3 tips on what makes a great podcast for capturing your audience’s attention

To date, there are 350,000+ podcasts in the world. The average podcast listener listens to six a week — that’s right, six different podcasts! So, how do ensure your podcast is one of them? Of course a great podcast is in the ear of the beholder. So first and obvious hurdle to creating a great podcast is the content you provide and its relevance to a particular audience.

But beyond that, how do you create a podcast which compels the audience to click on it in iTunes, drawing them in and holding their attention throughout the entire podcast episode and series?

Here are the top three tips from our experienced production team:

1. It’s all in the beginning

For students of journalism, the basic principles are the same for podcasts: grab the listeners’ attention from the get-go, or lose them. Each audience is different. Depending on their age, gender, or other demographic, an opening could either be too over-the-top or too understated.

The patience of listeners goes only so far. According to Edison Research, on average 40% of listeners drop off in the first 7 minutes. And, if they HAVE dropped off, you can bet they’re never coming back to give you a second chance. So, ensure the first 5 minutes is relevant, interesting and to the point. And ensure you do that for every episode — most new listeners will discover your podcast mid-series.

2. Break up your podcast

Unless you have the interview skills of British TV host Michael Parkinson, or the ABC’s Richard Fidler, or you’re lucky enough to interview a famous and compelling guest, a 30-minute (or, heaven-forbid, longer) interview is going to bore the pants off anyone. Even Michael Parkinson had several guests on each episode.

A podcast works well when it’s broken up, magazine-style. Either have shorter podcast episodes (under 10 minutes) or break each episode up with several interviewees or different segments. You don’t need high-end production like Serial or 99%, both of which creatively weave voices, music and sound effects throughout each episode. But have some thought on style to keep the listener engaged.

3. A podcast includes artwork and descriptions

Like a good book, consumers are drawn to the cover of your podcast. Examine other podcasts on iTunes to see which covers stand out and compel you to click on them. Sometimes an image works well, or just catchy fonts. Podcaster Cameron Reilly paid an artist for the cover of his phenomenally successful Life of Caesar podcast. He engaged the same artist to design T-shirts, coffee mugs and other merchandise on the podcast website. You don’t have to go to those lengths but it helps to engage with a professional graphic designer.

Likewise, you want a compelling description to draw people in to your podcast. Like the subject line in an email or a blog article description, there’s a plethora of online tips on writing a good header. It could be the difference between someone clicking on or ignoring your podcast.

If you want help creating and distributing a great podcast as part of your content marketing strategy, then schedule a consultation with us at BE Media Production.


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