When it comes to podcast success, creating a thoughtful strategy before you hit the record button is essential. Listeners are beginning to expect more from the podcasts they consume, so it’s important to find alignment with your team from the get go.
Of course, it’s impossible to plan out your every move before you begin executing your podcast—after all, podcasting is a fluid process and unexpected issues will likely arise along the way. However, it’s still important to determine at least a rough game plan in advance to avoid losing steam mid-season.
So, how can podcasters create a winning podcast strategy before the real heavy lifting begins? Here are five questions to consider when devising your podcast strategy:
One of the most important questions to ask yourself before launching your podcast is, “what am I trying to achieve with this podcast?” Without a clear goal set out from the beginning, you may risk losing motivation along the way or alienating potential new listeners.
The goal of your podcast doesn’t need to be lofty or complex. It could be as simple as “to connect with a like-minded community.” The important thing is that you know your big why so you can keep the positive momentum going, despite any hiccups you may run into.
Here are some other potential podcast goals that may resonate with you or your brand:
And the list goes on. Your podcast goal can really be anything you want as long as it feels authentic to you and your brand’s voice.
When it comes to executing on a winning podcast strategy, taking a clear stance on roles from the beginning is essential. Whether you’ll be outsourcing some of the work to freelancers, bringing in some help from your network, hiring an agency, or just relying on yourself, it’s important to determine who will be doing what when it comes time to hit the ground running.
By delegating tasks like scripting, editing, guest sourcing and hosting before you begin executing on your podcast, you’ll be putting yourself in a better position to get the work done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Of course, an important consideration when it comes to podcasting is your budget. The funds you’re able to allocate to the project will largely determine most of the steps that come later in your podcast journey, so setting a firm budget before your launch into the work will help you make decisions quickly and easily.
We recommend starting off conservatively while making allowances where absolutely necessary. However, it’s important to remember that what you invest in your podcast upfront, you’ll likely earn back tenfold later down the road.
And if you’re not at a point of being able to invest in your podcast, that’s okay. Set a goal for yourself of where you’d like to be in order to start putting budget towards your show.
As you begin drafting episode plans and scripts for your podcast, it will be crucial to have at least a rough idea of your target audience. Without this, you’ll essentially be throwing content at the wall and seeing what sticks, so it’s always better to keep a specific type of person in mind from the beginning.
Who do you see engaging with this content? What kind of person would find this content useful? What are their demographics, interests and daily behaviors? These are some of the important questions to ask yourself at this point in the journey.
When devising your winning podcast strategy, you’ll also want to consider some of the content themes and topics you’d like to cover. While it’s by no means necessary to draft every single episode theme before recording your first episode, it will be crucial to have at least some understanding of what you’re going to be discussing on the podcast and how it ladders back to your main goal.
During this step, you may want to book a brainstorm meeting with your team to decide on the rough parameters of your content strategy and ideate some initial concepts to play around with. Another exercise you can do at this stage is creating a word association bubble to come up with catchy names, taglines and episode titles for your podcast.
A winning podcast strategy has many moving parts, and will vary slightly depending on your specific goals, needs and desires as a podcaster. However, the initial strategizing stage is crucial for all podcasters because it gives you the time to level set and determine logical next steps.
Take your time, have fun with it, and don’t hesitate to reach out to a podcasting agency for help as needed. For more advice and resources, visit the CoHost blog and resources center so you can design a winning podcast strategy.
Mackenzie Patterson is the Senior Producer & Content Strategist at Quill Inc, and a Toronto-based writer, and journalist. She's always exploring the latest movies, TV shows and wellness trends.