To say podcasting has earned an unbelievably tremendous following is an understatement. And this massive rise in popularity is not really surprising. After all, rather than peddling itself to demographic markets, podcasts appear to enthusiasms, interests, and the evergreen appeal of storytelling.
Taking into account its charm and unbelievable appeal, many have jumped in on the podcasting bandwagon. That being said, regardless if you’re a new podcaster or a seasoned one, you share a similar goal—be a step ahead of the pack.
How exactly do you achieve a feat as challenging? The following key podcasting secrets should get your efforts off to an exceptional start:
Most successful podcasters share one thing in common—they speak intimately and directly to their listeners. Unlike radio broadcasters who often fall into the trap of speaking like a bot in an attempt to sound authoritative, podcasters talk to their listeners like most ordinary person would.
Starlee Kine, host of the podcast Mystery Show is one of those podcasters who follow this beneficial practice. She speaks just like any young person you talk to in a restaurant, bar, or a book club meeting.
Ira Glass of the podcast This American Life highlights the importance of using an intimate and direct human voice when she said, “everything is more compelling when you talk like a human being.”
Undoubtedly, people are more likely to listen to a new podcast when it’s recommended by a friend, family member, or a podcaster they trust. The benefits of cross-promotion are hard to miss so it’s not surprising many podcasters employ this technique.
Production houses Radiotopia and Gimlet are responsible for several podcasts and integrate cross-promotion in their programs. Likewise, other established podcasters like Alex Blumberg, Robert Krulwich, and Manoush Zomorodi, among many others sometimes recommend other podcasts their audience can check out.
Some of the best podcasts start with an action point and takes it from there before filling in the context or background detail. What’s endearing about podcasts is they are unshackled from program formats so you can choose any format you deem fit. And since the best audio creates an impeccable visual picture, many follow the winning formula of starting with an anecdote that propels the show forward.
Podcasts that employ this type of proven tactic include 99% Invisible and This American Life. Both shows start with a story or a visual picture as opposed to context or background.
As far as radio goes, programming that pertains to news and information are often serious in terms of style and tone. What some podcasters fail to capitalise on however is the fact that they can deliver important and credible information in a manner that is both light and entertaining.
One great example of a podcast who employs humour even when discussing serious issues is Science Versus. In each episode, they try to uncover a scientific fact (i.e. is sugar detrimental for your health, is vaping bad for you, etc.). However, to make the mood light, they steer away from any righteous scientific talk and use music to further lighten the ambiance.
To provide additional value to their listeners, many successful podcasts provide extras listeners can benefit from such as bonus episodes, feature interviews, tips sheets, short videos, etc.
Others also employ a variant of this approach to keep listeners interested. For instance, Gimlet Media launched a paid membership where ardent listeners are made to feel like they are a part of an exclusive club. As a member, they are given access to live chats, behind-the-scenes material, and other privileges exclusive to members alone.
What do you attribute your podcasting success to? We’d love to hear about it!
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