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The seven keys to building a successful podcast

Want to get into podcasting, but don’t know where to start? Read on for podcasting maven Jacqui Lockington’s top tips on getting traction. (And if video is more your thing, here is Kiwi design vlogger Charli Prangley’s advice on building a YouTube channel.)

jacqui lockingon and natalie cutler-welsh podcasting tips

PHOTO: Sam Mothersole Photography.

If you had told me three years ago that I would be co-hosting one of the most successful parenting podcasts around I would have laughed out loud. Three years ago I hadn’t even heard of podcasting, let alone imagined even doing one. However, when Nat (Cutler-Welsh) and I started up our parenting blog, If Only They’d Told Me, podcasting just seemed the next natural step.

I have to admit, I was initially dubious about how much value we would get out of it and how much we could realistically talk for about our key subject – parenting, babies and relationships.  What blew me away was the incredible response we got from our audience. People respond really well to the honesty with which we talk and the fact that we just chat as though we are sitting on the sofa having a cuppa.

To date we have had over 50,000 downloads and recorded 100 episodes on topics including: baby showers, starting school, miscarriage and marriage after kids and everything in between!  We went straight to iTunes’ New and Noted when we launched and we have been consistently been in the ‘What’s Hot’ section of iTunes under kids and parenting – right next to Chris Evans, Harry Potter and even Ellen!

Here are our tips on hosting a successful podcast:

Be yourself

If you try too hard to act like someone else your listeners will see straight through you. People respond to naturalness so just be yourself and people will love it

Invite some good ‘guests’ onto your show

One way to grow a successful podcast straight away is to invite some well-known/respected guests onto your show – people who know their subject and can talk with real authority. Not only does this add kudos to your podcast but it enables your reach to go a lot further – listeners who might not normally listen to you but might be interested in listening to your ‘expert’ will be attracted to your podcast and, if you’re good, they’ll come back again.

Know your subject

A podcast that is badly researched and wishy-washy will lose its audience half-way through. Do your research into your subject, reach into your own personal experience and know and research your guests.

Choose subjects that have a wide reach

You’ll attract a much wider audience if you choose subjects that have a large appeal. Research what the most popular subjects are and find a way to weave that into your podcasts.

Spend time publicising your podcast

Each time you do a podcast, think about who it would appeal to and do some good old fashioned PR. Obviously post information about your podcast on your own websites/blogs/social media pages and send out emails to your subscribers. But as well as that, think about your subject matter and your audience on that subject and look to ‘post’ or PR on relevant sites to increase your reach.

Know why you’re doing it

What is the purpose of your podcast?

 For us, it is all about two things. Firstly, driving people to our website and to buy our book. Secondly, to provide helpful advice, information to parents who need it and to show mums and dads out there that they are not alone and there is stuff they can do to make things less difficult.

Enjoy yourself

You have to speak about a subject you enjoy otherwise this will come through in your podcast. Importantly, you have to enjoy talking otherwise it will never work! Nat and I are both talkers and can talk for hours about nothing so we love podcasting. If you are shy and don’t enjoy talking then podcasting probably isn’t for you.

Jacqueline Lockington and Natalie Cutler-Welsh are authors of book and successful parenting blog, If Only They’d Told MeThey also co-host a weekly podcast of the same name

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