A good format for a general podcast should be engaging, entertaining and well-structured, based on your target audience. I like to say there's no right or wrong, just best practices. Having said that, here are some essential elements to consider when creating your podcast format:
1. Intro Start with a brief and catchy introduction that introduces the podcast's name, the host(s), and the purpose of the podcast. This sets the tone for the episode and helps new listeners understand what to expect. I suggest to clients that they could use a question at the beginning of an episode to grab attention.
2. Theme and Topics Define the theme or niche of your episode out of the gate. This helps your listeners know what to expect so they'll be excited to listen.
3. Segments If you have a long format podcast you can break the episodes into segments or sections. This gives a structured flow, helps your listeners anticipate what's coming next and most importantly, keeps them engaged so they don't tune out. For example, you could have a news segment, a guest interview, a Q&A session, or a "tip of the week."
4. Guests and Interviews If your podcast includes guest interviews, introduce your guests and highlight a few of their accomplishments/projects from their background at the beginning of the interview. Avoid reading their full bio because your listeners don't care and finish the introduction by saying their name. Prepare thoughtful questions that explore their expertise and provide valuable insights for your audience. Do a little research and see if there's something you can ask that's different from what every other host asks them. Remember that they're there for your audience so what is it they would like to hear or learn from this guest?
5. Engaging Content Keep the content informative, entertaining, and engaging. Use storytelling techniques, real-life examples, and analogies to make complex topics relatable and accessible.
6. Length The ideal length for a podcast varies depending on the content and target audience. Generally, aim for a duration between 20 to 30 and if it's an entertainment podcast you could aim for 60 minutes. Again, no rules. Just what works for your particular audience to maintain interest without overwhelming. I usually say it should be as long as it needs to be to get your message across.
7. Quality Audio You don't need to Invest in high priced recording equipment to begin. You can start with a good USB headset with built-in mic. Poor audio quality can turn off listeners, no matter how great the content is. As long as the audio quality isn't distracting, listeners will be fine with it.
8. Consistency Ok this one is an important one. Stick to a regular publishing schedule. Whether it's weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, consistency helps build a loyal audience that keeps listeners coming back for more. If you're using it for business, I highly recommend dropping episodes weekly.
9. Calls to Action Encourage audience engagement by including calls to action. This could be asking listeners to subscribe, leave a review, follow you on social media, or participate in a discussion on a specific platform, etc. I recommend one CTA per episode otherwise listeners are overwhelmed and do nothing. Instead, if you have more than one, you can sprinkle them throughout your episode where it makes sense.
10. Outro End each episode with a concise outro that thanks the listeners, summarizes the main points, and provides a teaser for the next episode.
11. Show Notes Provide show notes for each episode, including any important links, resources, or references mentioned during the show. This helps listeners find additional information and improves search engine optimization. You can also include timestamps so listeners can jump to or refer back to certain topics.
12. Promotion Use social media, your website, and other platforms to promote your podcast. Engage with your audience, respond to comments, and take feedback into account for improvement. Screenshot positive comments and reviews to share as promotion. Most importantly, promote more than once a week when new episodes drop so that you always stay in front of your audience.
Remember, a good podcast format evolves over time based on listener feedback and what works best for you and your audience. Stay open to making adjustments and improvements as you go along.
If you have questions or you're looking for guidance in launching a podcast you can check out how you can work with me HERE or REACH OUT for more info.
photo credit: Vika Strawberrika on Unsplash