Planning Your Show
Now that you’ve got your “why,” we’re going to start thinking about the “what.” What is your show going to be? What kind of format? What might an episode look like?
A lot of popular shows today tend to be long form interviews. These are probably what come to mind when you first think of podcasts, but your podcast doesn’t have to be that! Sometimes less is more, and quality is always better than quantity. It’s better to get your point across succinctly rather than creating an hour-long episode just because you can. Your listeners are time poor and they have so many options to choose from—if you bore them, they’ll leave.
A great way to ensure your show is meeting a “quality over quantity” benchmark is to have a regular structure. This acts as a roadmap for the listener, letting them know roughly what they’re in for. When thinking about your format, here are some factors you should consider:
Will you do interviews? Will it just be you presenting your ideas? Will you have a co-host?
I’d recommend NOT doing interviews as your ONLY source of content. Come up with a bunch of ideas that you can do without having to rely on someone else and their schedule and having to constantly find new people. Interviews are a great bonus that we’ll discuss later in the course, but it’s important to create your own content as well.
How long will it be?
Try and keep it somewhat consistent. 20 minutes is about the length of an average commute, and most people listen to podcasts on their way to and from work, so having your episode done in one trip can be a good idea. Then you get shows like Tim Ferriss and Joe Rogan that are over two or three hours! But they’ve already proven themselves and have a loyal audience. For What You Will Learn, our book reviews are generally 20-25 minutes, and our author interviews are 30-35 minutes.
Will it be a defined series of episodes? Or an indefinite show that continues forever?
Having a fixed number of episodes can be really beneficial, for example:
● Seth Godin’s Startup School was released in 2012. It’s only 15 episodes, but it’s still in the top 40 business podcasts all these years later.
● Unshakeable – Tony Robbins and his co-author released a series of episodes for their new book. If you’re an author, a podcast is a great way to spread your content and build an audience.
● Serial – if you were living under a rock in 2016, Serial took the podcasting world by storm. They had a story and released 12 episodes. Then they made a second series. This approach of having a “series” is another idea you might consider.
Do you have a specific theme or message?
I think you should come up with a certain theme. It will help you build a tighter audience because you can become specialized in a specific niche. It will also help with getting interview guests (something we’ll cover in more detail later) because you can point to a common interest that all of your listeners have.
You’ve got your “why,” and your “what” is starting to take shape, so tomorrow I’ll start to show you “how.” Over the next three days, I’ll share with you the basic equipment you’ll need, how to record, how to get your show online, and hopefully you’ll record your very first episode!
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