What has made podcasts popular?
Podcasts were introduced over 15 years ago back in 2005. Steve Jobs introduced podcasts for iTunes and iPod. At this time, it was called TiVo for radio. Before TiVo we had the radio that had radio hosts that would talk about various topics such as the news at different times of the day.
Fast forward to today and podcasts allows you to download radio shows and you can listen whenever you want by downloading them to your smartphone. Plus, you can also subscribe to your favourite show, making it more accessible and appealing.
Listening to podcasts allows you to learn whilst doing other activities. For example, you can exercise, do house work and drive your car whilst listening to your podcast which contributes to its appeal. This opens up the market because people engage in education. The concept of podcasts allows people to gain 2 hours of their day back which is 1-8thof people’s lives.
The serial podcast
Serial podcast is the most famous podcast to ever be realised to date. It ranked at number 1 in the US and Australia. It also ranked at number 2 in the UK which is pretty impressive. So, what made it so popular? Crime is a very intriguing genre with its mysterious plot and cliff-hangers that leave audiences on the edge of their seat. Imagine listening to a crime podcast and having to picture the entire story through listening. A voice just talking and breathing into your ear would contribute to the suspense. There is something morbidly fascinating about murder which I guess sparked the curiosity of millions worldwide.
Alan Carr’s Life’s a Beach
This is my personal favourite. Alan Carr invites celebrities each week to discuss everything about holidays. I wanted to start listening to something that will give me some insight into other people’s experiences, especially during the pandemic. I stumbled across this amazingly funny podcast as I searched for funny podcasts on Google. Alan and his guests talk about the best holidays and the holidays from hell. My favourite part is when they talk about beautiful locations such as the Maldives. This is a great podcast if you want to chillout and listen to some funny anecdotes.
Creating engaging content – podcasting for beginners
A strong start – like many famous films, its ideal to have a strong start to your podcast. There are 5 things to consider in the first 15 seconds of your podcast:
- Opening music – speaks a thousand words and makes a connection with the audience by encouraging them how to feel. It also gives them an idea about the podcast.
- Podcast tile – will give them a general idea about the podcast.
- Host names – this sets the foundations of building a relationship with the host. By the host introducing themselves, it gives you a more personal experience.
- What the podcast is about – introduces the audience to the topic.
- What’s discussed – a more in depth understanding about what will be talked about, which will also be the point where you decide if it’s of any interest to you.
Structure – podcasting for beginners
There is always a form of structure in podcasts. Structure is important because it keeps everything balanced so that audiences don’t get confused about the story or conversation. There are 5 components to structure:
- Setting – although some visual podcasts do exist, majority are audio only. When reading a book, the setting is always set at the beginning so that the audience can build a picture with the words.
- Plot – is the reason for the story or conversation being told. Even if the podcast is a conversation, there will still be a reasoning behind it.
- Characters/personas – are important because they drive the narrative forward. Characters/personas contribute to the emotion the audience feels and builds on the relationship.
- Conflict – in a podcast about debates, conflict is very much present. This encourages the audience to question opinions and form their own on the topic.
- Theme – this reinforces ideas, especially the main idea.
You can use structure as a guide for your creativity. Structure behind everything we create in the media industry. Keep in mind that the audience is being stimulated by sound instead of visuals which creates expectation.
Keep reengaging your audience -podcasting for beginners
It’s ok don’t worry. Here are some useful tips on how to keep your audience around for longer:
- Build up tension – tension is the state of being uncertain. This will spark curiosity because as humans, we want to know what will happen next. Keeping the tension up throughout will keep people engaged.
- Interesting points – it’s a good idea to keep your most interesting points until the end. This way they will be convinced there is a reason to stick around.
- Be enthusiastic – audiences love enthusiastic hosts, it is one of the main reasons they stick around. Enthusiasm tells the audience that you are passionate about the job you do and that you know what you’re talking about
Podcasting is a learning experience and the future
There may be times when your podcasts are reaching the success you want, don’t beat yourself up. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Ever heard of that saying? It’s true! Keep trying new things and keep your content current. Research what is popular today and that will be the demand that you can supply.
Today there are 120 million people in the US each month listening to podcasts alone. It’s estimated that by 2023 that number will reach 164 million listeners. So, keep in mind that there is an audience out there for you. You just need to let them find you.