Over the past few years, we’ve seen podcasts explode in literally every industry, covering every possible topic, and the music industry is certainly no exception.
Podcasts are a new and exciting way to engage your target audience, whether they’re your peers or your clients. As a music journalist for around eight years now, I am constantly searching for different ways to bring music topics to fans. Podcasting was elusive to me at first, but after chatting with James Shotwell, host of Haulix’s Inside Music Podcast, I discovered how incredibly simple the process actually was, and I wish I had started sooner!
While it is an easy process to understand, there are still a few key necessary components to creating a podcast that will help it stand the test of time and short attention spans.
Combine Your Music Expertise with a Hobby
First, each podcast obviously needs an overarching topic. What is the main focus you would like to explore with your guests? Are you a publicist wanting to offer insider information? Do you have extensive management experience and want to shed light on best practices? Do you just want to find a fun way to interview bands? Whatever your focus might be, find one that you have a solid understanding of. However, don’t stress, you can absolutely learn as you go. Bringing on guests who have more of an understanding with certain areas than yourself makes for an interesting and helpful episode. For instance, if you’re interviewing a band from a journalistic standpoint, you can have them speak on something they have knowledge in, like logistics of touring or merchandise sales tips.
I’m a fan of making things interesting. I avoid “normal” at all costs, so the next step I suggest is incorporating a hobby with your focus to add a fun twist! You probably have a non-music related interest that can help your podcast stand out from just another informative talk show. Examples of hobbies are craft beer tasting, knitting, lifting, petting dogs, and many more. Petting dogs while interviewing bands? Sign me up!
Connect locally and develop branding
Every city has other podcasts and most major cities have an NPR branch that hosts local podcasts. Find your closest city and research where other podcasts have received media attention or support since local support is where both bands and podcasters can build a solid foundation to create a national fan base. Bring in local musicians or local music industry peers to guest star on episodes, reach out to local companies to host advertisements in exchange for sharing the podcast on their social media, hang flyers, etc. Putting in the grunt work to make your podcast known throughout your community will create buzz and ensure you have the backing of engaged listeners right down the road.
From the start of your podcast, you should develop a brand across all social media and within the podcast. This means frequently used text fonts, colors, type of photos, catch phrases, questions, intro songs, etc. Consistency is key here so create everything with a strong intention. Everything you do with your podcast, including what you say and ask on episodes should have your brand in mind.
Build and analyze a target audience
Podcasting blindly is a method that won’t get you very far. Without recognizing your target audience, your episode focus might not make sense and you’ll definitely run into trouble with branding. Think about where you want your podcast to be in six months, who’s listening? Is it fans of the bands you interview, are they in a certain area, are they a certain age? These things can help you create the kind of content your target audience is most interested in, and can also help when choosing advertisers and social media platforms.
It’s crucial to remember that this should be a niche audience, versus targeting anyone who likes any kind of music. What kind of music? What kind of interviews does your audience enjoy?
It’s also important to analyze the audience you already have to help develop your target. Check out what your current social media followers have in common, their likes and dislikes, location, age range, etc. Engagements across social media are an easy way to check out the type of people who are interested in the content you’re creating.
Promote and monitor across all platforms
Podcasting is a true “labor of love”. Unless you already have a large following, it can be slow growth for the first few episodes, but once all the above steps have been taken, you should see interested listeners in no time. While it is the last step after each podcast episode is finished, promotion is a constant aspect that will drive your numbers. Social media posts should accompany each episode and should be different across each platform, harnessing each social media’s focus. Using photos of the guests while podcasting, links to more informative articles, and places to find the guest’s work are all things that make your podcast’s social media interesting.
Continue to use your engagements to re-think your target audience each quarter and your podcast will be topping the charts!
Cait McMahon has an undeniable passion for music and developed her self-starting drive when she realized she had to create her own opportunities. She achieved a Bachelor's degree in Communications and International Public Relations through loans and three jobs at a time, and without the ability to pursue unpaid music industry internships like many other underprivileged dreamers, Cait's entrepreneurial spirit bubbled up and she founded a boutique PR firm, Nü Echo Media PR. Running successful campaigns for artists nationwide with one assistant and the help of a few amazing mentors inspires her to tell her story of rising from ashes.