we bring on the show.

A group of users working on a podcast.
We can’t be experts on everything, but we can invite expert guests.

Finally, shows with a hyper-focused theme are quite popular. For example, a show that discusses only topics within a certain genre. This could include things like sports, television, literature and movies. Consider zeroing in on one particular thing rather than trying to be too broad. This could help retain a more loyal audience. It also might make the show a lot easier to produce.

How can we use these examples to build our own show?

Seeing and understanding what types of things are succeeding in the podcast world helps us come up with our own ideas for shows. However, it’s important that we don’t simply fall in line to fit within a specific category that is popular. There needs to be some evaluation of our own particular skills, knowledge and understanding.

A woman listening to podcasts.
Use other shows as a guide for your own creations.

Even more important than what we, as potential creators want to talk about or are experts at, is our audience. When creating a podcast, it’s easy to get swept away in endless ideas about what we want the show to be about and how we can accomplish this. Instead, the focus should be squarely on our audience. How will we make this interesting for listeners? Who are our listeners? What makes us different than our peers of the same genre? These are the questions we need to be focusing on during the creation phase.

There are too many resources available for us to venture into the world of podcasts unprepared. Spend some time doing data analysis and listening to other podcasts to see what is working and what isn’t. This type of preparation is key to success.