Everything you Need to Know About Planning a Kickass Podcast

To plan a podcast and then host it seems simple. All you need to do is sit around and talk on a topic you are supposed to be an expert on or interview someone. How difficult can it be? 

While things may seem simple from the outside, they rarely are. A lot of thought goes behind planning a podcast, and once you take a deep look at what needs to be done, the prospect would suddenly start looking like something beyond your reach.

So, how do you go about ensuring that your podcast episode is coherent and doesn’t seem like random ramblings? The secret is in planning. From the intro music to the closing statement, each second needs to be carefully planned. However, the flow must be natural. Otherwise, your audience will lose interest and never come back.

Why podcasts?

If you are here, chances are that you already know how much potential podcasts have in a business’ growth. Podcasts have been growing at a steady pace and people now expect all credible businesses in certain categories to already be on the podcast bandwagon.

Data from 2019 shows that more than 50% of the US population have listened to a podcast and the number continues to grow every day. Recently, Amazon acquired exclusive rights for the SmartLess podcast, and the deal is reportedly valued between $60 and $80 million. Similarly, Joe Rogan’s deal with Spotify is believed to be worth over $100 million.

These deals are just the tip of the iceberg. The market for podcasts continues to grow and it’s apparent that they are going to be the next big thing.

The ideal process: How to plan a podcast effectively?

A podcast consists of a lot of moving parts. The free-flowing conversation you hear depends on a lot of planning, pre/post-production processes, and a few retakes (in some cases). A proper plan will give you more clarity and improve your ability to deliver excellent content with consistency.

Here are a few steps that can help you plan a podcast and connect with your audience

1. Know your target audience and create a theme

This is perhaps the most important task as it determines the approach your podcast needs to take. You should have as much information as possible about your ideal listener if you want to connect with your audience. Understand what people that you want to reach are passionate about. This will help you design your podcast according to their requirements and attract more audiences from your niche.

2. Create a set of goals

Once you know who you are targeting, the next step is to figure out why. Having a clear goal allows you to keep an eye on the bigger picture and ensure coherence in all your episodes. The goals you have determine many decisions such as the type of guests you’ll invite, the structure you’ll adopt, and much more. Many podcasters plan excellent episodes and execute them but they still struggle because their audience can’t find any coherence between the episodes. Establishing clear goals, in the beginning, can help you avoid this issue.

3. Study the competition to identify opportunities

You can’t have a clear idea of what needs to be done without understanding the current situation of the market. Analyzing the competition to identify opportunities is an age-old tactic used in every industry. Podcasts especially require this step because the audience requires something unique. When you plan a podcast, you’ll need to spend a lot of time studying the competition if you want to ensure success.

4. Generate the topics you want to cover

Create a list of topics you want to cover. The best approach is to identify your strengths and match them with your target audience’s pain points. This will allow you to make your brand relatable to the consumers and market new products. However, you need to be careful while selecting a topic. A podcast is not an advertisement. You need to ensure that the topics focus on the audience, not the brand. Failure to do so will alienate your audience and will be counter-productive for your brand.

5. Decide the tone, voice, and other technical details

By this stage, you’ll have a fair idea of your podcast’s general outlook. This is the time for you to decide the tone, structure, and other technical details. The sign of an effective podcast is that it leaves a lasting impression on the listener. For that, it’s extremely important for you to ensure that the audience relates to you.

For instance, you’ll need to adopt a certain tone and style for a podcast targeting working professionals. The same style won’t work for a podcast on sports irrespective of how relevant your content is.

6. Work on your content

The next important planning step is to perfect your content as it is the actual product your audience is coming for. Before working on the script, ensure that you have all the required knowledge about the topic you’ve decided to cover. It’s also important to ensure that you have all the latest updates regarding a related event, personality, or incident. You’ll lose all your credibility if you build your content around something that has either been negated, proven false, or is old news.

7. Stay connected with your audience

An important element for any podcast is the connection with the audience. If your audience is enjoying your content, they’ll leave out suggestions, criticism, and other feedback for you. Acting on that feedback will allow you to further improve your content and gain a regular audience. Similarly, staying connected with the audience through surveys, engagement in the comment section, and other channels will allow you to establish priorities and maintain your podcast’s relevance.

8. Spread your creative wings

Finally, the hardest part. When you plan a podcast, you need to ensure that your audience sees the real you through creatively sharing personal experiences and connecting them with the focus topic.

Podcasts are popular because people prefer to gain knowledge and information in a conversational manner. Meticulous planning sometimes takes all the life from the podcast and leaves something bland with little to no creativity. Your audience will never connect with a robot, so you need to ensure that the podcast shows some personality.

The ideal length and structure of a podcast

As you plan a podcast, an important decision you’ll be required to take will be regarding the length of your episodes. Predictability is essential when it comes to the length of your episodes. You can’t have an hour-long episode one week and then come back the next time with a 20 minutes snippet. Your audience will feel betrayed or think that you dropped the ball.

Generally, podcasts lengths are divided into three categories listed below:

  1. Below 15 minutes: The ideal length for an informative podcast related to industry news, tips, and other similar ideas. Shorter episodes mean that your audience will expect them more frequently.
  2. 15 – 40 minutes: A majority of podcasts fall under this time frame because it’s ideal. The episode will be long enough to convey all the related information and won’t exhaust the audience
  3. Above 40 minutes: These podcasts will only work if you have a very passionate audience that loves to have long discussions on a topic or if you plan to cover several key points in one episode. A longer episode also gives you a chance to interact more with the audience and allow them to participate in the podcast.

While it’s always recommended to have episodes of consistent length, there are some exceptions to this rule. Some special events such as the 50th podcast, or a year anniversary, or some other milestone would warrant a longer episode.

When it comes to the ideal length of a podcast, there is no rule of thumb. The best choice is determined by the topic, theme, structure, and your own ability. For instance, you might have exceptional conversational skills, but you’ll struggle to keep the audience engaged if the topic is extremely technical.

Streamline your podcast planning with Kissflow Project

Because of how podcasts are created and distributed, the things you need to do are interdependent and have little to no room for mistakes. That’s not all! Podcasts are not supposed to be of a single episode. After each upload, you’ll be back to square one and will need to come up with a way to maintain consistency. All of this can get overwhelming if you don’t have the right tools.

Kissflow Project understands how much work is required to plan a podcast and aims to facilitate you in the process. The podcast planning template it offers has all the features required to plan a perfect podcast by centralizing all information, visualizing the planning process, and spending as much time as possible on perfecting the content.

The plan is often the first step towards starting an effective podcast. A strong start can improve the likelihood of your podcast’s success and Kissflow Project’s podcast planning template has everything you need for a running start.