Podcasting in 2021: What You Need to Know

Melissa Fach

Dec 10, 20206 min read
Podcasting in 2021: What You Need to Know

People love podcasts, that is why we created a list of the best marketing podcasts, and many individuals and businesses are wondering if podcasting is a strategy that could work for them. In last week's #SEMrushchat, we discussed who should start podcasts, what to consider before getting started, how to use them to make a profit, what listeners are looking for in a podcast, and what people can learn from successful podcasts.

Our community and guest Espree Devora provided valuable tips, insights, and things to avoid; we have a collection of them below. Obviously, we couldn't include every recommendation, so to fill in any gaps you may have after reading the helpful insights below, check out the Podcasting Beginners Guide: How and Why You Should Start Podcasting.

Is starting a podcast a good idea for any type of business? Why do you think so?

"Yes, if you have something of value to offer, yes. But I think it requires someone able to be comfortable and conversational vs. reading a script. I'd add that testing it out may be the way you figure out whether you CAN and SHOULD do it." — Jessica Levenson

"Whether or not you should start a podcast really depends on you and your audience. Is audio a format where you feel you'll really shine? And is your audience actually listening to podcasts?" — Express Writers

"Just because Podcasts are popular, it doesn't necessarily mean that they're suitable for YOUR business. Before starting something, always consider how it will benefit your product and/or service and the ways you can fully utilise the marketing channel." — Ben Austin

"Yes, if you have something to say and have a conversational style that fits with your brand. No, if you are thinking of doing it just for the SEO or EGO." — Simon Cox 

"Certainly. Anyone can start a podcast on anything that they desire (remember blogs???). Your expectations from the podcast are what require consideration whether monetary, visibility, conversions, etc. Those add a deeper layer of strategy to starting one." — Marianne Sweeny
"Just because you can...doesn't mean you should. If you have a great idea for a theme that fits your industry, go for it. If not, it's best not to force a square into a circle." — Daniella Alscher

"It is a good idea to start a podcast for any type of business!!!! It's key to think about what you want to achieve FIRST and the value you will add to your listeners. Don't look at it as a sales machine, but rather as a way to build rapport." — Espree Devora

For you as a listener, what are the top 3 features of a perfect podcast?

"For me personally, I enjoy podcasts that are:


I want to be entertained but in a way that feels as if I'm listening in on group of friends chatting, rather than being talked to. I want that real human touch behind it."— Maddie Clark

"Length. 20 mins is the perfect length IMHO, but very hard to keep it down to that. Most dev podcasts go on for over an hour even some SEO podcasts do. Split them up into episodes and you will get more engagement!!" — Simon Cox 

"Top 3 features of a perfect podcast are valuing your audience's attention, purpose-driven content and being able to easily listen meaning having it distributed on all podcast players." — Espree Devora

"Yes! Here are my top 3 fav features:

Short and crisp. Long podcasts are good but not all the time.
Good background music. Works like magic to engage listeners.
A format. This sets expectations and divides the podcast into interesting segments." — Masooma

"Top 3 features of a podcast include:

  1. Relevant, value-adding material
  2. Professional, structured content
  3. One without a long intro!" — Chris Dack

"Best features of a great podcast have little to do with content, in my opinion.
1. A designated format (so it’s easy to follow)
2. Episode notes (preferably with time call outs) for the most pertinent info, especially to learn about guests
3. Good mics" — Rachel Wendte

What are the essential things to think about before getting a new podcast off the ground?

"Just to name a few:
Is your audience there?
Do you have something unique to say?
Are you able to keep the flow while being entertaining?
Do you have relevant and quality content on other platforms as well?" — Kendra Cornell

"1. Equipment (quality)
2. Content/topic strategy
3. Guests
4. Recording/prepping a backlog ahead of time
5. Publishing calendar
6. Sounds/music to use
7. Plan to repurpose content for site/repurpose site content for/with podcast
8. Social strategy (and hashtag) "— Jessica Levenson

"1. Identify Your Purpose
2. Develop a Plan
3. Execute Your Promotions
4. Dedicate Yourselves
5. Check-in on your measurable goals Don't just market to market or podcast to podcast! Make it purposeful and meaningful. Know your intention." — Julia Rose

"- I arrive for the content hook.
- I stay for the human voice
- I return for the personality" — JP Sherman

"Here are a few points: What is your podcast going to talk about?
Who are your guests and what unique questions will you ask them to make your content different?
What structure are you going to give to your podcast?
Do you have the right tools?" — Masooma

"The most essential thing to consider before starting a new podcast, or any #marketing program: Have the resources to keep it going. It might be "easy" to pull off 3 or 4 good shows, but long term it just can't be added to what you're already doing." — Tod Cordill

How does one turn podcasting into an additional source of profit?

"- Making a portion available only to premium membership
- Ads and sponsorship
- Posting to YouTube (monetization of content)
- Sell your services
- Brand affinity" — Jessica Levenson

"Make sure the podcasts aren't just a one-time thing, keep them going, like any other content piece! Increases brand awareness which can, in turn, lead to advertising and partnerships with other businesses." — Webeo Global

"Remember podcast does not equal infomercial." — Reva Minkoff

"Sponsorships! if you can prove to a brand that your users will buy into whatever they're selling, they'll sponsor your podcasts." — Maddie Clark

"My advice would be - don't start with the intention of turning it into 'for profit', instead do it with the purpose of building your own 'brand' voice and thought-leadership $$ will follow." — Malhar Barai

"Turn #podcasting into an additional source of profit by staying consistent, honing in on a VERY specific market and most importantly ASKING for sponsorship/contribution/merch sales. Most people hide their ask at the end or not at all + don't reach out to sponsors." — Espree Devora

What are your favorite podcasts? What lessons can other starting podcasters learn from them?

"I mentioned @jvn and @daxshepard's podcasts already. Some others I've enjoyed in the past include @juiceboxpodcast and @MyFavMurder. Engaging hosts who love what they're talking about and are dedicated to their research and getting the best experts make it!" — Julia Rose

"@LudicrousFuture (I don't know much about space, cars, or future sci-fi that may be more real than fiction, but these three guys help figure it out). @Flagrant2NEB because funny." — Youness Bermime

"My fav ones (trying hard to shortlist here):

@ManagingEdMag: See creativity and uniqueness in action
@CareerContessa: learn how to offer value with personal experiences
@buffer’s podcast: Check how to learn + have fun at the same time @SMExaminer: how to offer A LOT of value that’s unique and a deep dive into the subject
@podia’s new podcast: understand how to be an excellent host (@jayacunzo)
@Mailchimp’s podcast: because omg such heart touching stories!! Storytelling 


"Some podcasts that I enjoy… @CMIContent weekly Wrap
@MLLNNLmotivator Social Media Mornings (Recommend)
@iSocialFanz FOMOFanz
And Be Real Show with @2TALLINmania." — Bernie Fussenegger

"@LPontheleft is a brilliant true-crime podcast. You can learn a lot about fine-tuning a style from these guys as they've managed to develop their own 'tone' over the years that their audience comes back again and again for." — Emma Lambert

"My favorite podcasts are, there's so many! A few... @LiveDieLApod @deathsexmoney "Charlie Rocket Show" @CharlieJabaley @SimonRex "Nervous Rex", @ArlanWasHere's "Your First Million", @HarryStebbings "20 Minute VC" + @WomenInTechShow @WeAreLATech ;-)

Lessons other starting #podcasters learn from my fave shows. I learn from shows how to be a better storyteller, how to incorporate music, show duration, show content value, how to engage with audiences. So much can be learned from other shows you admire & enjoy!" — Espree Devora

"Late to the part on this one. If you're not listening to This Podcast Will Kill You (@tpwky), then you are missing out. Welcome break from work and avocation listening and so much education." — Marianne Sweeny

"Outside of normal news podcasts, my go-to for funsies ones are @RoosterTeeth, @MorningFromHell & @TrueCrimeGuys
New podcasters should build their brand before starting, go where you know there's a successful audience & have a plan." — Kendra Cornel

Do you have any podcasting tips? 

If you have strategies, advice, or opinions on podcasting, please share them in the comments below. If you have questions, we will reach out to our community members and ask them to come and answer your question. Join us every Wednesday.​​​​​​ for SEMrushchat at 11 am ET/4 pm BST. 

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US Personality of the Year 2017 Winner and die-hard Star Wars fan. Herder of cats. Non-cook. Find me on Twitter @SEOaware.