Goals, Content and Format

While the story around the 1989 film Field of Dreams is a good one, the idea that if you build it they will come, does not always hold true, especially in podcasting. Creating and maintaining a podcast is a lot of work and unless you have defined content and goals, you will run out of gas, real quick. Think of the following as food for thought as you begin to iron out the details of what your podcast will be.

What is the Goal of your Podcast?

To communication with a specific audience: Whether you have a message you want to market, a few opinions you would like to share or an interest in communication with a specific community, podcasting is an accessible way to reach your desired audience.

To make money: Many producers are living comfortably on their podcast or simply adding a little bit of extra spending money, but it didn’t happen overnight. There are several ways producers can profit from podcasting, but, like any business venture, it is good to have a solid plan.

To start a hobby: Producing a podcast can be an extremely rewarding hobby. There is no pressure to worry about audience, advertisers, quality, etc.

To have fun: Whether or not you are looking to make a little extra cash or simply explore a new hobby, podcasting can and should be fun.

Know your Audience

Any podcast will fail if you are feeding your audience the wrong content. Before you begin creating content, make sure you know exactly who you are planning to reach. In time, you might realize that your audience’s needs are evolving. Using tools to survey your audience is an easy way to make sure you are still on track or if you need to make some adjustments.

Generating Content

Once you know exactly why you are podcasting and who you are going to podcast to, you must think about your content. Sometimes podcasts evolve out of a need to distribute existing media and spread to new avenues. Other times, generating content for a podcast may require a bit more preparation. Let’s say you’ve decided to create a video game news podcast. You may have a large repository of resources but you’ll still need to decide which items to cover on your podcast. With your audience in mind, use the following as guidelines to help you determine the appropriate content for a successful podcast.

  • Creativity – There’s a good chance your podcast will be competing with others in the space. When reviewing your content, approach it with the eye of your audience. “What would they want to hear? What would they find interesting? How is the content unique?” 
  • Expertise – Do your research and become an expert. Knowledge breeds confidence and confidence carries an audience.
  • Passion – Choose content that you are passionate about. Your enthusiasm will carry over and engage your audience.

Program Format

After deciding on the goals and content that will make up your podcast, keep your audience in mind and consider the following elements when developing your program’s format.

Opening Elements

  • Intro video / audio 
  • Credits

Content Elements

  • Program length
  • Frequency – daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly etc.
  • Video / audio
  • Tone – professional, humorous, serious, etc.
  • Talent / hosts
  • News
  • Talk show
  • Panel discussion
  • Interview
  • Instructional
  • Variety / entertainment
  • Skit / sketch

Closing Elements

  • Intro video / audio
  • Credits