Discovery may not be the biggest problem you face in growing your podcast. It could be that your podcast isn't easy! Here are 8 podcasting tips to help you reach your audience better.
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1. Make it easier to play
“Visit website; press play.” That's how easy it needs to be for people to start consuming your podcast.
Accomplishing this is a twofold process.
- Get a good WordPress theme, such as the podcast-focused themes from Appendipity.
- Get a good podcast player, such as Simple Podcast Press or Smart Podcast Player.
You can accomplish much of this yourself with web-design skills.
2. Make it easier to hear
I think the biggest “sin” amatuer podcasters commit is publishing bad audio.
- Poor quality—distortions, reverb, noise, etc.
- Bad volume levels—hosts are different volume levels, episodes are too loud or too quiet, background audio is too loud, soundtrack is too loud or too quiet, etc.
- Unskilled mic technique—talking off mic, bumping the microphone, cross-talk, etc.
Better equipment isn't always the solution. Knowledge and skill are truly more powerful here.
The simplest way to discover audio problems is to listen. Listen while you record (have all participants wear headphones), listen while you edit (do things sound the same volume, if you're not using a measuring tool?), and listen in environments your audience might be in (in the car, doing chores, etc.)
Auphonic can do a lot of cleanup for you. But it's always best to record good audio, first, so there's not much to clean up.
And in case you're wondering, never publish audio with voices separated between left and right. That's okay for special effects in audio-dramas, but it's always best to keep the voices centered.
3. Make it easier to subscribe
We've always been in a multiplatform world. Although one particular platform may dominate podcast consumption, it's important to have options for others, too.
Don't tell your audience to “find” you in any platform. Your SEO may not be good, or it could change with any algorithm tweak.
Point people to your website—your podcast's true home on the Internet—and let the website point people to the right place to subscribe.
Consider using the iTunes Linkmaker for a handy link that opens directly to your podcast in iTunes or the Podcasts app. Use Subscribe on Android for broad compatibility with Android apps, and eventually use your Google Play subscription link.
I created Social Subscribe & Follow Icons to make this easier for podcasters to make these subscribe and follow buttons and links on their sites.
4. Make it easier to contact
I know people are often concerned about spam and privacy, but don't put the burden of protecting yourself upon others.
I recommend having at least three contact options on your site:
- Email address—Feedback@yourdomain.com is best and can simply forward to Gmail for great spam protection. Use Email Encoder Bundle, Email Address Encoder, or CryptX to protect your plain-text email address. Please don't write your address like “feedback [ at sign ] your domain [ d o t ] com.”
- Contact form—Some people don't like using their email program for quick contact. Making a contact form is easy with Jetpack or Gravity Forms (my favorite).
- Phone number—Create a direct-to-voicemail phone number people can use at any time to leave you voice feedback or try to contact you. Use Google Voice or Kall8.
There are plenty of other ways you can allow your audience to contact you, but these three are the most important and universal.
5. Make it easier to share
Podcast reviews are nice, and I do offer a service that gathers your international podcast reviews and can help you get more. But the best thing people can do to help your podcast is to subscribe and share.
How easy is it for someone to share your episodes? Ensure you have buttons for Twitter, Facebook, and other popular social networks.
I've tried many social-sharing plugins for WordPress. My favorite is now Social Warfare (I use it on all my sites). If you need social-sharing buttons for a non-WordPress site, consider ShareThis or Shareaholic.
6. Make it easier to support
Whether you're selling something or asking for direct support from your audience, you need to make it as easy as possible.
I generally recommend keeping the branding and tools on your website. But it would be better for you to a third-party tool (such as Patreon, Gumroad, Shopify, etc.) and make the option available than to spend months building something yourself.
Remember that technology can change. So I don't recommend that you ever use the tool's proper name in your calls to action. Instead, point your audience to a standard place on your site or show notes that can point them to the right place from there. For example, say, “Please support our podcast with a monthly pledge by visiting ONCEpodcast.com/sponsor,” instead of, “Please support our podcast through Patreon by visiting Patreon.com/ONCEpodcast.”
If you're selling something, remove all the things that prevent or distract people from completing their purchases. It could be that you have too many options, you don't explain your options, you ask for too much information, you don't support their preferred payment method, or you have other things on your site stealing their attention.
7. Make it easier to engage
If you accept engagement with your podcast, make that as easy as possible. I still support website comments, and I like Disqus for make friendly comment forms on my sites.
Sometimes, making it easier to engage also means starting the conversation by asking good questions.
8. Make it easier to find
Like I said earlier, never tell people to find something of yours. Give them a direct link. That goes for your podcast, show notes, calls to action, or anything else. (It's often easiest to put all of that in the show notes and make that the single URL you refer to.)
There will also be plenty of times your audience will want to find something on your site. So ensure your on-site search works well. I recommend SearchWP as a more powerful, more accurate search plugin for WordPress.
Also ensure that potentially new subscribers can find your podcast with quality and ethical search-engine optimization techniques.
What do you wish podcasters would make easier?
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Just finished listening and one thing that would make it easier for me for a few podcasts that I listen to: GET TO THE CONTENT!
One or two have almost a full minute of music before they start speaking. Some start talking about random things going on in their network or a new microphone, or giving me all the details of the life of a new narrator. I don’t care that this new narrator lives with their 30 cats and makes bumblebee based pottery for local wildlife – I want to hear them speak!
Perhaps they also include a lengthy description of how to find their show notes – I am already listening! I likely already know where to find them. A quick reminder is one thing, but telling someone (who is already listening) all the different places to find the audio? Way overdoing it.
It would be much better to include those things after the main content. You are a guest in my head, please consider how you structure your topics.
Totally! Content first.
Like I often say, people don’t care about you, at least not yet. You can earn their care by giving before asking to get.
Yea, I think it’s OK (maybe even welcomed?) to spend a minute or two at the beginning with some news items or something personal to kind of ‘warm things up’ a bit, but the main content needs to come relatively quickly. I don’t mind a lot of news or personal stuff, but I think it’s best, then, at the end or just sprinkled in here and there.
I really believe this is hit or miss. Some people can pull this off perfectly. They’ll make you listen to this pre content and not even realize it. Then there are others who are terrible at it and I just tune out.
He was talking directly to me, as if he’d been looking over my shoulder this past several weeks . . .
The big one for me is making it easy to hear. I’m often listening while driving or doing chores, and the environment, or my BT ear-piece doesn’t allow for too bad of audio quality. If the content is really, really great, and something I need, I might put up with poor quality (I do for a couple of podcasts), but that’s really pushing it.
I’m often surprised, in that they clearly must not actually listen to their episodes (sometimes evident by big editing mistakes in them), but especially in their car or something. If they did, they’d recognize the problem. I’ve reached out in a couple cases to, as-politely-as-possible, let them know, and even make some recommendations (like Auphonic or a better mic), but haven’t seen any action yet. I just don’t get that. (And, in some cases, this is even with popular podcasts in a niche with hundreds of episodes.)
The biggest issues are things like round-table discussion where they clearly are just using a single mic on a table, where one voice might be loud, and others too soft. Or, where they must just be using the built-in mic on the computer, as they sound like they are in cave with lots of background noise. Those problems don’t seem THAT hard to fix. 🙂
I think that some people simply don’t care. I would guess they also play “fullscreen” movies stretched on a 16:9 TV. 😛
[…] Und hier noch ein Beitrag, den Podcaster sich zu Herzen nehmen können: 8 Things to Make Easier for Your Podcast Audience […]
Laudetur Iesus Christus ! Semper Laudetur !
Thanks for all your propositions to make everything easier.
SPECIAL QUESTION: Under the point 5: Make it easier to share – When will you speak about sharing podcasts directly with the listeners without using a Cloud or Sharing files service but directly with Syncthing.Net system, from PC to PC without intermediary ?
Sharing files easier, why not with Syncthing. It’s a way too !
I hope you will talk about Syncthing in one of your next podcast. (syncthing.net)
Thanks for your attention and I wish you a Marry Christmas
Moderator of (((+))) Radio Vobiscum [Podcast]
This is a REALLY good episode, Daniel. Sooo much value! Thanks.
What I’ve found as a challenge for other podcasts is when there are multiple hosts and they don’t identify themselves properly. This could be in the audio broadcast or on their site. When one person addresses another, they forget to say that person’s name. That leaves me wondering who they’re talking to.
Thanks for all this great info. I just bought and installed Simple Podcast Press, and in order to make “just play” easier, moved the powerpress player to the top of the post.
Now, however, the archive page for my podcast shows the powerpress text (Listen to this episode (01:10:20) Download Listen in a New Window iTunes Stitcher SoundCloud Leave a Review Clammr It etc…) rather than the beginning of the show notes. I’ve added a powerpress shortcode below the first 3 paragraphs for the 2 latest posts, but it hasn’t helped. Any advice is appreciated. (And let me know if this is a paid consultation sort of question 🙂
This is usually a theme issue. The best way to work around it is to enable the “Excerpt” field in the “Display Options” of a post editor, and add an excerpt for every episode. This also ensures the full excerpt is displayed instead of being truncated.
Very helpful information. I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time while listening. I love to learn while doing other chores. Tonight I’m wrapping presents and learning. So awesome!
Thanks! Great time to listen to podcasts!