The key to a successful podcast

How to create a thriving podcast show? Is there some sort of secret ingredient to a successful podcast? It was a hot topic at one of the largest European media summits: Radio Days, in Malmö, Sweden. In this article, we explain which six ingredients you can use in order to create a successful podcast show.

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Every podcaster wants a thriving show. You start podcasting because you have a story to tell. And stories want to be heard. But how to ensure that people will actually listen to your story? And more importantly: keep listening? 

Radio what?

Radio Days is one of the largest summits for the European radio, podcast and audio industry. The conference was founded in 2010 to discuss the latest trends in media on a European level. Since then, Radio Days has become one of the most important annual conferences for radio professionals, with over 1600 participants from 62 different countries.

There were numerous talks about the podcast industry at the media summit in Malmö. These included a talk about the success formulas of a podcast show, hosted by Tom Webster, Senior Vice President of Edison Research in the US, and Danish researcher Rasmus Kidde from the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. If you stick to these formulas, both men stated, you can't really go wrong. So grab a pen and paper (figure of speech 😉) and read the six formulas for a potentially thriving podcast show.

1. Be original

We've said it before and Webster and Kidde said it too: authenticity is key when it comes to podcasting. Don't play a role, just be yourself. People prefer listening to someone who keeps it real. 


Nope, I'm not talking about the real deal 😉 

KISS means: Keep It Short and Simple. According to Rasmus Kidde, this is a must.

That doesn't mean your podcast has to be short. By 'short' he mainly states: make sure your episode is as extensive as necessary. Edit parts that don't add to the message you're conveying. And prevent yourself from repeating that message.

By 'simple, Kidde focuses on audio quality. Sound is everything and you kinda need to nail it. But that doesn't mean you need a professional recording studio in order for your podcast to be a success. focuses mainly on the quality of your audio. Recording a podcast using just your phone works too! If you want to know more about that: read our article about how to record a podcast using your iPhone or Android. 

Want to sound like a pro...

... but don't have the tools to do it yourself? Try our sound tool Audio Polish! It fixes and boosts your audio with just one click of a button.

3. Describe your podcast

Make sure you use a catchy description of your podcast and your episode(s). According to Kidde, this is one of the most important aspects. First impressions are everything. And your description is the first thing you audience sees. So make it a good one ;)

Keep your description short, but powerful. Describe the main focus of your show or episode. And use words that help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), so search engines know how to find you. 

4. First impressions last long

Research shows that listeners decide within a minute whether they like your podcast or not. So make sure you have a catchy intro so your listeners immediately know what they're in for.

The same goes for your outro. Keep it short, because according to Kidde, listeners are turned off by long endings. Don't forget the rest. Boring content is quickly skipped, People tend to skip boring content. Basically, remember to KISS 😉 

5. Develop a routine

The global pandemic turned the daily routines of millions of people upside down. It changed our listening habits completely. So how can you make sure people include your podcast in their routine? 

Just keep going, Kidde says. Long-running podcasts have more success than shows with just a few episodes. Also, make sure you publish your episodes at a fixed time. That way your audience knows what to expect.

Did you know...

... news podcasts are one of the most successful podcast types? According to Tom Webster, they're easy to incorporate in a daily routine. Even more so than comedy and true crime!

6. Be familiar

Think about your favourite radio show. You tune in every day because you love listening to this DJ. Because you love his or her show. And suddenly there's another one. Who makes a completely different show. Do you keep listening? Or do you switch to another station? 

A podcast has the same effect. So make sure you have a steady 'voice' that your listeners will become familiar with. Develop a format for your show and stick to it. Especially the latter is key according to Tom Webster. You can deviate from your format, but only if it's really good 😉.

The key to success

There you have it! Six simple, yet effective formulas that potentially make a thriving podcast. Want to know more about starting a podcast? Check out our extensive starter guide.

Happy Podcasting!

Femke de Walle

Femke de Walle

Storyteller in sound, word and image, coming from the world of radio. Years of experience as a radio producer/DJ, reporter, newsreader and journalist. Writes blogs and produces podcasts for Springcast.

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