These tips are ideas to consider. A host does not need to do any tip that is listed. The changes may have no impact on the podcast at all. A host will only benefit from experimenting with each tip.
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Better equipment != better content
In terms of sound quality, people need to hear the podcast. The content matters more. If people hear the podcast and do not like the content, the sound quality does not matter.
The more relaxed a host is, the better the podcast will sound. A lighter tone will be more appealing to listeners. The podcast will have a lighter tone if the host is having fun. A host can make jokes smile and speak in a more conversational tone to have fun. This does not apply for podcasts that need a serious tone, such as true crime.
Do Not Burn Out
The goal should not be to produce as many episodes as possible in the shortest amount of time.
A host should not want to burn out on podcasting. Which would not happen if a host does not overdo it. Do not record five episodes in one day. The quality of the episodes will suffer. Which might lead to the podcast losing listeners. One or two a week is a good pace for beginners.
No Name In Title
New hosts should not put their name in the podcast title. Having the name in the title only benefits someone with an existing audience. Someone might search for the name of a famous person. If their name is in the title, the podcast will show up. For an unknown host, no one will be searching for their name. A new host should be relying on SEO to help people find their podcast. Instead of putting their name, a new host could put keywords that people would search for. After years of podcasting, a host could add their name to the podcast title.
"Podcast" in the Title Is Redundant
When searching for a podcast in an app, people are already looking for a podcast. There is no need to tell them a podcast is a podcast. But this is what is being done when people put "Podcast" in their title. Having the word podcast in the title adds unnecessary letters to the official title.
Create A Pre-Recording Routine
In the early days of my podcast, I got nervous before recording. I created my own routine for podcasting to relax. There are three steps to the routine. First, I drink water, fill up a water bottle, eat some food, and sit down. This puts me in the mindset for podcasting, and I do not get nervous when I am speaking on the mic.
Protect The Throat
For a podcast host, the throat and voice is the most important asset. When you are out, do not abuse it. On days when a host is not recording, they should not overuse their voice. In cold weather, cover the throat to prevent getting sick. If a host damages their voice or loses it, they will hurt their podcast.
If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It
Do not rush to upgrade the equipment. If the equipment does not make the podcast sound worse, there is no reason to replace it. If a host wants to improve an element of the podcast, they should hire someone. This gives the host one less element to focus on. The new person should have more expertise, which would improve quality.
There are two elements a host should be consistent in the quality and schedule. If a host is not consistent, people will stop listening.
One Event Will Not Help Reach Goals
To grow download numbers, a host needs to keep a routine. There is not a singular event that will help a podcast host reach their goals. Being interviewed by one famous podcast host will not lead to 1 million subscribers. A host needs to show up and do the work every day.
More Equipment Means More Maintenance
When equipment and software get added to the setup, those items need maintenance. A host needs to update the software and clean the equipment. The maintenance takes time away from the podcast. Keeping the setup as needed saves a host time.
Do Not Consume Sugar
Eating sugar makes the voice sound weird. The voice on sugar sounds higher than the regular voice. To keep the podcast's consistency, avoid sugar before recording. Drink water.
The Average Commute Is 27 minutes
People listen to a podcast based on the time that it will take them to complete a task. People will be more likely to listen to a podcast that matches their commute time. People looking to listen to a podcast during their commute might choose a podcast based on time. Which would give an advantage to the podcast that meets that time need. If the listeners enjoy the podcast, they will add it to their commute schedule. The average person commutes at least 10 times a week. This gives 10 chances per week that the podcast on the commute schedule will get heard. Which is different from being on the laundry schedule. The average person does laundry once or twice a week. Matching the average commute time means that the podcast will fit the average commuter's schedule.
Editing Is Not Necessary
There is no need to edit the audio of a podcast. Editing is one reason someone might be hesitant to start a podcast. The idea of having to learn to edit the audio makes them uncomfortable. Some people feel that an unedited podcast is more authentic. In an unedited podcast, the listeners will hear all the mistakes. People will hear the podcast as a real conversation. The time for editing is when a guest is on. If a guest asks for a portion of the podcast to get edited out. Another situation will be if a guest does not meet up to the standards of a podcast. A host might need to edit down the podcast to the best parts. A host does not need to add fireworks or clapping every time a point gets made.
People Listen On More Than One Speed
People listen to a podcast on 1.5x or 1.2x speed. That impacts how a host sounds. If a host speaks to fast, then the 1.5x will not hear the content. Which might lead them to stop listening to the podcast. A host should speak at normal speed with pauses for the 1.5x crowd.
Not Everyone Has To Listen To A Podcast
Bill Burr was a guest on a podcast. During the podcast, he said he does not need everyone to like him. The same goes for any podcast. A host should choose their niche and stay there. For example, a host might get 100,000 subscribers. A host that decides to put ads on their podcast will make at least $18 per 1,000 listeners. If a host does 4 episodes a month, that would be $7,200. Twice that if the host puts 2 ads in the podcast. In the grand scheme of the world, 100,000 is not many people. That is why a host should not bother trying to please everyone.
Many people find podcasts through searching. They use the search function on their podcast player. For these people to find the podcast, a host should add details to the titles. Instead of episode #420. The title should be "Stand-up Comedy Discussion with Bill Burr." If anyone was searching for Bill Burr, Comedy, or Stand-up, there is a chance for the episode to show up. Which would be free traffic to the podcast.
Having an explicit tag is not inclusive. Kids will not be able to listen to the podcast. A host is leaving out a group of potential listeners by swearing.
In other countries, when a podcast episode gets tagged "explicit," the episode will not show in the RSS Feed. A host will be getting fewer downloads from specific countries. When every episode gets an explicit tag, then the people will not be able to listen.
Listeners And Download Numbers
Do not bother sharing download numbers with listeners. Someone listening to a podcast does not care about download numbers. If they want someone to listen to a podcast, they will share it. From a listeners' perspective, sharing download numbers is rude. That host does not care about their current listeners, only gathering new listeners. A host should focus on producing content that listeners want to share to grow a podcast.
Read A Transcript
This will help a host catch any verbal cues that they make on the podcast. A host will be reading all the "um's," "okay's," and "err's" that a host makes throughout the podcast. A host will know to avoid using those words after reading a transcript.
These tips will not make or break a podcast. Small improvements will add up and make a podcast great. These tips are part of that process.
This post is an excerpt from the Open Podcast Community book. The book is available for purchase here.