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.
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.