While my list of reasons why I podcast is a mile along, one of the most unique benefits to podcasting is the power of perception. With most forms of media, it is clear the difference between high budget projects and independent ones. On television, we are trained to expect more from shows that are on during prime time or that are aired on ‘primary’ channels or apps. Before COVID, we were trained that movies released straight to DVD or streaming were ‘less than’ movies in theatres. Even radio, a predecessor, has the reputation for quality programming being on certain stations at certain times, with a difference in quality between the day hosts and midnight crew. One beautiful thing about podcasting is that when a new listener finds your podcast, it is impossible to make that judgement.
If you learn to control your podcast’s perception, then there is nothing stopping your listeners from believing your podcast is just as successful as your favorite podcast of all time. Becoming a successful podcaster takes education, research, and a bit of luck, but one of your first steps should always be asking yourself what the listener experience will be like. How do you judge your podcasts? At what point do you hit subscribe? At what point do you consider yourself a listener or fan? All these answers are quickly determined by how the listener perceives your podcast. In other media forms you would have preconceived notions of the content’s availability, time it airs, how polished it is, etc. However, all podcasts are perceived as equal.
The first way you control your podcasts perception is the logo. We live in a visual society so whether you are browsing through categories in your podcatcher of choice or searching for a specific topic, there is a very good chance that when the results pop up that your eyes are not drawn to their title, but their logo. Like most visual medians, there is a science to logo design, and that is why there are artists and companies designed around helping you create them. If you are gifted enough to be able to design your own logo, then make some variations. Think you have ‘the one?’ Put that logo in a line up with another podcast artwork of a similar genre/topic. Does its quality stand up? Does its aesthetic stand out? Once you have the perfect podcast artwork, you are that much closer to getting more listeners!
Getting a listener is important but turning a listener into a followers/subscriber is your goal and the two big hurdles will be your content and audio quality. Help with your content is best done via reaching out to us directly. However, your audio quality is something you can easily control. Do you have the recording equipment you need to collect quality audio? You might need equipment, but it could also be the recording space. When audio goes wrong it goes horribly wrong. When you listen to your audio make sure it is clear, and if it is not, then you might want to consider re-recording that part or episode. Don’t sweat small things- let your guests stammer here and there as they search for a thought and don’t be afraid of the occasional “um”, but the overall quality should be as good as the podcasts you are fans of.
Lastly, your language you use in your podcast controls how your audience perceives you. Words always have power – it is why we podcast, so talk to your listeners like you already have a million of them. Does your friend listen to your podcast and give you feedback or a comment on an episode? Bring it up during your next recording by saying that a listener reached out to say this thing rather than saying ‘my friend’ – both are true, but which makes you sound more successful? Another way people often discuss their own podcast is via reading out or acknowledging listener reviews. It’s natural to be so excited to get that (usually rarer than we’d prefer) review that we want to scream it from the rooftops.
Scream away, but when you announce that listener review make it sound like your reviewer is the lucky one to be getting that acknowledgment. You and I know that’s not true, but if this is our first date with a new listener, then do we really want to sound desperate? If you talk to your listeners like there are thousands of them and you continue to produce good content that you market properly, then the thousands will come. When you start your podcast, remember this is the one format where you can choose how new viewers approach your podcast. These three steps are three big pieces of a much bigger puzzle to have a successful podcast that takes advantage of the medium. At the end of the day, though, it will always be your content and your reliability that keeps your listens turning into downloads and your downloads into fans. We are lucky enough to be at the point in podcasting that it is one of the most accessible platforms for new content creators, so take advantage of what your podcast will become.
If you need more assistance with turning your podcast into a success, don’t forget to reach out to Kayden or myself here