A few weeks ago I posted some tips for creating your own podcast. As noted in that post, it is very easy, from a technical standpoint, to create a podcast. At minimum all you need is a phone.

A greater challenge is to create a podcast that people will want to listen to. It's important to offer not only useful content, but to present it in a way that is relevant and interesting to your audience.

Who is your audience?

If you try to appeal to everyone your message will end up so general that it will be of little value to anyone. Therefore, decide on the groups of people you want to help via your podcasts, and tailor your content to them. Are they parents? recreational athletes? small business owners? divorced women? divorced men? those with chronic illness?

Why specialize like that, you might be wondering. Take stress, for example. Isn't stress a universal problem, and wouldn't the same techniques work for everyone?

Yes and no. Everyone does experience stress, but the context varies among different groups of people. Stay-at-home moms of young children experience different kinds of stressors than do college students who are falling behind in their studies.

Both these groups could probably benefit from deep breathing, meditation and other calming techniques. However, the cognitive-behavioral component of managing stress - how to talk to themselves and what to do - is more situation specific. A podcast that addresses a person's specific situations and stressors will be perceived as more relevant and helpful.

How to connect with your target audience

When you post your podcast online, you'll write a brief description. Include keywords that you think your target audience would plug into search engines. That way, your podcast has a better chance of coming up in their Google search.

Clipart-PeopleShakingHandsA better way is to partner with an organization that already has a relationship with groups of people whom you want to help. You bring the expertise; they bring the audience.

For example, if you want to reach parents of teens, consider approaching a school or community sports league to do a series of podcasts on common problems that such parents might face. Arrange to interview experts on specific topics.

If you want to reach business executives, approach organizations that cater to this population. Schedule a series of podcasts that address their common frustrations.

The beauty of partnering is that the organization will help promote the podcast. And by including you in the promotion, they are implicitly endorsing you as a mental health expert.

Before approaching an organization, create a sample 5-10 minute podcast, which you can use as an "audition" vehicle.

Scripting your podcast

People listening to your podcast might be multitasking. In order to hold their attention you need to be not only animated and interesting, but also relevant.

Therefore, it's important to stay on topic, with logical flow from one section to the next. Don't rely on chance. Prepare an outline, or even a script. If you are interviewing a guest, have that person send you a few questions to ask.

As noted in my previous post, a scripted interview sounds more professional and polished. That doesn't necessary detract from sounding natural. In fact, when you and your interviewee know what to expect, you are both apt to feel more relaxed, and the conversation can appear quite spontaneous.

Include your contact info

In every podcast mention at least once how people can get in touch with you. Say it slowly and repeat it twice, which give people a chance to jot it down. For podcasts longer than 15 minutes, mention your contact info once in the middle and once at the end.

Copyright and permissions

If you produce podcasts for an organization, have a written agreement about who owns the podcast and how it will be used. If the podcast will be available for free, consider allowing the organization to have non-exclusive rights to the audio, as long they offer it in its entirety (i.e., they don't extract clips from it).

If the organization plans to make money from your podcasts, try to negotiate a fair royalty.