Thinking about starting a podcast? – Your podcast concept

Hello Pod Bods

Here some questions to ask yourself when it comes to

thinking about your podcast concept.

The medium: What do you love about podcasts? So how does it achieve the magic?
“I like the stories and story tellers; they provide compelling narratives that connect with me.”
“I like to learn new things… they are trustworthy sources with surprising discoveries”
“It takes you to times and places you never thought you would go, it’s a compelling adventure”
“Audio has more emotion than text”
“I like audio because the pictures are better … its theatre of the mind”
“They create tension with the story, the music, the SFX (sound effects)… I need to know what happens next”
“What makes a successful podcast? … it’s one word … surprise”
Tip1: It entertains, it educates, it inspires – as the Meat loaf song goes 2 out 3 ain’t bad.
Tip 2: Don’t under estimate SFX (sound effects) and music they are powerful in creating mood.

You: What do you love to share? In other words, what’s your thing and your niche?
Tip: Find your niche. E.g. This week in Virology loves to talk about viruses and microbes and their followers love it too. 

The audience: Who do you want to talk to? … about what and why?
If you said ‘everybody’ then you’ll need to be a little more specific. It’s unlikely (although possible) your niece and your uncle would listen to the same selection of podcasts.
So… who must you talk to? Who should you talk to and who could you talk to?
Is it for people in a particular industry or profession? Is it for people with certain interests? Does it include a particular demographic?
Tip: The audience is actually you (yes be self-indulgent) … if it’s interesting to you then you’ll enjoy making it.
Tip: Create an audience persona to talk to. (Link to persona link)

The product’s edge: What motivation does your audience have for listening?
What’s your angle and how is it different from other podcasts?
Will it be for entertainment, escape, self-study, brain food, unwinding non-work stuff? Do you want to update their world, provide perspectives or opinions, do a fact check, explore themes or be a problem solver? Do you want provoke new thinking, change behaviours, provide advice, offer instruction, bust myths and or tell a stories with anecdotes and case studies.
All product designers (and content marketers) look at the market, the competition, the pros and cons, and the strengths, weaknesses opportunities and threats.
Tip: Successful podcasts have a unique angle and an authentic style. Offer something others don’t!

The format: Treatment/ Genre/ Style/ Format
Formats range from studio interviews, panel interviews, and panel conversations to radio documentary styles with SFX that travel outside a studio and on location commentary.
Tip: Experiment – this may depend on practicalities … the time, the money and the energy. Ira Glass says ‘This American Life’ took years to find its ‘voice’. 

The structure: What’s a suitable structure, story arc or trajectory for your episode? The
Think about what format you podcast could take. What constitutes an episode trajectory? An event? A person? Many persons? A case-study? A set of research papers?
Tip: Some podcasts are  on a mission or a journey. Sometimes your mission can change after the recording. That’s okay!  But  preparation is important – write a focus statement about what your podcast is about to help you keep on track with questions but be flexible enough to follow interesting surprises. 

The topics: How does content align with time and space?
Space: Is your content relevant to national or international audiences? This is important to how you frame and phrase content.
Time: Is your content somewhat timeless or will it date? Is it connected to the news cycle or is it more of features wisdom of hind sight story? Could people listen to it years later and still make sense?
Tip: Unlike live radio, podcast can bend time and space
Tip: Ground the listener in time if required. Don’t say phrases like “last year” say “in 20-16”.

The Team: Who is on both sides of the mic? And the editing suite?
Talent: Who will you feature in the interviews?
Will you include: experts, researchers, industry professionals, practitioners, students, people with first-hand experience, people with opinion, etc.
Producers /hosts & presenters/editors: Who researches content, prepares questions and presents the episodes? Who will make the edits and the final call on edits? Who selects, invites and thanks the talent? Who selects and sources the music
Tip: Talent need to feel ‘comfortable’ and safe to share ideas. Spend time and effort in talent management it will help leverage authentic voices from them too.
Tip: Authentic hosts and greats conversations are seamless usually thanks to great editing. Yup editing is key!

Coming in 2017:
A future post will address Ready to start making a podcast? – Making the audio.

Cheers Andi