Podcasting today is still like the early days of the internet

Do you remember those early internet days of the late ’90s, when companies were scrambling to build their own websites?

This was before WordPress and Squarespace were on the scene. Looking back, some of those sites were truly awful. What were we thinking? At the time, didn’t we reckon it was cool to have a colourful wallpaper image? And text with different fonts and garish colours?

ugly wallpaper

Web counters were big in the 1990s, too. They were everywhere! I can’t think of the last time I’ve seen.

hit web counter online visitor counter

Also, do you remember those unfinished pages with handy ‘Under Construction’ notices and cute GIF images?

under construction

Goodness! Surely, we all know now that you hide any page that isn’t yet built. So, a generation later we have mostly learnt what makes a website attractive. And here we are at the “dawn” of podcasting – what are we doing today that should make us cringe?

Are you following what everyone else thinks? That might be fine if you’re a contestant on Family Feud, but it might mean your podcast reflects those early days of the internet.

Some simple rules for podcasting:

  1. This is pretty basic, but some organisations are still doing it. Make sure you have an audio player on your website, not a link to an MP3 file.
  2. The audio player should be stand-alone for each episode, and not as a playlist. Why? Few will click on each episode if it’s in a playlist.
  3. Edit your audio! Podcasting is only going to get more professional. If you leave everything as it is after you press record, including coughing fits, it sounds awful. It’s the equivalent of the ‘Under Construction’ web site page. It’s superfluous, it’s unprofessional, and it’s bloody annoying to the listener.
  4. Don’t tell your listener to subscribe on iTunes/Apple Podcasts. They already know.
  5. Don’t over-complicate things, by providing buttons/links to mobile podcast apps. As James Cridland suggests, two is enough.
  6. Don’t introduce a guest in the voice-over, then introduce the same guest AGAIN when the interview starts
  7. Don’t summarise what the guest says after every answer.
  8. Don’t talk over your guest.
  9. Use quality microphones.
  10. Don’t record in a room with hard surfaces.
  11. Don’t use well known pop music as a theme for your podcast. It’s not your brand!
  12. Don’t tell everyone that you have a new podcast and they should listen. Tell, them WHY they should listen.

Finally, listen to good quality podcasts. Think about why they are good, why you enjoy listening to them, and write down what makes them stand out. Then, replicate what they are doing for your own podcast.