How To Create A Podcast That Stands Out With Scott Murray

Feb 23, 2022

Create A Podcast That Stands Out

Scott Murray is a content specialist with experience with radio and content strategy. During the conversation, he discusses being inspired by Ira Glass (even if he wasn’t a big NPR listener), mistakes to avoid making and practical things you can do to create a podcast that stands out.

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How to Make Your Podcast Stand Out

The podcasting space is growing. As Scott said, this means that it’s getting harder and harder to stand out.

There are things you can do to change that, though.

The first thing is to make sure that you make a great first impression in the first 3-4 minutes of an episode. That’s all you have to leave your mark and draw listeners in even further.

Another thing Scott shared is the importance of making the podcast a show – to have well-defined elements like an intro and an outro, for example.

Thirdly, your overall audio, which needs to be good and leveled.

The fact that podcasting is becoming more of a mainstream space means that there’s more quality and wallet-friendly gear out there.

An additional element that could contribute

About Your Podcast Intro…

Your podcast intro shouldn’t be too long and it should do something, and do it well: let people know upfront what they’re going to get – and then dive into the content as soon as possible.

Having the listener in mind and asking yourself questions like ‘Is the audience going to get value out of this?’ or ‘Is the way I’ve explained this concept too long?’ is going to be incredibly valuable.

Getting Inspired by Ira Glass (as a non NPR listener)

Back in his days in radio, Scott got to work with Ira Glass.

One thing Scott remembers about Glass is the fact that he came up with a very unique way of telling stories. His stories included a bit of narration, some music, and then it would cut to the interview.

This is something Scott always wanted to incorporate into his own show.

At the end of the day, however, it’s all about finding what works for you and what your audience likes.

Remember: repetition does help with expectations but surprising listeners is something that could increase their curiosity in your show and would have them come back for more because they would be asking themselves ‘I wonder what’s coming up next?’.

Scott managed to find his own style, which he applied to a geek podcast he was co-hosting with two other people at the time.

Their show would have a part about stories, and a more conversational part (conversations about news, movies, etc. – by all done in a unique way).

The Importance of the Podcast Artwork

Years ago, at Podcast Movement 2013, Scott heard Michael Stelzner say ‘If you had a $600 budget for a podcast, you should spend $550 of it on a good podcast artwork’.

It’s just like it happens on social media: you need to stand out and grab people’s attention.

Here’s what your podcast artwork should have:

  • It needs a clear concept
  • Its copy needs to still be readable when the show is displayed on Apple Podcasts
  • It should be something that, if seen without much context, should still give people hints of what the show is all about and covers.

It has happened to Scott, more times than he can remember, to see artworks and show names that don’t really tell much about what the show focuses on and how it does that.

As far as its creation is concerned, keep an eye on your designer: you would want him/her to create a cake that showcases everything I’m capable of.

Mistakes to Avoid Making

There are a couple of key mistakes many podcasters make.

First and foremost, some intros are just too long. If you feel that’s your intro, here’s what to do to change things around. Tell people what an episode is about, and do so pretty much from the get go.

Be clear.

A second mistake that has to do with length includes other elements of your show, such as potential ad slots you may have.

If the show has just started, it may not be a good idea to go on a tangent with the ad slot you have. People may have only listened to you for a minute or two, so saying something like ‘this episode is brought to you by ____’ is an excellent way to keep things relevant and to the point – all while still promoting the companies advertising on your show.

Thirdly, some podcasters have unrealistic expectations, they expect too much of an audience growth too soon. This can lead to a variety of things, including the end of the show itself or the so-called Podfading phenomenon.

Episode Editing: Yay or Nay?

Many podcasters often see editing as simply removing ‘uhms’ from their recordings. For Scott, however, things are very much different.

He’s a big fan of editing and made the excellent point of always having your audience in mind when you’re editing. Don’t be afraid to edit yourself or to even cut out some actual content.

And make it sound as natural as it can.

Amy Porterfield, for instance, removed all of her ‘uhms’ when she got started… only to hear her audience telling her to leave some of those in the recording to give the podcast a more conversational tone.

Episode Duration

The question ‘What’s the ideal duration of a podcast episode?’ is often met with a ‘It depends’.

Back at one of the first editions of Podcast Movement, however, podcasting icon Cliff Ravenscraft addressed that question. When doing that, he discussed commute duration.

HIs message was clear: the average time of a commute is about 30 minutes, so you can try keeping that format in that range.


Understanding Podcast Data

Years ago, Scott’s show was getting about 100 downloads and episodes. He was curious to learn more about podcast stats, so he read Rob Walch’s report on the subject.

Through the report, Scott learned that, on average, a podcast gets 158 downloads per episode.

Eager to grow his show, Scott asked another expert in the podcasting space, Daniel J. Lewis, for advice.

Daniel told Scott that it would probably take him a year to grow the podcast in terms of downloads.

8 months later, Scott’s was doing 500 downloads!

Pivoting and…Unpublishing!

One the one side there’s understanding data and growing your podcast, on the other advice for those who are just starting out.

For Scott, it’s more than fine to record 5-7 episodes and never release them, and for a specific reason. You may have a concept for the show in mind but, by the time you get to episode 8, you’re going to feel as if that show concept should be changed.

Changing your show is absolutely ok but remember that one thing is to tweak something or update the artwork, another is to come up with a brand new show name (that’s different from the one you picked and then shared on episode 1 and those that followed).

Who to Focus On

‘Focus on the listeners you have, the rest will take care of itself’, says Scott.

So, when it comes to pretty much anything related to your show, always, ALWAYS, be thinking about your audience.

Resources mentioned: (to find music)

Fiverr (for voice over)


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