On the surface, most podcasters seem like old friends just having a good chat, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Just like any interesting story, there’s a fine art in crafting engaging podcast episodes.
So how do you decide what content you're going to create? Well, as the illustrious James Bond once said…
"Shaken, not stirred."
Why it’s Good to Shake Up Your Content Strategy
Have you ever heard of the phrase “stale content”? It’s a nice way of saying your content is old, boring, or just plain rubbish!
Take this episode from the IELTS podcast, a show about learning English. It can be rather difficult to get excited about the subject matter when it’s not compelling or delivered in an easily digestible way.
Disclaimer: The IELTS podcast is by no means bad, but can do with a shake-up of how it presents its content.
Avoid stale content pitfalls by shaking up your content strategy. Try out new things, like changing the length of your shows, inviting different guests, or doing different intros and outros, all of which are brilliant ways of seeing what works (and what doesn't) to produce the best shows you can.
Hello, Goodbye: Why Intros & Outros Matter
They often say “first impressions are the most important”, with final goodbyes being a close second. Take TV episodes, they usually start off strong and end on an exciting cliffhanger. Why? Because they make lasting and memorable impressions.
Intros and outros are a perfect opportunity to plug something, which is why you often hear podcasters promote services or sponsors at the start and end of episodes. However, this can be anything like a plug of your website, merchandise store, or anything you're currently up to like an upcoming event.
Usually, a thread of consistency and tone runs through intros and outros, things like jingles and length, but the messaging can be shaken up. Just remember that...
“Intros and outros should be brief! Wrap up your episode in a quick synopsis without losing listener focus.”
Side note: Try not to over script intros and outros. It helps to keep things fresh by ad-libbing with rough notes.
Finally, the outro is a good opportunity to ask listeners to take action. Whether that’s sharing your podcast, donating on Patreon, or leaving a nice review - it never hurts to ask!
Why 60-Minute Episodes Work
The question is: Why 60-minutes? For most people, it’s the time it takes to travel to and from work, like on a bus, train, or tram journey. It’s also a good length whilst chilling at home without being too long.
Now, there are episodes that go beyond that, like 2-hour shows, but you’ll often find that 60-minutes is the golden standard for podcasts. While it can be tempting to talk about anything and everything under the sun, maintaining focus ensures topics are clear and concise without losing your listener’s attention.
You WON’T BELIEVE What Happened Next! (Avoiding Clickbait)
Clickbait can often feel like the fast food of headlines, but most big podcasters do it to a certain degree. Take this one from popular TED Talks Daily shows:
“Is your country at risk of becoming a dictatorship? Here's how to know”
As tempting as it might be, clickbait titles are not such a good idea as it can hurt you in the long run. Ever heard of the boy who cried wolf?
Podcasts have very close-knit communities, and because of this you need to gain your audience's trust for them to become loyal listeners.
You won’t gain anyone's trust by using misleading titles for episodes! Yes, you might initially get a few more clicks than normal, but those people will just leave your episode when they realise the title was just clickbait. It’s not worth the risk. Make sure your titles clearly show what the episodes are about.
Shaking Things Up with a Range of Voices
There’s a reason why podcasters like The Joe Rogan Experience and How I Built This rotate their guests each episode, it’s because a variety of people is far more interesting and diverse then listening to the same people week after week.
Listeners might get fatigued with your tone of voice or know you’re going to say if you’re on your 1000+ episode, something which seems to be inevitable...
Why Being Different Works
With more podcasts being released now more than ever, it’s important to not be lost in a sea of content. Even celebrities like Conan O'Brien and David Tennant are getting in on the action! Which is why being different makes you stand out from the crowd!
Whatever hook your podcast has, not being like everybody else gives listeners a reason to check you out. If you’re doing a murder mystery, what makes it different then My Favorite Murder or True Crime Garage? If you need a few pointers on what you can do, check out these 50 Podcast Ideas You Should Try.
Using Content Effectively on Social Media
I think it’s pretty obvious that nowadays most people are on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Constantly scrolling through their feeds, it’s an ideal place to grab attention and promote your podcast.
But you can’t just copy and paste your latest episode’s title and description. How others discover and interact with you is different on each platform. Where something might work on Twitter may not work on Instagram. For example, linking works on Twitter, but the URL doesn’t work on Instagram...
View this post on Instagram
Looking for a new mixer to spice up your audio? 🌶 . Look no further, we've ranked the top 10 mixers for you Number 3 will literally change your life. Forever. . www.podcast.co/create/best-mixers-for-podcasts . . #podcast #audio #audiointerface #mixer #recording #producer #recordingstudio #soundengineer #audioengineer #mastering #proaudio #masteringstudio #sound #studiobuild #mixingandmastering #recordingengineer #masteringengineer
There’s also image size to be wary of, like on Twitter it’s 1024 x 512 pixels and on Instagram, it’s 1080 x 1080 pixels. Without going into too much detail, it’s worth checking this guide out for more info.
ABO (Always Be Optimising)
People won’t just stumble across your podcast by chance (maybe not intentionally anyway). Aside from your RSS feed and socials, there are a few other tricks you do to optimise your content.
Keywords, which is a way to maximise your search results, is a clear winner. It works by making your content discoverable, whether that’s on podcast directories, blog posts, or videos, optimising your keywords is vital in getting found.
If you upload your podcast to places like YouTube, the title and description should mention important points from your episode so it’s found. For example, True Geordie had comedian Ricky Gervais on his podcast, so the title and description mentions him and his back catalogue of work.
The point is, you should ABO (Always Be Optimising) your content, wherever it might be! For more on content optimisation, check out this out on Podcast SEO: How to Grow Your Audience.
Keeping Your Podcast Cocktail Consistent 🍸
By nature, humans are creatures of habit. We get in routines, like getting up early to go to work or brushing our teeth regularly, then stick with it. Routines are what drive a lot of people to check back on things they enjoy, whether that’s blog posts, Instagram stories, and even podcasts.
Releasing regular content helps form listener habits, so your podcast needs to be consistent. There’s also a few other perks with regular content:
- Build authority and credibility in your area.
- Increase brand awareness so people know who you are
- Helps keep listener engagement active and people interested.
Try and stick to releasing episodes routinely, whether that’s on a certain day of the week or bi-weekly. Most podcasters do this already, such as The Dropout, which releases episodes every Wednesday.
Staying on Track with a Content Calendar
Without direction or guidance, content can get messy. Manage your content in a calendar so things keep on track. Tools like Trello are awesome for making sure you know what’s being done and by whom.
There are also a few other tricks to help make sure your content gets done on the Podcast Production Workflow: How to Improve Your Productivity.
Save Time by Repurposing Content ⏰
Have you ever noticed that big movie studios in Hollywood remake a lot of old films? Why? Because it’s a hell of a lot easier to rehash Spiderman multiple times than it is to come up with fresh and interesting content.
The same can be said about podcasts. Not in the sense of repeating the same content in every episode, but repurposing it for different mediums, such as videos, articles, and on social media. Essentially, recreating old content helps you easily get discovered by new audiences without having to do a lot of hard work.
Without going into much more detail, it’s worth checking out this article we did on Why Repurposing Podcast Content is a Good Idea.
Creating the perfect podcast content cocktail can be a full-time job, but when done right, it really hits the spot! To neatly wrap things up, your podcast should be following these tips:
- Shake up your content strategy to see what works (and what doesn’t).
- Why good intros and outros matter to keep listeners focused.
- Why 60-minute episodes work best.
- Avoid clickbait to gain your audience’s trust.
- Get a range of voices and guests on your shows to diversify.
- Why being different helps you stand out from the crowd.
- Using social media properly to engage with listeners.
- Always optimise your content for maximum rewards.
- Keep your content consistent (or at least publish regularly).
- Use a content calendar to keep track of what’s what!
- Save time by repurposing content for new audiences.
At the end of the day, podcasts are supposed to be fun, interesting, and above all else, damn-fine listening! If you haven’t started your podcast yet, then why not try Podcast.co and join the podcasting movement today! 👇👇👇