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Essential Steps for Becoming an Effective Podcast Host

Essential Steps for Becoming an Effective Podcast Host

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By Dr. Jarrod Sadulski
Faculty Member, Criminal Justice, American Public University

Podcasts are a great way to learn from others. According to the New York Times, more than half of the population in the United States have listened to a podcast.

In 2020, over 155 million people listen to a podcast every week, and the popularity of podcasts is expected to grow in the coming years. As a result, it is a great time to be a podcast host.

Listen to Jarrod’s criminal justice podcasts.

Recently, I have begun hosting podcasts on various current issues in the field of criminal justice, and I have had guests as far away as both Central and South America. Podcasts provide a great opportunity to provide an outlet for experts to share relevant knowledge from their field of expertise through a media that is convenient for listeners to follow. Podcasts are great because they can be recorded over the Internet with a standard laptop and a podcast recording platform.

The Best Podcasts Start with Good Recording Equipment

Through my experience, I have learned that there are several important steps to being successful in hosting podcasts. In addition to using an effective podcast platform that has audio software that can capture the podcast without background noise or other distractions, the equipment that both the host and guest use is very important.

To provide a high-quality podcast that produces interest from the audience, it is important to use a good headset and a microphone. This equipment provides a higher quality recording than using a laptop’s built-in microphone and speakers. For the microphone, I recommend the Apogee Hype Mic, which plugs directly into your computer and produces a professional audio experience.

Choose Topics Wisely

It also helps to discuss current issues in the podcast. From my experience, focusing on the most current events that exist in U.S. communities, such as human trafficking and other current issues, has been helpful in building interest in the podcasts.

Pick Expert Guests Who Are Passionate about the Podcast Topic

Since podcasts can be recorded via the Internet, guests can be from anywhere in the world that has Internet access. It is important to utilize guests who are experts in their field and are enthusiastic about the topic.

This enthusiasm will be conveyed in the podcast, since the body language of the host and guest can’t be observed by listeners. But the host and the guest have an important opportunity to keep the audience engaged by reflecting their passion and interest in the topic.

Plan Ahead to Avoid Unexpected Surprises While Recording the Podcast

In addition, it is always best to avoid surprising your guest with a question. I have found it helpful to create an outline for the podcast with open-ended questions that will keep information flowing during the podcast.

Typically, I send the outline and questions in advance and encourage my guest to change or add any talking points that could improve the podcast. Providing buy-in through having the guest help formulate the talking points is a good way to get guests excited about the podcast, which shows in their voices during the podcast.

Maintain the Attention of the Audience

As the podcast host, maintaining an upbeat voice inflection is important and helps to retain the interest of the audience. If the host is excited or astonished by a point made by the guest, the audience will notice.

This ability to get the audience’s attention fosters engagement and excitement in the audience about the topic(s) discussed in the podcast. From my experience, podcasts around 30 minutes seem to be the most effective for holding audience interest.

Promote the Podcast on Social Media Sites to Develop a Brand

Before and after the podcast is published, promoting it on social media can help grow your audience. Developing a brand through frequent podcasts on the same or similar topic is a useful way to build a niche audience over time.

About the Author

Dr. Jarrod Sadulski has been involved in homeland security for over two decades, and he is an associate professor at American Public University. He has engaged in speaking engagements in the United States and Central America on the topic of human trafficking. Most recently, Jarrod presented at the International Human Trafficking Conference in September of 2020 and became a podcaster. His expertise includes infrastructure security, maritime security, homeland security contraband interdiction and intelligence gathering. Jarrod was selected as the Coast Guard’s Reserve McShan Inspirational Leadership Award recipient for 2019.

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