Podcasting is a great format for delivery of audio content and its popularity has grown rapidly over the last several years as the ability to download content directly to your mobile device has made it so much easier for end users to get your content.
A podcast can be consumed almost anywhere. Daniel J. Lewis of TheAudacityToPodcast.com reminds us of the many ways people consume podcasts and how you can make it a better experience for your listeners.
- In noisy environments—because of the amount of noise, you need to ensure that your podcast is loud enough that the listener can hear you. Evening out your volume levels helps.
- Through noise-suppressing headphones—watch out for over- processing your audio. You may think you sound great with the base- boosting radio voice when you listen through speakers, but that processing can literally cause headaches for listeners with certain kinds of headphones or earbuds.
- With one earbud—your voice should always be balanced in the center.
- At faster speeds—many podcast apps will allow consumption at 1.5x or 2x speeds. Listen to your own audio at faster speeds and you may quickly notice annoying patters or things that make your audio unbearable.
- On your website—more than 50% of my podcast downloads come through my website so make sure that your podcast can be listened to, downloaded, and easily found on your website.
- With interruptions—podcasts are on-demand media and may be consumed throughout the day with many interruptions. Keep this in mind as you present your content.
- Over mobile data networks— smartphones and Internet-connected devices are taking over and these often come with mobile bandwidth limits. Either release your podcasts in a simpler format that takes less space or offer a lower-quality edition.
- While falling asleep—a lot of people listen to podcasts in bed to help them fall asleep. This is a good reason to avoid sudden loud noises in your podcast.
If you don’t have your own smartphone app in the iTunes store, Amazon Store and Google play store—then maybe your podcast is not as easy to find and consume as your competitors. If you want your podcast to go big you should consider having your own smartphone app developed to make it even easier for people to consume your content.
The first hurdle is, of course, to be noticed in the first place. A sexy title can help you catch more attention and possibly get people to check your program out. If you can get people to download your app or subscribe to your show, then you’re way ahead of the crowd.
If you really want to stand out from the crowd you should consider also making a podcast transcription available for episodes. An audio transcription of a recorded show or an interview is a good move for three major reasons.
First, a written transcript allows the search engines to better index your content and this will ultimately drive more traffic to your site.
Second, a transcription on your page does enhance the user experience because you may have users who are unable to listen to your podcast for some reason but who can still consume your content by reading your transcript. You’ll also have the ability to include clickable links within the transcript that can drive visitors to further content of yours.
Finally, it simply makes you look more professional. Visitors who know you’ve gone the extra mile for them are more likely to spread the word to their friends about your show.
Once you have someone begin to listen to your podcast you’ll want to do whatever you can to keep them paying attention throughout the entire episode. Of course you’ll want to deliver high-quality, interesting content. And of course your show should have a great energy to it.
But pay attention to regular radio for cues on how to keep people listening. Teasers before a break about what’s coming up are widely used in radio to keep listeners engaged. You should do the same.
Of course, your show should feature quality audio. All the things we talked about in the chapter on consuming your audio products will apply equally to your podcasts. You don’t need wildly expensive audio equipment and audio software to put out a high quality podcast. A decent microphone and a quiet environment in which to record are the major prerequisites to delivering a good podcast.
Podcasts will continue to grow in popularity as the proliferation of mobile devices continues to grow. You should have content available through the iTunes store and other marketplaces where more people can find you and begin consuming your content.