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Celebrate Milestones & Grow Your Audience with a Montage Episode

What are montage episodes? Why might you create one? And how do you go about it?

No matter what format your podcast episodes tend to follow, you can benefit from creating a montage episode.

In this guide, we'll cover those benefits, and give you some tips and advice, so you can get started.

First up though, what exactly is a montage episode?

What is a Montage Episode?

A montage episode is a piece of audio content, made up of clips from different contributors.

A tried and tested way of creating one is to build the episode around a single topic or question. Each participant records their answer to the question, and sends over their audio to the creator.

The participants will commonly be listeners of the show, or podcasters running shows in the same niche or wider topic. They could even be vox-pops recorded at a convention or conference.

Some examples of montage episodes could include

  • An episode of a travel podcast where contributors talk about their favourite holiday destination
  • An episode of a sound design podcast where contributors talk about their favourite audio production software
  • An episode of a health podcast where contributors talk about their morning routines
podcast montage episode

Why Create a Montage Episode?

This type of content naturally takes a lot more work than a typical podcast episode. So it's unlikely you'd want to create one every week.

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However, they can work well when celebrating milestones. This could be anything from your 10th episode, to your 100th. Or you might create one to celebrate a “real life” event. For example, a space podcast might do one about the anniversary of the first moon landing.

Montage episodes are also a good way to grow your audience. The folks involved tend to share them, so it can boost your reach.

If it's fellow podcasters in your niche who are the contributors, everyone will see a bump in their download numbers after the episode publishes. This is due to the ‘audience share' effect, with fans of each podcast discovering the others.

How to Create a Montage Episode

Now that you know the benefits, let's turn our focus to how we actually go about making one.

Firstly, you should have a think about the episode topic, and how it fits into your wider show content.

You may be asking a single question, but it's a good idea to have some prompts alongside it.

Imagine the hypothetical travel podcast does the montage episode “The World's Best Holiday Destinations”, and one of the clips is someone simply saying “Jamaica”. That would be a pretty dull and short episode.

When asking for contributions, you might expand on the question “what is your favourite holiday destination?” with any of the following;

  • Why did you choose to go there?
  • What is your favourite memory of the place?
  • What is something that surprised you about it?
  • What's your top tip for someone planning to go there in the future?

You want to give yourself the best possible chance of gathering great, insightful content.

Decide too, if you'd like to put an approximate time guide on answers. Between 3-5 minutes is always a good sweet spot. But don't be too strict with this, or you'll discourage folks from participating.

Next, you need to determine who you'd like to be your contributors. Is it your listeners? Or is it your fellow podcasters?

With Your Listeners

If it's your listeners, you'll need quite an engaged audience to pull it off, which can be challenging if you've been podcasting for less than a year.

Use the montage episode as your call to action at the end of 4 or 5 consecutive episodes. Explain clearly that you'd like them to send in voice messages giving their answer or opinion on your chosen topic.

It's useful to create a dedicated page on your site with the key info: a place you can send them to. Use a tool like Pretty Links to create a memorable URL. You might also want to use a tool like SpeakPipe as an easy option for them to record their audio.

Your listeners will likely have no experience whatsoever of recording audio. So it's a good idea to provide some options and instructions on this page. Try to keep things simple. Walk them through how to record audio on their phone, and send it over to you.

Give them a deadline for recording and submitting their segment. You might also want to reach out directly to a core of folks you know. That way you'll have some guaranteed content to work with if the general audience uptake is slow, or non-existent.

Sell the benefits of involvement, too. Not only can they help create great content for the show, they'll have the opportunity to mention (and link to) their own site, page, or project online. You can also further incentivise participation by offering a free resource – something digital, like an ebook or premium episode.

With Fellow Podcasters

Going down this route means you don't need to do any of the education about how to record audio. You'll get a good level of sound quality here too (you'd hope!).

The part that takes up the most time is engagement. Contact each podcaster individually, and explain the benefits of their participation.

One of the biggest benefits to them is visibility, and listener growth. They'll be promoting their podcast in front of your entire audience. And if everyone involved shares it out, you can get in front of the audiences of 6 or 7 different shows. With a montage episode of collective podcasters, everyone wins.

Publishing & Promotion

Once you've pieced the whole thing together and uploaded it, you should reach out to everyone involved and let them know it's live. Tell them you'd really appreciate it if they shared it out themselves.

You might want to go the extra mile and use a tool like Canva to create some social media graphics. Take a quote from each contributor and make these into individual images. Or, consider making an audiogram. Then, post them out over time on your feed, being sure to tag the relevant person in when you do.

Montage Episode Examples

When I worked on the Audio Drama Production Podcast, we did a few of these back in the day. They were always a lot of fun to put together, and created some really valuable content.

What Will You Do?

Hopefully, this incites your enthusiasm and ideas towards creating your own montage episode. If you do publish one, be sure to share it in the comments section below.

And, if you'd like more tailored help with this, or any other aspect of podcasting, check out The Podcast Host Academy. There, you'll get access to all our courses, resources, community forums, and regular live Q&A sessions!

Written by:

Matthew McLean

Matthew is an audio drama writer and producer who enjoys talking about podcasts. He makes the tea at The Podcast Host, and is a loyal servant of adopted house rabbits.

December 16th 2019