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The Flexibility of Consistency

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One of the initial attractions to podcasting is the ability to listen to a show whenever you want to – be it in the car, the daily jog along the boardwalk, or on a long flight across the Atlantic (perhaps to BlogWorld, if so I’ll be in the back of the plane in cattle class). I think this freedom for the listener has been one of the strengths that has made podcasting what it is today.

By creating personal appointments (such as Vikki Spence and I listening to the BBC’s Friday Comedy Podcast on a Sunday morning), the emotional bond between listener and creator is magnified, but that places a strong demand from the creator.

To have a podcast that creates appointment listening means having a schedule, and sticking to it. Regular content is the key to a good blog, and it’s also the key to a good podcast. People will be relying on you, and when you can prove you have that, listenership goes up, people will be comfortable recommending the show, and feedback from the audience will rise (at least it does for me).

Signpost that regularity too. With my “Friday Rock Show” the clue is in the title, and as a result it leaves me little choice but to make that deadline. The obvious safety net is that I plan my music around recording on the Wednesday, for posting Friday afternoon (UK time). That gives me a few opportunities to record a show if I miss the regular time.

The other option, which needs a bit of lead time but is mighty useful if you know you have a tricky episode deadline to meet, is to invite in a guest host. While I covered the Edinburgh Fringe with a daily podcast (going live at 11am each day, making sure the consistency was there), I also had the commitment to the Friday Rock Show. One show was taped in advance, one show was made up of music that I had found at the Fringe (a nice doubling up of research and clearance), but the third may have caused an issue.

Until fellow podcaster Neville Hobson stepped up to guest host the show.

Double win! Not only do I get the show going out when the listener is expecting it, but I also get the bonus of having a bit of an extra promotion from the guest host as well – because you know they are going to mention it on Twitter or on their blog.

The point of course is to make sure you never let down your listeners, be they the regulars, or the first times who’ll know when to come back. Because that;s what you want, no drive-by listens, but solid, dependable listeners.

There's a man who sits in the space between podcasting, blogging, writing and reporting - there's a man who's a burst of energy, a flurry of tartan, and a million microphone cables, smartphones, cameras and laptops trailing in his wake...there's a man called Ewan Spence.


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