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life + work + parenthood + COMMUNITY

  • Writer's pictureNana Barratt

What Makes a Good Podcast Host?

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What makes a good podcast host? That's a really subjective question, right? Your reasons for being a good podcast host compared to another host could be completely different. Is it personality-based, experience, the stories you tell, the guests you invite, or technical ability? Truly, you won't know you're good at it until you try.

Here are 5 things we believe make a good podcast host:

1. Know your audience

Before starting a podcast or episode, think about what topics will engage your audience best, and who your target audience is. Consider age range, gender, job type or status, location and trends. For example, a podcast about hacks is a good start, but a episode about quick makeup hacks before work is less broad and targets a specific audience, such as a parent who listens to your podcast while doing the school run before starting work.

2. Know your topic

We're not saying you need to be an expect, but have a rough script or bullet points available to stay on track. If you start diverting away from your topic, your audience could get bored or confused. When you're planning an episode, is there anything you want to talk about specifically? Stay focused and keep your listeners engaged. Also, remember not to fill them with irrelevant information.

3. Be prepared for interviews

Don't know who to invite on your podcast? Look around you! Do you have any family, friends or work colleagues who could participate? You should always choose someone who is a good fit for your podcast. Even if your youngest child wants to join your podcast, (and despite being awfully adorable) are you sure they will benefit the podcast?

Equally, if you have a guest in mind, do your homework! It's always a good idea to send a rough draft of the episode, such as your own script or bullet points, and questions to your guest. It also helps to give them a schedule of what to expect. Make sure your guests are comfortable before you hit the record button. You may even need to arrange a backup guest or plan in case they cancel last minute.

4. Keep up-to-date with trends (and remember SEO)

SEO means "search engine optimization". Use keywords people often search online in your episode title and descriptions to get more listeners. Ubersuggest is a popular keyword tool that lets you search trending domains, topics, phrases and general words that you can apply to your podcast, and it even shows how many people are searching a specific keyword. Using popular apps like Twitter help you find out what's trending globally, but overall, just having an intriguing title that gets your point across is what draws in a big audience.

5. Be yourself

While it may be tempting to use a completely false persona of yourself, don't! Fans may eventually catch on, so it's much more important to stay true to yourself. Talk about topics you are passionate about, and don't try to be controversial or outgoing if you don't need to be. If you act like yourself, you'll seem much more authentic and be able to connect with your audience better.

What do you think being a good podcast host means?

Check out Jill's podcast Two Kids and A Career.

Deanna (or "Nana Barratt") is an MA Creative and Media Enterprises graduate from the University of Warwick. She previously studied Popular Music, but decided to take a different career path into writing. She now writes about music, the TV and film industry, and East-Asian culture, and gives student advice and lifestyle tips.

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