This is the most important part of starting a podcast yet, and it is often overlooked. The worst thing that can run you out of business is lacking a process and structure as a podcaster. No one wants to listen to some random rambling; that’s why you need to invest the time at the planning stage.
Behind every successful podcast out there, there has been a lot of planning. There’s a reason why your best podcasts come out like a free-flowing conversation. That’s the work of a template that has been carved out to make it sound natural, presentable, and conversational.
There’s a reason why even the most popular podcasters in the world draft out a strategic plan before even attempting to record the next episode of their show.
Let’s help you get prepared for your first episode; here’s how to plan your podcast in 7 steps.
Choosing Podcast Topics
There are truckloads of podcast topics ideas, but not every one of them will vibe with your listeners. Starting a podcast is quite exciting, but you’ll now be faced with the challenge of figuring out what is interesting to you and your ideal podcast listener.
You have to be able to deal with the fear of what you are going to talk about.
Let’s start by identifying your aims, motivations, and ambitions. These should align with why you are starting a podcast. Whether it’ll be a hobby or a full-time thing for you, the topics should be what you are passionate about and interested in. Not just about you, but most importantly, your target audience.
The truth is that your podcast topic lies in your competencies.
Decide on a Podcast Theme
Just like your podcast topics, the theme should be shaped around your competencies. There are millions of people out there who genuinely need you. Moreso, building your podcast theme around your areas of skills and expertise will help you create real value.
Now, you are thinking that your area of expertise isn’t worth starting a podcast on. I suppose you might be wrong. Let’s say you are a cab driver, landscaper, drone driver, football coach, or make-up artist on America Got Talent. This expertise and experience can be woven into an amazing, educative and fun podcast.
Your podcast theme should be the one you know the most about.
Inviting Guests For Your Podcast
You can’t be the only one that keeps dishing out the good stuff on every episode. It would help if you spiced things up with guests. There’s a lot of expertise, experience, and laughs that a guest can inject into your podcast show.
That will be a powerful boost if you can land the right influencer to talk to on your show. However, podcast guests don’t just volunteer on their own; you need to do the leg work. There’s a lot of places you can land a powerful guest within your existing network, social media, or podcast guest directories.
You need to go all out and do thorough research about your guest. Write a short bio for the show. Don’t forget to plan the interview by writing down topics and questions that could interest your listeners.
Recording Theme Music For Your Podcast
Being able to arrive at the right combination of music and conversion will enhance the listeners’ experience. There are three roles of music in a podcast; setting the podcast’s theme, preparing the listeners for the next segment, and entertaining the listeners.
With music, you can brand your podcast once your listeners know your theme song. In selecting music for your podcast, you need to have the theme and your ideal podcast listeners in mind.
However, you may find yourself overwhelmed with musical choices, and this is why you have to consider your topic and the music that goes with it.
Let’s say you run a podcast for minimalist fashionistas, the music that fits well will be different from one for a crypto podcast.
There are royalty-free music resources you can use recurringly without any fees. Read through the piece about How and Where To Get Music For Your Podcast.
Designing Your Podcast Cover Art
Regardless of how awesome your podcast sounds, the first thing anyone sees is your podcast art cover. According to a Buzzsprout poll, 62% of podcast listeners are likely to listen based on your art cover.
Yes, we cannot downplay the importance of your content, but there’s a greater role the podcast art cover is likely to achieve. What we are saying is that most potential listeners judge a podcast by its cover.
Believe us when we tell you that the podcast cover is more important than your podcast title. This is what we’ll advise that you do in designing an amazing podcast art;
Get The Size and Requirements Right
Don’t just jump into the design process; there are criteria that guide podcast art cover on podcast directories.
Most podcast directories have the following requirements; JPEG or PNG file, Minimum of 1400 by 1400 pixel resolution, recommended 3000 x 3000 pixels, and RGB color space & 72 dpi
Communicating Your Podcast’s Intent
Every podcast has a message, and remember that your podcast artwork is the first point of contact anyone has to your podcast. That’s why you should ensure that the podcast captures your podcast’s topic, theme, and ethos.
This is best done using the right visuals, imagery, and colors. In essence, the artwork must capture what your podcast is really about.
In Sync With Your Logo and Brand
There’s a need to maintain brand consistency. That’s if you want your audience to recognize your brand wherever it’s represented easily.
We advise that you stick with the same fonts, color scheme, and logo across all podcast directories and social media. Don’t forget to develop a template that will be replicated for podcast episodes.
Decide The Images To Use
Are you going to be using a real photo or a drawing in your podcast cover art? Like, what’s the picture you have in mind?
It all depends on your podcast topic and theme. It does not matter what you settle for; ensure that the image depicts the tone of your podcast. Check through Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels if you are in search of generic photos.
Make it Attention-Grabbing
Being a newbie, the cover art must be eye-catching for your podcast to stand the chance of being featured where your ideal listeners will see it.
All it’ll take is a super talented graphic designer to use the right pictures, graphics elements, and colors. Give the designer a marching order; craft images that immediately catch people’s eyes.
Choose Your Words Carefully
As tempting as it might appear to be, you have to limit your words. The rule of thumb should be between four or five words. Anything more than five words will be difficult to make out when displayed at thumbnail size.
Save all the words for your podcast description. By the time your podcast artwork is shrunk, it should still be legible. The first word to eliminate from the podcast art cover should be “podcast.”
What will be your Podcast Episodes Length and Frequency?
At this point, you are left with deciding two things; the length of each episode and how often you want to churn out awesome content. Well, it’s a factor of you, the topic, and the format the podcast will assume.
You are not wrong to want to know how long is long enough; most new podcasters are in this loop also. The thing is that there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to length and frequency.
The average podcast length is usually between 20 to 40 minutes. However, you still have the liberty of choosing what works for you. We’ve seen podcasts as short as 3 minutes and another for 6 hours. These are the two extremes, but you have to find the sweet spot, usually under 40 minutes. What should determine your podcast length;
- What Are You Talking About?
You are the expert here, and there should be an instinct somewhere that tells you when you’ve communicated all the value. There will be times when you feel you have more to say. Just stick with the gold standard.
The length of a podcast should reflect the quantity of your quality content you can dish out on the subject. Most importantly, consider the amount of content your ideal podcast listeners can absorb per time.
- How Much Time Are You Investing?
Life can be quite spontaneous, throwing at us the unexpected. This is why you need to settle with yourself on the amount of time invested into podcasting. It’s not just about the time but also the energy and effort that you can afford.
You have to be honest with yourself right from the beginning; else, you’ll lapse into a podfade in no time. There’s a reason why most podcasters don’t make it past their 7th episodes. The initial energy and enthusiasm would have waned drastically.
In 2019, about 27,000 podcasts stopped releasing new episodes. According to AmplifiMedia, 75% of podcasts are no longer releasing episodes.
According to Rachel Corbett, Podfade is inevitable jumping into a Podcasting you are unprepared. Podfade is caused by a loss of interest or an underestimation of the work involved in a podcast.
You must ensure that your podcast does not turn into another statistic by not settling within yourself the time you have on your hands to invest in the podcast. How can you manage time for your podcast;
There’s a lot of tasks involved in podcasting. You need to focus on the most important ones that directly impact the value you are creating.
- Verdict: Podcast Frequency & Episode Length
Let’s create a rule of thumb. For daily podcast; 15 to 30 minutes, weekly; 15 to 60 minutes, fortnightly; 60 to 90 minutes; and monthly; 60 to 90 minutes.
Regardless, know that a shorter show has a higher chance of survival than the long one.
Picking a Co-Host For Your Podcast
As a new podcaster, one of the important decisions you’ll have to make is whether you want to do it solo or have somewhere by your side. Being a decision that can make or mar your podcast, it deserves quite a lot of thought.
Co-hosting can make you accountable with an extra pool of energy, ideas, and talent to pick from. While co-hosting can take you to greater heights, it’s not meant for everyone.
The job description of a co-host covers someone who keeps your podcast going, taking the stress off you while you focus on other stuff. More importantly, a co-host injects new energy into the show when your steam is waning.
You need a podcast co-host if you notice the following as the weakness of your podcast; Your podcast is at the climax and could use fresh ideas. Producing the show independently is taking its toll on your work. Being an independent podcast host is tiring and would an extra hand.
As a newbie, you might not be at this point yet, but there’s a chance you will eventually. In preparation for this; here’s how to find the right podcast co-host;
- Make out a list of the qualities you want out of your co-host
- Create a short-list and narrow it down
- Meet your potential co-host and see how they fit into the show
- You can bring on a few as a guest co-hosts to see how they perform.