How to Plan Podcasts for Your Blog - dummies

How to Plan Podcasts for Your Blog

By Amy Lupold Bair, Susannah Gardner

To create a podcast for your blog, you first need the desire to make it the best experience for the listeners that you can. If you aren’t having fun, it shows in the final result. Remember, even if you find your very first podcast a little frustrating, it gets easier.

Here are a few key ingredients that you need for a good podcast:

  • Planning what you’ll say: You can make a single podcast about anything, so have a clearly defined topic before you start. Some podcasters write a script for every podcast they record. Although you may find that a script is overkill for you, jotting down a few notes or creating an outline to follow can help you streamline the creation process.

  • Finding your voice: You need to establish the tone of the piece before you go forward. How will the format of your overall podcast determine how you shoot or record it? Do you want to use some kind of traditional show format, or do you want to improvise the entire program each time?

    Taking these kinds of questions into account when you’re planning your first podcast can help you make your program a success.

  • Timing: Technically speaking, you can use as much or as little time as you want in your podcast. You may find, however, that you get a better end product when you give yourself limits, rather than chattering on about your favorite color or a funny thing your cat did when you really should be getting to the point of your recording session.

    Think about how much time you can reasonably expect your audience to give you, and target that length for your podcasts. In general, podcasts range from a few minutes to an hour. Also, make sure that you have enough time to record the entire podcast in the same location so that you don’t have awkward changes in the background noise, which can distract your listener or viewer.

  • Recording conditions: When you want to record anything, you need to take into account environmental considerations before you hit the Record button. Is the environment you’re in quiet enough? Background noise from fans or computers may annoy the listeners!

    For video, do you have sufficient lighting to produce watchable video? Try to eliminate distractions, such as phones ringing or people walking by. And if you can, do some test recording that you can listen to or watch so that you know what the quality of the final product will be before you record your entire podcast.

Blogging in writing is relatively easy in comparison to recording a podcast, and you can also more easily hide your inexperience in a text blog because you can rewrite and edit before posting. Although you can edit audio and video, removing stuttered speech or inappropriate facial expressions is harder than revising text in a blog post. The good news is that practice can help eliminate awkward moments.

If you get stuck thinking about a podcast topic or format, ask your readers for suggestions. Even if only five or ten readers respond, you can get some good ideas and direction.

Here’s a short list of podcast ideas that have been successful for other podcasters. Use this list to spark your creativity to find other topics that interest you:

  • One-on-one interviews: Fascinating people in your neighborhood are just waiting to get on your podcast — especially people involved in a cause, an organization, or a business. Discover more about your family’s background or the adventures of your friends. See who in your acquaintance might fit the theme and direction of your podcast.

  • Show your expertise: Show off what you know and share your knowledge with others — maybe even show your audience how to do something.

  • Soundscapes: You can find fascinating sounds all around you that you can document. Record yourself walking through a forest or park. Make some observations about your surroundings, describe each sound, and explain why it’s important to you. Remember, what’s ordinary for you (waves at the beach, a passing train, construction noise, or a barn owl) might fascinate someone living on the other side of the country or the world.

  • Events: A performance at your local coffeehouse, a city hall meeting, or a surprise party all might make for an interesting podcast. Make sure to get permission before recording or publishing a podcast of an event.

  • Discussions: General discussions in social settings can reveal some great conversations. Take your recorder along to your next BBQ or evening social, and direct the conversation along a theme or idea.

If you take the time to plan what you want to share with your subscribers, you can make your podcast happen. With a recording device, a plan, and maybe even someone else to talk to, you can have a complete podcast episode in no time.