Set Yourself Up For Success


From our visit to PodCon in Seattle we sat in on a session called More Pre-Pro Less Problems: How to set your show up for success before launch. We believe our notes from this panel are an excellent checklist to follow that will lead to your podcasting success…or at least point you in the right direction.

This was a very interesting workshop because of the mix of people involved. Everyone was a podcast creator, but it also included editors, marketing people, and even a podcast critic. They were able to pull in a very diverse set of opinions and viewpoints.

The panel included podcaster Amanda McLoughlin, podcast critic Elena Fernández-Collins, Spirits editor Eric Hamilton Schneider, writer and audio producer Eric Silver, historian and voice actor Julia Schifini, and Potterless creator Mike Schubert.

Here are a list of bullet-points from the session that we believe will help you come right out of the gate with a strong show.

Step One. Do Your Research.
What other podcasts exist in your genre?
Make sure you have a unique voice in order to stand out from the pack.
Why are people going to listen?
It pays to deeply research your genre, there are lots of podcasts in every genre and you need to know what makes yours unique.
As much as you want it to be, your audience is not “everyone.”
You need to figure out who your audience is and edit your podcast to that audience.

Planning The Heist
Make sure that your podcast name is easy to hear, easy to spell, and available.
Use to check availability.
Unless you are an artist, spend money on podcast artwork.
Figure out what your podcast’s one-sentence summary is going to be.
It should reflect the tone of the podcast.
It should define who the podcast is for.
This is your podcast elevator pitch.
What is your show’s description?
It needs to be informative and enticing.
It should be SEO friendly.
A person should want to subscribe based on your description.
Use Adwords to find keyword suggestions.

Plan Your Podcast’s Structure And Format
Who will be the show’s main host? Who are the co-host(s)?
Will you have guests? How often?
Will the people on the show change? How often? What is the schedule?
What are your segments going to be?
Use them to pull in new listeners (creative naming, helping to define the scope and theme of the podcast).
Make the podcast feel comfortable (this follows this follows this… etc.).
Being ahead can give you flexibility.
Can’t record this week? It’s okay because you have episodes in the can.
If your podcast has some segments that are topical, you can always pre-record the parts that aren’t.
With serialized podcasts, finish your season before you release, if possible. It will stop things from going wrong in the middle.

What will you title your episodes (come up with a format)?
Your podcast descriptions should have links to your social media.
The description should be good for new listeners (no inside jokes) and informational.
Post your episodes to your website and make them easy to find.
Make transcripts of each episode and figure out where you are going to host them (not on Patreon).

Your Pilot Season
Choose a release date ahead of time.
Kill your bad episodes; don’t release them.
Pre-recording practice episodes, even if you don’t keep them, has advantages.
You’ll be more comfortable in front of a mic and with your co-hosts.
You’ll figure out your format.
You’ll become more comfortable with your audio editor (you also might want to think about hiring one instead if you can afford it).
Send it to friends and get feedback and then pay attention to that feedback.
Get feedback from a diverse set of people, even people who might not be interested in your topic.
Build a backlog of episodes if possible.
Make a trailer for your podcast and release it before your first episode (if your episodes are weekly, release it a week out, if you release every other week, release it two weeks out, etc.).
Look up the Apple-recommended settings for your podcast, they have information about file types and editor settings.
Have a launch party to thank everyone who helped you create the podcast to make a “splash.”
Set up a Patreon before you launch. Let people support you.

Nuts And Bolts
Register social media platforms and domain names.
Start posting on social media before your show starts; get people excited!
Submit to aggregators (minimum: iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, Stitcher).

How To Work With Journalists
Research the publication before you reach out.
Think of journalists who don’t just deal with podcasts; instead, think of journalists who write about the subject of your podcast.
Make a spreadsheet of all of your journalist contacts, along with the information about each journalist (how they like to be contacted, when, what you need to provide them).
Make a press kit for your podcast.
Lean on press releases.
Your iTunes page is not your website, don’t send it to journalists.
Make sure your contact info is everywhere.

Your Press Kit
Should include who you are.
All of the information about your podcast.
How to reach you.
Your release schedule.
Bios of all of your hosts.
Promotion and logo images.
A listing of all of your press releases.
Send press releases anytime something newsworthy happens.
You can embargo a press release.
Press releases should be short and to the point.
Remember: The press exists to write about things, it might as well be your podcast.