Planning Your Podcast
You want to start a podcast. You have a blank canvas just waiting for your ideas, but where do you start? Or maybe you have ideas but do not have any organization for them. Creating a podcast is an art, but it is not as out of reach as it may seem.
Spend some time thinking about these questions to begin creating a framework for your podcast as a whole:
Who are you trying to reach with your show? Understanding your audience helps guide the content you’re producing. Think about what the people you are trying to reach want to hear.
Do this: describe your ideal listener...
What is the objective of your show? Do you want to increase sales, provide more relevance or connection to your business, reach people within your company, share a message, etc? Creating goals for your podcast gives you something to go back to every time you want to create a new episode and make sure those topics all line up with your goals.
Do this: define your show objective...
Who might be competition for you? If there are other businesses in your industry already producing podcast, what unique angle can you bring to the table to stand out from the others?
Do this: SWOT analysis of your space’s use of podcasts?
Think about the length of your episodes The length of your podcast is up to you. The average commute is 30 minutes. Some people want a quick and easy to listen to podcast, others may listen to longer episodes on a road trip.
Do this: define your average episode length… will they all be the same? Will there be different types of episodes?
Your show’s playbook. Having a framework for your podcast as a whole makes it easier to create and sustain new topics for each episode. To generate topics for episodes, think about this:
What are your strengths, what matters to you, what are you passionate about, what do your listeners want to hear, who are people within your industry that you can bring on your podcast, is there any relevant news you can discuss, how is your company growing, what new products does your company have, etc.?
Think about industry related topics that you can tie back to your business or line of work. For example: A company that specializes in baby care products could create a podcast on which they talk to moms and share their stories. This makes the company relatable to their consumers but also provides an opportunity to market new products.
Enlist the help of others within your company or team to generate ideas. You can even ask friends or family for topics they would want to hear. Once your podcast is up and running, you can ask your listeners for feedback on topics they would like covered.
Create a document or brainstorming board where you can make a big list of any content ideas that come to mind. Don’t discount any topics, even if you do not have the full idea worked out yet, write them all down. You can go back to this “drawing board” every time you want to create a new episode and see what ideas you can take from it, or even add new ones. The top reasons people listen to podcasts are to learn something new and to be entertained. When coming up with ideas, think about what knowledge and insight you have that could teach or entertain others. (Edison Research)
Data suggests when first launching your podcast, it is best to release a batch of episodes (10 is a good place to start) and then release weekly content. Use your brainstorming time to decide what topics you want to cover in your first batch of episodes before you even record your first one. You want to leave yourself room to grow. Don’t release all your content in your first episode and then be lost as to where to go next.
When sitting down to record your first episode, it can feel like there is a lot of pressure to present perfection. This pressure can create unnecessary difficulty in production, so just relax.
It is important to realize people listen to podcasts because it is a medium in which you can really understand someone’s message because they are using their own voice. That being said, you obviously want to your podcast to sound clean and professional, but people enjoy the natural, conversational style that podcasts provide so your script does not have to be flawless. Listeners want to connect with a human on the other side of the podcast, not a robot.
Allow yourself flexibility and creativity. You need to ensure that the information contained within the script is accurate and informative, but you need to create a piece of audio that people will enjoy listening to. You want to write how you speak so if you are reading, it comes across as natural. Having a good format to follow will make creating your ideal episode easier.
Here are a few different ways you can organize the content for your show:
Script: Writing out and recording verbatim – Scripting may be a good option for someone who is not yet comfortable talking into a microphone or is not the most natural speaker. It may also be a good idea to script a podcast or parts of your podcast if you are sharing a lot of data or information that may not be accurately conveyed if not read directly. The downside to scripting a podcast is that you often lose the quality of presentation because it is extremely difficult to sound natural while reading a script. Producing a scripted podcast also takes significantly more time due to the fact you are trying to produce perfection.
Ad Lib: Speaking freely without any guidance – This is definitely the most natural sounding way to record a podcast and will really allow your personality to show through. For someone who is very comfortable speaking and able to keep their rabbit trails in check, this may be a good option. However, podcasts that are fully ad libbed can sometimes be difficult for a listener to follow or stay engaged, and often result in more long-winded content than necessary.
Outline: Creating a basic list for the content to follow – Outlining is a great middle ground between the two above formats. Having an outline gives you guidance without having to script the whole thing. Your outline may be only a few points, but at least helps steer your content and gives you a roadmap to stay on track. Some items in your outline may include your biggest points for that episode with a few notes under each. It may include questions you will ask your guest. Think about questions that will generate conversation, and not just a single response – or worse, a yes or no. If you are creating a “how to” or a list type of podcast, your outline could contain the different steps or items in the list. An outline is a great way to jot down some notes of things you do not want to forget to discuss.
One of the best ways to prepare is to combine all three of these methods. Create an outline with headings and subheadings, script things that must be accurate like quotes, statistics, etc., and ad lib as you feel necessary.
Writing content for a podcast is possibly the most difficult part of creating a podcast. It takes a level of creativity and uniqueness that you cannot just learn overnight. However, if you spend time thinking about what you really want from your podcast, your audience, your personal strengths, and then create a framework into which you can plug new ideas, it will be a lot easier to get those creative juices flowing and create episode after episode.
This post was written by Auxbus, the first end-to-end audio platform designed to eliminate the obstacles that stand in the way of creating a podcast. Auxbus makes audio creation fast, easy and fun. Learn more and try it for yourself by visiting Auxbus.com