As I said in my post on podcasts I listen to a ridiculous number of podcasts. They tend to be about theology or tech or geek culture.
Sound quality is important
Like, really important. I listen to most of my podcasts on 2⨉ speed1 because Americans talk way too slow, but if I have to slow it down because the quality is so bad I’ll be unhappy.
If you’re doing long distance conversation/interview podcasts, record the audio at both ends, unless your internet speeds allow you a clear skype/facetime connection. Definitely don’t record a skype-to-phone conversation from only one end, for the love of anything.
Use a slightly decent microphone - every notable podcaster will have a list of what’s good and cheap, here’s Dan Benjamin’s.
Keep your intro short
Your intro isn’t to tell a story, or to make a statement. It should simply be a ‘Where am I?’. A lot of conversational podcasts do without one entirely. I especially like the Giant robots smashing into other giant robots’ intro, which, considering the length of it’s name, really couldn’t stand being anything other than just that.
Your intro is the first thing a new listener will hear. They didn’t come for the into, they already read the description and they came for the talking.
Plan, and don’t be afraid to throw out the plan
Are you a conversation podcast? Have a thought out list of topics to converse about (There’s a reason why John Siracusa is my favourite podcaster). Are you a question answering podcast? Look at the questions before hand and have some idea of the answers. Are you an interview podcast? Know something about interviewing techniques and asking good questions, as well as knowing enough about your interviewee. And don’t keep pressing questions that are not going to be answered to your satisfaction - you’re not an investigative reporter, you’re an informational entertainer, and an interviewer who keeps asking a question that won’t be answered is the most frustrating thing to listen to, and it can’t be good for your chances of getting your guest back.
Sound passionate and excited
This is (sadly) more for the theology podcasters. Most of them sound really bored. Your voice should show your enthusiasm. Inflect. Exude passion for this thing you are clearly passionate enough to spend/waste your time making a podcast about. Embrace all the times you’ve been called a hypocrite, consider it encouragement of your acting abilities.
Comment with your favourite podcasts with those who do these things well. I need more podcasts to cover the amount of walking I do.