Paul and David have been producing various podcasts for themselves and for clients for more than a decade. They were motivated to discuss this topic after reading this piece about the three fundamental moments that have contributed to podcasts’ recent resurgence. Back in the day, David was also a big fan of Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code (alas, Adam is still doing podcasts but not this series). So what should corporate marketers do to make better podcasts? Here are a few suggestions.
First, you need to think about podcasts as one part of your overall online media and brand-building effort, and not just a one-off. You want to build an audience over time and complement what you are doing with blogs, social media, and other content.
All successful podcasts contain multiple voices and aren’t just a single person talking; those get boring quickly. Use multiple elements, such as listener mail, headlines, short takes, offbeat items and quizzes. Find a theme that can work across multiple episodes. The theme doesn’t have to be “brand promotion,” indeed, podcasts work best if that isn’t your theme. And while you are thinking up a theme, find some royalty-free (what is called podsafe) music intro and outro that you can use to punch it up and make it sound more professional. Amazon is one of many places where you can find low-cost podsafe music.
The optimum length is tough to predict. Some podcasts run out of steam at five minutes, while others can hold your attention for 45 minutes. Factors to consider include the number of topics to cover, the depth of the discussion, the chemistry of the speakers and the attention span of the audience. Ask your listeners for feedback.
As you can see here, show notes add keywords to your posts, which helps to increase search engine traffic. Add ID3 tags to your audio files for the same effect, because search engines can’t read audio.
If you are looking for a good list of hosting providers, check this one out. Really, any hosting provider that allows you to FTP your audio should be fine.
Finally, don’t despair about measurement and metrics. While you can measure downloads, that doesn’t tell you whether someone actually listened to the entire episode. David uses Wistia metrics on his screencast videos to track all sorts of granular activity, but there’s not tool that we know of to measure actual listenership.