With the wealth of content being produced each and everyday, podcasters and producers nationwide are looking for ways to stand out. Everyone wants to create the next big thing. Companies want to have the next big “True Crime” Podcast, but also want to be ahead of the curve. How can you make your podcast stand out?
If you are not a major celebrity, you need to make sure that your podcast has a focused premise. It’s simply not enough to “talk about movies” or “talk about sports” if you are attempting to break into the industry.
The comedy podcast “How Did This Get Made?” at its core is simply a movie podcast, however the premise is that they dissect terrible movies. They ensure that it is an interactive experience, telling you to watch the movie before the episode comes out creating inside jokes with the audience. How Did This Get Made, even set up a phone line for fans to call in about certain movies. Think outside of the box, come up with a great name, a unique idea, and capture people’s attention.
Now you’ve come up with your amazing premise, how do you convey this message to the public? Designing your logo is the first step in branding your podcast. I follow the law of KISS: “Keep It Simple Stupid!” Podcasters first instinct is to plaster their face onto the logo, recognition is important, but not too important for a start-up podcast (it’s an audio medium).
Design something attention grabbing and simple, look for a play on words, get cute with it. I have the tendency to prefer vibrant colors, bright orange, neon green, fluorescent pink, but that’s my brand. If you’re more of a black and white type of podcaster, make sure your logo reflects that.
Along with branding and logos comes social media presence, keep everything in the same lane. There is no reason to tweet about the NFL if you are a music podcast, there is no reason to shoehorn your podcast into spaces it does not belong. Be advantageous and speak with intent.
Once again, this is an audio medium. What does your podcast sound like? Highly produced shows utilize room noise, sound bytes, and ambiance to rope people in. Every podcast has an intro and familiar noises associated with the show.
Political podcast “Chapo Trap House” utilizes sound effects from Nintendo’s Yoshi, along with beautiful wind chimes, and a wild bass drop into a Gucci Mane trap beat. Their intro is phenomenal. The Bodega Boys podcast often starts out with a brief bit of topical improv, followed by the hosts screaming “Do the drop” to a producer who blasts their music.
Sound goes far beyond the intro music, what types of noises do you want your audience to hear? A podcast is meant to be more than “people talking” consider that you are producing a work of art. Think about what you sound like, consider your delivery, and how a new listener will imagine you.
Tone ties into both branding and sound. In my productions I tend to have a harsher tone than most. My voice is harsh, I’m from Philadelphia, my cadence is a tad more aggressive than a podcaster from Portland or Idaho. When I say tone, I’m also talking about the actual tone of your voice. NPR has done an amazing job at establishing their tone as soft, intelligent, and snarky. There is never any yelling on an NPR podcast. The tone is measured and intentional.
If you’re making a joke, ensure that a stranger can tell that you’re kidding. Set a tone that works for you. Stand-up comedians, who dominate the podcast space, do an impeccable job of using tone to tell a story – learn from them.
These pieces should all be self serving, if you have a harsh tone, use your branding to take the edge off. If your sound is complex, maybe balance it out with a simple premise. There are a million different options to make sure your podcast stands out from the rest, be measured and speak with intent.