Podcasts need a plan

With podcasts being one of this year’s publishing success stories, publishers are rushing to launch them, but without a carefully thought-through plan, the going can get tough.

By James Evelegh

Podcasts need a plan
Photograph: Jonathan Farber on Unsplash.

Thinking of launching a podcast?

If so, I have one bit of really good advice – listen to our recent podcast with Christopher Phin, head of podcasts at DC Thomson.

Chris was named ‘Publisher Podcast Hero of the Year 2020’ at the Publisher Podcast Awards in March and his passion for, and knowledge about, podcasting is impressive.

The interview is just shy of one hour and there’s loads of good stuff, including Chris’ pick of current podcasts. Here, though, I thought I would pick out five things to consider before you launch your podcast:

  1. Draw up a plan: you need to think through the busines model, resourcing and format.
  2. Record pilot episodes and get key stakeholders to listen to them, while they’re doing the dishes or suchlike. It’s important to replicate the typical podcast listening experience. Listening intently, staring at the screen, is not the right way to appraise them.
  3. Set expectations. It’s a nascent medium. In most cases, listener numbers start small. The good news is that, as your podcast evolves and word spreads, numbers rise.
  4. Make it deliverable. If the format is hassle or your key staff are too snowed under with other work, then it is doomed to fail.
  5. Don’t expect instant riches; it’s a slow build and advertisers typically still need to be educated as to the benefits of podcasting. That will come.

Once you’ve ticked all the boxes and got buy-in from everyone, then launch. After that, the key thing is to stick with it. All other things being equal, turning up and delivering to your published schedule is half the battle.

Good luck!

(Finally, our annual Publishing Partners Guide will be published in January. If you’re a supplier to the publishing sector and would like to be included, please get in touch with Martin Maynard, by email or on 01730 719 601.)