25 Tips for a Chart-Topping Podcast Series

Podcast recording concept with audio recording equipment on dark table

Launching and growing a podcast will take a lot of work. To keep you from being discouraged, it’s important to create your podcast with a sense of purpose. As in, what are the right actions to take at each step of your podcasting journey. 

We understand there’s a lot to know about creating a successful podcast. To help you combat that overwhelming feeling you get when thinking about making audio content, we’re offering the following podcasting tips so you know what to do at each step of the way.

Record or import audio, make edits, add fades, music, and sound effects, then publish online, export the audio in the format of your choice or send it directly to your hosting service.
Create your podcast from start to finish with Descript.

What makes a good podcast?

The definition of a good podcast will mean different things to different people. However, one defining characteristic is that the podcast connects with its audience in an authentic way. 

You can even go so far as to say a good podcast has a high level of engagement from its listeners. When the host has a lively following, such as one that hosts meetups offline or that has their own inside jokes on social media, that podcast is probably worth giving a try at least once.

In other words, the audience ultimately defines what is a “good” podcast. Successful podcasters understand putting their audience first will increase their chances of success. It means knowing what the audience is interested in and what problems their podcast can solve for them. 

25 Tips to level up your podcast

Consider the following podcasting tips as you’re launching, creating, and marketing your podcast.

Tips for starting your podcast

  • Subscribe to multiple podcast newsletters: One of the best ways to learn about the podcast industry as a whole, including effective ways to create a good podcast, is to learn from experts. Many audio professionals have created newsletters that talk about a wide range of topics that pertain to podcasting — examples include Eric Nuzum, Podcast Delivery, and PodMov Daily. And of course, you should definitely sign up for Episodes, the Descript newsletter where we get podcasters and other creators to share tips and advice on workflow and craft. 
  • Launch with multiple episodes: Having a few episodes ready to go on launch day may increase the chances of building loyal fans. The idea is that if someone loves your first episode, you want to have content for them to binge. Similar to how Netflix releases an entire season of a show at once.
  • Look out for your potential audience: Defining who will listen to your podcast is key. It’ll help you with coming up with useful topics, show segments, and more. Plus, it’ll help you figure out how to best market to your audience. To define who your ideal listener is, think about what people are searching for when it comes to your topic and what problems you can solve for them. For instance, if your listeners who like comedy want to be able to listen to episodes around their kids, you could create a show around jokes that are more kid-friendly.
  • Make content you actually like: Part of being a successful creator is making something you like. If you don’t, you’ll lose motivation to keep going. “The best podcasts are hosted by people with a passion for their topic,” says Alban Brooke, Head of Marketing at Buzzsprout. “They love to share and explore the topic with their audience.” 
  • Use a podcast hosting site: Podcast hosting companies offer the option to upload your content to their servers instead of uploading large files on your own website or server, which can be expensive. Plus, hosting companies will help you submit your show to the most popular podcast directories, such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Tips for podcast recording

  • Aim for high-quality audio: You will quickly turn your listeners off with poor audio quality. Aside from having good equipment (more on this below), use remote recording software (think Zoom, but made to record high-quality audio over the internet) to help you get the best audio possible if you’re not recording with your hosts or guests in person. 
  • Invest in decent equipment: Purchasing a podcast-worthy microphone doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of options to choose from—Brooke recommends the Samson Q2U, a $70 microphone that is almost as good as a lot of the $500 microphone setups. 
  • Record in a quiet environment: You don’t need to go to a recording studio, but you do need to be in a quiet area — who wants to hear dogs barking or leafblowers roaring in a podcast unless that’s actually part of the episode? In other words, loud background noises are distracting and can turn listeners off. Try to go to a separate, quiet room where there won’t be distracting noise.
  • Record with headphones: You and any guests should be wearing headphones otherwise, you risk hearing echoes in your recording.
  • Test your recording: Alban suggests recording a short snippet of audio at the beginning to make sure everything is set up correctly. “Test to see if everything is plugged in, whether your mic is turned on, or if the right audio input is selected,” he says. “By recording something short you avoid discovering these issues 45 minutes into the episode.” It doesn’t matter what you say—you can always pretend to introduce the show or random ramblings are fine—the point of this is to test your audio setup. 
  • Watch your volume levels while recording: Make sure your recording is set so that volume levels are equal for each speaker. It may be harder to edit audio in which the host and guest have varying audio levels. How to do so will depend on your recording equipment.

Tips for podcast editing

  • Get the right editing software: There are plenty of options to choose from in a wide range of budgets. Test a few out to see which ones you like — we’re biased, but we think Descript is the best. It’s simple to learn, it removes much of the technical drudgery from editing, and it’s got all the power you need to make a podcast from soup to nuts.
  • Include intro music: Adding some sort of marker to the episode in the form of intro music will help your podcast sound professional by setting a tone and marking transitions. There are plenty of places where you can find royalty-free music, such as Pixabay, Free Music Archive, and AudioJungle
  • Include eye-catching cover art: Your podcast cover art will be one of the first things a potential listener will see. Make sure you make a good impression, one that entices them to listen into your world. 
  • Create a podcast template: Creating templates in your editing software will help make the process much easier. Think of these as files where all you need to do is put the audio in the right place — it’ll have preset audio effects and even your intro and outro music in place. 
  • Make and edit a transcript: You’ll want to publish your transcript, both so it’s accessible to the deaf and hard-of-hearing and because it’s useful for SEO. Before you publish it though, you’ll need to have one made and correct the inevitable errors. Again, Descript is invaluable here — we’ll automatically make you a transcript, and you can make corrections eyeblink-fast. Oh, and you can edit your audio in the transcript
  • Include helpful show notes: Show notes are a great way to highlight what an episode is about and a way to share resources. For instance, if you had a guest on your show referencing books that your audience may want to read, include links to where they can purchase them. You can add your show notes directly in the episode description through your podcast hosting service, or on your website.

Tips for podcast marketing

  • Repurpose content: Create blog posts, social media snippets, and even Youtube videos help to squeeze the most out of your podcast. An easy way to help you repurpose content is by getting a transcript of your podcast — did we mention that Descript will generate one within minutes? 
  • Publish consistently: Your listeners expect a regular publishing schedule from you, so don’t disappoint them. It doesn’t matter if it’s once a week or once a month — though more is generally better – the most important thing is to be consistent.
  • Use social media: Part of marketing successfully to your audience is understanding where they hang out. Find social media platforms where your audience is most likely to be and engage with them there. Alban suggests using one platform to start so you don’t get overwhelmed. 
  • Seek out the best guests: The best way of marketing a podcast is creating a high-quality show, and that starts with getting great guests. Aim to find ones who can speak well about your topic. If they’re well known in the space, consider asking them to share the episode once it airs.  
  • Publish supporting materials online: Creating a website around your podcast is a critical way to engage your audience. You can create a supporting blog to talk about new or upcoming topics related to your podcast, publish a newsletter and invite listeners to join the mailing list, or even just have a great hashtag that only your listeners will truly “get.” Having an established presence can also help you look more professional, helpful if you choose to monetize your show — sponsors, for instance, want to see you’re taking your podcast seriously. 
  • Make your podcast SEO-friendly: SEO stands for search engine optimization and is a technique to help increase visibility for online content. People use keywords to search for shows on places like Google, Apple Podcasts, and other podcast directories. You can add relevant keywords to your show text to help your podcast rise to the top of search results. To start, look for keywords that are relevant to your niche, and find ways to incorporate these words into your titles and podcast descriptions. Again, publishing your transcript on your website ensures the content of your podcast itself is searchable. 
  • Consider buying ads: Alban suggests buying ads in podcast apps if you're planning on using your show for business purposes. "It costs money, but it's an easy way to start growing your podcast without spending a ton of time," he says. 
  • Collaborate with other creators: Alban suggests finding creators who create content for other mediums. “See if somebody else is talking about your topic on a blog, or social media, or on YouTube,” he says. “If you find someone, see if they'd be interested in cross-promoting to share your content to their audience, and vice versa.”

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