The news director of Nashville Public Radio Emily Siner shares what goes into planning a podcast and how content design can connect you with audiences.
At Nashville Public Radio, Emily Siner has a lot on her podcast plate. She hosts her own podcast, Movers and Thinkers, and serves as the editor overseeing content design on more than five other popular audio programs.
“I think audio is such a creative medium,” said Siner. “Putting people into a scene and into a moment and hearing another human voice, it’s so cool. It’s such a cool way to show emotion and human connection.”
In this episode of Brandcasting, we sit down with expert podcast editor Siner to hear all about how much goes into planning a podcast and how to shape the structure of your show.
Finding the ‘why’ and ‘who’
Before you even begin your podcast, it’s important to consider why you’re creating that content. Identifying your goals can help you think deeper about what your podcast should be.
“What is your show’s reason for existing in the world? What hole does it fill that doesn’t already exist?” Siner asked. “Rather than just throwing something up because you have an idea, thinking about where it fits into the context of this entire podcast landscape.”
To answer this question fully, you need to identify your target audience. By establishing this before you even begin your show, it helps you to narrow and focus your content.
“Having that kind of target listener in mind helps you figure out how deep you are going to go into explaining things,’” said Siner. “Also thinking about how you market it: so where are those audience members seeing content and finding content?”
Once you know who you’re serving, it’s imperative you know your audience’s needs. That way your content is not only one-of-a-kind, but also in-demand, says Siner.
“If you’re doing a show about a topic that you’re passionate about or working in, I think it’s probably a good idea to survey some people in the field and see what they want to hear. What doesn’t exist yet already?”
Structuring your show
Answering the big picture questions of ‘why’ and ‘who’ can help you move onto the ‘how’. In your podcast preparation, there are three different elements of content design to consider: the show opening, the length of the show, and the frequency you share it.
Siner suggests starting your show with a key moment from the episode, or a golden moment. Then you can introduce who you are and what your show is about.
“You kind of get two chances to open. You have the very open and then you have your open after the show open, which is just another way to hook the listener.”
From there, you can proceed to the main event: the interview. The total episode should last as long as you can keep your audience’s attention, says Siner.
“I feel like the perfect episode length is 25 minutes,” said Siner.
The final step is considering how to release your show. One of the most effective ways is to package your episodes into seasons. That way, audience members know where to begin when listening to your content.
“The season model gives the audience a chance to catch up,” said Siner. “When people are recommending a show, and you see there’s episodes one through eight, you’ll start with episode one and get to eight before the next season comes out.”
Naming your product
Before you release your branded podcast into the world, you’ll need to overcome one last obstacle: naming it.
“It’s really hard to come up with an idea that encapsulates everything and that also you want to listen to yourself say every episode,” said Siner. “It takes awhile to come up with the name.”
Devote some time into brainstorming a name you believe captures your content. But, one very important thing to consider is the originality of the name.
“Make sure it doesn’t already exist,” said Siner. “Just in case your podcast is a huge success, make sure it’s sustainable and something you won’t have to change the name of in the middle.”
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