Planning the Tone, Content, and Format of Your Podcast
It may seem obvious, but determining what kinds of attributes you want to have in your podcast is an important planning step. Before you podcast, decide what kind of tone, content, and format is right for your message and audience. This will ensure that your podcast has focus and appeal.
Tone and Content. How will your podcast be different from other podcasts (or related media)? Originality is important, especially if you want your podcast to be prominently featured by iTunes and other podcast directories, or if you’re contemplating monetization.
Check out other podcasts and websites that relate to your podcast’s subject. If you find a well-produced podcast on your topic, then consider ways to differentiate your podcast. For example, decide if your podcast have a serious or humorous tone. Will you restrict the content of the episodes to specific themes or subject matter not explored elsewhere?
Format. Just like radio and television programs, there are many types of podcasts. Considering your subject matter and your audience, which format of podcast would work best? Or be most original? These are just some examples…
- A monologue-style podcast, featuring commentary by a single host.
- A duo-style podcast, emphasizing conversation between two hosts.
- An interview-style podcast, featuring studio guests or on-the-street, “live” podcasting
- Entertainment podcast, featuring music, drama, readings, or other performances.
One aspect that will affect the tone of your podcast is whether you will work with a well-rehearsed script or if you will produce a more spontaneous show, with an outline and notes, but some degree of ad-libbing.
Another basic decision is determining whether your podcast will be audio or video, or enhanced audio (enhanced with images and photographs). Which format do you believe would be most enjoyed and most easily accessed by your audiences?
How long will your podcast be? Online audiences have brief attention spans. If you’re planning a videocast, and you also plan to put your video on YouTube, keep your individual video podcast episodes to ten minutes or less.
The duration and frequency of your podcasts may be largely affected by how much time you can dedicate to podcasting, especially if this is a hobby for you. In some cases, such as when you are first starting out, a five-minute podcast can take more than a week to produce and edit!
Keep in mind that your subscribers may appreciate it if you podcast on a regular schedule, usually no less frequently than once a month. Few people have the time or energy for a daily podcast, although those exist. A weekly podcast is only for the truly dedicated. This might be a good time to think about whether you will podcast indefinitely, or end your programming at a set number of episodes, or for a certain amount of time, such as a year.