Don’t miss deadlines. Do listen to client feedback. Don’t be late to a meeting. Do think outside the box.
Everything we do is made up of “dos” and “don’ts.” Ever since we were young, we were taught, “Don’t chew with your mouth open” and “Do say thank you.” The same goes with our jobs — we eventually learn the best practices for dealing with clients or the common pitfalls to avoid. But, when you’re starting something new, it can be almost impossible to know what is right and what is wrong.
This month is all about setting you up for podcasting success, so we’re sharing the biggest do’s and dont’s in podcasting:
Do measure success
Resist the urge to record a podcast, air it, and then immediately move on to the next one. You’ve put a lot of effort into the episode, don’t you want to know how it did? Measuring the success of your podcast will help you learn what your listeners like, what to do again, and what to avoid.
Common metrics to track include number of downloads, how many people listened, how long they listened, and at what point the listener bailed.
Do keep your podcast under 22 minutes
Twenty-two minutes may not seem like a long time, but when you need to avoid dead air and talk about meaningful, helpful topics, it can feel like an eternity. Studies show that students zone out after 15-20 minutes of lecture time. And, after 20 minutes, our attention and retention rates crash. That’s why the sweet spot for a podcast is around 22 minutes. You can keep the conversations fast paced, yet not feel forced to fill the silence with fluff.
Do keep it casual
This isn’t a keynote speech or executive presentation, so make sure your tone stays casual and light-hearted. Your voice matters a lot; there are no images or clips to reinforce your ideas. Now, there’s not a lot you can do if you don’t have a “good” radio voice, but you can focus on the tone and inflections of your voice. Keep it upbeat, happy, and positive, like you’re talking to a friend.
Don’t be a salesperson
If you start to pitch a service or product, your listeners will stop listening. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t make a plug for anything, there’s just a right and wrong way to do so.
Let’s say you’re the owner of a PR agency and start a podcast on best practices in tech PR. Your ultimate goal may be to find potential clients through your podcast, but you should not talk about how great your agency is, the amazing work you’ve done or your hard-working employees. You should, however, showcase your expertise and knowledge whenever possible. By establishing yourself as the go-to person for tech PR, your potential clients will come to you.
Don’t be unprepared
There are times when you can “wing it;” when it’s appropriate to ad lib or make something up on the spot. A podcast is not one of those times. You don’t need to write a word-for-word script of what you are going to say, but you should write an outline of what the entire season will look like. How many episodes will there be? What is the theme for each one? What topics will you cover? How does each episode connect to each other? Think of this outline like talking points. You are still free to ad lib when you want, but you can always fall back on something.
Don’t wait for listeners to find you
Listeners won’t come to you, you have to go after them. And aggressively. Develop a promotion strategy to get your podcast in front of your target audience. This could include social media, PR, blogging, guest blogging, or making guest appearances on other podcasts (we wrote a whole post on the free ways to promote your podcast. Read it here). Pretend that your podcast is a product. How and where are you going to sell that product?
It is normal to feel like you’re at a disadvantage when you start a new project. You don’t know what mistakes to avoid or things to focus on because you’ve never done it before! While it is an excellent learning opportunity, it can sometimes feel like you’re just pulling at straws until you stumble upon success. And that’s okay.
But, it’s always nice to get the inside scoop beforehand. And, with these podcasting dos and don’ts, you’ll be an expert in no time.
Have you started drafting a marketing plan for your podcast? If not, check out our 5-Minute Guide: Getting Started in Podcasting. Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.