Introduction – How to Start a True Crime Podcast
So you want to start a true crime podcast. Great choice! True crime podcasting has exploded in popularity in recent years, captivating audiences with chilling stories of murder, deception, and justice. What once was a niche genre has become a cultural phenomenon, attracting millions of listeners around the world.
But what is it about true crime podcasts that have drawn in so many fans? Some argue that true crime stories appeal to our deepest fears and fascinations with the darker side of human nature. Others suggest that true crime podcasts offer a way to explore complex issues of justice, ethics, and morality in an engaging and accessible format.
Whatever the reason for their appeal, it is clear that true crime podcasts have become a major force in the media landscape. From Serial to My Favorite Murder to Criminal, there is no shortage of true crime podcasts vying for listeners’ attention. It’s clear from Chartables podcast charts that the appetite for True Crime podcasts is immense globally.
But what does it take to create a successful true crime podcast? While it may seem like a straightforward process, there is much to consider when embarking on a true crime podcasting project.
In this post, we will explore the ins and outs of how to start a true crime podcast. We will dive into the key elements of true crime podcasting and explore the ethical considerations of true crime podcasting. You will also find guidance on how to respect the privacy and dignity of victims and their families while still delivering a gripping story. So let’s go right in and discover the world of true crime podcasting!
Choosing Your Topic
True crime stories are everywhere, and it can be overwhelming to choose which case to focus on for your podcast. While some cases are widely known and have been covered extensively, there are others that have been largely forgotten or overlooked, and may offer fresh insights and perspectives.
Subgenres of True Crime Podcasts
True crime podcasts cover a wide range of criminal cases and can be broken down into several types and sub-genres. Here are a few examples of some of the best true crime podcasts:
Cold case podcasts
These podcasts focus on unsolved cases that are often decades old. They typically involve in-depth research and investigation in an attempt to uncover new information that could help solve the case. “The Trail Went Cold” is a podcast that focuses on unsolved cases, covering everything from missing persons to murders.
Serial killer podcasts
These podcasts focus on the crimes of one or multiple serial killers. They often delve into the psychology and motives of the killer, and explore the impact of their crimes on their victims and society. Serial killer podcasts: “Serial” is a highly popular podcast that explores the case of Adnan Syed, who was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. The podcast goes into great detail on the case and raises questions about Syed’s guilt.
True crime comedy podcasts
These podcasts take a lighter approach to true crime and often use humor to offset the dark subject matter. They may also incorporate fictional elements or satire. “My Favorite Murder” is a popular true crime podcast that uses humor to explore various cases. Hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark bring a lighthearted approach to true crime, and often use personal anecdotes to connect with their audience.
International true crime podcasts
These podcasts focus on crimes that have taken place outside of the United States, exploring the cultural and legal differences in other countries. “Casefile” is a true crime podcast that covers cases from around the world. The host remains anonymous, but provides in-depth research and analysis on a wide variety of cases, from well-known crimes to lesser-known cases that have never been covered in the media.
Investigative journalism podcasts
These podcasts focus on uncovering corruption and exposing wrongdoing. They often involve in-depth research and interviews with key players in the case. “In the Dark” is a podcast that investigates the case of Curtis Flowers, who was tried six times for the same crime. The podcast exposes flaws in the criminal justice system and raises important questions about the investigation and prosecution of the case.
Historical true crime podcasts
These podcasts focus on crimes that took place in the past, often before the advent of modern forensic techniques. They may also explore the societal and cultural factors that led to the crime. “Most Notorious!” – This podcast is hosted by author Erik Rivenes, who focuses on famous crimes from the past. Each episode features a discussion with a different true crime author or expert and delves into the details of the crime and the societal factors that led to it. Topics have included the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the Lizzie Borden case, and the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
Survival and true crime podcasts
These podcasts focus on crimes in which the victim survived and explores their experiences and how they have coped with the aftermath of the crime. “Criminal” is a podcast that explores the human side of crime, including cases in which the victim survived. Host Phoebe Judge interviews victims, witnesses, and others involved in the case to gain insight into the impact of crime on their lives.
There are many other types and sub-genres of true crime podcasts, each with their own unique approach to exploring the subject matter. Regardless of the type, true crime podcasts share a common goal of providing insight and understanding into the criminal mind and the impact of crime on society.
Selecting a Case
When selecting a case to cover, it’s important to consider several factors. First, consider the level of public interest in the case. True crime stories that have already captured the public’s attention may be easier to market and promote to potential listeners. However, be aware that well-known cases may have already been covered in great detail by other podcasters or media outlets, so you’ll need to offer a fresh perspective or new information to make your podcast stand out.
Next, consider the complexity of the case. Some true crime stories are straightforward and easy to understand, while others may involve multiple suspects, conflicting evidence, and complicated legal proceedings. While a complex case can make for an interesting podcast, it may also require more research and may be more challenging to present in a clear and engaging manner.
Finally, consider the ethical implications of the case. True crime stories often involve tragic and sensitive subject matter, and it’s important to approach the topic with sensitivity and respect for the victims and their families. Make sure to conduct thorough research and use credible sources to avoid perpetuating inaccurate or damaging information.
When researching potential cases, look for ones that offer a unique perspective or an untold story. Consider reaching out to experts, journalists, or even family members of the victims to gain additional insights and information. Above all, choose a case that you are passionate about and interested in exploring in depth. This will make the research and production process more enjoyable and will likely result in a better podcast overall.
Researching the Case
One of the most crucial steps in creating a true crime podcast is conducting thorough research on your chosen case. Without accurate and comprehensive research, your podcast will lack credibility and may even offend or harm the victims and their families. In this chapter, we will explore how to conduct research on a true crime case, how to sift through conflicting information, and how to find credible sources.
Define Your Research Goals
Before you begin your research, it’s important to define your goals. What questions do you want to answer through your podcast? What themes or aspects of the case do you want to explore? Having a clear idea of what you hope to accomplish will help guide your research and prevent you from getting lost in a sea of information.
Gather Basic Information
Start by gathering basic information about the case. This might include the names of the victims and suspects, the date and location of the crime, and any available police reports or court documents. This information will form the foundation of your research and help you identify key areas of inquiry.
Explore Primary and Secondary Sources
Next, explore both primary and secondary sources related to the case. Primary sources are original documents or materials related to the crime, such as police reports, court documents, and witness statements. Secondary sources include news articles, books, documentaries, and other media that offer analysis and commentary on the case. It’s important to consult both types of sources to gain a well-rounded understanding of the case.
Evaluate the Credibility of Sources
As you gather information, it’s important to evaluate the credibility of your sources. Not all sources are created equal, and it’s important to ensure that the information you include in your podcast is accurate and trustworthy. Some factors to consider when evaluating the credibility of a source include the author’s credentials, the publisher, the date of publication, and any potential biases or conflicts of interest.
Fact-Check Your Information
Finally, be sure to fact-check all of the information you gather. Verify names, dates, and other details against multiple sources to ensure accuracy. If you come across conflicting information, dig deeper to try to resolve the discrepancies. Remember that your podcast will be judged on its accuracy and credibility, so taking the time to ensure that your information is correct is essential.
By following these steps, you can conduct thorough and credible research on your chosen true crime case. Remember to stay focused on your research goals, evaluate your sources carefully, and fact-check all of your information to ensure that your podcast is as accurate and informative as possible.
Interviewing Witnesses and Experts
One of the key components of any true crime podcast is the interviews with witnesses and experts. These interviews can provide valuable insights into the case and add depth to the narrative.
We were lucky enough to see the Sword and Scale podcast in progress. We recorded guest author Anne Brockle back 2019. She wrote the book Dark Ambition: The Shocking Crime of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich. We saw the level of professionalism they took in their approach to the podcast.
Who to Interview
This is a good example of who you can interview. It doesn’t always have to be someone directly from a family of those involved in the crime. Here are some other ideas on who you might be able to interview for a case:
Law enforcement officials
Police officers, detectives, and other law enforcement officials who worked on the case can provide insight into the investigation, the evidence, and the legal process.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys
Lawyers who worked on the case can provide insight into the legal strategies used and the arguments made by the prosecution and defense.
Eye witnesses or people who have firsthand knowledge of the crime can provide valuable information about the event, the people involved, and the circumstances surrounding the crime.
Experts in fields related to the crime, such as forensic scientists, criminologists, or psychologists, can provide insight into the evidence, the behavior of the perpetrator, or the motivation behind the crime.
Family members and friends of the victim or the perpetrator
Family members and friends of the people involved in the crime can provide a human perspective on the case and provide insights into the lives of the individuals involved. We will touch on professionalism and respecting boundaries later in this post, but there are several things to consider if you choose this route for an interview.
Journalists who covered the case at the time can provide historical context, insights into the media coverage, and behind-the-scenes information about the reporting process.
Overall, it is important for true crime podcasters to carefully consider who they interview and why, in order to ensure that the interviews provide valuable insights and add to the overall narrative of the podcast.
Conducting the interview
Conducting interviews is not always easy. We’ve already written a full length article about this topic in the proper etiquette to hosting a guest on a podcast and that guide can provide further details. However, here are some basic tips to help you get the most out of your interviews:
Before conducting an interview, make sure you are well-prepared. Research your interviewee and the topics you plan to discuss. This will help you ask informed and relevant questions and ensure that you get the information you need.
Building a rapport with your interviewee is essential. It can help put them at ease and encourage them to open up. Start with some small talk and try to establish a friendly and comfortable atmosphere.
Be an active listener
During the interview, be an active listener. Pay attention to what your interviewee is saying, and ask follow-up questions to clarify or expand on their answers. This will help you get the most out of the interview.
Ask open-ended questions
Ask open-ended questions that encourage your interviewee to talk in detail about their experiences and opinions. This will help you get more detailed and nuanced answers.
Be respectful of your interviewee’s boundaries. If there are certain topics that they are uncomfortable discussing, respect their wishes and move on to another topic.
After the interview, follow up with your interviewee to thank them for their time and to clarify any points that you may have missed.
If you plan to use the interview in your podcast, make sure you get permission from your interviewee to do so. Explain how the interview will be used and get their agreement in writing.
Interviewing witnesses and experts can be challenging, but it is a crucial part of any true crime podcast. With these tips, you can conduct effective interviews that provide valuable insights into your case and enhance your podcast’s narrative.
Absolutely, being sensitive to what your interviewees have gone through is a critical step in conducting effective interviews. Here’s how you can approach this:
Always be respectful of your interviewee’s experiences and emotions. Remember that they may be discussing traumatic events, and it is important to be sensitive to their feelings.
Don’t push too hard
Be mindful of how much you are pushing your interviewee. Don’t push them to discuss topics that are too painful or uncomfortable for them.
Show empathy and compassion towards your interviewee. Let them know that you understand that discussing their experiences can be difficult, and that you appreciate their willingness to talk with you.
Give them control
Give your interviewee control over the interview. Let them set the pace and tone of the conversation, and respect their wishes if they want to stop the interview at any time.
Provide your interviewee with resources or referrals to professional support services if they need them. This can help them cope with the emotions that may arise from discussing their experiences.
After the interview, thank your interviewee for their time and their willingness to speak with you. Let them know that their contributions are important and valued.
By being sensitive to your interviewee’s experiences, you can create a respectful and supportive environment for them to share their stories. This can help you get the most out of the interview and ensure that your podcast is both informative and compassionate.
Writing the Script
Once you have gathered all the information you need for your true crime podcast, the next step is to craft a compelling narrative structure for your story. Your script is the backbone of your podcast, and it’s what your listeners will be following along with as they listen to your episodes.
The key to a successful true crime podcast script is to balance facts and evidence with storytelling techniques that keep your audience engaged and invested in the story. You’ll want to use a combination of narration, interviews, and soundbites to build your story and help your listeners understand the key players and events. As you begin to write your script, start your true crime podcast by outlining the key events and players in your story. You may want to create a timeline or flow chart to help you organize your thoughts and ensure that you are presenting the information in a clear and logical way. This will also help you identify any gaps in your research or areas where you need to conduct additional interviews or research.
When you’re ready to begin writing your script, keep in mind that your goal is to keep your audience engaged and interested in the story. You’ll want to use language that is clear and concise, and avoid jargon or technical terms that may be confusing to your listeners.
One effective technique for crafting a compelling true crime podcast script is to create a sense of suspense and tension throughout the story. You can do this by starting with a hook that draws your listeners in, and then gradually revealing key details and twists in the story as you go along.
As you write your script, be sure to include plenty of details and evidence to support your narrative. This will help build trust with your audience and ensure that they see your podcast as a reliable source of information.
Finally, don’t be afraid to edit and revise your script as you go along. This will help you refine your story and make sure that you are presenting the information in the most effective way possible. By taking the time to craft a strong and compelling script, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful true crime podcast..
One exercise to do if this is a part you struggle with, find a podcast similar to yours. Listen to it and transcribe it yourself. Reverse engineer what they have done and study why that story works so well. You will develop your story telling knowledge by doing this. Think about the timeline they used, the sentence structure, how they built suspension, etc.
Developing a Unique Perspective
When it comes to true crime podcasting, there are countless shows available to listeners. With so much competition, it’s important to find a way to stand out. Developing a unique perspective is one way to set your podcast apart from the rest.
Your perspective is your voice. It’s your take on the case you’re presenting, your style of storytelling, and the angle you take when presenting the evidence. The more unique your perspective, the more likely listeners will be to tune in.
A way to develop a unique perspective is to inject your own personality into your podcast. Be yourself and don’t be afraid to let your quirks and idiosyncrasies shine through. In podcasting, being a polarizing person isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you are a quirky person, that will annoy some, but others will find you exciting or funny. If you try to please everyone and are scared to show who you are, you risk your podcast being dry and uninteresting.
It’s important to note that developing a unique perspective doesn’t mean sacrificing accuracy or respect for the victims and their families. Sensationalizing or exploiting a case can quickly turn off listeners and damage your reputation. The goal is to find a balance between uniqueness and sensitivity.
Remember that developing a unique perspective takes time and experimentation. Don’t be afraid to try different angles or styles of storytelling to find what works for you. With persistence and a commitment to your unique voice, you can create a true crime podcast that stands out from the crowd.
Now that you have a case and have booked guest interviews, it’s time to start recording your true crime podcast. Recording clear audio is key to any successful podcast. Here are a few key things to keep in mind when you go to record:
Find a quiet space
Make sure you’re recording in a quiet room with minimal background noise. This will ensure that your voice is clear and easy to understand.
Use a quality microphone
Invest in a good quality microphone that will pick up your voice clearly without any distortion or interference. A USB microphone is a good choice for beginners.
Test your equipment
Before you start recording your true crime podcat, test your equipment to make sure everything is working properly. Check the levels on your microphone to ensure that your voice is being recorded at an appropriate volume.
Once you’ve recorded your podcast, it’s time to start editing. Here are some tips to help you improve the final product:
Remove any mistakes or long pauses: Use editing software to remove any mistakes or long pauses in the recording. This will help keep the podcast flowing and maintain the listener’s interest.
Cut unnecessary content
Edit out any content that doesn’t contribute to the story or feels like it’s dragging on. This will help keep the podcast focused and engaging.
Use transitions to help move the story along and make the podcast feel more cohesive. A simple fade in and fade out can be very effective.
Ensure a consistent volume
Make sure the volume of your podcast is consistent throughout. If the volume is too low, listeners may struggle to hear what you’re saying, while if it’s too high, it may be unpleasant to listen to.
Some cases will have useful media in the public domain. In general, 911 calls are considered public records and can be obtained through a public records request, but the availability of 911 calls to the public can vary by jurisdiction and circumstance. That could be an interesting piece to include in the episode. Any supporting audio you can use from the actual case could be great to include if it’s appropriate.
Using Music and Sound Design
Music and sound design are essential elements of any true crime podcast. They can help to create a mood and atmosphere that draws the listener into the story. In this chapter, we will explore the role of music and sound design in a true crime podcast and offer tips for choosing the right music and sound effects.
Music Sets Tone and Brings Out Emotion
Music is a powerful tool for setting the tone of a true crime podcast. The right music can help to create an emotional connection with the listener and enhance the storytelling. When choosing music for your podcast, it is important to consider the mood you want to convey. For example, you may want to use somber music to create a sense of tragedy, or upbeat music to create a sense of anticipation or excitement. Think about what emotion you want the listener to feel.
When selecting music, it is also important to consider copyright laws. You should never use copyrighted music without permission. There are many sources of royalty-free music that you can use, including free music libraries and paid music licensing services. We have used music from Envato Elements for many podcasts. It’s a great service that we recommend.
Sound Effects and Sound Design
Sound design is another important aspect of a true crime podcast. It can help you tell the story beyond words. Sound effects can be used to enhance the narrative and create a sense of immersion for the listener. For example, you may want to use sound effects to create the sound of a gunshot, a car crash, or a door slamming shut. When choosing sound effects, it is important to consider the context of the scene. For example, if you are describing a crime scene, you may want to use sounds that create a sense of eeriness or foreboding. If you are describing a chase scene, you may want to use sounds that create a sense of urgency or excitement.
When you’re describing a text message, you can use the typing or sent message noise your iPhone makes. If you use Adobe Audition, there is already a telephone sound effect preset that’s very easy to access. To get there, in the effects panel, click on Filter and EQ and then FFT Filter. Under presets there are two that may appeal to you, Telephone – Receiver and Telephone – Voice Mail.
Don’t Overuse Sound Effects
One important consideration when using sound design is to avoid overusing sound effects. Too many sound effects can become distracting and take away from the story. It is important to use sound effects sparingly and only when they are needed to enhance the narrative.
In addition to music and sound effects, you may also want to consider using ambient sound to create a sense of atmosphere. For example, you may want to use the sound of rain or wind to create a sense of mood or setting.
Another effect that can create tension we love to use is a shepherd tone. Here is a great video that fully explains what that is:
Overall, music and sound design are essential elements of a true crime podcast. When used effectively, they can help to create a compelling and immersive listening experience for your audience. By carefully selecting music and sound effects that enhance the narrative, you can create a powerful emotional connection with your listeners and keep them engaged throughout the podcast.
Legal and Ethical Considerations for a True Crime Podcast
True crime podcasting often involves exploring stories of tragedy and trauma, and as such, it is important to consider the legal and ethical implications of this genre. In this chapter, we will explore some of the key considerations that true crime podcasters should keep in mind when producing their shows.
Respecting the Privacy and Dignity of Victims and Their Families
One of the most important ethical considerations when producing a true crime podcast is respecting the privacy and dignity of victims and their families. It is important to remember that the stories being told involve real people who may have experienced trauma or loss. As a podcaster, it is important to approach the story with sensitivity and compassion. This may involve seeking permission from the families of victims before sharing their stories or being careful about the information that is shared on the podcast.
Avoiding Libel and Defamation
Another key consideration for true crime podcasters is avoiding libel and defamation. It is important to be sure that any information shared on the podcast is accurate and that sources are credible. In addition, it is important to avoid making statements that could be considered defamatory or libelous, as this could result in legal action.
True crime podcasters must also navigate issues related to copyright and fair use. Using copyrighted materials in your podcast without permission could result in legal action. However, there are certain situations where using copyrighted material may be considered fair use. It is important to understand the guidelines for fair use and to obtain permission whenever possible.
Dealing with Sensitivity and Trigger Warnings
Another important ethical consideration is dealing with the sensitivity of the material being shared on the podcast. This may involve providing trigger warnings or content warnings before sharing particularly sensitive material. It is important to approach the story with care and to consider the potential impact on listeners who may have experienced trauma or loss. You will want to do your podcast the right way from the start.
Balancing Journalism with Compassion
Finally, true crime podcasters must balance their role as journalists with their responsibility to be compassionate and respectful. It is important to approach the story with integrity and to report on the facts accurately. At the same time, it is important to be aware of the potential impact of the story on victims and their families, and to approach the story with empathy and compassion.
In conclusion, true crime podcasting requires a careful balance of legal and ethical considerations. By approaching the story with sensitivity and compassion, and by being aware of the legal implications of your work, you can create a podcast that is engaging, informative, and respectful to all involved.
Building an Audience
Building an audience can be a challenging task, as there are so many podcasts vying for listeners’ attention. However, with the right approach, you can build a community of dedicated listeners who will follow your podcast from episode to episode.
The first step in building an audience is to create a marketing and promotion plan. This should include strategies for reaching potential listeners on social media, through email marketing, and via other channels. You should also consider collaborating with other podcasters, who can help you to reach new audiences and expand your reach.
Another key to building an audience is to create high-quality content that people will want to listen to. This means crafting compelling narratives that keep listeners engaged, and incorporating elements such as sound design and music that enhance the listening experience.
Once you have created your podcast, it’s important to engage with your audience. This means responding to feedback and questions, and building a community around your podcast. You can do this by creating social media accounts for your podcast, and by using these platforms to interact with your listeners.
One effective way to build an audience is to create a sense of exclusivity. This could mean offering behind-the-scenes content or early access to new episodes to your most dedicated listeners. By making your audience feel like they are part of a special community, you can create a sense of loyalty that will keep them coming back to your podcast.
Finally, it’s important to be patient. Building an audience takes time, and it’s unlikely that your podcast will become an overnight sensation. However, if you are persistent and focused, and you create high-quality content that resonates with your listeners, you can build a loyal following over time. We also have more ways to help you build an audience.
Once you have developed a successful true crime podcast, you may want to consider monetizing your content. There are a variety of ways to generate revenue from your podcast, ranging from advertising to merchandise sales. However, it is important to balance financial considerations with ethical concerns, as monetizing true crime content can be a delicate issue.
One of the most common ways to monetize a true crime podcast is through advertising. You can partner with companies that offer products or services relevant to your audience and integrate their ads into your episodes. However, it is important to be transparent with your listeners about sponsored content, and to avoid promoting products or services that are not relevant or trustworthy.
Another way to generate revenue is through donation platforms like Patreon. You can offer exclusive content, merchandise, or other perks to supporters who make a monthly donation. This can be a great way to build a loyal community around your podcast, and to generate steady income that is not dependent on ads or sponsors. Some true crime podcasters also offer premium content, such as extended interviews or bonus episodes, for a fee. This can be a great way to offer additional value to your most loyal listeners, while also generating revenue.
Merchandise sales can also be a lucrative source of revenue for a true crime podcast. You can design and sell t-shirts, mugs, or other items that feature your podcast’s logo or catchphrases. However, it is important to ensure that the merchandise is tasteful and respectful to victims and their families.
It is important to remember that monetizing a true crime podcast can be a sensitive issue, and that ethical considerations should always come first. You should always be respectful of victims and their families, and avoid exploiting their stories for financial gain. Additionally, you should be transparent with your listeners about any monetization strategies you employ, and be open to feedback and criticism. With careful consideration and a focus on ethical standards, however, monetizing a true crime podcast can be a great way to support your work and grow your audience. See our guide to monetization.
Maintaining Ethical Standards
True crime podcasting can be a sensitive and emotionally-charged genre that can raise ethical considerations. As a true crime podcaster, it is important to maintain ethical standards in order to maintain journalistic integrity and respect for the victims and their families. In this chapter, we will explore the key ethical considerations for true crime podcasters and how to navigate these complex issues.
Balancing Journalistic Integrity with Compassion
As a true crime podcaster, it is important to balance journalistic integrity with compassion for the victims and their families. This means avoiding sensationalism and focusing on facts and evidence, while also treating the victims and their families with respect and dignity. It is crucial to ensure that the podcast is not exploiting the victim’s tragedy for personal gain or entertainment purposes.
Dealing with Controversy and Criticism
True crime podcasting can sometimes be controversial, and it is important to be prepared to deal with criticism and controversy. This may include accusations of sensationalism or exploitation, or backlash from the victim’s families or other parties involved in the case. It is important to respond to criticism with respect and professionalism, while also being open to feedback and constructive criticism.
Maintaining Accuracy and Credibility
Maintaining accuracy and credibility is crucial in true crime podcasting. This means conducting thorough research, fact-checking all information, and avoiding speculation or conjecture. It is important to be transparent about the sources of information and to acknowledge any limitations or uncertainties in the case.
Respecting the Privacy and Dignity of Victims and their Families
As a true crime podcaster, it is important to respect the privacy and dignity of the victims and their families. This may involve obtaining consent from family members before using their stories or photographs, or avoiding sensitive or invasive material. It is crucial to always approach the case with empathy and compassion, and to prioritize the well-being of the victims and their families.
Final thoughts on Ethical Standards
Maintaining ethical standards is crucial in true crime podcasting. This means balancing journalistic integrity with compassion for the victims and their families, navigating sensitive material with care and sensitivity, and maintaining accuracy and credibility. By following these ethical guidelines, true crime podcasters can create compelling and informative content that respects the victims and their families while also engaging and educating the audience.
Mental Health and Dealing with Sensitive Material
True crime podcasting can be emotionally challenging, as it often involves dealing with sensitive material, such as violent crimes and their aftermath. Coping with this material can be difficult, but it is essential for the podcast host to maintain their professionalism and respect for the victims and their families.
Take a Break
First and foremost, it is important to take care of yourself. Dealing with difficult material can be emotionally draining, and it is crucial to prioritize your mental health. Make sure you take breaks when you need them and seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional. You may also want to consider working with a team or co-host who can provide emotional support and perspective. Dealing with sensitive material is an inevitable part of true crime podcasting. By prioritizing your mental health, approaching the case with empathy and compassion, and being open to feedback, you can create a respectful and engaging podcast while also taking care of yourself.
Avoid Traumatic Online Content
When researching a case, it is also essential to be mindful of the sources and information you are consuming. Avoid graphic or sensationalized material that could be traumatic or distressing, and instead focus on finding credible sources and information that can help you tell the story in a respectful and accurate manner.
It is also important to approach the case with empathy and compassion. Remember that the people involved in the case, such as the victims and their families, are real people who have experienced unimaginable trauma. Treat their stories with the respect and sensitivity they deserve.
Finally, be prepared to deal with criticism and controversy. True crime podcasting can be a sensitive topic, and it is important to be open to feedback and criticism while also maintaining your ethical standards. If you receive criticism, consider it thoughtfully and be willing to make changes or corrections if necessary. Someone will always find something to criticize, but if it’s a repeated criticism, you may want to consider making a change.
Engaging with Your True Crime Podcast Audience
Once you have that successful true crime podcast,it’s important to engage with your audience. Building a community around your podcast can help you grow your listenership and create a loyal fan base. Here are some tips for engaging with your audience:
Respond to Feedback and Criticism
Take the time to read through listener feedback and respond to it. Whether it’s positive or negative, engage with your listeners and show that you value their opinions. You can also choose to disagree and provide context to why.
Create a Social Media Presence
Use social media to connect with your listeners and share behind-the-scenes content. This can help build a sense of community around your podcast.
Go on Other Podcasts
Once you’ve developed a reputation and audience, people will want to speak with you. This can both benefit you by exposing your podcast to another audience, and them by adding a successful podcaster as a guest.
Use Listener Stories
Incorporate listener stories into your podcast to show that you value their contributions. This can also help create a sense of community around your podcast.
Provide Exclusive Content
Offer exclusive content to your listeners, such as bonus episodes or behind-the-scenes content. This can help create a sense of exclusivity and build loyalty among your listeners. Check out some of the successful true crime podcasts on patreon. There’s many exclusive perks of subscribing to their show and you might find something similar that you could offer your audience.
Build a Mailing List
Collect email addresses from your listeners and send out regular updates or newsletters. This can be a great way to keep your listeners engaged and up-to-date on your podcast.
Engaging with your audience can be a time-consuming process, but it’s essential for building a loyal fan base and growing your listenership. By taking the time to respond to feedback and criticism, creating a social media presence, hosting live events, using listener stories, providing exclusive content, and building a mailing list, you can create a community around your podcast that will help you succeed.
Future Directions for True Crime Podcasting
As true crime podcasting continues to grow in popularity, there are many exciting possibilities for the future of the genre. It’s fun to think about where things may go in the world of podcasting or where your show could go. Here are some potential directions that true crime podcasts may take in the coming years:
While true crime podcasts have traditionally focused on murder and violent crimes, there is potential for a broader range of stories to be explored. Podcasters may delve into white collar crimes, political scandals, and other types of true crime stories.
In recent years, we have seen more and more true crime stories being adapted into documentaries, TV series, and feature films. There is potential for podcasters to collaborate with other media producers to bring their stories to new audiences and in new formats.
As technologies continue to evolve, there is potential for true crime podcasts to become more interactive. Podcasters may incorporate gamification elements, augmented reality, or other features that allow listeners to engage more deeply with the stories they are hearing.
While many true crime podcasts have focused on crimes in the United States, there is potential for podcasters to explore crime stories from around the world. This may involve collaborating with international reporters or incorporating translations for non-English speaking audiences.
Deep Dives into Unsolved Cases
With the rise of citizen journalism and online communities, there is potential for true crime podcasts to play a role in helping to solve cold cases. Podcasters may delve deeply into unsolved crimes, encouraging listeners to submit tips or evidence that could help bring justice to victims and their families. As wild as it sounds, some podcasts have even led to solving cold cases.
Focusing on Rehabilitation and Reentry
While true crime stories often focus on the perpetrator, there is potential for podcasts to explore the rehabilitation and reentry process for those who have been incarcerated. This may involve interviewing former inmates, exploring rehabilitation programs, and sharing stories of success and challenges in the reentry process.
Incorporating Mental Health Perspectives
Many true crime stories involve individuals who have experienced trauma or mental health challenges. There is potential for podcasters to collaborate with mental health professionals to incorporate perspectives on trauma and recovery into their stories.
Exploring Historical Crimes
While many true crime podcasts focus on recent events, there is potential to explore historical crimes and their impact on society. This may involve exploring cases that have never been fully solved or delving into the social and political context in which these crimes occurred.
Incorporating Artificial Intelligence
As AI technologies continue to evolve, there is potential for podcasters to use these tools to automate certain aspects of the production process. We are seeing more of how it can help podcasters from audio editing, research, cover art generation, even music creation. Our article on Adobe Podcast Enhance may also be of interest to you – it’s essentially a tool that turns poor audio into high quality audio.
Addressing Social Justice Issues
There is potential for true crime podcasts to address broader social justice issues, such as racism, classism, and police brutality. Podcasters may delve into cases that highlight these issues and explore potential solutions.
As the true crime podcasting genre continues to evolve, it will be exciting to see how podcasters continue to innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible. With new technologies, a broader range of perspectives, and an ever-growing audience, the future of true crime podcasting is full of potential.
Managing Time and Resources
As you read this, you may not know how to create a true crime podcast, so you wouldn’t know how time consuming it can be. Podcasting can be a time-consuming and resource-intensive endeavor, and without proper management, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and lose focus. Here are a few tips for managing your time and resources effectively:
Set Realistic Goals
Before you start your true crime podcast, set realistic goals for what you hope to achieve. Break these goals down into smaller, more manageable tasks, and prioritize them based on importance and urgency.
Create a Production Schedule
Create a production schedule that outlines your deadlines and the tasks you need to complete to meet them. Make sure to build in extra time for unexpected challenges or setbacks.
Use Productivity Tools
There are many productivity tools available that can help you manage your time and stay organized. These include tools like Trello, Asana, and Todoist, which allow you to create task lists, set reminders, and track your progress.
Outsource When Necessary
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider outsourcing some tasks to free up your time. This could include hiring an editor, a researcher, or a social media manager.
When working on your podcast, it’s important to stay focused and avoid distractions. Set aside specific times each day or week to work on your podcast, and try to eliminate any distractions that might interfere with your productivity. When feeling down about listenership or a negative review, just think back to your long term goals. Starting a true crime podcast should be a multi-year investment, and podcasts usually have a compounding effect.
Take Care of Yourself
Finally, remember to take care of yourself. Podcasting can be a stressful and time-consuming endeavor, and it’s important to take breaks, get plenty of rest, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. True crime can be unsettling and you’re researching some of the most horrible stories we know. Take a few breaks here and there.
By following these tips, you can manage your time and resources effectively and stay on track when creating your true crime podcast. With proper planning and organization, you can create a successful podcast without becoming overwhelmed by the demands of the production process.
Building and Managing a Team
Creating a successful true crime podcast is not a solo endeavor. While it may be possible to create a podcast on your own, it can be overwhelming and challenging to handle all the tasks involved in podcast production. Building a team can help you manage the workload and produce a higher-quality product.
Identify Key Roles and Responsibilities
The first step in building a team is identifying the key roles and responsibilities needed to produce your podcast. At first you might be doing all of these roles yourself. If you can monetize your podcast, some roles to consider to lighten your workload include:
- Co-hosts or guest experts to help with research and provide commentary
- A sound engineer to handle recording and editing
- A web developer to create and maintain your podcast website
- A marketing and social media manager to promote your podcast
Once you’ve identified the roles you need, you can start recruiting team members.
Recruit the Right People
When recruiting team members, it’s important to find individuals who are passionate about the topic and committed to the project. Consider reaching out to your personal and professional networks, as well as social media and other online communities.
When evaluating potential team members, consider their skills, experience, and availability. Look for people who bring different perspectives and skills to the team, as this can help create a more well-rounded product. Look for people who have experience in a similar role or someone who brings a ton of passion to the project.
Set Expectations and Communicate Clearly
Once you’ve assembled your team, it’s important to set expectations and communicate clearly. This includes outlining the roles and responsibilities of each team member, as well as the timeline and goals for the project.
Make sure everyone understands the project’s scope and the specific tasks they need to complete. This can help avoid misunderstandings and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Encourage Collaboration and Feedback
Encouraging collaboration and feedback is crucial for building a successful team. Encourage team members to share their ideas and feedback, as this can help improve the quality of the podcast.
Make sure to hold regular team meetings to discuss progress and any issues that arise. This can help keep everyone on track and ensure the project stays on schedule. If someone listens to the episode and doesn’t follow what happened, it’s in your best interest to fix it. Don’t get upset at honest feedback.
Managing Your True Crime Podcast Online Presence
Managing your online presence is an essential aspect of creating and maintaining a successful true crime podcast. As a podcaster, your online presence is your primary means of connecting with your audience and promoting your podcast. By building a professional and engaging online presence, you can attract new listeners, build a loyal fan base, and establish yourself as an authority in the true crime podcasting world.
The first step in managing your online presence is creating a professional website. Your website should serve as the central hub for your podcast, where listeners can go to find episodes, show notes, and other resources related to your podcast. Your website should be easy to navigate and visually appealing, with a clean, modern design that reflects the tone and style of your podcast.
You will want to transcribe your podcast, and use that in a blog post. The more episodes you have, the more blog posts will help your SEO ranking. People could eventually discover your podcast through a Google search. You will of course try and redirect your traffic towards your podcast and social media feeds.
In addition to your website, social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are essential tools for building and managing your online presence. These platforms provide a way for you to engage with your audience, share updates and news about your podcast, and promote your brand.
When managing your online presence, it’s important to be consistent in your messaging and branding. Use the same profile picture and cover image across all platforms, and use consistent branding and messaging to help your audience recognize your podcast and associate it with your unique style and voice. At the same time, you’ll want to customize your message specific for the platform you’re posting on.
Engaging with Audience
Engaging with your audience is also an essential aspect of managing your online presence. Respond to comments and questions from listeners, and make an effort to create a community around your podcast. Engage in conversations on social media and ask for feedback from your listeners. By building a loyal fan base and creating a sense of community around your podcast, you can create a sustainable and successful platform for your true crime storytelling.
Balancing Sensationalism and Sensitivity
A challenge of creating a true crime podcast is balancing the need for a compelling story with the importance of respecting the victims and their families. Sensationalism can be a double-edged sword. It can draw in listeners and create a gripping narrative, but it can also come across as exploitative and insensitive.
To strike the right balance, it’s important to approach the subject matter with sensitivity and respect. This means being mindful of how you present the facts and avoiding sensationalism for its own sake. Some ways to do this include:
Avoiding graphic or unnecessary details
While it’s important to include relevant details and evidence, it’s equally important to avoid graphic or gratuitous descriptions that can be distressing for listeners.
Focusing on the impact on the victims and their families
Rather than focusing solely on the details of the crime itself, it can be helpful to explore the impact it had on the victims and their families. This can help to humanize the people involved and avoid reducing them to mere subjects of the crime.
Respecting the privacy and dignity of victims and their families
It’s important to be respectful of the privacy and dignity of victims and their families. This means avoiding speculation, rumor-mongering, or other activities that might be seen as intrusive or insensitive.
True crime podcasters must be vigilant about avoiding exploitation. This means avoiding using crime scenes or other sensitive locations as backdrops for promotional material and avoiding sensationalizing the events for profit.
Being transparent about your approach
To build trust with listeners, it’s important to be transparent about your approach to the subject matter. This means being honest about your motivations, the methods you use to research and present the material, and any biases you may have.
Striking the right balance between sensationalism and sensitivity requires a nuanced approach. It should take into account the complex emotional terrain of true crime podcasting. By staying mindful of the need for sensitivity and respect, while also creating a compelling narrative, you can create a podcast that is both gripping and ethical.
Ultimately, the impact of true crime podcasting on society is still being felt. The genre continues to evolve and grow in popularity. As podcasters continue to tell the stories of real-life crimes and their aftermaths, remain mindful of the power and responsibility that comes with sharing these stories with the world.
We hope you learned something from this guide. Thank you for reading.