21 Tips to Make a Good Podcast

Wanna hear something silly?

I never actually thought that people would listen to my podcast.

Haha, I don’t know why. I guess I just thought I didn’t have anything interesting to say. I didn’t think that anyone would tune in.

It didn’t help that I was an introverted 23 year old when I started my first podcast.

Over time, I’ve come to drastically improve my speaking voice and podcast. Since then, my podcast has done over 80,000 downloads! It also grew nearly 200 percent in 2016.

In order to get better, I had to kind of paste together podcasting tips from around the web. I had to learn as I went.

To save you that headache, I’ve put together a list of tips to make a good, if not GREAT podcast.

1. Be an authentic human being. Don’t adopt a “podcasting voice” or “radio voice” just because other people are. You’ll come off as fake.

When I started to speak more naturally, people started to feel more connected to me. The podcast downloads reflected that.

2. Offer value with every episode. Value could mean good emotions, helpful information, or a story that makes someone’s day better. Your concentration must be on making this a great experience for the listener. How are you improving their life?

3. Learn how to speak better. You can have the best equipment in the world, but if your voice sucks, it’s gonna be hard to keep people interested for a good 60 minutes. Learn how to breathe, sit up straight, and incorporate inflection and emotion in your voice.

4. Get your editing down, but don’t over-do it. This tip depends on the type of podcast. For example, Serial is obviously going to have extensive editing. If you’re just having a joe rogan style podcast between two guys, it won’t need as much. I use Garageband to edit my podcast and Audacity sometimes to cut out background noise.

5. Make your guest laugh. Joke around! Be a human being. Pretend you’re having a convo over beers. Sometimes, I’ll listen to a podcast while I’m walking down the street in NYC. I’ll find myself smiling or laughing when I hear the podcast host and guest laughing. Emotion is contagious.

6. Sell the episode. You gotta be willing to “sell” the episode. Why should people listen to it? What will they expect? They’ll use your emotional tone and wording to gauge whether or not the podcast episode is gonna be good.

7. Market the episode. My podcast episodes will naturally see downloads from the iTunes marketplace and from iTunes subscribers, but I also put effort into marketing them. I share them in various social media groups and send them out in an email newsletter.

8. Story is key. I’m a nerd. I’ll listen to a 60 minute podcast on some highly technical topic and actually find it relaxing. Most people aren’t like that. The average human tends to be engaged when someone else is telling a story, not just sharing dry information. A story allows them to empathize and remember the “takeaway” or “moral” of the story more easily.

9. Use decent equipment. Duh! Right? Wrong! Good equipment doesn’t guarantee you downloads or regular listeners. If that were true, the people who had the best equipment would be the most popular. Still, it does pay to have decent equipment. Grab a good microphone. Make sure your recording environment is soundless. Don’t be eating Cheetos while you podcast.

10. iTunes SEO is a real thing. Make it dead simple for people to find you via iTunes. I’ve had a decent number of listeners discover my podcast from iTunes search. I capitalize on keywords everywhere I can.

11. Hustle for Reviews. I had to hustle to get iTunes reviews. You have to specifically nudge people to get them. Most people won’t leave them. It’s great social proof for your show. I ask every guest that I have on to leave a review.

12. Set up a high-quality website. I recommend setting up a WordPress website so that you have a professional web presence. You can also schedule posts to go out at specific times. The easiest way is probably to use a hosting provider like this one and install WordPress that way.

13. Use landing pages effectively. I use landing pages to optimize for email addresses. I’ll mention a specific URL on the podcast that people can go to and grab a free giveaway or get on an email list. To set up these landing pages, I use the software app Leadpages.

14. Create filler content (huh?). I’ve memorized 1-3 things to say or do when I run out of things to say. It’s bound to happen. Maybe you’re doing a podcast with a high-name individual. You’re nervous. Your mind goes blank. Rather than going into a panic, fall back on these points.

For me, that could be a classic question that I ask all of my interview guests that’s designed to get a discussion going. It could also be sharing your own opinion and asking for their feedback on it.

15. Track the emotions you’re feeling. I am a meditator. I like to track the emotions that I’m feeling. I sit down for 15 minutes most days and make note of the mental images, thoughts, and feelings that I’m having.

When you’re on a podcast, it’s very easily to get tense, have bad posture, or lower your tone of voice when you’re uncertain. By paying attention and “checking in” to how you’re feeling, you’ll be able to compensate a bit better. For example, I might notice that I’m feeling timid, so no matter what I say next, I’ll make sure to up the volume a few notches because I’m probably being quiet, without realizing it.

I also have found that when I have good posture and I’m smiling, I tend to speak with more vibrant energy than when I’m slouching or not smiling .

16. Track the emotions your guest is feeling. The quality of the content that you get out of your guest is directly tied to the quality of the emotions that they’re feeling. Your goal is to make them feel relaxed, happy, and understood.

If you can see your guest, pay attention and make note of their facial expressions. Do they appear bored? Tense? Might be time to crack a joke. Do they appear nervous? Get them to talk about a very comfortable topic related to their life. Something that they can easily speak about.

If you can’t see your guest, this makes it a tad harder. Try to pay attention to the emotional inflection in their voice, how long they’re talking for, and the volume of their voice.

Once, I was talking with someone who was giving me super robotic answers. It was really annoying, but then I realized it’s because their brain is in “interview mode.” They are giving very informational workplace answers that are deemed socially acceptable.

I started to joke around a bit and put myself out there, which got them laughing. They then transitioned from “work mindset” to “having fun talking with friend” mindset. It led to a more pleasurable conversation and content for the audience.

17. Don’t listen to what people want. Watch their behavior. You’re going to have listeners telling you to spend time on this or don’t talk about that. People will tell you they wish the podcast was shorter. Take into account what they say, but look at their behavior, not their words.

18. Make an ask when you have attention. I find that regular podcast listeners aren’t super tuned in during the beginning and end of a podcast. That also goes when advertisements are playing. You can make an “ask” to do something, like go to a link, but you’ll have less overall attention on that ask. If you want people to take action, try dropping in hints throughout the podcast discussion, when you have their full attention and have already heightened their emotions.

19. Get a good podcast host. I use Libysn.

20. Invest in yourself!! If this is a supply chain, you are an integral part of it! I don’t have any courses or books out there on improving your speaking skills, but I might in the future. For now, I’d look into some of the books out there on podcasting and of course, info on public speaking.

21. Don’t take life so seriously. You gotta be relaxed if you want to perform well and think clearly. Whether this is a hobby for you, or the start of a growing business, we’re all only on this earth for a limited time and gotta have fun while we’re here!