Serious content marketers are turning to podcasts as a way to build their audience and differentiate from the crowd.
And with good reason.
Podcasting is virtually the only medium where you can connect with people on the go. Once you have your audio, you can reach millions with a reliable podcast host and an RSS feed. And when compared to blogging, the odds of winning the online battle for attention is in your favor.
Think about it.
For every podcaster there are 2000 bloggers. Not to mention, that there are over 3 million new blog posts published each day. Podcast listenership is growing. Those willing to put in the effort can build a loyal following.
The thought of starting a podcast is exciting and scary. Undoubtedly, you’ll make some mistakes along the way. To help you launch a successful podcast, I asked top podcasters the following question:
What is the single biggest mistake new podcasters make?
I think some new podcasters are a little too in love with their dream of being a “media personality” and forget to focus on value to the audience. Very few people have the kind of natural charisma to just babble on about whatever and have people listen.
Insert your personality into your podcasts, absolutely, but make sure you’re providing people with the the topical value they want and need to listen on a regular basis.
The single biggest mistake podcasters make is trying to get everything to be ‘perfect’, or ‘just right’, right out of the gate. The fact is that it’ll rarely be like that. But, your message very well could be. Your passion probably already is - and for these reasons alone, you shouldn’t stall the launch of your show. Just record, hit publish and start answering questions, solving problems and becoming an inspirational force for your audience.
Waiting. Don’t wait. Turn on the mic and record your first episode. It’s not going to be good (at least not in comparison to what you produce in the future), you’re going to hate the sound of your own voice, and you’ll probably screw something up technically. So what? You have to start somewhere. Best to start sooner rather than later, so you can start learning and improving.
I don’t believe new podcasters spend enough time listening to existing podcasts that reach similar audiences, and determining exactly how their show will be different. Understand that your audience either needs to come at the expense of existing shows, or you need to be so good (or so good at marketing) that you convince people to listen to your show who do not already listen to podcasts at all.
Both are tough. You need to really understand your competition before launching. This is one of the reasons I just built MarketingPodcasts.com the first-ever search engine for marketing podcasts.
Ignoring the importance of sound quality. Content is obviously key, and the best sound quality in the world won’t save poor quality content, but focussing on audio quality is key.
We have experimented with lots of different audio set ups, recording location and different kit over the years and the feedback is very telling. Good audio quality with minimal echo and nice rounded sound makes it a lot easier to listen to a podcast.
You don’t need a full studio, but you do need to realise that echo and tinny audio will put people off almost immediately. Interviews done over Skype and in location at events are fine, but adding a high quality audio intro to these makes the world of difference.
We’ve looked at over 100 episodes and cross referenced the listener data against the audio quality. Podcasts with slightly lower audio quality had a 60% higher drop off rate. Finally my one greatest tip in how to get better sound quality is go buy and audio reflector. This is what we use.
I’m not sure I can speak for all podcasters, but I underestimated the technical complexity involved in doing this right. When we started the Marketing Companion, I think we went 15 straight episodes with technical problems! We’re better, but we’re still improving every time! I guess we’re hiding the errors better!
Kerry O’Shea Gorgone
The biggest mistake new podcasters make is choosing the wrong topic. To be sure, you need to select something your target audience likes, but you need to LOVE it. If you aren’t passionate about the subject of your podcast, the work involved will become a misery, and you’ll burn out. To set yourself up for podcasting success, choose a topic you genuinely love that also appeals to the people you want to reach.
The single biggest mistake? Podcasters focus so much on the production of the show that they don’t focus enough on the marketing of the show. If you want more than your parent to listen, what’s your strategy for growing audience? For every minute you spend making the show, you should plan to spend a minute marketing it.
Rambling. Which amounts to no focus. Each podcast should be crisp and clean, every fact, story, should do one thing: push the podcast topic forward. Once you earn the attention, then you can be forgiven for the occasional rabbit trail.
The biggest mistake I see new podcasters make is to get all caught up in the gear search without spending any time learning how to use it. For years I recorded my podcast using a $30 USB headset. Although I use paid software for recording, it’s easy to create a quality recording with free programs like Audacity.
Bottom line, spend less on gear and more on a clinic of how to use it and keep things simple so the tech part of it doesn’t become a barrier to starting, or a constant dread to deal with.
Those new to podcasting focus too much on the technology, and not enough on making the content engaging. Technology comes and goes, and as your budget increases you can buy a better microphone, better editing software and maybe even employ an editor. This is the easy stuff.
Where the magic lies in creating a successful podcast is getting clear on your show’s editorial mission, structure, format and its personality. These are the elements that many new podcasters ignore, yet are critical to your show’s success.
Ready To Launch Your Podcast?
You don’t have to be as witty as Brian Clark or as convincing as Jay Baer. But you do have to connect with at least one person. Find their most burning question and answer it better than anyone else. Soon, you’ll be on your way to building an audience of loyal listeners.