Your Podcast “Bones”

Google “podcast tips” and you’ll find plenty…
…most for utter newbies (i.e., “State your name and the name of your podcast at the beginning”). Stuff you’re probably already doing, right?

Fundamental: Understand how-users-are-using, and package accordingly.

  • Assume that your listener is busy, and visualize the listening context where you hope to be heard. In-car? On the treadmill at the gym?
  • Think X number of minutes, not half-hours. “Snack-size” episodes.
  • Segment the show so on-the-go users can pause and re-enter at logical break-points. Doing so won’t turn-off listeners sitting-stiller at computers.

Format your podcast.

  • Avoid “random thoughts.”
  • Plan each segment so it has a beginning, a middle, and an end; as successful NPR podcasts do.
  • Think about what to leave out, perhaps to create shows that are episodic, so users subscribe.
The longer your podcast, the more critical format becomes.
Otherwise, you’re rambling, in an arena where “attention span” is an oxymoron.

Listen to “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” on Apple Podcasts, iHeart, and “wherever you get your podcasts.”

  • He’s a love-him-or-hate-him act, but that’s irrelevant. Listen for how his show is structured, its bones.
  • Admittedly his content stands on the broad shoulders of work he’s done on platforms including ESPN and MSNBC, a head start few of us enjoy. But observe how the show is assembled, in segments familiar from his old TV show (“The Worst Person…in the World!”).
  • And hear how meticulously it is scripted. That’s work.
Less-lavishly-produced, but scripted every bit as intentionally, is “Akimbo: A Podcast from Seth Godin;” which – like Olbermann’s – benefits from Godin’s preexisting fan base (“This episode was recorded in front of a live audience of twelve thousand people on Facebook Live”).

New Rules
If you think you’ve got a half-hour in you consider this podcast-worthy format from HBO’s hit “Real Time with Bill Maher:”

  1. Mercifully brief produced open;
  2. Well-written but not-too-long monologue;
  3. Interview segment: Prepared questions asked of intriguing people, some-of-whom you’ve heard of (who often say things you weren’t expecting to hear), others-you-haven’t-heard-of (and you end-up wanting-to-know-better);
  4. Panel, participants of differing viewpoints, led by the host’s bullet points and outspoken take;
  5. Then a featured guest, at first interviewed by the host, then interacting with panelists;
  6. “New Rules” is a scripted comedy segment, a half dozen quick edgy bits that play-off the week’s news and the societal observations that are such rich fodder for comedians. The last New Rule runs longer, and is the host’s scripted byline think piece.
  7. Then comes an invitation to join the after-show, online, where panelists respond to questions and comments viewers submitted during the show’s first live airing.
  8. Closing credits billboard next week’s guests.
I’m not saying that’s your format. I’m saying have a format.

Is your podcast costing you money?
Or making you money?

How not to grow your listener base?
DON’T spend a lot of do-re-mi buying clicks on Social Media.
Attention is not for sale.
When you buy a click, you’ve only bought sampling.
Some small fraction of those who see your ad will click.
Some small fraction of them will listen.
Some small fraction of THEM will listen to the whole thing.
Some small fraction of THEM will listen to another episode.

Smarter Strategy: Fans tell friends.

It’s human nature. We are now SO bombarded with advertising pitches that we lean-away.
So before you pay a dime for Facebook or Twitter ads – or otherwise “buy clicks” – think how much more special a friend’s recommendation would be.

“There is no such thing as an attention span. This whole idea of an attention span is, I think, a misnomer. People have an infinite attention span if you are entertaining them.”
Jerry Seinfeld

And if you’re not? They hit Skip.

Technique is the ball game.
Good News/Bad News…

The Good News: You’re in the right place, at the right time.
Three Big Things from Edison Research and NPR:

  • Spoken Word Audio yields deep connections and involvement from its consumers.
  • People are spending more time listening to Spoken Word Audio…at the expense of music listening.
  • Spoken Word Audio is growing fastest among young people and increasingly driven by mobile listening.
At low (or NO) cost, anyone can now self-publish audio content that anyone, anywhere, anytime, can hear, on any device.
And that’s The Bad News…
An estimated 850,000 active podcasters have posted some thirty million episodes. So you have some competition.

I can help you pump-up your podcast.

Why me? Hear Jim Bohannon interview me, in a podcast ABOUT podcasting.

Read my E-book. [PDF $9]

Ask for help.
Every great player has a coach.
I can be yours.
Email me.