How To Design Your Podcast Format?

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Welcome to the KULT Kreator Experience, successful content creation to build powerful connections, a podcast designed to help passionate experts and entrepreneurs launch a podcasting platform, successfully build a following and become industry leaders.


Hi, I’m Matt and I’m the founder of KULT Media and the host of this podcast. I’ll be sharing my experience and insights from over 15 years of content creation, and along the way, I’ll be seeking out other KULT Kreators to learn from their wisdom and expertise.


And in this first series, I’m sharing my process of content creation. We’re continuing on from where we left off in the last episode, working our way through the Coach step of the KULT Kreator Experience.

Today, we look at the Product phase and in this, we start to develop our ideas into something tangible, a podcast format we can go on to bring to life in the next step, which is to create. I’ll be asking you questions, like what does your listener need or want? What does that episode format look like? What are you going to promise your audience?


Before we hit the drawing boards and deep dive into designing your product, please take a second to follow us on Instagram @kult.media and on your podcasting app of choice.


Right, onto the final phase of my Coach step: Product.


By now we should have shored up who you are, why you want to be a KULT Kreator & podcaster, who you want to collaborate with and who your audience avatar is. Now, what the hell are you going to create for them?


Most experts and entrepreneurs know exactly what they offer to their clients and their followers. But have the first two phases of the KULT Kreator Experience open your eyes to something different or better?

Maybe in the Personal phase, you found out that you want to work with a particular type of person that you traditionally haven’t been marketing to. Or in the People phase doing your market research, you discovered what your potential customers or audience are already consuming. And I’ll give you a good example of this.


I know someone that was convinced that they needed to do live videos. Q&A videos that would then become a podcast and a video for their YouTube channel. But what they realized was, despite their hate of doing live videos, is that their audience doesn’t really show up to watch them, and they watched them all back afterwards and normally in audio-only form.

Now, I’m all for getting outside your comfort zone, but not when it can become an excuse for inaction or cause unnecessary pain. So in this example, we would recommend that they just produce a podcast. They don’t need the whole live video thing. If it’s going to be a reason to not do it, don’t do it.

Or you might have thought that you need to offer an interview show to offer value to your listeners. But in reality, you as the host are the value. You’re the reason people tune in and they want your opinion. You don’t have to waste your time and other people’s time creating an interview show when really, what you need is a solo show to get your experience and wisdom out into the world.


So again, by utilising the information we’ve gained in the Personal phase, who you want to work with, what problems you want to solve and how you want to solve them, we combine that with the People phase and we understand who wants this, what they are already consuming and how they consume that media.


So in this podcast, I’m going to share with you some of my product guidelines, and these are the outline of styles of content that you could create to help you decide what’s best for your audience and for you. This has got to be not frictionless, but it’s got to be relatively enjoyable. If you are really, really hating this content creation process, stop, and find someone to help you. Yeah, life’s too short.


Media Types

So let’s jump into it. First of all, I’m going to start with media types. And I’m going to split media types into four really simple categories: video, audio, imagery and written. And we can sort of assume from that we say YouTube, podcasting, Instagram and blogging.

However, I believe that you will be using elements of all of these different types of media in podcast creation, YouTube channel creation, even in a blog, you’ll probably want the imagery to go with it and you might support it with some social media videos or some audio content.

So let’s start with the first medium, and that is video. And this doesn’t have to be a YouTube channel, it could be educational videos, it could be onboarding videos, it could be review videos for your team and your staff.


The power of video is that it is incredibly engaging. It gives the viewer something to watch and listen to, and you can put up text and graphics within your video. And this makes video incredibly powerful for repurposing too.

You can take the audio from a video if the sound quality is recorded to a good standard that is, and turn it into a podcast or even just an audio memo. It doesn’t have to be a broadcast podcast, it could be something you just send around in an email. You can turn a video into a blog incredibly easy, you can have it transcribed, you can have a series of videos and turn them into a book from the transcription, and you can cut them down and make social media. And you can take stills which can be used for your blogs.


So why aren’t we all doing video? Well, video in my opinion is a little bit more effort than the other three mediums. It can be expensive to get the right look. And I think that video looks awful when it doesn’t look good. You know, there is a happy medium to what your audience expects and what your budget is and how much time you have to invest in it. And with video, it is perceived as quite hard to change. Once you’ve made a video, changing some bits in it, swap some bits out, is not particularly easy. So that’s the video. Onto the next medium.


My favourite obviously, is audio. Now, this is podcasting, audio books, it could be events or live streams, radio, and I think audio is the content marketer’s secret weapon. It is cheap, it is highly editable and it packs almost as much repurposing clout as video. Now, when I say highly editable, I mean, there’s nothing on screen to hide. We don’t need to hide cuts, we don’t need to worry about the image moving. It’s incredibly easy to edit. If we want to remove a breath, we remove the breath. If we want to remove a stumble, remove a stumble. You have no idea the edits are there when it’s audio-only. And when I say repurposing clout, just beyond repurposing videos into smaller videos, you can get all of the same content out of a podcast.


You can transcribe it, you can turn it into e-books, you can find key quotes and make those into social media, you can create blogs from it. And the thing about audio is it can be technical, but it’s nowhere near as technical as video. There is still a little bit of an investment in learning the technology and understanding how to use it effectively.


And the thing about audio as well, is it respects the audience attention and time investment. Asking someone to watch a video limits when they can watch a video. You should not be driving and watching a video, but you could be driving and listening to a podcast. So by using audio-only, have we increased our audience size?


Now, the argument someone might make here is that the engagement isn’t as good and people engage more with video in terms of comments and likes and impressions. But I think with audio, if you can get it anywhere, at any time, this is the medium to work in.


Now onto my third media type, and that’s imagery.


Imagery is quicker to make. You can just take a photo, upload it. Brilliant! And that means it makes a quick impression and this makes it easier to design. You can do it on the spot, or you can think it through a little bit more and go and find the right shot. But the thing about imagery alone, is it can lack detail.

Now I used to live with a guy that wouldn’t send text messages, he would just send a photo of something, and we would have to deduce from this photo, what he was showing us. Was it that the dishes were dirty in the sink or was it that the sink doesn’t unblock? We just don’t know.


So you will need a caption, you will need to describe. And the thing about imagery as well, if we use Instagram for an example, is it can be quick to overlook. We’ve seen people scrolling or doom scrolling, as they say, spinning through those photos. They aren’t taking a minute to understand why you’ve taken that photo and what the composition is, what story does it tell? So it requires a little bit of creativity to stand out using imagery alone.


And onto our fourth media type, and that is written content. Now, the great thing about written content is that pretty much anyone can do it. It’s incredibly cheap and you can be very, very detailed. But sometimes, it’s considered not very engaging alone.


I know a lot of book readers out there would say, use your imagination, but we’re positioning this for experts and entrepreneurs and small businesses and creatives, to get their message out into the world, to tell people what they’re trying to accomplish, what their purpose is, what their vision is. And this doesn’t normally involve people considering creative writing, creating a hook and telling a story.


Well, so with written, it might be considered not very accessible. Again, you cannot drive and read a blog. And with written content only, the point can be missed. I’ve learned this too many times. You can’t type sarcasm. People don’t get it, you have to tell people that you’re being sarcastic, you have to open it out.

So those are my four media types. And as I said, I think a great content creator has a good understanding of all four, and masters one of them as best as possible.


Now, once we’ve chosen our leading media type, whether it be video, audio, imagery or written, we need to think about the format of that content. Now, every media has styles. For example, a podcast, you could have a solo show, an interview show, a roundtable, a documentary-style podcast, even a magazine podcast, where you have solo parts, you have some interviews, you might have a little bit of documentary stuff in there, all merged together.


If we look at YouTube, there’s reviews, there’s how-tos, there’s vlogs, there’s full-on documentaries. And then we’ve got the repurpose side of things. If you aren’t doing a video that will turn into a podcast, then that is repurposed. And if you decided your podcast is a repurposed show, it comes with certain goalpost movement, where people understand it’s been repurposed and they understand that it might not be of the optimum audio quality. And your audience will learn to understand that. But it’s good to understand that you’re going to do that format before you start to set expectations.


Now with imagery, it could be, you know, studio shoots, it could be an internal, you could be a portrait photo. And with written, it could be short, sharp captions. Copywriting for captions is pretty important because it is a snapshot to get someone’s attention, to get them to continue to engage with your brand or business.


Content Formats

So content format. What media are you going to use and what formats is it going to be in?

Then the next one is a question I get asked a lot, especially about podcasting, is duration. How long should I do a podcast for? And in all honesty, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is your audience time and attention, and the subject matter. If you’re expecting your audience to sit down for three hours, but they’ve never heard of you and they don’t know what your subject matter is about, highly unlikely, you’re going to build that million followers or million subscribers.


However, if you are clear about what you’re doing and why it’s three hours long and what people are going to get from it, putting in place a good marketing strategy, then your podcasts can of course be three hours long.

But the average podcast is around 43 minutes. Now is this something to learn from? Mm, yes and no. I think the average commute in the UK is around 35 minutes to an hour. So 43 minutes, maybe that marries up with the commute, but really it’s about how long your podcast needs to be for your audience to understand and gain that value from what you’ve produced.

Now, YouTube channels, they’re around 8 to 13 minutes. And this kind of alludes to what I was talking about a minute ago. People don’t have the time to watch a 43 minute YouTube video, but they do have the time to do an 8 minute video.


So again, thinking about your duration is about our next step, which is pre-production, but it’s about understanding what you’re trying to accomplish before you start to accomplish it, removing all the stumbles and mistakes and repeated questions, or maybe if you’re doing an interview show and you have questions that just fell flat. Saving your audience that time, that will bring your podcasts right down. But if it’s gold then it doesn’t matter how long it is.


And the next consideration for your content is how you present it. The presentation of your content, what does it look like?


Presentation

Now, your artwork is really important. It needs to tell a story or send a message in under three or four seconds. People need to see what it is, know what it is, and choose instantly whether it’s relevant for what they want in that moment in time.


So your artwork is important. Take your time, do a bit of research, work out what the other people in the industry are using and how you can stand out, and then build an artwork that’s going to pop on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.


But also in terms of presentation, we need to think about your release schedule. How often are people going to get your content? Are you a daily show? Are you a monthly documentary? The expectation of your audience will be related to this release schedule.

For example, if you’re doing a daily show, then there’s going to be some warts and all in it. People are going to make mistakes, there’s going to be some stumbles, but it’s about getting the content out every day.


Just like news. We tolerate incredibly low quality news footage, if it’s instant and live. But, if you’re looking at something like the serial series, it took years to make and produce and deliver to their audience. And people know that it took that amount of time and they had an expectation of something that had a year to be created to sound good.


Another thing to consider about how you present your podcast is the promotion. How often are you going to tell people that you’re producing something? And they’re going to get to see behind the scenes? How much interaction do you want from your promotion? Maybe it’s just out today. Bosh, one Instagram post!


I assure you that won’t get much traction unless you’re already bringing an existing audience into your content. A good example of this would be Tim Ferris, a recognized author, starts a podcast, brings an audience with him, then really, he didn’t have to promote too hard. Whereas you, on the other hand, with a smaller audience or with no audience at all, we’re going to need to push that promotion, so people know that your content is out there, it’s good, and it can serve a purpose.

And off the back of that, the next thing to think about presentation is your engagement requirements. How often are you going to engage with your audience? Is it daily, weekly? How much are they going to have an influence on your content?


Maybe people can call into your show. Also, this applies to, if you’ve got guests or other contributors to your program. You need to make sure that you engage them to a level that’s relevant to your brand and business. You might want your guests to share your show when it goes live, or you might want them to promote that they’re recording the episode on the day, to build that traction, to grow that network, to access the wider audience. And that presentation of your engagement needs to be considered.

And this bundle bundles in with things like your language, that we spoke about in the People phase, understanding how your audience likes to be spoken to, but also your contributors. What language are you using? Are you going to swear on your posts on Facebook? Do you run the risk of alienating certain groups by speaking certain ways or delivering certain styles of content?


And then the final thing to consider in presentation is your distribution. Are you going to be solely on Spotify? And if so, why? Why try and be exclusive? I would distribute your content everywhere you can for free, and then consider beyond that, whether it’s relevant to your purpose of your podcast or your video series or your blog, but making sure your distribution is right. Because being accessible is also part of how you present your content to the world.


Value Proposition

And the last thing to think about when it comes to creating my content product, is the value proposition. What problem does your podcast solve? And when all is said and done, your content needs to meet the needs of others to survive. We could just launch a podcast or a video series to just entertain ourselves, and there is nothing wrong with that, but it runs a risk of not being able to gain a wider audience. We’re all individuals. It might be that you produce something that no one else understands or likes. Continue on with it, if it’s okay for you just to create it, and it’s a cathartic process and you just enjoy the creative process, but if you want to grow an audience and you want people to engage with you, you need to think about what purpose your content serves.


And this value proposition brings me onto my next big step in the product phase, the podcasting promise or content commitment, if you like.

We’ve identified your purpose and why you’re creating content. We’ve discovered who your audience is, and now we should know how we can help our audience solve their problems.


And this combines into a podcasting promise or content commitment. And like all good marketing, it should answer the who, what, when, where, why and how questions. For example, this is my podcasting promise: out every Thursday, the KULT Kreator Experience is a podcast series for passionate experts and entrepreneurs, to learn how to successfully create content, to build their audience. It’s a combination of in-depth interviews with creators and shorter educational solo shows brought to you by myself, your KULT Kreator coach, Matt Cheney. Find the podcast for free on your music streaming service or your podcasting app of choice.


So, we can then dive in and disseminate that we know that it’s out every Thursday. We know that it’s a podcast series. We know the name of it, the KULT Kreator Experience. We know who it’s for. It’s for passionate experts and entrepreneurs. And they’re going to learn how to successfully create content, to build an audience. I’ve also told you that it will be in-depth interviews with creators and educational solo shows like this with myself, Matt Cheney.


I’ve also told you that the podcast is free and that you can get it on your music streaming service and on your podcasting app of choice. So I think that covers the who, the what, the when, the where, the why and the how questions.

So what is your podcasting promise or content commitment? So to finish, I will wrap up our Product phase.


We use your personal coaching insights to help you identify content best suited to your situation and goals. We then utilize the market research and ideal audience avatar to discover the target market problems and characteristics. And from there we create our product or solution. We design content that speaks directly to our followers and helps them achieve their desired results.

There is no perfect solution or format for all content. It needs to be adaptable and innovative to beat the competition and create a strong KULT.


And that’s know, understand, like and trust factor with your audience. And then we build our podcast promise and we try as best as possible to stick to it. But, if you do struggle to adhere to the commitment, take note, this is one of those leadership moments where you get to understand the facts, adapt the plan and execute as best as possible.


If you’re struggling with your podcasting promise, change it, write a new one that works for you, and most importantly, for your audience.


And that’s it, and that’s all for this episode. I’d like to thank you for listening and being part of the KULT Kreator Experience. I’m always happy to get feedback, and if you have any questions or topics you’d like me to discuss, please reach out to me.


And if you want to start your own KULT Kreator Experience and become a cult leader in your industry, head to kult.media to get your free strategy session. 


Until next time, be good.

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