I know the British weather is trying to convince us otherwise but it is spring right now in the UK. No really it is.
And with spring comes the traditional spring clean. Although according to Wikipedia I’m a bit late because it’s meant to be done in March. We’ll ignore that little detail…
I’m currently spring cleaning my house in preparation for THE HOUSE MOVE and I’ve booked the second skip of the year to make sure there’s no excuse for not getting rid of stuff that I no longer need, no longer want and no longer serves me well.
Anything that is broken and can’t be mended, anything that doesn’t fit me and anything that just isn’t right for me will not be moving to the new house.
This got me thinking about my podcast and how it could probably do with a bit of a spring clean. An opportunity to open the windows and let some fresh air in, dust away the dust, vacuum up the mess and throw away anything that isn’t working.
So how am I spring cleaning my podcast?
Check the foundations are still in place
First I’m going back to the beginning (as Julie Andrews says, it’s a very good place to start.)
I’ve got my copy of my Podcast Planning Toolkit and I’m going to go through the first chapter (which incidentally you can get for free here). I’m going to ask myself those foundation setting questions to see if they still apply.
Why am I starting a podcast - Because I want to be the authority when it comes to business podcasts.
What is my podcast about - It’s about starting, maintaining and growing a podcast for your business that people want to listen to.
What is the format of your podcast - It’s normally me on my own talking to you. Sometimes where appropriate I bring on guests to share their knowledge.
How long will the episodes be - As long as they are interesting
How often will I publish - Weekly, ongoing. Boy I wish it was in series though.
Who do I want to listen to the podcast - Business owners ready to invest and start their own podcast for their business. They are full of ideas but need a bit of help making those ideas sing!
Why should they choose me? - I am a business owner so I understand the rollercoaster that is business owner life. I have many years experience working in radio and podcasting. I’ve produced my own podcasts as well as podcasts for clients including charities, CICs, big national business and coaches. I know what works and I know what sounds good.
I am also very funny. Just saying in case you hadn’t noticed.
What does success look like for me - for me it’s getting sales. As I said last week this podcast is sponsored by me so it’s a way for me to reach out to potential clients and form a relationship with them.
These answers are not too different to the ones that I answered back when I first worked through the toolkit (although it wasn’t called the toolkit then - it was just my process that I do).
There have been changes along the way. I originally thought I’d be talking more about the podcast industry but actually I have much more fun sharing my knowledge about how to podcast than I do talking about the industry. There are some great podcasts that do that - by the way I thoroughly recommend Podnews by James Cridland - it’s a daily podcast about podcasts and it’s where I get a lot of my podcast industry news from.
So I’m happy with my foundations, what needs a shake down now?
Check in on your stats
At this point it’s useful looking at your analytics to help get an overview of what’s working and what’s not.
You can find out all sorts of data about your podcast through the analytics provided by your host (so for me that’s Captivate), along with checking out the stats Apple Podcasts Connect, Spotify for Podcasters and Google Podcasts Manger all provide.
The analytics from your host will be useful for the number of listeners, the number of listens, where your listeners are based and how they are listening to your podcast. I’ll talk about why that’s important in a couple of weeks.
Through the different platforms you’ll get a bit of extra data such as how long listeners are listening to for (on each platform individually). And on Spotify you can get some interesting age and gender data as well as what music your listeners are streaming.
So yes I know you like a bit of Taylor Swift… I’m not judging you.
And Google podcasts has a great tool for you to see how people are discovering your podcast in Google - so you get the search terms people are putting in to get your podcast come up in the results.
For me over the last 90 days it's been podcast cover art questions that are sending you my way. Hello!
So with this in mind I can see where people are dropping out of my episodes and decide if I need to change something to keep people for longer. Or indeed keep doing something if people are staying!
Is there a pattern in the drop out point?
Are people listening to certain episodes more than others? Why are they hitting home? What can you do to capitalise on this? What can you do to make your other episodes hit the same mark?
These are all questions to consider and answer and build upon.
Check in on your podcast elements and format
Once I’ve decided what’s working and not working when it comes to topics and past episodes I’m going to look at the elements and structure of my podcast.
What do I mean by that?
Well the structure is pretty obvious - how does my podcast fit together? What are its building blocks?
There’s the intro which contains the welcome to Turn Up The Volume On Your Voice by my superb voice over (that’s my sister. She’s made me say that.) and then the bit that I talk about who I am. Then we have the bop bop bit (genuinely that is saved as bop bop bop on my computer). Then it’s me chatting away about whatever I’m talking about followed by the thank you and follow me on social media.
It’s not complex but it seems to be working according to the data.
But data is not everything and I think it’s absolutely time for a shake up and refresh of certainly my introduction and maybe the format as a whole. They’ve not changed for more than a year and if it’s starting to bore me there’s a danger it’s starting to bore you too.
So keep your ears open for a new intro next week! The new format will not happen before the house move. Assuming the house move ever happens.
You might want to refresh your podcast music, sound effects, update your cover art, update your logos. This is all doable - things such as cover art though can take a while to be fully updated in your RSS feed so you can expect to wait at least 24 hours before you see anything change.
Check in with your listeners
I love feeling part of the podcasts I listen to and one really great way to make your listeners feel part of the community and help keep them listening is to ask them what they like (and don’t like) about the podcast.
I know feedback isn’t always easy to take. There are absolutely times when I would rather do an hour of hill sprints rather than spend 5 minutes looking at feedback. BUT knowing what your listeners want is essential to your podcast.
This doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time and effort on your part or your listeners part but asking them to fill out a quick survey about your podcast is a really good way to get insights about what they think. And teamed up with the data you’ve got from analytics it’s doubly useful.
Send out a google forms link and away you go. I bet you get ideas you’ve never thought of coming back.
Assess your podcast workflow
My workflow looks a bit like this - I do quarterly planning for the topics I’m going to talk about on my podcast and then I spend one day a week working on the research, the blog, the podcast and all social media related to it.
I know what’s coming up over the next few weeks so I know if I see something that relates to those podcast topics I can save it to my podcast Trello board.
I actually send anything podcast interesting to my Trello board, otherwise I will forget about it.
But I’m not sure my workflow is working as well as it could. Again after the move I am going to take a look at how I’m working and what I want to change.
At the moment recording the day before publishing is too stressful and quite often I miss out doing the really important stuff of - TELLING PEOPLE ABOUT MY PODCAST! Yes, the social media posts which are generated from this podcast don’t get done. And I am utterly foolish for doing this.
It's so important to keep an eye on what your podcast is doing, how it sounds and understanding if something needs changing.
And maybe don't do it just as a spring clean but a quarterly clean.
By identifying issues quickly you can make sure your podcast doesn’t stagnate or stall.