3 Ways to Make Your Podcast More Listenable and Engaging
As a content creator, podcasts are a fun medium to play around with. For one thing, the added component of voice makes for an even more engaging experience than a written piece. For another, they are relatively cheap to produce and publish compared to many other digital mediums.
But with the hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there, and the millions of individual episodes, how do you craft a podcast that can cut through the clutter? That’s what I’ll break down today with these three ways to make your podcast more listenable and engaging.
1. Mix It Up
Provide your listeners with variety while remaining true to the core of your show. For example, your listeners don’t necessarily want to hear the same two people week after week – you might give them the opportunity to hear from a new voice. Invite an interesting guest with relevance to your topic or industry. Think about the people in your network whom you view as thought leaders in a given area, and recruit those people to share their wisdom on an episode.
If you’re working on a corporate or marketing type podcast, it’s important to speak on topics that are relevant not only to your individual organization, but to the industry as a whole. In other words, you can engage in promotion, but don’t go overboard with a podcast that focuses solely on your company or client. Instead, try and fit that piece into the much larger picture of the whole field. Discuss a variety of topics that would be relevant to anyone working within that ecosystem. In fact, podcasts are a fantastic way to establish yourself or a client as a bona fide thought leader in your industry, so don’t let that opportunity get away!
2. Strike That Balance between Over-Produced and Under-Produced
Podcasts that sound bad to our ears typically fall into one of two categories. One: They sound like the producer took the raw audio of a long and rambling conversation, threw in a jingle, and published it as is. Two: They sound like a team of six producers spent three weeks chopping and mish-mashing the clips so that not a word is out of place, but many thoughts feel rushed. I would argue that it’s best to shoot for somewhere in the middle.
The most engaging podcasts strike the perfect balance between these two extremes, landing in a place where the conversations are polished and seem to move quickly, but not hurriedly. The truth is, nobody wants to listen to a corporate robot. It’s more human, and in a way more endearing, to hear from a real person who might make a few mistakes in grammar or syntax but overall gets the point across.
I advise against over-editing to the point that your speakers sound completely flawless. That doesn’t mean you should leave in long pauses or big mistakes, just that the occasional hedge or hesitation is okay. It adds some color and humanity to the finished product.
3. Invest in Good Cover Art
This one doesn’t have anything to do with the actual content of your podcast, but rather the packaging, which is a hugely important part of engaging your audience. It’s crucial to put your podcast’s best face forward with eye-catching, professional-looking cover art. If you don’t, potential listeners could write you off before listening to a single sentence! That’s not to mention there’s already a lot of bad cover art out there, so having attractive cover art can set you apart from the competition.
If you don’t have a graphic designer on staff, consider bringing one in for this project. It gives you immediate credibility and will help your podcast get started on the right foot. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but your cover art is the first point of connection with potential listeners, and it will shape first impressions.