Create a Podcasting Workflow: Guest and Topic SelectionAug 24, 2021
Create a Podcasting Workflow: Guest and Topic Selection
In the early 2000s, podcasts made their entry into the media industry. At the time, the technology was new, podcasts were few, and there was very little need for hosts to organize themselves to produce strategically, edit, record, and take on the responsibilities of starting a show. As podcasts gained popularity worldwide, technology became more complex, and individuals became busier with their everyday lives. With this shift came the need to innovate. Many hosts began to ask this: how do I use my time to my advantage? In other words, how do I maximize productivity and minimize the time spent on activities that are not beneficial? This is where a podcasting workflow comes in. In the first post of our podcast workflow series, we will detail a podcasting workflow and dive into our first topic: podcast guest and topic selection.
What is a podcasting workflow?
Before we break down the elements of a podcasting workflow, it is essential that we start at the very beginning. With that said, if you are a new podcaster, you might be wondering - what is a workflow? Simply put, a workflow is your podcasting process from start to finish. When considering your workflow, it may be helpful to grab a pen and a piece of paper. On the paper, list every step that you, as a podcaster, will have to do in order to produce your show. This encompasses all of the steps - even the ones that you can complete quickly. You must have a firm grasp on each step so that you can determine how to make your workflow work for you.
Now that you have a basic idea of what constitutes a workflow, we will discuss the elements of the workflow. In other words, we will give you some ideas of how to create a workflow of your own. There are several elements to consider when thinking through your podcasting process. Here is a quick look at each of them.
#1:Guest & Topic Selection
#2: Choosing a Scheduler
#3: Create Your Interview Outline
#4: Brainstorm Potential Interview Questions
#5: Interview Your Guests
#6: Follow Up
Guest and Topic Selection
When you decide to record a podcast episode, you will always want to ensure that your topic resonates with your listeners. When selecting an issue to discuss, you will want to ask yourself two crucial questions. First, am I passionate about this topic? Next, will my guest and I share information to benefit, encourage, inspire, or teach the audience?
Why should I be passionate about my podcast episode topic?
When you record a podcast episode, your listeners are coming to hear from an expert who has lived experience or acquired knowledge on a particular subject. When you speak to your audience, your enthusiasm should shine through. It isn’t easy to get excited about something that you do not find interesting. So, pick an interesting topic so that your audience will remain engaged.
How do I ensure that my podcast topic will benefit my audience?
To ensure that your audience is interested in your topic, you will want to take a targeted approach. This does not mean that your audience is being targeted for sales or marketing, just that you want to meet their needs. Consider the felt need of your listener. Ask yourself these questions when choosing a topic.
- What are the unique struggles of my listeners?
- How can my podcast episode solve a problem or bring about a solution to an issue?
- What do I want my listeners to gain from listening to this episode?
- What topics have interested my listeners in the past?
- How can I continue to build on material that has previously been discussed?
As hosts, if you and I take the time necessary to understand the needs of listeners, we will be more likely to choose topics that resonate with them. Here are some creative ways to determine what kinds of material your audience wants to hear.
Conduct Social Media Polls
If you watched television in the early and mid-2000s, you might be familiar with “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” On the show, contestants vie for a million dollars by answering multiple-choice trivia questions. Sometimes, these questions are incredibly difficult. So, contestants have the chance (if they desire) to ask the audience for help on one question. If you were allowed to ask your audience one question, would you take it? The chances are that you would. With social media’s prevalence today, you and I often have our listeners at our fingertips. Let’s use this powerful tool to connect with our listeners in new ways. Why not give listeners a say when it comes to our content creation? Try running a poll using one of these platforms.
- Instagram Stories
- Facebook Live
Review the Data
Though this method may be more complicated for some hosts, you can look at statistics on your past episodes to determine what topics were of interest to your audience. When doing this, ask yourself questions such as these.
Which of my previous episodes had the most listens?
How long is my audience staying with me throughout an episode?
Are my listeners dropping off at any point within the conversations?
By asking these questions, we can more readily see trends that may be contributing to listener attrition or, on the other hand, listener interest and engagement. Some factors that may contribute to audience disengagement are noted below.
- The audience lacks interest in a given topic
- The episodes are too long, causing an audience to drop off slowly.
- The audience gets distracted.
When choosing your topic or your guests, be sure that your audience is interested, that the expertise and experiences of your guests vary, and that you keep your audience engaged. This will aid you in combating attrition and help you to continue creating powerful content that makes a lasting impact.
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