Podcasts are a unique way to communicate with a desired group of listeners in an episodic format. Podcasts are designed to appeal to a niche audience; therefore you have the opportunity to zero in on exactly who you want to talk to and what your topics should be. You’re straight-up targeting people.
You never know… Your thoughts and opinions could very well resonate with a horde of like-minded folks and maybe even sway some of those that have different opinions than what you chat about on your show. And when all is said and done, it is a show, a fact you must always keep in mind.
After I wrote several original screenplays, I wanted a platform to talk about the frustrations as well as the challenges of the screenwriting process. That’s when The Make My Damn Movie Podcast was born.
I knew exactly what I wanted to talk about and that may very well be rule number one. You have to have a specific direction in mind before you start down the podcasting path.
For me it made perfect sense, having come from a radio broadcasting background. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to be a former disc jockey to start a podcast, but it might be helpful to consider formatting your program like something you would hear on the radio
Have a system, have a direction. Production values like sound effects or opening theme music can make your podcast stand out from the rest.
Again, think radio station. When you listen to the radio, a ton of stuff is happening. Music, deejays, jingles. Most radio stations are not mundane.
Entertain your audience. Bells and whistles work. Don’t overdo it, but try to come up with a format and stick with it. It soon becomes a comfortable shoe for your listeners.
Capture your audience. What you do not want to do is drone on and on about nothing, and believe me, that is easy to do. Stay focused. Keep your eye on the ball.
Don’t get to where things become tedious to the average listener of a podcast. Tediousness is the one sure-fire way to get a listener to tune-out. Keep them engaged. Be a host, not just some person blathering incessantly about nothing. Always keep in the back of your mind what your podcast is about. Have a purpose. Have a start and a finish point.
A podcast can be as long as you desire, but in my opinion, I would keep it under 45 minutes. Don’t wear out your welcome.
Some of the most boring podcasts are the ones that never end. That’s where things dramatically drift off course. Stay on topic. Sure, have fun, but a must is to always remain true to what your podcast is about in the first place. Stay focused!
Once you have your subject matter down, the next step is to find a catchy podcast name and then a killer logo. A podcast name needs to encapsulate exactly what you plan to talk about on your show.
Your name shouldn’t be too long. Your logo needs to be simple, but eye-catching. Keep in mind this mega-important rule. Everything must fit and pop in a square format.
Your podcast cover art is the first thing new listeners will see in Apple Podcasts or on social media.
Cover art must be a minimum size of 1400 x 1400 pixels and a maximum size of 3000 x 3000 pixels, 72 dpi, in JPEG or PNG. To optimize images for mobile devices, Apple recommends compressing your image files.
Check-out other podcast logos. What you want to do is stand out in the crowd with both your name and artwork without being too “busy”.
With The Make My Damn Movie Podcast, you know precisely what the podcast is about. The artwork is straight forward but has a unique appearance, which is imperative. Stay away from going over the top or attempting to be flashy, as that seldom flies.
This is simply a personal observation, but one thing I am not a fan of is a podcast with just one person as the host. These shows get to be a tad tedious at times, for the most part.
Think hard about using a co-host. Someone you’re comfortable with. Someone to roll ideas off of that you can have a conversation with, you know, chatty.
My co-host on The Make My Damn Movie Podcast is Tom Swain. We found that we had a mutual fondness for film which made it a no-brainer to team up. Scary at first, but I am 100% sure this was the right direction to go.
Sure, there are podcasts with one host that are just fine ‘n dandy, but especially starting out, it does help to have a “wing” person. You’ll find the flow is much smoother and enjoyable to your listeners and best of all, you’re not going it alone. But ultimately, it’s up to you.
So, it’s pretty easy to get started, once you have a handle on your subject matter and who you want to target. The personal satisfaction is bordering on overwhelming.
You need stuff, though. Don’t freak-out! You don’t necessarily need a bunch of high tech gear to get going. You can start with your computer and a pair of headphones.
Once you have that locked down, add a decent microphone or two for as little as forty or fifty bucks and you’re pretty much there. You can always add to your equipment as you move forward.
You’ll also need a podcast hosting site to upload your podcasts to. We use Buzzsprout. They offer different plans that range from FREE to 25 bucks, depending on how many minutes you want to upload per month.
There are tons of these sites, just Google “podcast hosting sites” and find the one that fits your needs.
… you never know! Realistically though, it takes time to cultivate a podcast audience, it just does. Don’t give up though. Record your first episode, then your second one, and check your stats regularly to see how you’re doing in “podcast land”.
Have a great time and be yourself! So important. Don’t come off like a plastic phony, because there are already hundreds of podcasts that accomplish that task just fine, and that’s a good thing! When you have fun and stay on topic, people will listen.
Listen back to your shows regularly while consistently developing ways to grow your listener base and you’ll be good to go.
So, if you have an ounce of patience (unlike myself) and keep plugging away before you know it you will have an audience to build on.
It’s very easy to give up, but sticking with a regular schedule is the way to expand your podcast listener base. Before you know it, you’ll see growth, which in it of itself, is rather satisfying, and in no time, you too can be a podcaster. Good luck!
About Mark Reynolds
Mark Reynolds enjoyed a successful career in radio broadcasting in major and medium markets, both as on air talent and management in several medium and major markets.
Seeking a new challenge, Mark switched gears from broadcasting and purchased an international franchise. After a few years, he found himself waxing nostalgic with his staff about his early days in radio. The overwhelming opinion was, "That should be a movie!"
The idea intrigued him, so off he went to craft those early events into a screenplay without having a clue how to actually write a script.
Since then, Mark has written several original screenplays which led to the development of the screenwriting and movie industry podcast, "Make My Damn Movie" where Mark and co-host Tom Swain team up to discuss the challenges of attempting to get a movie produced... and other fun stuff too.
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