What Makes a Podcast Good? 13 Tips for a Successful Podcast

What essential elements transform a podcast from just good to genuinely great? Let’s dissect the twelve crucial elements that make an exemplary podcast.

If you landed on this article, you probably want to find out how to make your podcast better than the rest. But what goes into a successful podcast, and how does one make podcasting great? We’ll dive deep into tips and tricks for a good podcast. So, let’s delve into the anatomy of an exceptional podcast.

What Makes a Great Podcast?

A good podcast, much like an absorbing book or a compelling movie, takes you on a journey. It serves as a guide, an entertainer, a mentor, or even a comforting friend. Yet, the true magic of a good podcast lies in its capacity to form an invisible yet strong bond with its listeners. It’s about creating a personal, intimate, and real space—despite being separated by screens and miles.

A good podcast doesn’t merely give information—it tells a story, provokes thought, and stirs emotions. It has a clear purpose, be it to inform, inspire, entertain, or a blend of all. It understands its audience, speaks their language, and resonates with their interests and needs. And, most importantly, it consistently offers value, making every minute spent listening worthwhile.

How to Make a Good Podcast: 13 Key Elements 

A good podcast needs key elements to make it a success, let’s look at the 13 features:

1. A Great Hook

Just as a gripping book has an intriguing opening, your podcast needs an engaging hook to capture listeners’ attention. The Pew Research Center found that 60% of people listen to podcasts for entertainment.  The initial few minutes of your podcast should spark curiosity, raise intriguing questions, or make a compelling statement.

Open with an intriguing statement or an unexpected anecdote that immediately piques interest. This could be a surprising fact related to your podcast’s theme, a provocative question, or a brief story that listeners can’t help but want to hear more about.

For example: 

Take the popular podcast “Serial,”. The podcast starts with the same music and by saying, “Previously on Serial,” — the story is quickly recapped in a mysterious way, and then the host introduces herself in the same style each time. The audience’s attention is captured, and it’s easy to get immersed in the podcast.

podcast statistics

2. Engaging Content and a Unique Perspective

Engaging content is the key element of any successful podcast. A good podcast offers something unique and valuable to its listeners, whether it’s in-depth analysis, entertaining storytelling, or actionable advice. The National Library of Medicine found, that openness, interest, and curiosity were often why people turned to podcasts. 

It’s not just about the topics you choose but how you present them. Offering a fresh perspective or exploring niche subjects can significantly set your podcast apart. What distinguishes your podcast? It could be your novel podcast format, a refreshing perspective, or a personal touch on a well-explored subject. 

For example:

“Song Exploder” stands out by offering a unique insight into the creative process of songwriting, with artists dissecting their songs piece by piece.

For some niche podcast topics ideas, check out our article on fifteen niche podcasts that will broaden your horizons. You can also take a look at our video: 7 Unusual Podcast Topics.

3. Perfectly Planned Episodes

Strategic planning leads to compelling and consistent content. An episode with a clear beginning, middle, and end provides a comprehensive listening journey. Having a plan makes your job easier, but it also helps you feel more confident when creating the podcast. 

For example: 

“The Mel Robbins Podcast” is a prime example, with each episode skillfully planned around a specific topic or theme. Mel Robbins plans her podcast episodes perfectly, interacts with her audience, and refers to them as a huge part of her show. 

Expert tip: 

This is something you can imitate by planning and taking time to focus on your script structure.  

stages of planning

4. Interactive and Supportive Community

According to the American Public University, engagement creates a sense of belonging among your audience. Fostering a community around your podcast can greatly enhance its appeal. And add to the reach of your podcast when people talk about it online. Helping you gain new listeners, 

For example: 

Dear Hank & John” , a comedic advice podcast, thrives on answering listener questions, creating a robust host-listener interaction.

Expert tip: 

Engaging with listeners through social media, listener mail segments, and live events can create a vibrant community.

MORE: How much money do podcasters make?

5. Sharing Advice

Listeners appreciate insights or guidance from podcasts, research by Statista in 2022 found that 48% of people listened to learn something new or increase their knowledge on a subject. A further 26% of these people were listening for practical advice. 

podcast statistics

Be it career advice, personal development strategies, or practical tips on a subject matter. Actionable advice augments the value you offer. 

There are many podcasts that offer advice, whether they’re parenting podcasts, gardening podcasts, healthcare podcasts, or others. But the one thing they all have in common is that they offer great advice, that many of us come back to hear again and again. So make sure you include great advice in your own podcast as well.

The “Art of Charm” podcast offers self-help strategies and advice, enriching their listeners’ personal and professional lives.

6. Good Storytelling

Engaging narratives captivate audiences and create an emotional connection. Well-crafted stories have the power to transform even complex topics into absorbing content. 

According to the NeuroLeadership Institute, when we hear and process a story our motor and sensory cortices and frontal cortex are engaged. So the anticipation of the story and how it will end fuels dopamine in the listerners brain.

Good storytelling in a podcast is what keeps the audience hooked, and what will make them stay until the end of each podcast episode you create. So make sure to plan out your episodes, and take some storytelling classes if needed.

“Hardcore History” by Dan Carlin demonstrates this beautifully, turning historical events into riveting narratives. On a side note, this podcast is also a perfect example of a unique podcast idea. Who comes up with such original ideas? Dan Carlin is definitely a master of that.

7. Transcriptions 

Transcripts of your podcast episodes make your content more accessible to a diverse audience and enhance your SEO efforts. You can add a transcript on most podcasting websites, such as Apple and Spotify, and we definitely recommend it if you can add one to your own. 

Having a podcast transcript helps your audience who may need help with hearing, or if English is their second language. Sometimes, transcripts are used as a way to learn the language, so really it’s a very good idea to have a transcript with each of your podcast episodes.

Expert tips:

“Take time to write detailed show summary notes and upload them to your hosting platform, your website, and YouTube,” says Traci DeForge at The Podcast Professional Association.

DeForge continues: “Detailed show notes can be created from a transcription of your episode and should include the description of your episode, a few key takeaways, some time-stamped highlights for listeners who want to go straight to the juicy stuff, your guest bio, and headshot and resource hyperlinks of any items mentioned or promoted on the episode.”

Podcast example:

The “Freakonomics Radio Book Club,” for instance, provides complete transcriptions for every episode, reaching a broader listener base. Check out the full transcript for each episode on their website. 

8. Engaging and Dynamic Hosts

The hosts of a podcast play a significant role in its success. Charismatic and knowledgeable hosts can engage listeners, making even complex or niche topics accessible and interesting. A good host has the ability to connect with the audience on a personal level, creating a sense of community and loyalty.

Podium looked into the Psychology of podcasts and found that listeners develop a parra-social relationship with podcast hosts, meaning that they feel as though they know them on a personal level. Although the relationship is one-sided, it fulfills the desire for social connection.

For example: 

In his podcast “Armchair Expert,” Dax Shepard is lauded for his authenticity and willingness to share personal anecdotes and insights, creating a genuine connection with his audience.

MORE: Podcast tips: how to make a podcast successful

9. Added Value 

Podcast value is the ultimate magnet for your listeners. Just think back to any podcast that you’ve ever listened to, all the way until the end. Why did you stay? Probably because it had a lot of value, and you could greatly learn from it. So, whether you’re providing insights, entertainment, or a new perspective, each episode should enrich your listeners.

Podcast example: 

“The Happiness Lab” with Dr. Laurie Santos, for example, offers evidence-based strategies to lead happier lives, providing immense value to listeners. If you’re an expert in a particular field, why not use it to your advantage and talk to your audience all about the topic you have studied for years?

MORE: How to monetize a podcast

10. Strategic Use of Keywords and SEO

To ensure that your podcast reaches its target audience, strategic use of keywords and SEO practices are essential. Including relevant keywords in your podcast title, description, and episode titles can improve its visibility and searchability. Additionally, creating a dedicated website or blog for your podcast can provide more opportunities to optimize for search engines.

“ Don’t try to be catchy or cute with your podcast name and the name of your episodes. You will be found better in search engines if you are direct with your show titles and descriptions. This will lead to more downloads.” says Jenn Trepeck from at The Podcast Professional Association

For example: 

If your podcast is about marketing, you can use marketing keywords in your podcast title, as well as episodes and descriptions. Take a look at the Marketing Meetup podcast for inspiration.

11. Relevant Guests and Other Podcasters Audience

Diverse perspectives and insights from guests can add richness to your podcast. You can find relevant podcast guests through platforms like Facebook or YouTube. Invite people who have something in common with the topic that you’re covering on your podcast — whether they’re well-known or simply knowledgeable and work well with a microphone.

And remember that if you bring in guests who already have an audience, that audience is very likely to stay with your show if they like what they hear. And, of course, the same goes for the podcast guest, so overall, it’s a win-win situation for you both.

Expert Tip:

A podcasting expert, Annirudha Pawade, discovered that finding suitable influencers within the podcasting area demands extensive investigation. It’s important to seek out influencers whose outputs resonate with your podcast’s focus and the demographic you aim to attract. Make use of social media analytics platforms to locate influencers who boast a large follower base and high engagement levels.


“The Tim Ferriss Show,” which features guests from various fields, enhancing the depth and diversity of the content while expanding audience reach.

MORE: How to promote your podcast

12. Consistent and High-Quality Production

Consistency in release schedule and production quality is crucial for building and maintaining an audience. Listeners appreciate a podcast that sounds professional and is easy to listen to, which means investing in good-quality recording equipment and editing software. Additionally, releasing episodes on a regular and predictable schedule helps retain listeners and attract new ones.

Invest in decent audio equipment and editing software. Even the best content can suffer from poor audio quality. Remember that good editing is key to a good listener experience. And think back on all those times when poor audio quality made you click away from whatever you were watching. 


 “The Daily,” a news podcast by The New York Times, sets a benchmark for excellent production quality, ensuring a seamless listening experience for its audience. 

Expert tip: 

Use our podcast equipment checklist to learn the essential equipment you need to get started and check out our video on podcast equipment essentials.

MORE: Top Podcasts of 2023

13. Excellent Branding 

Excellent podcast branding is needed for a good podcast. Create a catchy podcast name,  fabulous podcast logo, cover artwork, and merch in order to get your brand recognized and loved even more. People love to look at beautiful things, and they also want to support their favorite podcasters. And what better way than to give them a hoodie or a teacup with your brand name on it?

Check out the podcast you love and listen to, the most. Think: 

  • What is it that makes you like the branding? 
  • What grabs your attention, and what makes the image of the podcast settle into your mind? 

Write those elements down, and see if you can implement the strategies they use into your own brand.

MORE: Use our Podcast Name Generator tool

Takeaway Points

Crafting a good podcast is an art and a science. It demands creativity, dedication, and an understanding of your audience. A good podcast brings listeners value, connection, and inspiration. 

Remember, if you are looking to start your own podcast, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula—what makes your podcast unique could very well be what makes it good. So, stay authentic, keep learning, and remember to check out other podcasting articles with great podcasting tips.

MORE: How to grow your podcast

good podcast

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

To ensure your podcast is set up well, check if you have quality equipment, know your audience and your niche, know what platform you’re recording for, and that the content you create has a high-quality finish.

In the vibrant podcast landscape, standing out requires more than good content. It's about creating a unique identity and experience. This could be through a unique presentation style, a novel perspective on topics, high-profile guests, or even innovative production techniques. Strive to offer something that your listeners can't get elsewhere.

To make a good podcast, you need engaging content that resonates with your target audience and high-quality audio equipment to ensure clear, pleasant sound. A consistent publishing schedule and a unique perspective on your topic also contribute significantly to creating a good podcast.

A good podcast episode captivates listeners from the start, delivers valuable or entertaining content, and leaves the audience looking forward to the next episode. It's well-structured, balancing between scripted sections and natural dialogue, and often includes a clear call-to-action.

To start a successful podcast, first identify a niche or topic you're passionate about and ensure there's an audience for it. Then, invest in decent recording equipment, learn the basics of audio editing, and promote your episodes across social media and podcast directories to build your listener base.


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