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5 essentials for creating a stellar podcast

Podcasts have come a long way since Adam Curry of MTV fame brought them mainstream more than a decade ago.

Consider that 44 percent of Americans listen to podcasts, 26 percent listen to them monthly and 48 million tune in weekly. Furthermore, podcast listeners consume an average of seven different programs weekly. Some 80 percent of them consume “all” or “most” of each episode.

“Since [2004], the audio platform has grown in popularity, both in terms of listeners and resulting advertising dollars,” says Kent Lewis, president of Anvil Media.

Follow these five rules to influence your audiences with the hottest platform for content marketing right now.

1. Know what you’re talking about.

Podcasts provide information about trends and developments in trades that benefit their audiences. They serve as a spotlight on one’s proprietary knowledge and wisdom.

Regardless of how well you know a subject, however, continue to thoroughly research it and reach out to those with more knowledge than you. Most importantly, strategize the format of the show.

“You can’t just wing this,” Charles Cunningham with Sparkloft Media says. “Yes, your podcast can be a simple conversation to focus on a particular topic, but ensure that your talking points are laid out and that your discussion has a point to make.”

Also, allow guests to talk; that’s why you’re having them on your podcast. Your followers are eager to hear from them. Guests do you a big favor by appearing on your show, taking time from busy schedules. Be gracious. Send a handwritten thank you card and help them out in future promotions if you are in a capacity to do so.

2. Be consistent.

Leave no room for variation in your production schedule.

Announce that you release new installments every Tuesday at 7:00pm ET or ask listeners to check in for new content on the second Friday of every month so that they know when to return for fresh material.

They might visit every so often without a calendar, but they will quickly move on if they don’t see new information consistently. With 47 percent of consumers expecting web pages to load in less than two seconds, they won’t return to your site for long.

“You must be consistent,” says Hank Yuloff, who hosts The Marketing Checklist. “Pick a time and day of the week and be there. Most people do not listen live, but they must know when your new episode drops.”

3. Engage the audience.

Ask questions. Take calls. Encourage listeners to participate online with surveys and comments.

Ryan McCormick, host of Outer Limits of Inner Truth (OLIT), not only responds to emails from subscribers, he calls them and asks for their direct feedback.

“Podcasters should let their listeners know that they are appreciated and that their ideas and suggestions are being heard,” McCormick says. “Last week, I did a program where I interviewed 10 listeners on OLIT. It was a huge success.”

4. Don’t forget to promote.

Visitors won’t tune in to your program solely because it exists. The internet is too vast to expect that readers will somehow discover it ontheir own.

The “build it and they will come” might have worked for Kevin Costner, but it has never worked in real like. However long it took to produce content, spend eight times more promoting it.

“Make it easy for your guests to spread the word!,” adds Nicole Hernandez, host of The Daring Kind show. “When you launch an episode, always send an email to your guests with ready-made social media posts and captions. In this way, they can share their interview, and they don’t have to do anything other than copy, paste and post.”

Also, consider using multiple social platforms, email marketing, online advertising, giveaways and partnering with larger brands to create a loyal following.

5. Invest in good equipment.

Don’t cut corners on hardware when the initial equipment costs less than $300. Invest in simple, high-quality equipment. Otherwise, don’t expect people to take you seriously.

It’s similar to using business cards with no street address. Companies appear less professional and bad audio quality conveys no =permanency. It looks shady and untrustworthy.

“Like in business the three most important ingredients are location, location, location,” Tom Scarda with The Franchise Academy says. “In podcasting it’s audio quality, audio quality, audio quality. Sound came via radio way before TV. Humans will listen to something without video but will not do it the other way around. I mandate that my guests invest in a $20 or $30 headset to be on my show. If they sound poorly I will cancel the interview.”

Dave Yonkman is president of the public relations firm DYS Media, former Capitol Hill communications director and former Washington correspondent for Newsmax Media.

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