Six Cs for a Successful Podcast

AdrielSwing_052309After several months of Gov 2.0 Radio shows, apparently some people think I know what I’m doing. Hating to divorce these friends from their comfortable illusions, I’m going to offer six key themes that I think make a podcast work. If you’re looking for more depth, check out the interview I did with Amy Domestico of BlogTalkRadio before launching Gov 2.0 Radio.

Of course, I could be doing a better job following Amy’s advice and my own takeaways. I’m also interested in hearing in the comments what you think are ingredients for a successful podcast, including tips on improving mine (I talked way too much in the first few – hopefully doing a little better at listening lately). And, without further ado, some tips:

CONCEPT: Before you start a show, you need a central idea of what you’re going to talk about and build community around. Do you have an existing community you plan to serve? Are you trying to create new community around a topic that folks are interested in? Even radio genius Ira Glass has a schtick.

CONTENT: Amy recommends sketching out 15 questions for a guest, or twice as much material as you think you’ll need for the time slot. Gov 2.0 Radio is a fairly free-form show, but we fill the first 5-10 minutes each week with a news roundup. Forethought will make a stronger show, and help smooth the nerves until you get a rhythm going.

CONSISTENCY: If you’re putting in the effort, you probably want a growing – or at least consistent – audience. To keep folks coming back and spreading the word, make sure you’re there on a regular basis. Give your listeners a new habit, and you’re well on your way to podcasting success.

CO-HOSTS: I absolutely could not do my show without great partners to share production duties and airtime. In fact, a sharp co-host and a good guest are probably the most important ingredients for a great show.

CROWDS: Amy recommends regular round-table chats, and I recommend multiple guests for just about every show. Sure, having five or six people conversing can get a little messy, but it sure beats dead air. And if one of your guests doesn’t make it, you’re not caught answering your own questions.

CONVERSATIONS: Not only is banter between co-hosts and guests key for a hot podcast, you also want to spark up conversation all over the Web to make sure folks know the show is coming and are primed to listen and participate. I also use Twitter heavily during my shows to bring the audience into the production.

On the more technical side, I’ve found BlogTalkRadio to be a joy to use. The basic platform is free and high quality, and inexpensive premium services include features like call screening (which I handle through Twitter, if needed).

What have I missed? What could Gov 2.0 Radio be doing better? And are you producing a great podcast we should know about?

4 thoughts on “Six Cs for a Successful Podcast

  1. Adriel,

    Thanks for the great advice.

    I’m thinking of setting up something similar for our “unconference” for practitioners of the Open Government Directive after its release sometime this month (October 2009).

    I do have some additional questions though, especially since the subject is related to (sigh) “Gov2.0”.

    Here’s a link to the “OGD-UnCon” google-group:

    Maybe I could speak about the unconference on Gov20 Radio? I saw your tweet that you were looking for guests for your 11/1 show, but found that direct-msg only works if you are following me (@transpartisan).

    Stephen Buckley

  2. Pingback: Wired to Share: The Importance of Teams « Adriel Hampton

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