(By Traci Long DeForge) You’ve got podcasting questions, and Traci Long DeForge is here to answer them. Traci is the founder of Produce Your Podcast and a member of the PBJ Editorial Board. This week Traci answers questions on finding your voice, keys to podcasting success, and producing a podcast but not hosting it.
QUESTION: I’ve been hearing a lot lately about finding your voice in podcasting. What does that mean and why is it important?
TRACI: The concept of finding your voice can be viewed in two different ways.
First, you’ll want to consider how your literal voice will be utilized in the delivery of your content and the format of your show. For example, how do you want to deliver your content? Do you want to be a solo host? Do you want be a host who interviews guests? Maybe you’d like to open the microphone and talk about your favorite hobby, or share your personal journey? In this case, finding your voice is about making definite decisions about how your podcast is going to sound and how your voice will contribute to that sound.
The other focus on finding your voice involves the style of using your voice. Think about it as a vehicle for the way you shape the personality of your show. What message do you want to send out to the world? When you begin to craft the content for your mission, do you want to use humor to get your message across? Do you want to be authoritative by presenting in-depth research and statistics? Do you want to be a person who has a dry wit, or presents a really solid educational tone? These are all variables of how your voice, and the delivery of your content can define your podcast.
Podcasting has opened a wide opportunity for people to share their voice even if they’re not broadcast-trained professionals. Not so long ago, if you didn’t have a broadcast trained voice, you couldn’t have anything that would remotely resemble a radio show and therefore there wasn’t a platform for you to share your voice of impact. Now, you have the platform, so use the voice you were born with to create the show you want to put out there and make a difference.
QUESTION: Can you name 3 things that set your podcast up for success?
TRACI: Access, Assets, and Audience are the three keys to the success of any podcast.
Access: Having access to resources like engaging guests and quality audio production can go a long way in creating a show that’s built for growth
Assets: Brand assets will contribute to the success of your podcast by presenting the visual identity you want your audio to project. Your audience will feel connected to you when they see the consistency of your audio and visuals on your website, the podcast platforms and social media. It is a subtle but powerful way to show you are serious about delivering a quality podcast.
Audience: It is helpful if you can invite an existing audience you’ve curated through a newsletter database, social media, or other marketing initiatives to listen to your podcast. If you don’t already have a built-in audience you can begin promoting your podcast before it’s even launched by capturing emails on your website with a Save the Date announcement!
A great example of all three of these factors in use is Joe Rogan’s podcast. Rogan brought forward an already highly engaged fanbase to his podcast when it originated in 2003. He then grew his brand and his audience exponentially by managing the expectations of his loyal listeners with a consistent release schedule. His uninhibited, inclusive, and open-minded approach towards content, along with access to guests from all walks of life and subject matter, keep his fans curious and coming back for more.
QUESTION: I want to have a podcast but I don’t want to be the host. How would it work if it was my show, but I was more behind the scenes?
TRACI: There’s no rule saying if you have a podcast you have to the host of the podcast. If you’re not comfortable being in that role you can have it scripted and hosted by a broadcast professional or another person you feel is better suited to be the host. You can hire someone else to deliver your content while remaining in control of the content. Many opportunities have presented themselves as a result of the growth of podcasting. You can develop a show concept, be a writer, and of course, be an Executive Producer. This happens frequently with branded podcasts, the person who may be creating the content for the brand may not be comfortable being behind the microphone. It could be a bandwidth issue with not enough time to be consistently hosting, or the show calls for a different style of delivery, they’re okay generating a multitude of content, but then hire someone else who actually delivers that content.