If you do a search to find out how many podcasts there currently are on planet earth, the answer you find will likely have the caveat: "These numbers are approximate." One of the reasons the number can't be pinned down accurately is because new podcasts are proliferating so fast (while others are dying off). In other words, podcasting is still a very fluid, one might even say—adolescent—medium.
But is podcasting right for you and your brand? Well, if a podcast can support your unique brand story, then it is definitely worth considering (the field is crowded but is still growing in listenership). And if you’re prepared to commit the time and resources (we counted 35 steps just to get each episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite out the door) then that's an excellent step in the right direction. Be warned though, like trying to raise a temperamental teen, there can be some pitfalls along the podcasting path. Take a look at the most common bumps in the road, below, and take a sneak peak at an upcoming special episode on podcasting featuring advice segments with Dave Gerhardt from Drift and Randy Frisch from Uberflip.
Podcast Pitfall #1: Your Podcast Lacks a Clear Point of View
We all recognize the importance of knowing your target audience. Well, it’s equally important to know your own voice and to have a point of view that clearly articulates what your target audience can expect from you. You don’t necessarily need to be the next Rush Limbaugh or Rachel Maddow but your podcast audience should know who you are and what you are about.
Feel free to invite guests with different points of view than you (if fueling controversy is your schtick) but help your audience understand what they are meant to get from your podcast by reiterating your narrative consistently from episode to episode. Attention spans are not what they used to be, so make sure your point of view is obvious—and consistent!
Podcast Pitfall #2: Poor Quality
Have you ever looked at some of your old pictures from your the first digital camera you ever had? Back then you were amazed at the quality. Now, not so much. Similarly, when podcasts first started to appear, scrutiny of the sound quality hadn’t taken hold yet. But now, as recording technology has improved so much, your listeners expect hi-fidelity sound (and the equipment they are using to listen to your podcast makes it easy to tell if you’re not up to snuff!).
Invest in a high quality, noise-reducing microphone. While you don’t need a soundproof recording space, it does help to have a quiet room that has soft surfaces. More importantly, insist that your guests have wired headsets and high-speed connections (at least 50mps). There are lots of cloud-based recording options; we’ve settled on Zoom as the most reliable and because it offers the option to record separate audio tracks just in case you guest is a bit loud or too soft. And for in-person recordings, GarageBand works great, assuming you have high quality microphones. [Pro tip: For remote recordings, invest in a pre-amp for your microphone, a portable mic stand and use an app like Recorder on your smart phone. The results are amazing—but don’t forget a spare battery for the pre-amp!]
Podcast Pitfall #3: Inconsistent Output
When it comes to podcasting, you want to find your “Goldilocks zone” for the frequency that you publish your episodes. Too few podcasts per month and your audience may soon forget that you are out there at all. Too many podcasts per month and your once insatiable audience may begin avoiding your podcasts like the plague.
You need the find the number that’s just right for you (i.e.: a manageable production schedule) as well as your audience. We recommend at least one podcast episode per month but no more than 1 episode per week.
Podcast Pitfall #4: Only Using Audio
Typically, podcasters only release audio versions of their podcast. Others sometimes include transcripts as well. When you’re producing your podcast, consider additional media that you can create, other than just the audio recording.
For example, transcripts (transcribed online via a service like Sonix.ai) can be rewritten into blog posts. Or consider using video in addition to audio when you interview your guests. Although this is much easier when your guest is in-person, it can also be done remotely with the right tools (Zoom works here as well) and a bit of preparation with your guest. You can then create video snippets of your podcast to include on your website as more value-added content for your target audience.
Podcast Pitfall #5: Expecting the Audience to Find You
If the movie Field of Dreams were written today, its most famous line might have to be rejigged to something like this: “Build it—then promote the crap out of it—and they will come.” Today’s abundance of information, coupled with ever-decreasing attention spans makes it incredibly difficult for even the best content to cut through. In order to get your content heard (and seen) you really do need to promote the crap out it.
Make sure your podcast is available on iTunes and Google Play but also use other podcast syndication sites as well. Consider creating a promotional page on your website (great for SEO!) with embedded podcast episodes.
Let your guests know they’ve got homework to do too. Ask them to promote the episode through their social networks to spread the reach of your content far and wide. If you have episodes with particularly valuable content for your target audience, you could even use paid promotion to give it a boost and get it in front of more people who may benefit from the content.