We recently ran a Twitter poll, asking "what makes a podcast bad?"
Here are the responses:
Sometimes, as creators, we're focused on improving the wrong things (like buying the best gear). Here are three ideas for making your podcast better.
Lots of folks said the biggest reason they don't listen to a podcast is "because it isn't good." People listen for different reasons: sometimes it's to escape, other times it to learn. Regardless of their goal, if the content is boring, awkward, or poorly executed, listeners won't stick around.
Podcasts also run the risk of being too formulaic. Having structure can be good, for example having regular segments that listeners expect. But, your format can also become limiting. Maybe you started a daily show, but that's no longer serving your audience. Or, perhaps, you're recording unstructured, free-form dialogue that could benefit from an outline.
What did respondents dislike even more than "podcasts with bad sound?" Podcasts that were too long. Yes, Joe Rogan and Marc Maron have long rambling podcasts that can be as long as 2 hours. But, that's likely not going to work for you. Editing is your friend! Podcasts that are 20-30 minutes are in the sweet spot for folks commuting (and for the average attention span).
The final ingredient is to improve the quality of your audio. This doesn't have to be expensive. The most significant improvement you can make? Get a dynamic microphone and a pop-filter. I like the ATR2100. It's a relatively inexpensive mic that supports both XLR and USB, and it sounds great (just remember to stand close it).