Long term strategy for building a successful podcast – 10 steps:
- Create value for your user
- Build reputation and authority
- Long term content planning
- Focus on user
- Memorable podcast cover
- Be consistent
- Have rituals with your audience
- Build engagement – advertise
- Intelligently promote your podcast
- Have a dedicated website
1. Create valuable podcast for your user
The first step in starting a successful podcast is choosing a topic you can work on in the long run.
As a second step, you need to answer what value is your podcast bringing to your user. What need you are satisfying? How are you helping your audience? What sort of experience can a user have when listening to your podcast?
Those questions are crucial for you because they will help you shape your voice. They will determine how are you unique on the market and help you to establish yourself as a valuable content creator for your audience.
You can have different types of values, but whatever you are going to choose you should be clear this is what your audience can regularly expect from your podcast. Examples of value and benefits for the user:
- Entertainment – whether you want to go the comedic route or drama route your goal will be here to entertain your audience. Your focus should be to work on the emotions you want your audience to feel during and after they finish listening, e.g. comedy podcasts, drama shows.
- Analysis/opinion sharing – you can have a podcast where you’re going to express your opinions about something. In your podcast, you can bring up events that happened, some modern-day facts and statistics, discuss possible various points of view, pros and cons. You can deliver your opinion at the end, e.g. opinions about the marketplace, review of political events, discuss renewable energy market trends.
- Facts and knowledge sharing – as life is sometimes stranger than fiction you don’t always have to provide your opinion. Sometimes good research and bringing up lesser-known facts will be enough to leave your audience stunned, e.g. historical podcasts, firefighting, mountain rescue actions.
- Discussion with opposing opinions – this can be an incredible value for users if you would have a co-podcaster or if you are planning to bring in guests with established opinions. If you come prepared for recording and can provide interesting counterpoints. It will produce a quality, informed debate experience this form can be very attractive for listeners.
Still not decided on your podcast topic? We think you would like: 40 Podcasting Shows Ideas Available for the Taking Now!
2. Build reputation and authority – build long term relationship
Podcast in mind of becoming an expert and authority in your field. The only way you can become an authority is if you provide on a regular basis the answers your listeners are looking for, in a carrying, responsible and helpful manner.
Approach your work with respect that you want your users to have for you. Think of what makes your voice unique in the podcasting area you are working on. Try to emphasize that uniqueness and work relentlessly on
You become an authority by:
- Delivering quality content to your listeners – there are a lot of people delivering subpar quality. They don’t care enough what they say, what language they are using and what quality a recording is made. If you care and produce work of substantial value it will show from the first minutes of your recording and will make a lasting impression on your audience.
- Showing passion for the topic you are working on – to be not confused with over excitement. You can display passion with the quality of the podcast, the language that you are using and showing genuine interest in the topic your podcast is about.
- Be responsible – don’t pass on harmful, unverified myths that are in the niche you are podcasting about. Each niche has this problem. Be the source of truth in the service of your listeners.
Example: when talking about food or fitness, distinguish clearly in your podcast what is certain and confirmed by research, what is still being verified and preliminary results show some effects but don’t guarantee and clearly name what is yet unknown or were confirmed as not effective.
- Carrying about your community and the impact your work has – display genuine interest for your audience. Show that you care if your podcast is bringing the value to their lives and enriching it.
- Learning and growing over time – showing your own progress – one of the most common things stopping people from starting new things is fear of failure and fear of the time it will take for them to master new skills. Be an example that the journey they are starting is worth the time investment. Discuss your own hurdles and pitfalls displaying that temporary failures and long term growth are possible and await people courageous enough to start.
- Helping your podcast listeners learn and grow – as you will have listeners on different levels of experience display caring for the progress your audience will make after listening to your podcast. Show that you care for people to move from beginner to intermediate to advanced levels.
- Eventually, when you make a mistake, own it, and admit it – one day in your podcasting career you will make a mistake. Don’t react to fast and to emotionally to the critical opinions. Take a step back and reevaluate. If you were misunderstood try to clarify your position. If you have made a mistake own it, take responsibility, admit to it, think of how can you avoid it in the future. This is a sign of personal maturity and growth, something you want to show as a responsible podcaster.
3. Long term content planning
Long term commitment is important so it will send a message to your audience that time investment from their side is worthwhile. That you are approaching your show seriously, treating it with respect and requesting the audience attention by asking them to tune in regularly.
To plan your content for the long term you need to:
- Have a long list of show topics you want to cover – have a brainstorming session in which you will create a hit list of the topics you want to cover. Make this list as long as possible. With 100 items on your hit list, you won’t have later problems with coming up with the show idea if you need to record in a hurry. This will motivate you additionally as there will be some episodes you will be eager to discuss and record.
- Committed time for publishing – announce the time when the next episode will be available. This will help you publish regularly.
- Have a recording and editing schedule fit to your normal routine and publishing timeline – review your calendar and make a decision when it is the best time for you to work. If you publish on Tuesdays you can plan to record your episode on a Wednesday or Thursday of the previous week. Then you can plan to edit it on Saturday and Sunday. This provides you with three days of buffer time (Friday, Monday and Tuesday – the day of publishing) to solve any issues and make changes (like additional short recording on Friday). A good schedule means you will also have time to analyze what was already done, introduce changes and avoid rushed work.
- Backup plan for emergencies / holidays – either announce a break or even better record in advance and release later. Don’t make your audience guessing. Be predictably consistent.
For more information on creating long content list visit: 8 practical tips for brainstorming podcast ideas
4. Focus on the user and user experience
Make the user experience as pleasant as possible. If with your podcast episode title and short introduction you are announcing you are going to deliver an answer to a particular question make sure you do it clearly and possibly fast. The rest of the episode you can spend on explaining in detail why the first recommendation is being provided.
If your podcast has more of a story-driven structure also focus on finally delivering answers and conclusions. Don’t drag out the length of the episode.
Other components which will help you display your care about your users is:
- Ask for opinions and comments – but not only ask but actually later read them. If your listeners have valuable insights and advice consider implementing it. An engaged audience who cares about your success is extremely valuable.
- Respond to questions – there will always be fan questions. Find a way to respond to some of them. Some podcast formats will allow replying to some questions during the episode. If your format doesn’t allow it consider making a dedicated Q&A session.
- Analyze – review how your podcast is performing. Find your best and worst episodes. Analyze the difference between them (episode length, format, quality of the recording, a topic discussed). Learn what your audience cares about and see if you can deliver more.
A great user experience can also be achieved through carefully designed episodes. Read more on how to plan a great episode structure in our article: 9 key tips on how to plan podcast episodes.
5. Prepare memorable podcast cover
Create a memorable podcast cover art that will attract the audience and will stand out in the application among other podcasts. Visual representation is very important for brands around the globe and your podcast art is the most important component of your brand’s visual identity. For most podcasters, it will be the only element they are going to use, and for most of your listeners, this will be the only visual they will get to know regarding your podcast. Create something that will last and can be usable in your other promotion efforts – as an avatar for your other social media accounts you will choose to support your podcast’s promotion.
If you are looking for detailed information on art cover go and visit podcasting logo guide
6. Be consistent – publish regularly and maintain quality
Consistency is the key differentiator distinguishing great podcast creator from mediocre. You won’t become an exceptional podcast creator if you don’t work hard on it. Also, the way you publish communicates indirectly to your audience how serious you are about your podcast.
- Consistency in publishing – if you publish on a regularly announced schedule you are sending a signal that your podcast is important for you and you are treating it seriously. This sends a signal that your listener should have the same approach. Although you may record in your private time and this might not be your full-time job by publishing on a regular schedule you are behaving like a professional. You are behaving like every professional show podcasting, radio or tv which airs regularly which is backed up by serious creative machinery of talent and studio.
- Consistency in quality – quality is another trait that professional shows aspire to have and a signal you should be sending to your audience. Calibrate the level of quality you can achieve to the desired publishing schedule. Don’t compromise on quality. Don’t record and publish in high frequency (few episodes a week) if you are going to have low quality. Also, don’t aim for exceptional quality if this would mean you are going to publish once a month. Find a good level of quality which can deliver on a value promise and allow you to develop your skills and enable you to publish once or twice a week.
Additional benefits of consistency are building and developing good podcasting habits, it constantly improves your efficiency and quality of work, it develops your creativity, establishing you as a trusted author, shows you are reliable and at the end improves your viewership numbers.
7. Have rituals with your audience
Rituals are another component you should take from professionals. Good rituals are often short, very simple actions that solidify your brand, make your episodes coherent and give all of them a familiar touch. They are extremely important for people in general, each culture, religion, nation or organization has its own rituals.
Rituals are important as they build an attachment between your show and your audience, they improve recognition and are a signal that each episode is a part of a bigger whole.
Podcasting rituals you should build
- Intro and greeting – do you remember the intro to your favorite tv series? Memorable intros are valuable treasures. Since also you don’t have anything to display on screen as it is a podcast try to make it short, memorable and also introducing an audience to the theme of your podcast.
- Have your own saying – this very often comes naturally. You probably have sayings you use regularly in your private life. Will, they fit the topic of your show? Use something which will sound natural, fit the personality of you as a host and is appropriate to your show. You don’t have to use it on each episode, you can have more than one but think how can you be memorable to your listeners.
- Have your character have a saying or a habit – similarly as above. If your show has returning characters think of their personality and how they can be more memorable. As you give them names and backstories think of what would be their repetitive hallmark. It can be a saying but if you have a narration in your podcast it can also be a behavior.
- Have and outro, an invitation for the next episodes – as you already went through the core of your show you are slowly losing the attention of your audience. Don’t drag the closure of your show. Use the same goodbye message for each episode and invite your listener for the next episode.
8. Build engagement – advertise other episodes
Capture the attention of your listener. Tell that person you have more content you think will be valuable for him. Build mechanisms which will make your random listeners a regular audience. And out of those create your brand ambassadors which will recommend your podcast to others.
Thinking about user engagement is one of the pillars of the brand strategy. We already discussed some key components of building user engagement previously and those were:
- Focus on user – where you ask for feedback and address this feedback in an according to manner. This shows that you value your most loyal audience voice.
- Consistency – it sets up a contract between you and your audience when you commit to a schedule and quality and in return, you ask for your audience time.
- Rituals – build attachment showing each episode is an element of a bigger show and are friendly and familiar invites to participate.
Additional techniques building engagement towards your show which you can use are:
- Connect narrative to other episodes – mention in your episodes things that were discussed in other episodes (places, events, solutions, stories). Don’t do it in detail, but rather talk about it as a comment to spike interest and encourage your listeners to explore your other episodes (or refresh in case of regular users).
- Promote other episodes – when discussing larger themes or doing episodes for advanced listeners you can directly reference other episodes. Explain that you are skipping some introductory material, but telling your listeners exactly where they can find that.
- Celebrate your podcast milestones – thank your audience for the successes you are achieving and celebrate with them. Whenever you reach an important milestone for you (number of listeners, episodes played, minutes listened) be openly grateful about it. This will develop the sense of community amongst your audience and deliver social proof of the value you are producing.
- Have surprises – not going against discussed consistency in publishing and quality. However have bonuses for your listeners which they do not expect. Going the extra mile on occasion can get you more listeners and fans.
9. Intelligently promote your podcast – reach out
Use online tools and platforms best suited to deliver large audiences to your podcast. Currently, most reliable sources and ways to promote your podcast are:
- Be a guest on someone else’s podcast – people who based their podcasts on interviews always look for interesting guests. If you are confident about your podcast reach out to them. Have an interesting pitch regarding what would you like to talk about during an interview.
- Google search – have a transcript of your podcast written down and published on a blog. This will help your podcast get found through a google search. On the sites with the transcript promote your podcast directly.
- Youtube video of a recording – youtube is the second largest search engine. Create a channel for your podcast and publish your episodes there. You can record yourself while recording an episode or you can use a static image of your logo, website or display any other message you would like users to receive – like encouragement to listen to your podcast.
- Pinterest infographic – think of an interesting promoting poster or infographic you can use and upload to Pinterest. This can be regarding your entire show or just regarding one of your best episodes. Build something interesting, engaging and highly shareable. Pinterest users share massive amounts of content and if you build good material for them you will get additional listeners.
- Reddit – find subreddits dedicated to the topic of your podcast. Promote your best content there. Provide capturing an interesting description.
- Niche internet boards – find small internet boards or facebook groups where enthusiasts meet and try to promote your show there. But don’t just post links or your podcast title. Try to find a discussion where people are looking for a piece of specific information and offer an exact episode that contains the answer to this particular question.
Read more in our article on How to drive traffic and promote your podcast – detailed Podcast Marketing Guide.
10. Have a dedicated website
You can record and publish easily without a site and have a group of listeners. However, if you want to bring your podcasting work to the next level consider this last step in our brand strategy. This will give you better and bigger control of your brand. It will allow you to expand your reach, enable your podcast to be found easier on google.
When you are going to launch your own website you should think of what goals this website should serve. In case of a website for podcasting show here are some main goals you would want to accomplish:
- An additional source of traffic – post here transcripts from your episodes. With the traffic reaching your episodes from google search you can promote your podcasts or other transcripted episodes for some of the users preferring this form.
- Way to build an email list – with people landing on your website you have an option to ask them for their email addresses. You can later build an email list to promote your latest episodes or try to monetize some of your premium content.
- Additional analytics tool – use google analytics code to better understand which content you have produced drives the largest traffic to your website. Use gathered knowledge to improve your craft and build content most requested by your audience.
- More monetization options – with traffic directly landing on your site you can use ad networks to display ads on your site, offer physical or info products, offer affiliate products, promote and offer premium content, develop and sell online courses.
We have a whole separate, detailed article regarding building a podcast dedicated website. You can find it here: Podcast Website Marketing Guide – increase the number of listeners and improve monetization.