Organizations as varied as insurance companies, banks, professional associations and trade groups have recognized that telling their stories is essential. At the same time, your clients might need hand holding when it comes to designing podcast episodes with punch. Amazingly, some will ask you to produce a podcast series for them, even if they don’t listen to podcasts themselves.

We suggest you gently encourage them to listen to others’ podcasts, both in their niche area and outside it, to get an idea of how different producers put their shows together. They should make notes about what they like and what they don’t. What kind of voice do they want to put out there? Authoritative, helpful, fun? You wouldn’t design a website without knowing what a website looks like, right? It’s the same for a podcast.

Just as a writer can improve her skills by reading great writing, a podcaster can strengthen her abilities by listening to great audio. Make a point of subscribing to well-produced podcasts and continually discovering new ones.

Let’s suppose your client wants to publish a podcast that will be easy to listen to, with valuable information and compelling stories. This sounds like a tall order, but with a little planning and a lot of energy, you can help them make it happen.

You likely will not reach the lofty heights of This American Life, Serial or RadioLab – all outstanding podcasts – but that’s OK. We can all learn from the techniques they use.

Here are some tips for creating great audio content:

  • Be sure there actually is a story to engage listeners, not just a laundry list of “to-do” items.
  • Book the right guest; a renowned expert may not be a talented storyteller, so be sure to conduct a pre-interview to evaluate his skills.
  • Outline the content in advance so you know the points you want to cover and how the story will flow.
  • Record high-quality audio; give your listeners the gift of pleasing sound.
  • Edit, edit, edit so the podcast episode contains only the best bits.
  • Don’t be afraid to kill an episode if it’s not good enough.
podcasting cartoon

Just one of the cartoons by Rob Cottingham.

In the book, we also discuss the ins and outs of dealing with the lawyers and compliance people, as in this cartoon by Rob Cottingham.

This is an excerpt from the newly published book, The Business of Podcasting, by Steve Lubetkin and Donna Papacosta.