If your radio station is ready to dive into the world of podcasting, where should you start? One great place is to listen to other podcasts for inspiration. There are thousands of podcasts out there, and it's often useful to identify the elements that either (a) you want to incorporate into your own podcast, or (b) you want to avoid in your podcast.
So, what exactly should you be listening for when you listen to podcasts? Here are some ideas:
- Format: Does the podcast have a clear structure? Does that structure make you want to listen longer? Some podcasts involve one-on-one interviews, while others employ a three-person roundtable discussion similar to a “Morning Zoo” radio show. More complicated podcasts involve storytelling journalism, fictionalized drama, or even game shows.
- Teaser: Does the episode use a pull quote or other form of teaser to introduce the episode? Does the podcast identify itself at the beginning with an episode number? Is there a warning about explicit language?
- Produced Intro: Is there a produced introduction? Does it feature a voiceover talent or just music? What feel does it give to the podcast? How appropriate is the length of the produced intro?
- Spoken Introduction: Do you know what the podcast series is about right away? Do you know what this particular episode is about? Do the hosts introduce themselves? Is there a recap of previous episodes? How long does it take to get to the meat of the episode?
- Host(s): What do you like or dislike about them? Do they play off each other well? How do they interact with guests? Is there a lot of cross-talk?
- Outro: How does the host close the episode? Is there a specific call to action, such as asking you to subscribe? Is there a produced outro? Does it tease upcoming episodes?
- Theme: How does this podcast episode connect to others in the series? Does listening to one episode make you more likely to listen to another?
- Order: Is this a serialized podcast that requires you to start with episode one and listen to the shows in order, or can you start with any episode?
- Benchmarks: Are there any benchmark features that appear in every episode?
- Ads: Does the episode include ads? How many? Are they live reads or produced spots? Where do the occur in the episode: pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll? Are they direct response ads (asking you to enter a promo code, for example)?
- Shelf Life: Is this podcast episode evergreen or does the content have a short shelf life? Are you likely to go back and listen to older episodes? Do you feel an increased incentive to listen to a new episode as soon as it's released?
- Production Process: How difficult do you think this podcast is to produce? How many people do you think it requires to produce this podcast? What skillsets are required? Does this podcast require much research? Post-production? Storyboarding? Fact-checking? Guest booking? How long do you think it takes to produce an episode? What equipment do you think is required? What kind of budget do you think it takes to produce this podcast?
- Audience: Who do you think this podcast is aimed at? What would attract them to this podcast? How would you market this podcast to those people?
By paying attention to these elements, you can get a clearer idea of what you'd like to do with your own podcast. It will help you crystallize your creative process.
On Thursday, August 24th, Jacobs Media will host a full day of sessions, panels, and keynotes designed for radio broadcasters at the Podcast Movement conference. We hope you'll join us for it!
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