How to build a profitable podcast.
One of my favourite quotes:
“If you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail”
This saying is extremely relevant in the podcasting world.
If you want your episodes to sound beautiful... you must plan beautifully.
The process of structuring your podcast is the same as every other creative process you have gone through in your life.
Structuring a podcast isn’t always easy. However, this guide will set you on the road to becoming a podcast producing weapon and your episodes will start getting better and better.
Here are some of the questions we will answer:
Let's get started...
The simple answer is a big YES!
It gives your show some order, and the audience can predict what to expect, this enables listeners to build your podcast into their listening habits, increasing their level of engagement with your show.
However, you must try to avoid your episodes being too rigid... as this will lead your listeners... to put it bluntly: get bored.
Whilst this may seem like unnecessary extra work at first, forming a structure for your episodes will save editing and production time down the road. This structure allows creativity to flourish within...
When you are safe within your episode structure, you're sure about the next question and therefore can experiment a little with your responses ;)
Every podcast episode is structured based on three foundational elements:
This can be translated into:
This is the basic structure to keep in mind... let's now get a little more complex.
Also, note that your intro music and outro music are essential elements. I wrote extensively on how to choose intro and outro music in a separate blog post.
Grab your black coffee and let's do this...
1 - Select A Podcast Format
You have to know the format you want to follow for your show before you can structure your podcast. I pointed out in the first article in this series on how to start a podcast that deciding on your show format is one of the first things to do when starting a podcast.
And it would help if you did not hastily decide on which format to use; you have to answer some critical questions as your format has to be one you can sustain in the long run.
If you answer these questions, it will give you a good insight into what podcast format that best suits your show.
Here are some of the most popular podcast formats:
2 - Decide On Episode Length
It is good to set a limit for each podcast episode, as it gives you the basis to build around. When you decide how long each of your show episodes will be, it will provide you with the chance to add structure and segments to your show.
There are no written rules in place on how long your show episode should be. The length of your podcast episode is dependent on the genre, your preference, frequency of episode release, and the time you commit to creating each episode.
In general, shows with weekly episodes are always somewhere between fifteen-sixty minutes long, while monthly episodes are often longer at sixty-ninety minutes per episode.
For newbie podcasters, I will advise that you start with shorter duration episodes, and increase along the way as you earn your audience’s trust. The value you give on your show will determine the listener’s willingness to listen to long episodes.
No matter the frequency you use in releasing your show episodes, try not to keep the episode longer than necessary as you pass your message.
3 - Prepare A Podcast Script
I can’t overestimate the importance of having a podcast script in place; this doesn’t mean you have to read your show like a newscaster or keep it rigid. But it helps to give your show a flow, and ensure you do not seem lost whilst hosting.
Podcast scripts can vary wildly with their amount of detail... some are simply a few bullets whilst others can be word for word.
Having a podcast script is not only value whilst recording; it also helps with post-production. Podcast scripts vary in how detailed they are, but the vital part is having an idea of how you want the show to flow before you record.
If you have guests – it is also helpful to prepare how you want the conversation to flow. You should write out the questions to ask, and prepare how to transition between them. To make the show smoother, you can also send your guest the show outline before recording.
4 - Incorporate Storytelling Basics
Humans are addicted to stories.
Build your podcast structure by following storytelling basics to make your listeners want to come back for more.
Regardless of the format your podcast will take, this fundamental storytelling structure will help you create a more engaging episode:
In the setup phase you caress the mind of your listeners to create their urge to listen to the rest of the episode... Go back to the first paragraph of this post to see how it builds your interest in learning more ;)
In the delivery phase you dive deeper into the message you are trying to convey. It is the part where you impart knowledge and teach your audience. Also, it would help if you can also inspire and entertain.
The application is the last phase; it is where you summarize everything you have discussed in your episode. In this part, you have to establish how your message impacts the life of your listeners.
And then of course... do not forget a call-to-action; you must get your listeners to take action after delivering a compelling message. More on this in future posts ;)
Now that you know the importance of having a podcast script for your show, you need to be aware of the vital elements to include...
While there will be a slight difference between podcast scripts depending on the show format, there are common elements in every podcast script:
For shows that have guests, you will need to prepare your interview questions.
Here is the process to move through to develop compelling questions for your podcast script:
Each time you move through this process, you will be able to carry out deeper research and pick out more impactful questions...
Let's now move into the actual structure of your podcast episode.
Here is the perfect podcast structure template for a solo podcast:
1 - Music intro
2 - Host intro
3 - Sponsor message
4 - Topic 1:
5 - Segue: could be a phrase, sound effect, or music clip
6 - Topic 2:
7 - Recap of show
8 - Sponsor message
9 - Outro music
And here is the perfect podcast structure for an interview podcast:
1 - Curiosity clip
2 - Music intro
3 - Host intro
4 - Sponsor message
5 - Start interview by introducing guest
6 - Setting the scene: easy, open questions to get the guest talking
7 - The meat: dig into the topics that you KNOW will add value to your listeners
8 - Close: more light hearted, nostalgic questions, then summurise
8 - Sponsor message
9 - Outro music
We are confident that the above podcast structure will significantly improve any structure you currently have in place...
And of course, like with all our posts... we encourage a bias towards action, so please take this and implement as soon as you possibly can.
If you have any questions about your podcast structure, feel free to ping us an email on email@example.com and we will feedback :)