Successful podcast observations (circa 2005)

I’ve been checking out a lot of podcasts lately and I started noticing some key things the more successful podcasts incorporate. These are not rules to live by but they make good rules of thumb if you are going to start a podcast of your own.

  • 1) the podcast is edited. Instead of just going with everything you record, come back and edit for time or to get rid of some of the areas where you are verbally stumbling.
  • 2) there seems to be a show outline used by the host even if the show isn’t scripted. I’ve noticed that in several shows they have a planned set of things they want to cover and when they or their guest seem to be getting off-track they bring things back on course.
  • 3) intro music. Most have an intro details about the show you are listening to followed by some custom intro music before going into the segments.
  • 4) transition music. Music between segments if it’s a segmented show. A good example of this would be the travel commons podcast.
  • 5) set time. It may not be down to the minute but the good podcasts tend to have a set amount of time for their show whether it’s a half hour long show or an hour and a half.
  • 6) set release date. Seems the best shows are weekly shows and release on a specific day of the week. When they don’t release on time they tend to post updates on the status on a corresponding blog if they are having technical difficulties. There are a few daily shows that seem pretty successful but they are typically shorter shows.
  • 7) consistency. A basic consistency from show to show on all of the above aspects. Keeping the same intro music, same or similar format which means the listener knows in advance generally what to expect.
  • 8) sound quality. No matter how awesome your show is, if you come out sounding like a building construction site, most people won’t sit and listen through it.