The 4 Podcast Production Questions Every Host Must Answer

Ask these 4 podcast production questions before you start a podcast. I am a professional podcast producer, and have worked on many popular podcasts such as My Favorite Murder,  51 First Dates, and TV Camp Fire.

These are the questions I insist all of my clients answer before we begin working together.

1. What is Your Reason for Wanting to Get In To Podcast Production?

The first thing you need to do is establish your goals – what is the reason you want to have a podcast in the first place? “What do you hope to do with this show?”

Is it to spread the word about your small business? Do you intend to monetize directly from your podcast? (you need a lot more than just a podcast to be able to monetize). 

Is your goal to entertain? To help clients? Maximize your reach? Maybe your goal is to keep it small and talk to 100 highly qualified prospective clients.

Some common reasons for having a podcast include

  • to be a part of a newsletter
  • have a higher impact on social media
  • get more outreach among other startups and small businesses
  • lure in more clients using your podcast as proof of your expertise

2. What is Your Podcast About?

“What is the show about?” That is always the second question you must answer.

The topic can be anything. Your strategy can be anything. But you must clearly be able to answer that question quickly if you’re ever going to be able to communicate it to others. Ideally, you should be able to explain what it is about in one sentence.

If you’re struggling to narrow it down succinctly, consider the following three questions.

  • What are you talking about?
  • What is the point of the show?
  • If you’re interviewing people, why?

3. Who is Your Intended Audience and Why Will They Listen to You? 

You’ll need to provide a clear answer to not only who your audience are

pro tip: consider psychographic segmentation, which is a groups motivating beliefs or values

…but you’ll need to give a reason why they would want to listen to you and why they will tune in.

Remember, there are millions of people fighting for your audience’s attention at every given moment of their lives, and their attention is their most valuable commodity. Why will they choose to give it to you?

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Combine your background and personality to discover your unique angle.

For example, I produce a podcast for a comedian with a huge number of followers on Twitter.

Prior to being in comedy, she has been in the tech startup world for all of her adult life. She knows what she’s talking about when it comes to tech and the startup scene, but also happens to be a hilarious person. 

A trick to finding a unique angle is combining different aspects of your life.

This client, the comedian and tech person, started a show where she interviews high-end tech business people who have sold their companies for millions of dollars and are very well known in the startup world and business world.

But she adds her personal flair to it…she doesn’t talk to them about business, what you’d expect to hear them talking about. That’s her angle.

She opens up the whole show with who the person that she’s interviewing is, explaining their fancy credentials, and then bluntly states…I won’t be asking you about any of that shit

So the whole thing is about who that person actually is, but the comedy niche stays true throughout.

Her niche is that she’s interviewing people that have been very successful in the tech startup world. Knowing that she’s going to lean into her comedy chops and try to combine the two worlds of her day job and her comedy, and it’s ended up being an amazingly entertaining and highly successful show. 

Laser-focus in on your audience, answer their questions. Be helpful. Respect what you know, and what you can teach someone else.

Another client of mine is an IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) coach, a life coach, and a social worker. She uses her podcast as a tool to help educate her clients.

As a life coach, she uses her podcast production to help her clients get through the process of bad pregnancies. It’s a very serious and heavy topic. She uses her podcast to speak directly to those who could use her help.

She doesn’t even have any guests, but for each episode she has a specific topic to discuss her knowledge and opinion on. She sends out her podcast to her clients to honestly get them in a better mindset and put them in a better mood, and connect with them by providing herself a resource.

This is why starting with your initial goals and reasons for wanting to get into podcast production in the first place is so important:

The “1,000 True Fans” concept in podcast production. 

Consider the monetization theory that to become a successful creator, you don’t need an endless supply of followers, or million upvotes, or to be a household name that people recognize.

The 1,000 True Fans concept explains that a creator’s wealth comes from the same 1,000 “true fans”, even if the majority of their audience aren’t paying customers at all. 

it’s easier to ask for $10 from a hundred people than it is to borrow a $100 from 10 people

I work with one show where the host was disappointed by their listenership analytics, and that it had slowly been dropping.

We were able to figure out that yes, while on an episode-by-episode basis, she may not be getting as many listens as she did for her earlier episodes, we were able to figure out that she has a solid almost 500 people consistently tuning in to every episode, week in and week out.

It is strongly advised that you understand that 500 consistent listeners who follow you are infinitely more valuable than 5,000 who only loosely care.

4. Should You Hire a Podcast Producer?

Perhaps the biggest thing you need to think of is how time, energy, and work you want to put into your podcast

The two biggest determining factors in succeeding in podcast production

  1. your content needs to be relatable to whoever your audience is
  2. you also need to be very consistent

Most people that want to start a podcast already have a very entrepreneurial spirit and background – they’re willing to do the hard work, but oftentimes don’t realize how much time and energy it actually takes, and they eventually get burnt out. 

And if you get burnt out, then you’re going to lose your consistency and inevitably, you’re going to end up losing your audience that you’ve worked so hard to build.

The single biggest piece of advice I can give is to remain consistent with your production – week in, week out. Even when you feel discouraged, consistency is the #1 thing that determines whether a podcast succeeds or fails.

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What does a podcast producer do? 

It’s very useful to hire a podcast producer, to be able to keep on top of your consistency and your schedules and the reason why you wanted to do the podcast in the first place. Hiring a podcast producer helps you to not have that burnout effect and to be able to stay consistent. 

A good podcast producer can help with scheduling, booking guests, making everything sound good, making everything be cohesive and just making sure the clients stay “in their zone, focusing on doing what they want to be doing, and not doing the things they don’t.”

Distribution and Podcast Production

In addition, a podcast producer will help the client with a lot of the really boring, but important back end stuff like getting your show submitted to Apple, Spotify, and Stitcher, then dealing with the distributing websites to not only make your recording sound professional, but into the ears of your listeners in the first place.

What won’t a podcast producer do? 

About the only thing a typical podcast producer won’t take responsibility for is your artwork and branding. But if you can hire an artist, or know someone who can help you out – a podcast producer should know how to upload that art across the different distribution channels.

The host is also typically responsible for making sure to provide their own show notes and episode descriptions for the producer to do their best work.

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