How to build a profitable podcast.
Let's welcome our guest writer Søren Lauvring!
The podcast market has never been more saturated than it is today. No matter which topic you want to dive into, we can pretty much guarantee that there’ll be a podcast out there for you – which is a big part of the reason why the number of podcast listeners worldwide has risen in recent years and is predicted to keep doing so.
But if there’s now a podcast for everything, does that mean that there’s no need to create any more of them? Not necessarily. Yes, way too many almost identical podcasts are indeed being put out, and many creators fail to consider audience interest before publishing. But there will always be a place for new original, genuinely entertaining content.
So, how do you go about creating this? Below, we’ll take you through how to come up with a concept that hasn’t been overdone and give it your twist, create a strong, recognizable podcast identity – as well as find your audience, and build a unique community around your shared interest.
Is your topic of choosing a popular interest? Then there’s a good chance that it’s already been covered by a lot of other people – and most likely also by other podcasts. If this is the case, it’s of utmost importance that you do your research on the content that’s already out there before you start recording.
Say, for instance, that you want to do a podcast about the Harry Potter universe. The obvious way to do this would, of course, be to reread or rewatch the series and discuss it afterward. It’s a super easy, low-budget way to create content that the listener can identify with while also getting to hang out and have interesting conversations with fellow geeks – but unfortunately, that’s also why it’s been done to death at this point.
If you want your podcast to stand out from the rest, you’ll have to find a new, fresh way to tackle your topic. Going back to our Harry Potter example, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to abandon the idea entirely. If you’re dead set on the rewatch/reread format, it might still work, e.g. if no one’s done it in your language yet or you choose to focus on something specific (like the music, mythology, psychology of the characters, or political discourse of the series) while discussing it.
If you’re open to pursuing other formats, it’s all about getting creative. Maybe it’s time for a miniseries about the wars or the different regions of the magical world? Or an interview series with celebrities about how the series has shaped them? The possibilities are endless – you may just have to brainstorm for a bit longer to find an original idea that works for you.
Once you’ve got your focus and format down, it’s time to pick the perfect name and cover art that’ll make your podcast stand out to potential listeners. While these may sound like five-minute tasks, they should not be taken lightly: When looking for their next listen, many will search for keywords relating to topics they’re interested in – and even if your podcast does appear in their search results, they might scroll right past it if what they see doesn’t catch their eye or pique their interest.
For your podcast to look good in search results, you have to strike the right balance between several factors. Firstly, try to get at least one or two major keywords relating to your topic into your name – but without going with a basic phrase that could mean several things or has already been used by many others. To give it more personality, you could also go for a short quote or pun that sets the tone and will make other fans chuckle. If you need inspiration, https://businessnamegenerator.com/podcast-name-generator/ dives deeper into how to construct a great podcast name and gives you useful examples. They also have a podcast name generator that’ll offer relevant suggestions for your podcast name based on the keywords you enter.
Great cover art should communicate what your podcast identity is about in a visually appealing way. Choosing a few bright, contrasting colors and incorporating iconic symbols, logos, or other relevant imagery usually works well. This allows potential listeners to quickly decode the tone and subject matter despite the small size of a thumbnail. Also, keep the amount of text and number of fonts in the cover art to a minimum and make sure it’s readable – and, of course, stick to formats that meet the requirements of all platforms and look good in all sizes.
The way you choose to use, or not use, music and other sound bites in your podcast have an enormous impact on the overall listening experience. Of course, most people will agree that any podcast will sound unfinished without at least a little melody during the intro and outro. But besides this, what’ll suit your particular podcast depends entirely on your subject matter, the tone you’re going for and the audience you’re trying to appeal to.
If you’re hosting a brief, to-the-point news podcast, it’s probably best to stick to an energetic, short intro and outro jingle and maybe a little sound for transitions. If you’re covering films and tv, snippets of the soundtrack and sound bites of memorable moments from the works you’re discussing might be a nice way to keep listeners engaged. If your focus is music, it’d only be natural for you to have instrumentals playing as background music – as well as highlighting certain parts to demonstrate your points as you make them.
If you’re still not quite sure what’d work best for your podcast, make sure you take some time to experiment. While editing your first episode, make a few different versions with varying levels of music and sound bite integration. Then sit down and listen – perhaps with a friend or a family member whose opinion you value – to see what you like best. The sound you create for your podcast should enhance your message without overshadowing or underselling it – and it should be something that you can realistically keep up in all of your future episodes.
One of the hard facts of life and podcasting is, unfortunately, that just because you love something, it doesn’t mean that everyone else will. But on the other hand, this also doesn’t mean that none of them ever will – or that their lack of attention means that they’ve rejected you. Maybe they just haven’t found your podcast yet?
Either way, building an audience for your podcast is all about finding your niche, sticking with it, and spreading the word. Know exactly what you’re about, put it front and center in your promotion material, and share it wherever there’s a realistic chance your target audience might see it.
Make sure to reach both niche Facebook and Reddit groups as well as other online communities that are already passionate about your podcast’s focus – as well as e.g. your local communities or other groups with a wider audience. Who knows, maybe your sharing your podcast will introduce someone to their next big obsession? Reach out to friends and family as well and have them share your first episode if they’re willing. Some people are much more susceptible to giving your podcast a chance if it’s recommended to them by someone they know and whose taste they trust.
When you’re offering something truly unique, most people won’t realize that they’re missing it before you introduce it to them – so it’s your job to get your podcast out there so that people can discover it.
Lastly, besides having a strong concept, identity, and knowing their niche, the most successful and unique podcasts out there are those that grow into something more. These podcasts don’t just manage to attract loyal followers that listen to every episode as soon as they come out – they create and maintain a strong community around their shared interest that extends into other platforms (and sometimes even into the “real” world as well).
Of course, building a connection like that with your audience takes lots and lots of work. From the get-go, make sure to create accounts for your podcast on all relevant social media platforms. Share these accounts, invite people to follow them, and mention them in your episodes. Ask listeners to e.g. request topics for you to cover, ask you questions, or do competitions on these platforms. Make sure to update regularly, respond to comments, and share fan observations and updates that might be of interest to other listeners.
By interacting regularly with your audience, you make them feel like they’re part of a genuine community, thus strengthening your bond. While it does take some extra work, creating a community for you and your listeners to gather around something you love will not only boost your podcast – it’ll also allow you to form unique friendships and give you and others a safe space to nerd out in, which you won’t find anywhere else.
As we come to the end of the article, we’ve touched upon many aspects of what a unique identity is and why having one is important for your podcast to succeed. In a world where almost everyone has the potential opportunity to make their podcast, you need to excel at standing out from the crowd. This can be done through a catchy name, a unique twist on your niche, using sound creatively, and creating a community.
All aspects might be hard to juggle all at once but worry not. It takes time for everything to synthesize and for you to find your feet as you turn on the microphone and speak to the world. The most important thing is that you always work on improving these things and that you do your best to entertain people whether they’re at home on their couch or commuting home by metro from a long day of work. All that’s left to do is wish you good luck on your journey of podcasting.