According to recent data from Demand Sage, there are now five million podcasts and 464.7 million podcast listeners globally. Locally, podcast streaming on Spotify MENA soared by over 190% in 2022. The MENA region also has the highest proportion of heavy listeners, who consume at least an hour of podcasts per day.
There’s no doubt podcasting has the power to create impact, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do properly. A successful podcast requires consistent effort; know what’s involved and be ready to invest the time.
Before you start, consider these top 10 things:
Who do you want to reach?
Don’t try to be everything to everyone, it never works. Based on your ideal customer, get clear about your target audience, develop a concept that will resonate with them, and stay focused on it as you grow.
What do they want to hear?
Your starting point should always be what value you can provide for your listeners i.e. why should they keep tuning in? People don’t want to be told what they already know, they are looking to be educated and entertained. I often get asked how long the perfect podcast episode should be. Again, it goes back to value - an episode should last for as long as you can keep providing value for your listeners.
Creating a brand
Just as you wouldn’t expect to build a business without a brand, take the same approach with your podcast. Creating a strong identity will encourage audiences to connect and capture people’s eyes. A good logo is essential, followed by style, colour and TOV. Make sure you purchase a domain name and use these elements to create an SEO-optimised website.
Remember, quality is crucial for long-term success. While you could potentially handle the recording yourself, you will need to buy equipment and get a good understanding of what’s required. These days, there are plenty of studios out there democratising access to high-quality podcast production at a really affordable rate. You get a turnkey service without breaking the bank.
A lot of work goes into creating even a single episode. Organise all the necessary tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Record and monitor your workflow using project management software, such as Trello, Monday.com, or Asana, and divide the tasks into different phases, from prospecting guests to promoting your episode.
Choosing a hosting platform
Podcast files need to be stored and hosted on a central platform. Once the hosting is established somewhere like Buzzsprout, Soundcloud, Mixcast or Acast, you can use the RSS feed to distribute it via other platforms including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify for audio content and YouTube and Vimeo for video content.
Expert guests and quality production aren’t enough to get you noticed; you must market your podcast effectively. Set up the relevant social media channels, then plan, schedule and post regular content. One of the best things about having a podcast is the amount of marketing material it generates and social media is the place to share it. Also, ask people you know to watch and interact with the content.
Many podcasts fail because they can’t attract a consistently high calibre of guests. Devise a suitable outreach campaign and have a short elevator pitch ready. LinkedIn is a good way to get in touch, as is an email campaign. Email automation software lets you send bulk “personalised” emails and set up automatic follow-up emails. Expect to follow up a few times before you get a response.
The quality of your conversations relies on your skill as an interviewer, but don’t worry if it’s new to you. Start by interviewing a few people you already know so you feel more comfortable as you develop your interview style. Choose an overall topic with key talking points and always prepare a list of well-researched questions - keep the questions open-ended where possible. Also make sure you really listen to your guest’s answers and expand on them with follow-up questions to improve the flow.
Maximising your content
A single episode can provide content for a couple of weeks, so make the most of it. As well as your audio episode, video recording allows you to post a video episode on YouTube, and you can repurpose parts of the conversation into social captions, images, quotes, short video clips and more.