Podcasts have never been more popular than they are today.
In fact, there are more than 800,000 active podcasts as of 2019, which is a number that only looks to increase in the years to come.
So why are podcasts so popular?
Because they are incredibly huge moneymakers.
Almost a third of Americans listen to at least one podcast a month, and advertisers have noticed.
They poured in almost half a million dollars in podcast advertising in 2018, and it’s fairly reasonable to assume that number is just going to keep increasing as the months (and years) march on.
Not only that, podcasts are a form of marketing that can not only grow your brand’s audience, but also its credibility.
And the best part?
It has never been easier to launch one.
It used to be that you’d need prohibitively expensive recording equipment like mics and editing software to release a podcast, but those days are over.
With advances in technology, anybody with a reasonably functional laptop can record and release their very own podcast.
There are a million reasons to get one started, and not a single reason not to.
Having said that, there is a huge difference between launching a podcast nobody listens to and launching a successful podcast that can help with your brand’s marketing, branding, and maybe even brings in some big bucks.
Here are our top seven tips to launch a successful podcast.
1. Invest in Decent Equipment
While you don’t need to blow a few thousand dollars on state of the art recording equipment or software, you should at least have a decent microphone to start with.
After all, a podcast with poor audio quality probably doesn’t have much of a chance at success.
Podcasts are a form of entertainment.
Nobody wants to have to strain just to hear what you and your guests are saying.
Having a decent microphone, a headset, and some basic audio editing software can make huge difference in how your podcast audio sounds.
And sounding like a true professional can make all the difference when it comes to whether you will be successful in your new career as a podcaster.
The initial investment is relatively small compared to the potential gains, which makes it a no-brainer.
2. Choose the Right Theme
The theme of your podcast will play a huge role in determining its success.
This doesn’t mean that you should choose a topic you believe will capture a large audience, however.
What it means is that you should pick a theme you can commit to for the long haul.
If you are truly passionate about what you are talking about, that will resonate with others who share the same passion.
Nobody wants to listen to somebody spout out amateurish nonsense on a topic they clearly are not interested in.
Being genuinely informed and interested in whatever you choose to talk to will keep your audience engaged, and they will appreciate you for it.
Plus, there’s a higher probability that they will share your podcast with others who have the same interests.
If you’re only jumping on whatever bandwagon topic is trending that week, pretty soon you’re going to run out of steam, and your listeners will notice.
Stick to something you know and love.
The people listening will always be able to tell the difference.
3. Come Out with Quality Podcasts
This should be obvious, but it’s amazing how many would-be podcasters are so focused on their podcast’s title, artwork, and launch, that they forget about the most important thing: the podcast itself.
It may seem easy, but unless you are an experienced media veteran with years of broadcasting under your belt, your first few podcast episodes probably won’t be very good.
Like all things in life, you will have to practice podcasting to get good at it.
Joe Rogan wasn’t a podcasting expert when he started the Joe Rogan Experience a decade ago.
He made a lot of mistakes, but he just kept at it.
What you’re listening to today is 10 years’ worth of experience, learning, and practice.
In order to have a successful podcast, you are going to have to become a good podcaster.
And the only way to get to that level is to keep recording.
If you are serious about being the proud owner of a successful podcast, you are going to have to pay your dues.
Chances are, unless you are already some sort of celebrity, few people will be hearing those, anyway.
Keep learning and honing your craft, and keep striving to produce the best podcast content you can.
Eventually, you’ll get to a level where people will enjoy listening to what your podcast has to offer.
4. Find the Balance
After some time, you will probably start receiving comments and suggestions from your listeners.
Some listeners may want you to change the format, and others will have requests for special guests.
While it’s always wise to hear out your audience, it is also important to stay true to your podcast’s identity.
It’s never a good idea to pander to your audience – a podcast that sparks real conversations will always be infinitely more interesting than one that just goes with the flow.
Be decisive, and control the direction of where you want your podcast to go and what you want your podcast to be.
Podcast audiences don’t want to listen to pushovers. They want real, hard-hitting podcasting.
Have an opinion, and a solid identity your listeners can slowly get to know and enjoy.
This isn’t to say that you should completely ignore what your listeners want, however.
This simply means that you should establish who you are as a podcast first, and then let your core audience help you smooth out the rough edges in your podcast identity later on.
5. Make Your Podcast SEO-Friendly
While there are other great posts that cover Podcasting SEO in-depth (like this one and this one), it would be impossible to create a ‘how to create a successful podcast’ article without mentioning SEO.
Most people probably don’t realize that iTunes and Google Podcasts are actually search engines.
To illustrate this, try typing “paleo” in the search option of either app.
What pops out?
Lots of podcasts with “Paleo” in their title and/or descriptions.
Given this newfound information, it only makes sense to sneak in a few keywords in your podcast’s title and descriptions, if only to give you a little boost in the rankings.
Don’t go overboard with the keywords, though.
Get your keywords in, but try to keep your title sounding as natural as you can.
Having keywords in your podcast title, subtitle, and description should just make it a little easier to find and rank, and can definitely help your podcast’s success.
6. Get Great Guests – and Be a Great Guest
Guests can be an incredibly valuable factor in the success of your podcast.
An expert guest will not only have intelligent and interesting things to share on your pod for your listeners, but they will also most likely be bringing in plenty of their own followers.
You might be an expert on your podcast topic, but there is always value in hearing a different perspective than yours, both for yourself and for your audience.
Of course, if you are fortunate enough to get a great guest for your podcast, be sure to treat them with respect.
This means not only sticking to whatever questions and script you may have written out for the podcast, but allowing them to explore topics and experiences they want to share as well.
It also goes the other way. If you are given the opportunity to be a guest on another podcast, seize the chance to expose a whole new audience to your personality and podcast.
Promote your show at every opportunity you can get.
You won’t be stealing the audience of the podcast you’re guesting on, simply giving their audience the chance to discover something new they might enjoy.
7. Be Consistent
Like everything in life, consistency is key when it comes to having a successful podcast.
Find a schedule you can commit to, and commit to it fully.
Your listeners want to know they can rely and depend on you to come out with a podcast on a regular basis.
You are in a relationship with your audience, and they need to know you can be counted on.
By giving them a sense of security that you are there for them, you can begin to build loyalty with your listeners.
Nothing will lose you listeners faster than a sporadic and inconsistent podcasting schedule.
You want to be part of their lives and their routines.
You want to be something they can look forward to in their commute or alone time.
Now Go Launch Your Podcast
Podcasting is definitely a medium that is here to stay. Podcasts are accessible, easy to listen to, and require very minimal effort for the listeners.
They are a great marketing tool, and a fantastic branding vehicle. For anybody looking to start a successful podcast, it would be a good idea to keep the tips above in mind.