Dave and I like talking about podcasts. A lot.

So we were really chuffed to be invited to run a workshop on how to create and launch a successful podcast as part of the Monzo Presents From Scratch Festival last week.

It’s always fun to run these sessions, it’s a great way to consolidate your own knowledge as well as meet potential podcasters who are excited about the medium.

We worked with a really interesting group of people who had loads of questions and ideas about podcasts. Here are three of the most interesting questions we were asked and our answers to them.

 

1)  Is it OK to change the format of your podcast once you’ve launched it?

A: The amazing thing about podcasts is how versatile they are. The amount and variety of podcasts available is testament to the fact that there aren’t really any rules, so strictly speaking it shouldn’t matter. However, everything comes back to your audience and what they want and expect. The most successful podcasts are brands in themselves. What this means is that listeners will have certain expectations when a new episode is published. It might be that they’ll hear the voice of a trusted, familiar host, maybe they know there will be a spellbinding true story that has them gripped for the length of their commute, or perhaps they expect withering political satire. These elements- along with others- form part of the sonic identity that makes the listener download and subscribe. In short, some variety in format can be great and keeps things cool and interesting, but what’s essential is that the elements that make up your podcast’s core sonic identity remain constant throughout the series.

 

2) When can you expect to earn money from your podcast?

A: Realistically, most people won’t make money from podcasting. Start with passion, build your product step-by-step, improve the product with feedback from listeners, and make something people want to listen to first. Personally, I would only start thinking about monetising your podcast once you reach the 20k downloads per episode mark. As brands start to make waves in the podcast space, marketing teams are beginning to understand them as a way to make an impact by association rather than short term financial gain. So do it for the love- you’re far more likely to make something that other people love that way.

 

3) Is the audio recorded on your phone good enough to make a podcast?

A: Yes, to start with it is. Ultimately, you get what you pay for. Making a successful podcast is a lot like building a successful start-up business. Start small, test your ideas. Once those ideas are validated (you have listeners, you get feedback, people enjoy your features, etc) start investing in equipment, platforms and editing expertise and marketing. It takes patience, it’s a long-game but success in podcasting, like any industry, comes with small and steady steps.