Learning anything new typically comes with a sharp learning curve, and you’re bound to face some challenges along the way. In an effort to save you some grief, here is a compiled shortlist of some common mistakes new podcasters face and how to avoid them. Enter the podcasting arena a few steps ahead of the competition!
Reading from a Script
While writing out an outline for your podcast is strongly recommended, it isn’t ideal to read verbatim from a script. When most people try reading directly from a script, they wind up sounding like Ben Stein. Bueller? It isn’t entertaining, and you’ll lose your audience before you even have a chance to get started. So, unless you have a background in acting or extemporaneous reading, it’s probably a good idea to forgo the script.
An easy solution is to list out talking points, and use notecards or a detailed outline of what you intend to say. As long as the format leaves room for improvisation, you will come across as more friendly and conversational. It may take a few tries to get used to winging it, but you’ll sound much more authentic. It’s still advisable to rehearse and edit your podcast whenever possible, but not to the point where it sounds unnatural.
Poor Audio Quality
While not everyone can afford slick production gadgets, it is important to ensure you’re using the right broadcasting equipment so you can produce high-quality audio. Nothing irritates listeners more than bad audio! This means investing in a good quality microphone, some headphones, and an editing program.
This doesn’t necessarily require a significant investment, though. You can obtain equipment for a reasonable amount, and download a free program, like Audacity, to edit your show. Audacity allows you to lay down music tracks, edit out coughs, “ums,” or even portions of the podcast that you aren’t happy with. It is also worthwhile to do a soundcheck before spending 15 to 30 minutes recording a podcast that is unintelligible. Check that the mic volume is appropriately adjusted and that there isn’t any background interference.
Consistency is key! No one wants to subscribe to a show if it only airs sporadically. Why? Mainly because it’s hard to get into and maintain interest in a show if it isn’t on enough to keep listeners engaged in the content. At the very least, try to have episodes broadcast every other week, if not weekly. It’s true that some shows are released monthly, but generally, the more frequent the show airs, the higher its ratings. A good rule of thumb is to plan out 2 to 3 episodes in advance and have a publishing schedule that you can stick to. It will help you plan out the time you need for recording, marketing, and publishing.
No Call to Action
A listener will rarely come to find your podcast in the context of your site. Most people will probably stumble across your podcast via a podcast directory. That is why it’s important to make sure you include a call to action at either the beginning or end of your podcast. If you don’t provide a straightforward way for people to interact with you, they won’t. Therefore, you want to make it easy for your listeners to follow you, subscribe to your content, or purchase/view any merchandise you are promoting.
No Album Art
Album art is typically the first thing your potential listeners will see. Therefore, you want an image that will engage your listeners and give them an idea of what your style is. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and you can even use your logo as the album art so long as it draws attention and communicates something about the podcast and your brand.
Album art is also important when submitting your podcasts to podcast directories and podcatchers. iTunes, for example, allows album art, and more often than not, people don’t even take a second look at the podcasts without it. If you are stuck, look to other successful podcasters for inspiration!
Now Get to it!
Producing a great, successful podcast takes time and effort, and while it’s almost inevitable to make some mistakes here and there, being aware of these common mistakes will help you avoid them, save time, and help you achieve your goals quicker. So, check out your podcast and save yourself the hassle of covering up some of the most common podcasting mistakes!