Upcoming event

Be-Delphi Delphi Developer Day

Be-Delphi is organizing their first (of many) Delphi Developer Day on November 17th in Edegem near Antwerp. That day will be completely dedicated to Delphi and Prism.

At Be-Delphi, Devia will be holding a talk about the new LiveBindings in Delphi XE2, so be sure to grab a hold of me and say hello !

Turning your Podcasting Idea into a Podcast Concept

written by Stefaan Lesage on 13/05/2009

You have an excellent idea for a new Podcast and would like to get started as soon as possible ? You could actually jump right into it, but it might be a good idea to mold your idea into a real concept. By answering a few questions in this article, we will help you in preparing for this endeavor.

Introduction

A good idea is a good start ...

Indeed a good idea is always a good start. If you already have an idea for your brand new Podcasting project, I’m sure this article will help you during the Planning phase of your Podcasting Adventure.

On the other hand, if you want to start podcasting, but don’t have an idea yet what your podcast should be about, then this article will prepare you as well. With the questions and tips in this article, you will already have a good idea on what you should know before starting with your Podcasting Adventure.

... But taking the time to think about it is as important !

Yes ... Take some time ... Sit down ... Think ... and start to write some things down about your Podcasting Project !

Each time someone approaches us with a Podcasting Idea, we take some time for a Brainstorming session. By asking and answering a few questions you can get a pretty good idea about the direction you want to take with your Podcast, and you should also get a rough idea about the budget, time and equipment you will need.

Some Questions which will help you planning your podcast

What will be the topic of your podcast ?

The actual topic for a podcast is important, since it will shape the content you will be producing. There is no real ‘golden’ topic for a podcast, it could be anything, but the big rule here is choose something your are passionate about !

It is a lot easier to create a podcast about something you are passionate about, than creating a podcast out of the blue. Remember, you will have to do some research on your topic, even if you knowledgeable on that topic. Even the research will be a lot easier and funnier if the topic is something that interests you.

Don’t think that there is no audience for your topic ! If you would be interested in it, chances are someone else might be interested in it as well. Of course some topics are more popular than others, but that doesn’t really matter all that much. Personally I prefer listening to someone who knows a lot about a less known topic, than listening to someone who knows almost nothing about a very popular topic.

It is impossible to give you a complete list of topics you can cover in your podcast, but in this article we assume we are going to bring a Technology related News Podcast.

Who will be your target audience ?

It is important to determine your target audience, since it will have an influence on the content and probably on the way that content will be presented. Are you aiming your podcast at youngsters, teens, corporate executives, photographers, gamers, your local parish, dentists, families, geeks, ... ? Each of these groups might have its specific needs.

Lets take our Technology related News Podcast as an example. If our target audience is a group of people who use technology on a daily basis, there will be no need to explain them what a WIFI is. On the other hand if photographers are our target audience, terms like ISO, ETTL, RAW, Aperture and Shutter speed will be no problem at all. On the other hand if we want to reach John Doe with our Podcast, we will need to take some time to explain some of these things.

An important thing to remember is that your target audience might have an influence on your content or how it will be presented or the format of your podcast.

Which type of podcast will you go for ?

Before we decide on the format of our show, we should mention a few different types of podcasts. There are many different types, and some will be more suitable for a specific topic than others

.
Single Host

This is a very popular format used by a lot of new podcasters, since it doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment, and you can do it on your own. It is easy, you can record whenever you want, the podcast is completely yours.

Sadly to the audience it might quickly become a little monotonous and boring. But if you have a good topic, are passionate about the topic and are committed to podcasting, it can work very nicely. It is a good idea to start experimenting with this type of podcast, and once you are sure you want to pursue your podcasting adventure, you can always move to one of the other formats.

For our Technology related News Podcast, a Single Host type of podcast might be good to start with, but there are some other types of podcasts which are more suitable for this topic.

Multiple Hosts

Very similar to the Single Host type of podcast, but with a little more variety. More hosts means more personalities, different voices, ... and might be more interesting to listen to. It will require more equipment to record the podcast though.

Roundtable Discussions

The big difference between the Roundtable Discussion and the Multiple Hosts type of podcast, is that a Roundtable Discussion is more informal. Think about it as a group of friends sitting around the table and discussing a given topic. Since it is more informal you will surely get different viewpoints on certain discussions, make sure you represent all those in the final recording. This is a very popular format. Your audience might find this approach more appealing and interesting, and I’m sure you will get some interesting discussions.

The goal is to present a given topic and have the participants discuss that topic. At some point you will have one of the guests interrupting the other or giving a completely different view on the topic, but that is actually what makes it so spontaneous and interesting to listen to.

As with the Multiple Hosts type of podcast you will need more equipment to record it, and it will also take some time to get everyone hooked up.

Interviews

In the world of television and radio you constantly hear or see interviews. Well you can also use the interview type as a podcast. You could interview someone knowledgeable, a key person in a specific industry, users, other podcasters and even your audience ! It is a great way to share information with your listeners. A company releases a new type of digital camera, well it might be interesting to interview a product manager, or try to get hold of a photographer who can give his opinions on the new device.

Interviews might require you to meet the interviewee in a specific location, or contact him by phone, ... This might require some mobile equipment or some way to record the phone conversation. Make sure you prepared a few questions in advance !

Mix and Match

Of course you don’t have to stick with one of those formats. It might even be a good idea to mix the different types together. For our Technology related News Podcast we might cover some topics as a roundtable discussion, do some interviews when new products are released, try to have some guests joining the discussions, ... we could even mix Audio and Video into one podcast if we want.

What format will you be using ?

The next step is to determine the format of your podcasts. It is important for your audience that you structure the way you present your message to your audience. Try to get a consistent format for your podcast so your audience knows when to expect what kind of information. Sticking with a format could help you grow a larger audience, since will be building a reputation for being in a specific format.

Lets have a look at radio and TV shows. After a while we know that every hour we can expect news with weather updates, every half hour we get a small news flash, and every quarter of an hour we get some traffic information. We start to expect that, and we probably wouldn’t keep listening if they changed the timing of those things everyday.

Sticking to a given format can also assist you and save you quite some time during production. Since each episode has the same structure, you could record intro’s in advance, and you will be able to develop a specific workflow based on the format of your podcast.

It doesn’t really matter how many sections you have in your podcast, but you should at least have some of these building blocks :

  • Introduction Music
  • Podcast & Episode announcement
  • Host Introduction
  • Small summary of what will be covered in this episode
  • Host introduces the guests
  • Topic Introduction
  • Topic Discussion
  • Listener Feedback / Emails
  • Wrap-up
  • URL and EMail of the podcast
  • Sign Off
  • Exit Music

When will you be podcasting ?

If you have chosen a podcast with multiple hosts, speakers or guests, it will be important to determine a day and time on which you will be recording your podcast episode. It can be difficult to get everyone in the same room at the same time, so plan your recordings, and make sure everyone is available.

You will probably need some time to prepare a recording room, or set up some equipment, so make sure everything is ready by the time you start recording.

How often will you be podcasting ?

If you decide to publish a new episode each month, make sure you stick to that scheme. Your audience will expect a new episode to be available each month. It is a bad idea to ‘skip’ a month or publish your episodes on a random basis, it will have a huge influence on your audience !

Again it is up to you to decide how often you want to publish a new episode. It could be dayly, weekly, biweekly, monthly, ... it doesn’t matter all that much as long as you stick to the publishing scheme.

Sometimes it is a good idea to record some episodes in advance, you never know when real life catches up on you !

The frequency at which you publish a new show will have an impact in other areas as well. Publishing new shows every month will require less resources than publishing a new episode each day. This might result in higher costs for production, hosting and bandwidth !

How long should an episode of your podcast be ?

This is a question asked by a lot of people who are interested in podcasting. There is no definitive answer to this question. Some people say that 20 to 30 minutes is a good length for a podcast, since that is the average time needed to commute to work. That doesn’t mean your episodes have to be at least 20 minutes long. In my personal opinion the ideal length of an episode is the time you need to get your message across. If you have enough interesting content to fill an hour, then by al means use an hour. If you only have content to fill 10 minutes, then publish a shorter episode. It is always better to publish a shorter episode than to fill it with chit chat in order to get a 20 minutes episode.

Wrap-up

As you can see, using these questions you should get a pretty good idea on how your podcast will be shaped. Depending on your answers you will also get an idea of the time and equipment required to record your podcast episodes.

In the next article in this series we will be uncovering more parts of the puzzle, and make sure you are prepared to get you to the next step : Recording your podcast episode.

Comments

  • 1

    I have not got into podcasting yet, but everyone keeps telling me I need to.  I was a little late getting on the Twitter bandwagon as well.

    Thank you for the primer, it will definitely help me get this going!

    written by Forex News on 25/06/2009
  • 2

    Hi,

    Glad you fond it interesting.  There will be more Podcasting related articles in the future, I just need to find the time to write them :-)


    Regards,


    Stefaan

    written by Stefaan Lesage on 25/06/2009
  • 3

    How soon will you update your blog? I’m interested in reading some more information on this issue.

    written by KonstantinMiller on 06/07/2009
  • 4

    Well, we just added a new post today, feel free to check it out.  We will be returning to the Podcasting series soon ...

    Regards,

    Stefaan

    written by Stefaan Lesage on 06/07/2009
  • Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.

    Archive