Like a lot of things podcasting is a mix of art and science. That’s one reason the broadcasting field of which podcasting is one part is known both as Communications Technology and Media Arts — at the same time. On one hand there are definite, determinable answers. On the other guesses and judgment calls. On the one side technology. On the other the human equation.
So what is the art of podcasting?
What parts of podcasting qualify as art?
In this article I’m going to identify five different elements of podcasting that are more art than science. That are more judgment call than determination. Five elements where you can be wrong and you can be right — at the same time.
- Picking a format for the podcast
There are a number of different formats that you can choose for your podcast. To make matters worse you can even change formats for every podcast. Yes, you can ask your audience what they think. You can even get smart and ask your non-audience members. But ultimately, it comes down to making a decision. To picking the format that you like best.
- Determining the length of the podcast
Podcasts do have a perfect length. It’s called short. But what that means is anyone’s guess. Some podcasts run 5 minutes. Some run 15 minutes. Some a half hour. A few last for an hour. Some go longer. The truth is the proper length is whatever makes your audience happiest. And while you can ask them — and the people who’ve left you, the ultimate decision is going to be yours. And it’s going to be arbitrary and based on your best guess.
- Picking topics for your podcast
Each week you’re going to need to pick a topic for your podcast. Or you may need to pick a theme and a number of related topics. Yes, you can — and should — ask your customers what topics would interest them. But ultimately you’re going to have to guess at what topics they will be interested in. Guess right and you’re a hero. Guess wrong and you’re the goat. But either way, it’s going to be a guess.
- Picking guests for your podcast
One of the neat things about podcasts is that you don’t always have to do the work. One of the most powerful formats is the interview. While you don’t have to write the interview, you will have to pick the theme, topic and the person you will interview. And picking one that your audience will appreciate can be tricky.
- Performance (Recording your podcast).
The final piece of art in your podcast (at least in this list), is your performance itself. The way you talk. The words you use. The attitude you project. Ultimately you need to be honest to yourself because that is the only thing you can be certain of.