So, you think you’ve got a good show. You want the world to hear it. But you are looking at your listener numbers and you know the world is a lot bigger than that!
There are loads of great ways to get your podcast in front of new ears – call it promotions, marketing, PR – but before you start looking at how to sell your show to the world, you should ask yourself: how marketable is my show?
If you were selling your house, even if it was a great house in a perfect location, you would fix the wonky shelves and leaky taps, give the rooms a new coat of paint, mow the lawn and weed the flower beds – all to ensure when someone does come round for a viewing, they see it in the best possible light and to make it stand out from every other house on the market.
There are more than 2 million podcasts swirling around the podsphere, which is great because it means there’s something for everyone. But the quality of content on offer can vary wildly, which gives you an opportunity to rise above the fixer-uppers looking for a quick sale.
This doesn’t mean you have to turn your show into an elaborate, over-the-top special effects-driven epic. Far from it. Take a – in fact, the – classic show Serial. It is a simple format that is well-executed. It doesn’t rely on adding too many external factors, just frames the compelling content and allows it to do its thing.
But it is worth paying attention to some important basics that, if you get right, could make your show that much more marketable. Here are three simple things you can check so when someones comes along for a viewing they don’t skip straight by and take a look at what the neighbours are offering instead:
1. Curb appeal isn’t everything
This one is all about checking that your show delivers on its description. You may have a brilliant-sounding show description but if a listener presses play and discovers what was billed as an epic sci-fi comedy is, in fact, two guys in an echoey room arguing about cheese, chances are they will feel cheated and move quickly onto the next show in their list. Equally, if you set out to have your show sound a certain way, or evoke a certain style, check that you are fulfilling that brief. Perhaps ask a trusted friend for their opinion.
2. No noisy neighbours
Getting the sound levels correct can make a huge difference to your show. It can be an instant turn-off to a listener if the recordings are noisy and distorted. If you have multiple people speaking, which most shows do, it is important that one voice doesn’t dominate too much or – as often happens when recording from different locations – one voice is much louder than the others, requiring the listener to constantly have to adjust the volume. This doesn’t mean you need the best microphones or an expensive producer (shows like My Dad Wrote a Porno deliberately work with a cheaper microphone), but good aural hygiene will go a long way.
3. Check out the floor plan
If your show has a narrative, are you taking time to storyboard it and ensure you are not confusing your listeners? We all know true crime is one of the most popular podcast genres, but we also know how frustrating it can be when you struggle to follow all the strands of a complicated story so that when it all comes together you are left asking ‘who is that?’ or ‘what is his relationship to her?’. Research some techniques on how to plan out your episodes before you start recording. As with most things in life, putting in the preparation will pay off in spades… and listeners.
You don’t need big budgets or the slickest production to be successful – but you do need to respect your audience. Be clear about what they’ll be listening to, have simple but effective audio that makes it easy to listen and keep the story clear so they don’t have to work hard to keep up. Three simple things that not everyone is doing, but you can do. Good luck and happy promoting!