You spend time prepping for the show. You spend time recording the show. You spend even more time uploading and posting the show.
But do you listen to your own Podcast?
More often than not, I get people asking me what they should do to change their show. I also go on the newsgroups, and see people say “Why can’t I get more listeners?” Every time I’ve been approached with this question, I ask them:
“Do you listen to your own show? The WHOLE show?”
More than not, the answer is “no”. Why not? Why are you not your best critic? If you don’t listen to your own ramblings, how do you expect anyone else to do the same?
Listening all the way through
I actually have been slacking on this. Partly because I don’t have a good podcatcher on my Windows Phone. But I try to listen to my audio versions of Day in Tech History and iPad365. Both shows are really only around 8 minutes each, so giving it time during the walk, or while getting ready for the day is important.
Also, try to listen a couple ways. Maybe one episode from the phone, then one from the computer. A higher end set of speakers might bring out some weird noises that a set of headphones can miss.
Here is a Tip: I talked about Stitcher Internet Radio. Put it in your mobile device and set your favorites playlist to include your podcast. That way, you will eventually listen to your show and get the feedback you want.
Are you Subscribed to Your Podcasts on iTunes? Zune?
Don’t listen to all your shows from the one source – make sure you subscribe to iTunes. You may hate iTunes, but if you can load it onto a computer, you should subscribe and download your episodes. That way, you know they are working.
Same thing with Zune. I actually realized last week that 3 shows feeds were not up on Zune. I talked to my friend Rob and found a problem, which was quickly fixed.
Listeners Might Not give Feedback
The main reason why I listen is because I noticed a drop in my Day in Tech History show in the first year. I didn’t know why until I listened to the show. Turned out, the people didn’t complain about the scratchy sound that somehow appeared in my podcast.
When I researched it, I found the audio software I used, I put an effect to compress the vocals a bit. Instead of compressing, the software couldn’t handle the audio and created this sound.
If I wouldn’t have listened, the show audience would have dropped even more. Instead, I was able to continue to get new listeners and grow my show.
Critique Your Own Show
The key is to nit-pick every detail. Every time you stumble, or say “UHHHHHH”. Every time you hear dead air.
I seem to have two words I really try to avoid (but never can). “Alright” and “OK”. Whenever I start talking about something, those two words pop up. I listen and critique every time I say those words.
Get a Podcast Coach
Once you have listened to your own show, you might need pointers from others. You can ask a friend to listen and give critiques. The better thing to do is get someone that will really nit-pick your show.
Whenever I make a mistake on my show, the comments will start to pile up. “What did you say at 3:43?” will most likely be a similar comment. But not all people will do that. So getting someone to listen and tell you what you should look out for is a good idea.
In all, if you were a writer, you would read through your article to make sure no mistakes were made. If you are a podcaster, you should do the same. Don’t expect someone to call you up and say “Dude. Fix it” every time.