How to make a podcast better?

The podcast will improve based on clear feedback and iteration. But often feedback is given on a lot of different individual factors that are unnecessary.

1. Foundations

The most important feedback is the theme, concept and "thread" of the podcast itself. Is the topic, the way it is handled and the person handling it chosen correctly? If any of these are wrong, the whole podcast will leak and you can't fix it by improving the aesthetics of the pod or inviting better guests to the studio. So it is very important to clearly define the following: 

  • What's it like the podcast we do, why and for whom
  • What is the subject matter of the podcast, or in what framework does it operate?
  • In what format will the podcast take place: monologue, dialogue, audio documentary, or something else
  • Who hosts the podcast and for what reason? How is the host/speaker aligned with the topics covered and the overall concept? 

You should not start recording a podcast until you have these foundations in place.

2. Walls

Once the foundations of the podcast are in place and there is no more constructive feedback on point 1, you can move on to the next category of feedback. In this category, we consider who to invite into the studio as guests and how to interview them. What tone of voice is used, is it relaxed or serious, energetic or strategically languid?

The issues in section 2 are categorically "content aesthetics", which can be modified as the series continues. Rethinking these things does not negatively affect the listener, i.e. the listener still knows what the series is about. These aspects will evolve as the series progresses and that is perfectly acceptable. The presenter finds his voice and his own way of doing things. 

3. Roof

This category includes the overall aesthetics of the podcast, such as cover art, soundscapes and other collateral production. These aspects are unlikely to kill the series, but they don't make it super-popular either. They are what are known as details. These details are nice to discuss, but they should only be given the weight they deserve.

The content and substance is more important than how an interlude sounds. Optimising this sector should be left for last, so that energy is focused on the right things at the right time. 

This is just one hierarchical system for evaluating pods, but in 90% of cases it works very well. It helps you prioritise and structure your podcast feedback, soliciting feedback and improving your series for the better. A leaking roof doesn't make a house worthless, but a poorly built foundation does. 

PS. No podcast is ever perfect, so don't fall into excessive perfectionism. Especially during the planning process.

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