3 Simple Tips For Starting a Podcast That Hooks Listeners In

With so many great podcasts out there, it's important that you focus on hooking people in from the very first episode when starting a podcast. There is a multitude of factors you need to think about before diving into a new show, whether it's your first or tenth, so it's important to take the time to make a plan and start on the right path. 

Below, My RØDE Cast judges Colin and Samir share their top three tips for creating a compelling podcast that hooks people in from the get-go. Colin and Samir are a YouTubing, filmmaking, and podcasting dream team whose super popular podcast breaks down the latest news in the creator economy from a creator's perspective.

Got an idea for a podcast? Entries for My RØDE Cast are open now! Submit a 1-2 minute podcast for your chance to win 1 of over 100 podcasting prize packs. Find out more here

YouTubers, filmmakers and podcasters, Colin and Samir.

Define Your Value Prop

To make your show stand out, spend time developing a unique value proposition and figure out exactly who you’re making the show for. It’s so much easier to make content and hit consistent download numbers when you understand the purpose of what you’re making, and how it fits into your target listener’s life.

For Colin and I, defining our audience into four distinct segments was absolutely crucial to our growth. Our core audience consists of four groups: aspiring creators, career creators, the industry that supports creators and people who don’t believe in the creator economy.

Once we understood our audience, it was much easier to figure out what information they wanted to hear from us and our views and subscriber count went up.

There are a few core questions you should be able to answer about your podcast:

  • What are listeners getting out of this show?
  • What makes listeners come back week after week?
  • Why would they share this episode with a friend?
  • Who is the audience? (“Everyone” is not the right answer.)

And remember, these conversations don’t stop after you’ve launched the show. As your audience grows and changes, your value prop should too. Give your listeners as many reasons as possible to keep coming back.

Create With The audience, Not For The Audience

Podcasting is one of the most intimate forms of communication between a creator and their audience. All of our favorite shows feel like a conversation between friends that we just happen to be overhearing. The only problem is that podcasting creates one-sided intimacy. And it can be frustrating as a listener when you have something to add to the conversation, but you can’t be heard.

Make a point of including your audience in conversations and asking them what they want out of the show — and actually giving it to them. 

Unlike social platforms where your audience can comment directly on content, listeners don’t have a direct line to their favorite podcasters. So make a space where they can reach you, whether that’s an email address you check regularly, a Slack or Facebook group for listeners or live shows.

One of my favorite ways to communicate with our audience is through Twitter. If you’re ever stuck making a decision, ask your audience for input. Do they want the show to be shorter or longer? More guests or fewer?

And when an audience member gives you a great idea, reward them. Shout out the person who gave you inspiration or feedback. It’ll encourage other people to get more involved. And if you work with brands, ask them to host a giveaway for listeners to try products alongside with you.

Build Habit 

Make sure you have a process for releasing shows on a regular basis. Building habits is good for you and your listeners. Audiences plan to listen to podcasts at certain times, like during a workout or a commute. Posting the same day of the week consistently will help your listeners integrate your show into their daily lives.

Habits are also important for creators to help manage the workload of a podcast. Build a schedule for when you research, record, produce and publish your podcast so that you’re never overwhelmed or late to publish an episode.

It’s really common for new podcasters to take on more than they can handle, so whenever you make a change to your show that increases your workload (like publishing twice a week or lengthening the show), do a few test runs that you don’t publish and see how it impacts the rest of your life.

Consistent posting will also help you build an archive, which boosts your show’s total downloads. That’s an important number when you’re pitching your podcast to potential partners or guests. Those old episodes will keep getting downloads as new listeners discover your show and work their way through the archive.

Once you find a format and schedule that you can commit to for 52 weeks in a year, you can focus on developing ideas and making the content as good as possible.

Colin and Samir are two of the judges for My RØDE Cast 2021. Find out more about My RØDE Cast and enter here.