Making a high-quality podcast is more difficult than it looks, and many beginners make similar mistakes.
While podcasting is an exciting and ever-evolving space, it's a difficult one to master. Podcasting is a unique art form and many podcasters, who are passionate about content creation, take the time to determine what their listeners want. However, mistakes do happen, even to the best of them.
If you have just started your podcast and are still figuring out your way around it, then you are bound to make mistakes. Even podcasters with experience can make mistakes, and it’s all part of the learning process. Here's a look at 10 podcasting mistakes that you might be making right now and steps to avoid them.
In a podcast with multiple hosts, it’s common to find a noticeable imbalance between the volume of each person's voice. One speaker, usually the designated ‘main host’ of the show, will be clearly recorded—while the other hosts will be much harder to hear.
Avoid this leveling mistake, as it can ruin your audience’s listening experience. Whenever two distinct voices are talking at the same time on a podcast, the loudest voice dominates—and the listener becomes frustrated. Leveling out the volume on a recording is a simple task. Many editing software programs have built-in functions that make this easy to do.
YouTube may not be the best platform for podcast consumption due to its lack of features. For example, people cannot download a podcast for offline viewing, which is a basic feature in even the simplest podcast app; it forces the mobile user to play videos only in the foreground and with the device’s screen active. Using the screen drains the phone’s battery quickly, resulting in few people using YouTube to listen to podcasts.
Related: How to Make a Great Podcast: The Most Essential Tools
It's also worth remembering that YouTube can shut down your channel for any reason it feels is necessary. The platform can be useful for monetization, though, so it's worth using something else to host the podcast—and publishing snippets on YouTube. Just make sure that you don't put all your eggs in one basket; if your channel gets shut down, you'll at least have somewhere else to go.
ID3 tags allow you to include file information in your podcast episodes, which is read by listeners’ podcast players and helps them identify which episode they are listening to. ID3 tags are a critical part of any podcast.
Without them, listeners will not be able to access information about the music they hear or even find out who the artist is. You can add ID3 tags when you upload your podcast file to your platform of choice.
While attempting to pitch your product too often can turn your audience off, you shouldn't be afraid to offer a call-to-action per episode so that you can build your email list. This is a great way to gain a new audience and build a relationship with your listeners.
A good host sets an example by offering something of value in exchange for a listener's contact information. A free copy of your book, an invitation to join your email list, or even just a free booklet can be enough to encourage new website visitors to build a good relationship.
It is advisable to submit the podcast to other podcast directories as well. The more podcast directories you submit your show to, the better chance you increase your listenership.
If you're still making the mistake of not submitting to multiple podcast directories, you're depriving yourself of a chance to increase your audience base. Hence, make an effort and get out there.
Feedback from your audience reveals to you what you need to do to keep your listeners entertained, making it more likely that they’ll continue listening to your show. Without a feedback loop, you cannot grow as a creator.
Related: Reasons Why You Should Start Your Own Podcast
You can gather feedback from your email list or social media followers by creating a Twitter thread or by sending a Google form. You can also encourage them to provide good feedback and explain which parts of your work they should look at specifically. Furthermore, you can make good use of comments as well.
A bit of humor is fair game, and you can make fun of yourself occasionally. But doing so too often can cause more harm than good. Too much negativity about yourself or your podcast will prevent listeners from trusting you and ultimately listening to your show.
You’re unlikely to eat at a restaurant if its sign proclaims: “nobody likes to eat here,” or “our food sucks!”—and the same is true of podcasts. When you start a podcast, you must have faith in yourself; if you do, you'll naturally be more positive.
You should take the extra time to set up your equipment properly. What’s worse is fighting with your recording software for a few minutes or realizing that you’ve recorded everything on your computer mic instead of your fancy expensive mic that you spent money on specifically for this content.
Forgetting to test your setup before you go live or record can be a disaster. Your audience might not be able to hear much. Hence, always do a trial run before you begin so that you're all set.
The most important step in creating successful podcasts is to always have a plan, in addition to avoiding the mistakes mentioned above. You can start off strong by setting up consistent goals and scheduling, as well as making sure that you market and promote your channel, but what keeps your podcast going is your consistency.
With proper planning and consistent output, you can be sure that you’ll always have a ready audience waiting for a new episode. You should have a mastery of your equipment and software, a clear plan of what you will say each time, and production values that meet or exceed your competition. It's also crucial to have an understanding of how to launch and promote your podcast.
Gargi is a writer, storyteller and researcher. She specializes in writing compelling content pieces on all things Internet for clients across countries and industries. She’s a Literature Post-Graduate with a Diploma in Editing & Publishing. Outside work, she hosts TEDx shows and Literature festivals. In an ideal world, she’s always a minute away from heading off to the mountains.
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