It has been said that “Podcasting is the best way to scale intimacy”. After all, even if you are hosting the world’s most popular podcast, you are effectively speaking one-on-one with each listener at the time and place of their choosing.
Unlike videos or written texts, a podcast does not demand your audience’s undivided attention. People listen to podcasts when out for a walk, while commuting to work, when exercising or even while doing housework. The podcast format is an ideal fit for today’s multitasking world.
Nowadays, the ubiquity of smartphones means you can reach the audiences that matter to you no matter where they may be, and the popularity of podcasts is exploding.
According to an Insider Intelligence forecast, 144 million Americans will be listening to podcasts monthly by the end of 2025 (that’s more than 40% of Americans). North of the border, a 2020 Edison Research and Triton Digital report showed that 37% of Canadians had listened to a podcast in the last month.
But should you even do a podcast?
Producing a podcast on a regular basis takes time and discipline. Prior to taking the plunge, you should ask yourself:
- Is a podcast the right way to reach my target audience?
- Am I willing to carve out the required time from my schedule on a regular basis?
To get a taste of what it’s like to do a podcast, try to obtain a guest spot on an episode of someone else’s podcast. See if you enjoy the experience. Do you feel at ease in front of the microphone?
What is the ideal podcast?
Producing a podcast can be simple and inexpensive. Although you could always record your podcast in a professional sound studio, a simple computer and microphone can suffice. Many simply use their smartphone.
The only rules are the following:
- Make it relevant, interesting, and compelling
- Make sure it reflects the interests and attention span of your intended audience
The format can range from carefully scripted to completely improvised. However, listeners place a premium on authenticity and spontaneity, so make sure your podcast is captivating and real.
While the average podcast episode lasts about 40 minutes, you have total freedom to make it shorter or longer.
Ideally, you should produce regularly scheduled episodes of your podcast in order to build a following of loyal listeners. Build a production calendar and adjust the frequency as you go, according to the response you get.
Done properly, a podcast can establish you as a thought leader and enhance your personal brand, as well as that of your business. It can also provide a platform to showcase your creativity.
The popularity of your podcast will naturally increase through word of mouth, but that doesn’t mean you can’t supplement those positive recommendations with targeted social media efforts—be they paid or unpaid—and even traditional paid advertising.
To host a podcast, you do not need to be a professional broadcaster. Simply be yourself. By allowing your personality to shine through, you will build a following.
Preparation is key. You can’t improvise a full episode. Build an outline of the themes you wish to cover, but avoid reading from a script. Avoid complicated jargon.
The most compelling podcast sounds like a conversation between old friends, rather than the CEO’s speech at a company’s annual meeting. Remember: The spoken word has 9 to 11 words per sentence, on average, while the written word has 23 to 25 words per sentence. Don’t speak like you’re reading an essay.
Podcasts tend to be less structured than broadcast radio. When you host a podcast, there are no breaks for traffic and weather reports on the quarter hour!
Many podcasts have taken on a life of their own. Here is a representative sampling:
“The Daily” – from The New York Times
The Daily’s 20-minute episodes are based on what the Times has reported that day, and feature interviews with Times journalists and related interviews with those involved in the story they reported. This podcast sees more than 4 million downloads per day.
“Under the Influence” with Terry O'Reilly
This top-rated Canadian podcast explores the marketing world’s shift from one-way persuasive messaging to interactive two-way dialogue, or the “era of influence”.
“Let's Grab Coffee”
In each episode of this popular Canadian podcast, sales and marketing professional George Khalife interviews an up-and-coming start-up founder, over coffee.
Docere, Delectare et Movere
When building your narrative, keep Cicero’s three goals of rhetoric top of mind: “Docere, Delectare et Movere”. That is:
- Prove your thesis to your audience;
- Delight your audience; and
- Emotionally move your audience.
While technology enables us to defy time and space, human beings have not changed much since Roman times. We still seek to be informed, entertained, and compelled emotionally.
Most importantly, doing a podcast is fun! So, if you determine that the format is right for you, pick a compelling topic, invite a fascinating guest, find yourself a couple of microphones and press “record”. With practice, you’ll surely be pleased with the results, and perhaps your growing legions of loyal followers will be too.
To discuss podcasting and for tips on improving your hosting skills and presentation skills, we invite you to contact the experts at NATIONAL Public Relations.