A couple of weeks ago, we ran an episode called How to Cheat a Podcast Episode in which I shared some of the strategies you can use to fill a gap in a podcast production calendar. One of those suggestions was doing Q&A episodes.
As a little favor to my future self, right after I recorded that episode, I went ahead and recorded five answers to five questions that people ask us frequently when they’re getting into podcasting.
I typically don’t love video, but I wanted to capture the recordings of these answers because of how critical short-form video content is becoming and to address the constant content needs of my wonderful social media team member who’s always asking for short-form video because it is getting more and more popular and has a lot of benefits to growing a community online.
So join me on The Company Show as I answer these commonly asked (but important!) podcasting questions and get a peek at what other players in the industry are doing.
Listen below, or continue reading the blog post.
Tune in to learn about:
- How often should you release?
- How long should your episodes be?
- How do you find guests?
- Should your podcast have its own website?
- Do you need a video version?
Don’t forget to join us for our free monthly strategy calls on the third Thursday of every month.
The Top 5 Most-Asked Podcasting Questions
I came up with the five questions that we are asked quite frequently, and some of this was just from what I’m used to answering a lot when I’m on calls with people, but I also used generative AI (ChatGPT) to help me come up with a list.
I think it generated about 50 or 60 for me all at once, and I was able to go through them and modify and edit them so that they were questions that I thought would be very useful to have as a library going forward and that I could provide good answers to. Being able to practice giving a really concise but thorough answer was another valuable part of this activity.
So all told, getting the questions together, recording the video, and recording the answers, was all quite easy. It was very fast. I’m definitely going to be doing more of those in the future. Presuming, of course, that this episode is received well and is helpful for people. That is something that only you can help me answer.
So without any further ado, here are the five answers to five common podcast questions!
1. How often should you release a new podcast episode?
This is a great question because when you start to think about all of the work that’s going to be involved in podcasting, the preparing, the guest invitation, the recording itself, all the post-production, and all of the project management involved.
With all of that, you might think, oof, this is something we had better not do more than once, maybe twice a month. And that can be fine. You’re the boss of your podcast and how you’re using your podcast in your business is going to be up to you and the rest of the team that you’re making those decisions with.
But from a best practices perspective if one of the things that you want to do with your podcast is grow an audience and connect with more people or if you need other from your podcast like networking with a lot of guests or having a lot of content to be able to distribute to your other platforms, then you’re going to want to be releasing on a more consistent basis.
When we do our research for The State of Business Podcasting, we find that the vast majority of podcasts are releasing weekly or more. So if you’ve got the team bandwidth or the budget to do at least a weekly podcast, I’d say that is the best practice to get into a good flow, a good rhythm.
But if you can’t manage that, if it just doesn’t work, you’ve got too much going on sometimes. That’s with our podcast here at One Stone Creative, The Company Show. It’s a bi-weekly podcast. This season we’re releasing every other week because that’s something that we can manage with our available time and resources.
So the important questions to answer are:
How much content do you need or how many access points to other people do you need to make the podcast valuable for you?
Do I have the resources to support that and will it be fun to do it that much?
Some people find that it’s just too much work or it’s too stressful to try and release a podcast every week. So in that case every other week is fine or even more sporadic if that is the only option for you.
But all things being equal, more releases are better in terms of having more content, making more relationships, and growing more traction with the podcast-listening audience.
2. How long should a podcast episode be?
The answer to that is the same as the answer to the question of how long is a piece of rope. It’s going to be as long as you need it to be to achieve a particular goal. That isn’t to say that there aren’t kind of standards or averages within the industry.
When we look at the top 100 business podcasts, we find there’s a remarkably consistent result over time of 44-minute-long episodes. But of course that includes the three-hour epic-long podcast episodes as well as the five-minute shorts; all kind of going into that average when you look at making a decision about how long your podcast episode should be, you do want to be reasonably consistent over time.
So it’s probably not best practice to release a bunch of 30 to 40-minute episodes and then all of a sudden release a two-minute one just because you ran out of content that week, although it’s still better than not releasing at all. But for the most part, you want to be consistent in what you are releasing because your audience is going to be expecting more or less the same basic structure and length when they go to listen to a new episode.
You also want to make sure that you have enough time with your guest or with your solo content to be able to fully communicate one idea. Now I found with producing podcasts, when a solo episode in particular up to about ten minutes, ends up being a really good length of time to really thoroughly explore and talk about one idea, sometimes it doesn’t take all that much time, sometimes it takes a little bit longer.
And guest conversations I find tend to go for about 25 to 30 minutes, at least for my show, and to be able to communicate everything that we want to communicate about a particular topic to an audience. There are other podcasts that are really comfortable in the 30-minute range, 40, 50 even, going on into an hour or more, especially when you’re just getting started out and you don’t have a long history or track record that your audience is going to be paying attention to.
You can try out different lengths, you can try out different formats. Going with a seasonal approach and doing different things or trying out different formats or lengths of time with each season can be a really good way to do this because then there’s going to be at least consistency within the season reason and you’ll slick it to trade all of the different options.
The other main consideration is going to be how much time you can invest in preparing for and creating and then investing in the post-production of the podcast. Longer episodes are going to be more expensive for all of those reasons. You have to prepare more, the conversation takes longer, and then so will post-production.
So take a look at other podcasts in your industry. What are they doing? How long are their episodes and what type of content and format are they?
You don’t necessarily want to copy what anyone else is doing, but you can take inspiration for what is kind of becoming the podcast industry standard for your particular industry.
3. How do I find guests for my podcast?
When a podcast is brand new, it’s really easy to sort of shake your digital Rolodex and connect with people that you have preexisting relationships with. Past clients, current clients, colleagues, team members, and even friends who owe you favors or just like to spend time talking to you.
But after you’re podcasting for more and more time, it can start to feel like you’re reaching a little bit more for the kind of guests who are going to be able to bring real value to your show, to your business, and to your audience. So where do you find more people if you feel like you’re sort of running dry with your own personal network and connections?
My favorite strategy for finding more guests is to look at other podcasts in my industry that are those sorts of complementary shows that are talking to the same types of people about the same types of things as I am and who’s on their podcast.
This is a great strategy for a couple of reasons because one, there’s a whole world of podcasts who are talking to people out there—a really rich resource in terms of coming up with new guest possibilities.
But you also know something about these guests. They know how to be on podcasts, they’re interested in being on podcasts and they have at least some experience with the format and being a good guest. So it’s a really good way to kind of build out your list of people to reach out to.
Of course, the benefits of reaching out to more people who are interested in talking to your audience are many, manyfold. They are guests for your own content, they’re potential networks, joint ventures, or referral partners for you.
They could even potentially be clients or you could become a client of theirs. So my best strategy for finding more guests for your podcast is to look at who are the guests of other podcasts that are working in your industry that you like and that you respect.
There is no harm in inviting the hosts of those other podcasts as well. You know that they know their stuff and that they’re talking about something that’s going to be of interest to your business and to your community.
Related video on podcast guests:
4. Does my podcast need its own website?
For the vast majority of people podcasting for a business that already exists? No.
Your own company website is going to be the best place to hold your podcast. All the individual episodes and the show notes about it. People often start podcast websites if they don’t have a podcast, like if they don’t have a business and a website associated with it already, or if they’re starting a new podcast as a new business.
This isn’t true in absolutely every case and there may be a reason that you want to have a podcast kind of separate from your main content or your main information about your business. But by and large, you’re going to want to keep as many of your fans and your audience and the new people who find and discover your work through your podcast in your own environment as much as possible.
So instead of having to do the SEO and do all of the development and the work and the proofreading and everything for multiple websites, you only have to do it for the one where the majority of your business information lives and exists.
There are situations where you can work with a hosting account that’s going to provide a podcast-specific website that really is geared towards getting people to listen, to consume more of the content.
But very often as a business owner or a member of a larger company, you’ve got goals for your podcast that aren’t necessarily just get more people to listen to the podcast. There are other business goals that are going to be more easily served by having all of the information about your podcast on your own website.
5. Does your podcast need to be in video?
The answer to that is no, but also kind of yes.
Podcasts, of course, are primarily an audio platform. It’s an audio-based media. That’s how they were designed and developed. That’s how a lot of people still consume them. And I said a lot on purpose because it’s not really most anymore.
YouTube has become an absolutely massive player in the podcast space, even though they’re still just kind of dancing around the edges of RSS capability for a lot of its users. The way people use YouTube is very much like any other music player or any other audio playing device and they can also have the video there as well.
So it gets everything in one spot and it is becoming more and more popular for people to listen to all of their audio content through YouTube. As a podcaster, and as a creator of audio content, that’s something that you should at least consider when you’re deciding whether or not to film or record the video of your audio podcast as well.
You may not want to have your whole episode available as a video on YouTube. I know, I tried that for one season. It ended up not being a great fit for us. But I am recording video to be able to use in social media and on other places from our podcast episodes that we’ve got kind of more rich multimedia content to be able to promote with.
The main podcast episodes are also going on YouTube, but in an audiogram format which while not as popular and really not as enjoyed as full live-action video format, is very much better than nothing. So that would be my recommendation.
If the thought of having to do video along with your audio work for your podcast kind of gives you the screaming meemies as it does me, then I would recommend recording your episode and audio as normal.
Capture the video so you can pull out a few great points for social media and for promotion for you and for your guest, and then make the rest of your whole episode into an MP4-style audiogram that you can put on YouTube so at least you can be found and listened to by the people—the many, many people who are using that as their primary audio platform.
And there you have it; five questions and five in-depth answers.
On a related note, if you’re interested in learning about the top three mistakes that businesses make with their podcasts (and how to fix them!), visit this link.
“You’re the boss of your podcast and how you’re using your podcast in your business is going to be up to you and the rest of the team that you’re making those decisions with.” – Megan Dougherty
Make sure to check out our free Monthly Strategy Calls!
About Megan Dougherty
Megan Dougherty is the Co-Founder of One Stone Creative. She has been a digital marketer for over a decade, with a strong focus on digital course creation, content marketing, and multimedia content production. As the co-founder, she takes pride in high-quality, on-time work and helping people get their messages to the people who need to hear them.
She likes spreadsheets, deadlines, and creating online experiences that are good for both the creators and the end-users. She hates jumping out of airplanes, mushrooms, and hyperbolic language in messaging. When not helping to produce podcasts, courses, and videos, she bakes pies and watches Star Trek. (Janeway forever.)
Find her on LinkedIn!
Related Episodes and Media:
- How to Cheat a Podcast Episode
- Top 3 Mistakes Businesses Make with Their Podcasts And How to Fix Them!
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