Create Immediate Podcast Success by Using an Alternative format and a Captive Audience

Podcasting is becoming a vital part of establishing an online presence. You can spread your message, establish your credibility as an expert, and increase rapport with your audience. And if you build a large platform, there’s always the possibility of generating income from advertising.



Episode 42 - Create Immediate Podcast Success by Using an Alternative format and a Captive Audience

by Roger Reid


Podcasting is becoming a vital part of establishing an online presence. You can spread your message, establish your credibility as an expert, and increase rapport with your audience. And if you build a large platform, there’s always the possibility of generating income from advertising.

Over the last few months, I’ve received so many questions about the nuts and bolts of podcasting that I’ve decided to dedicate an episode to it. And while we’ll begin with a very brief discussion of equipment, software, hosting, and an overview of how a podcast is put together, the real value –at least for those who decide to try it t, will be found in a relatively untapped nitch market that is ripe for podcast success. It has a built-in audience that’s easy to access and provides the opportunity for recognition and success in a very short period of time.  And even if you have no plans to start a podcast, I encourage you to stay with me, because the ideas I present in the second half of this episode can be used to enhance your professional reputation and increase recognition, whether you use a newsletter, a training course, a daily tip or motivational quote delivered by text or email. So even if you don’t decide to create a podcast, there’s a good chance you’ll find a way to use the concept of using an alternative content format and a captive audience to enhance some aspect of your business or professional profile.

Hey, welcome back. This is Roger Reid with another episode of Successpoint360.

If you’re non-technical or have no experience with building an audio file, the idea of starting a pod can be overwhelming. Yes, there’s always the option of hiring a third party to take care of the editing and distribution, but for those on a budget, the learning curve to do it yourself is very reasonable.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started.

For a basic equipment setup, you’ll need a microphone and a method to record and edit an episode. I’ve read articles that downplay the need for dedicated hardware and software, telling readers they can create, edit, and distribute their shows on a smartphone. Yeah, good luck with that.

If your podcast has to compete with the approximately two million other shows that are already out there. It all comes down to your intentions. If you want to do a podcast with an audience that’s limited to your family and friends, then production quality isn’t a priority. But if your intentions include using your podcast as a business tool — to generate income, increase your notoriety, or validate your position within an industry — you’ll need to make a reasonable investment in equipment.

And keep in mind that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get started.

I’ve heard plenty of excellent podcasts produced with consumer-grade equipment, which tends to prove the point that learning how to maximize the quality from medium and even low-end mics is far more important than going into debt to buy a thousand-dollar broadcast microphone.

As an example, I’ll give you a brief description of what I use to put this podcast together:

Two Shure M58 mics.

A Yamaha MG10XU mixer board ($210.00)

A Zoom H6 six channel recorder ($330.00 — you can save $100 by using the H4 model)

And for editing, I use Audacity software (free)

Anticipating the question that I know some of you are already asking . . . Since this is a solo podcast, meaning that I’m the only speaker, why do I need two microphones? It’s based on an old broadcasting trick I learned when I was working as a radio announcer. Back then, using the mixed output from two mics produced more consistent intonation and smoother frequency response. But the biggest advantage I found was that by using two mics, I produced a bigger sound. Granted, with current microphone technology, it’s a personal idiosyncrasy, and certainly not necessary. But if you want to beef up your voice with a real sense of presence, try doubling up on your mics.

I use two Shure M58’s, and they run about $100 each.

Regardless of which microphone you choose, put a wind/pop screen in front of it. You’ll have less cleanup to do in editing.

Next, you’re going to need Hosting

This is where your episodes are stored and distributed to consumers through phone apps, like Spotify, Stitcher, Google podcasts, ITunes, etc.

I chose a company called, Castos because they offer unlimited storage, so there’s never a charge for exceeding some arbitrary limit. They also offer a WordPress plugin to upload the finished files, so if you use WordPress for your website, Castos is a natural.

Next, you’re going to need a name for your podcast

It’s important to make the title as specific as possible. If you plan to review woodworking equipment, you might try, “Woodworking Techniques, with Tom Jones.” You can also add a secondary title that infers a high degree of credibility, “Your Woodworking Guru,” or something equally specific.

If you’re well on your way to becoming a well-known author or celebrity, you can get away with a more obscure title, as long as your name is prominent on the cover art.

For example, Seth Godin’s podcast is called “Akimbo.” I’ve heard him explain the relationship between the word akimbo (the crook of the arm) and the typical content on his pod, but it’s a pretty vague connection. And yet, he can do it — because he’s Seth.

As you begin putting the details together to get your pod online, you’re going to hear the term, Artwork.

This serves the same purpose as an album cover. You want to grab the attention of potential listeners while conveying an idea of what your pod is about. This can be any combination of graphics, photographs, and text that displays the title, and a secondary title (if necessary), and your name.

Presenting an eye-catching, professionally produced cover for your pod is essential if you want to stand out on a page that displays fifty other podcasts. There are lots of sources for creating cover art (try Fiverr), but the specifications are straightforward, and anyone who is proficient with graphics software should be able to produce an acceptable cover. In my case, I created mine with Microsoft Publisher.

Your next choice is very important, so I encourage you to spend some time thinking about your format

Are you going to do a hosted show with the episode content determined or driven by the guest? Or do you plan to do a solo show, presenting content you’ve personally prepared?

If you’ve been listening to this podcast for any length of time, you know I decided to go with a solo format. I had lots of content based on personal experience, and I wanted to explore some very specific subjects before incorporating guests on the show.

So far, I’m still using my own material, and the show continues to attract new listeners.

But I’m also researching an interesting alternative to live guest interviews that podcasters like Malcolm Gladwell have used with very positive results. I call it a hybrid format, and it involves editing sound bites from people who are either experts or can provide personalized recollections of a specific event. It increases the amount of post-production work, but the subject and the content remains host-driven — and the finished episode is far more interesting.

Let’s talk about the alternative format. And if you decide to go with a hosted format, you’ll need guests.

After you’ve established an audience, you can solicit “name” guests – people that your audience will recognize by name. But when you’re just starting out — and you’re relatively unknown — consider asking business owners or professionals who are involved in an industry-aligned with the theme or subject of your pod.

You can also ask other podcasters who are also in the beginning stages of production to guest on your show. You can piggyback on each other’s marketing efforts to build an audience, as well as cross-promote each other’s show.

Another consideration you’ll need to think about is your show’s format.

Many podcasts are what is called “long-form,” and it’s not unusual for a long-form episode to take up as much as a third or more of the listener’s time with back-and-forth patter about the weather, family drama, recent vacations, and other personal odds-and-ends before finally getting to the scheduled subject.

The idea of a long-form pod is to give listeners the impression they’re eavesdropping on a personal conversation.

My opinion? It wastes the listener’s time and does a disservice to the audience. I’ve unsubscribed from dozens of long-form pods simply because I don’t have the time to wade through all the irrelevant, boring rhetoric to hear the few gems I was looking for.

As far as your content goes, if you’re comfortable “winging it” and can think on your feet, you can probably get by with a set of notes to keep you on track and on time. The alternative is a scripted production. In my case, I start with a rough script – I suppose you could call it more of an outline, and then I’m always deviating from the script to add examples, personal recollections, or more detail when I think it’s called for.

And as a side note, scripted pods are very common and are used by some of the very best podcasters including Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, and most of the podcasters produced by Pushkin Industries. So if you’re just starting out and you’re worried about losing your train of thought, or you tend to drift off-topic, try using some form of a script. It will keep your presentation focused and on target.

The next point is important….. You need to maintain a consistent publishing schedule.

And that means determining your schedule and sticking with it. Podcasters who do a couple of episodes then disappear for three weeks, then come back with another episode, never establish a stable — and growing — audience.

If you’re going to do a weekly show, choose a consistent release day. For example, my show comes out every Tuesday. Listeners know that, and every Tuesday, they check their podcast app for a new episode.

And if you choose to segment your episodes into seasons, tell your audience when you’ve reached the last episode of the current season, followed by the date when the next season starts. If you just disappear without letting them know you’re taking a break, they’ll think you’re gone for good.

And as a final note on putting your podcast together, you’ll want to invite your listeners to submit questions and comments.

I use a voicemail tab in the main header of the home page of the website. It uses a WordPress widget, called, Speakpipe. If you want to see what it looks like, go to and click on the voicemail tab. And you want to experience it from the perspective of the audience, you’re welcome to send me a test message – just note that you’re testing the widget, so I’m not concerned about missing content or a message that doesn’t make sense.

Now, I realize this is a very abbreviated and basic overview of what’s needed to create your own podcast. So if you have questions about any part of the process, shoot me an email or use the voicemail tab on the website, and I’ll do my best to provide an answer or opinion based on what has worked for me in producing this podcast.

Let’s move on to the second half of the episode and discuss what I’ve found to be a relatively untapped opportunity in podcasting . . .

I mentioned earlier that there are over two million podcasts currently online, which means the medium is already becoming crowded. And when you factor the number of new shows that are being introduced every day against the limited listening time of the average podcast consumer, it becomes obvious that the chances of a new podcast finding an audience are getting smaller every day. It’s simply the result of the supply outpacing demand.

But before you get discouraged, I want you to know about a relatively untapped podcasting opportunity. And it’s one that can bring you almost immediate success and recognition — if you’re willing to consider an alternative format and audience.

First, I’m going to talk about it from the perspective of being an employee, working for a large organization. If that’s not your situation, my suggestions are still viable, especially if you’re a business owner or entrepreneur with an existing customer base.

In a nutshell, I’m talking about distributing up-to-date information about some aspect of your business or profession directly to customers, suppliers, and when it’s appropriate, the general public.

For example, If you’re in sales, you can talk about presentation techniques and communication skills. If you work in a technical field, you can provide updates, shortcuts, and new applications for the products and services you design, sell, or install.

And your audience?

They are the employees of the company you work for, including your co-workers and, ideally, your customers. If you work for a manufacturer, you can include the entire distribution and wholesale network. In the case of a Fortune 500 company, this can be hundreds of companies and thousands of employees.

And here’s the best part . . .

They’re a captive audience. And because the content relates to their livelihood, there’s an inherent motivation to put the company’s podcast at the top of their must-listen-to list.

But don’t think a company-oriented podcast is going to be an automatic slam-dunk. You still have to provide solid, useful information presented in an interesting format. Otherwise, management (and even your co-workers) may suggest you spend your time doing something else.

If you need a suggestion for a workable format, start by setting a total podcast length of 12 to 15 minutes. Unlike many of the long-form public podcasts, you’re not going to spend a lot of time talking about the weather, the traffic, or how your son nailed the weekend little league game. A company podcast is about trading time for value — and that’s exactly how company management will measure its importance and impact. That means you’ll need to keep the value high, and the time required to consume it low.

And remember that your first impression is everything!

You’ll need to establish the merit of your podcast right out of the gate. Certainly, you can use the analytics usually provided by the hosting company for feedback, but the best indicator of value to the listener is their feedback. So as I mentioned before, be sure you ask for input, suggestions, and questions at the beginning and end of the podcast.

There’s nothing more impressive than a growing pile of testimonials to validate your work. It confirms the depth of your influence, making you and your content more visible to upper management, again, assuming you’re an employee.

So, what’s the best way to format the content of an internal business podcast? Try including two or three main points, then add an interesting side-thought or suggestion that can help solve a problem, save time, or increase productivity. And if the idea was suggested or originated by others, be sure to give them credit.

And just a word about language . . . I would avoid any kind of profanity. Keep it G rated. And always keep the tone professional but friendly. The real key to establishing a large audience with this type of pod is to make your presentation style complementary to the general attitude or mindset of your industry — for example, that might mean taking a conservative approach for an old-line industrial manufacturer, or you may want to go casual and even holistic for a high-tech startup — But keep in mind that it’s up to you to make it interesting, entertaining, and informative. Because you don’t want listeners to think of your podcast as boring, stuffy, or overly structured.

If you’re still not sure what content to include, here are a few ideas:

Start out with an update on the general state of the industry, including any financial or business news, then add an update on your company’s new products or services. After your main points, follow up with a suggestion for personal development.

If you have an opportunity to include a short interview with an industry leader, definitely include it, but if you really want to build personal leverage into your podcast, solicit interviews from your company’s team leaders and supervisors.

Asking them to contribute to the pod’s content means you’re approaching them as experts, which often results in their opinion of you — both personally and professionally — going through the roof, because you’ve cast them in the role of a leader.

And if you decide to have guests, always give them suggestions for their input, based on what you want to cover in each episode.

You can always begin with a basic intro of how they got their start in the industry, then follow up with questions:

For example, What recommendations they can make to increase personal productivity?

What do they perceive as the biggest challenges in the upcoming year, and what three suggestions can they offer to help overcome them?

Finally, ask them for the single most important message they would like to pass along to your listeners.

This “interview” portion can be a repeating segment with the same individual, especially if it’s someone from the C-suite, the owner, or a member of the board.

Just remember, that including interviews in your format will increase the amount of production time. You’ll need to schedule, record, and edit this conversational content. So before deciding to include interviews, make sure you have the time to devote to editing this kind of format.

I previously mentioned keeping your episode length to ten to fifteen minutes, which means you’ll need to move through the material quickly. Don’t get bogged down with content that’s overly technical, repetitive, or off-topic. I know you may be tempted to tell your audience about your trip to the Bahamas or your daughter’s recent scholarship award, but don’t do it. This kind of podcast isn’t the place for time-wasting chatter about the weather, your neighbor’s constantly barking dog, or the new flavor of bagel you tried on the way to work.

We’re talking about a business-to-business podcast, and there’s a fine line between irrelevant chit-chat and rapport-building. Yes, you want to connect with your audience, but if you want management to encourage employees to listen to the pod — especially during business hours — less is more. So keep your personal life out of the mix.

And just because you’re creating a podcast for in-house distribution doesn’t mean your delivery and production values should be of any less quality than a pod produced for a general audience. That means a professional intro (no longer than five to eight seconds, including the voice-over), and an outro consisting of an invitation for comments and questions, an acknowledgment of those who contributed to the content and/or production, and any necessary legal disclosures required by management, the HR department, or the corporate lawyers.

When it’s time to consider a distribution vehicle, you may be tempted to use the company’s internal email list. But if your audience is going to include customers, suppliers, and influences, you want the advantage of universal distribution and availability.

And that means you’ll going to have to decide if the podcast is going to be private or public

If private — restricted to employees, for example — your hosting service should provide a means to “privatize” your pod with a password.

Conversely, keeping your podcast public, means it will also be available to your competition, and that may place restrictions on the depth and detail of your content. Regardless of your personal opinion of what constitutes a “suitable” audience, don’t make this decision yourself. Let your supervisor or manager decide.

So how do you sell the concept to management? The best way to start is to create a beta episode

Incorporate the same format and production values you plan to use for the actual podcast. Deliver the episode, then ask for feedback and suggestions. The more management has to do with determining the content, the more invested they’ll be in the pod’s long-term success.

And just like initiating any internal communication, start with your immediate supervisor

She can endorse and recommend your podcast to her manager who, in turn, can send it up the bureaucratic ladder for final approval. And yes, this means you’ll probably need to incorporate a few changes along the way to placate personal opinions, agendas, and idiosyncrasies. But being flexible and incorporating their suggestions will increase the chances of receiving not only their approval but also their support and recognition for your work.

I’ll bring this episode to a close by letting you know that I receive no compensation from any company or service mentioned in this article — my recommendations are based on my personal experience.

Hey, that’s it for this episode. If you have questions or comments, you can email an audio file to, or go to the website,  and click on the voicemail tab in the main header. And of course, you’re always welcome to use plain old email.

Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next time.

© 2021, Roger A. Reid, All Rights Reserved

 For more information about the author, his work, or to subscribe to this podcast, visit

Be sure and check out my new book now available on Amazon in eBook. It’s titled Better Mondays: The New Rules for Creating Financial Success and Personal Freedom (While Working For the Man)

I’ve lowered the price for the Kindle version, so if you or someone you know is struggling with a job that doesn’t provide anything more than a paycheck, or you’re ready to use your employer as a launching pad to start your own business, you’ll find the tools you need to take control of your professional success and to change your life for the better.

You can find more information on my website, I’ve posted the first chapter on the site as a free read, so I encourage you to take a look.