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Image: iStock / enotmaks

Lots of folks are starting a podcast these days. Businesses can benefit from them as a way to spread the word and also communicate better with their customers.

But how do you get people listening? I’ve been podcasting since 2005, and I’ve picked up a  couple tricks.

Here are five tips for a successful podcast.

  1. Keep the topic simple. You should be able to explain what your podcast series is about in one sentence: The shorter, the better. A podcast with focus is going to be much easier for potential listeners to understand. You might think a wide appeal will get a wider audience but more often a narrow appeal means there’s less likelihood others are doing the same thing. And the listeners you get will be very excited to find you.
  2. You don’t need to script out every word, but make a “rundown.” I think of it as a safety net. What am I going to say first, who am I going to introduce and then how will I transition into our topics? And what will the topics be? You can just have bullet points to remind you what to do when, but having the order of events is a big help in keeping the show organized and limiting the editing.
  3. Be consistent. Weekly is sometimes held up as the ideal for podcasts. Listeners become loyal when you make your show a habit for them. If they never know when they’re going to get it they’re more likely to skip it and eventually unsubscribe. In podcasting showing up really is half the battle.
  4. Include the audience. An audience that can tell you’re listening and feels like a part of the show will not only stick around but they’ll tell others. Including the audience can take many forms, like answering questions by email, having a slack community, reading tweets or all kinds of other ways. Find out how your community of listeners wants to talk to you, listen to them and then acknowledge them, by name if you can, in the show.
  5. Ask each other questions. I mean obviously if you’re interviewing people you’ll ask them questions but if you have a regular co-host, asking questions is a great way to spur more interesting conversations. They may be questions you know the answer to. But the audience may not!

There are so many other things to a great podcast but I’ve found these fundamentals really do lay a solid foundation for a great show.

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