BY COURTNEY ECHERD
When I was in elementary school, my teacher told me that my best way to learn to improve my writing was to read as many books as I could get my hands on. Similarly, if you want your podcasts to reach their full potential, it’s a good idea to stay plugged in with other podcasts. Now, you don’t want to lose your flavor. Your personal touch is what makes your podcasts shine. Here are a few things to be listening for while you examine podcasts to improve your own podcasting game, but won’t totally change it.
If you haven’t fallen into a pattern with your own podcasts, it’s extremely imperative to pay attention to the length of other podcasts in your genre. Take note if you think a podcaster is rambling on or if you wish they had stayed on a topic longer. Do you think they should have included more subjects in this podcast or should they have broken it up? How do their ideas flow? What can you learn from their transitions? Mulling these things over will help you land in that timing sweet spot for your podcasts.
Opinions in podcasting are so tricky. Some people flock to podcasters simply because they think the way they voice their opinions is entertaining. Voicing an opinion heavily is always a gamble, because you are sure to turn off at least one listener no matter what. Find another podcaster whose opinions you respect (not necessarily agree with, just respect) and observe how much of the podcast is focused on their own personal beliefs. What works with that? What doesn’t necessarily work?
Some podcasts do an incredible job of integrating the host into a story. These podcasts focus on the podcaster’s own life, or the podcaster shares the information in such a way that it feels like they were a part of it. Other podcasts excel by taking the host out of the story and doing unbiased, outside reporting. Some vary from week to week depending on the topic. Look at podcasters and their audiences to determine how far you should insert yourself into your podcasts.
If you’re unsure on how often to change up your topic schedule, take notice of other podcaster’s patterns. You might find yourself clinging to a topic and wishing the podcaster had continued with the series. In other cases, you might find that you admire how quickly and fluidly the podcaster jumps from subject to subject.
In reviewing these podcasts, you can’t forget that podcasting is a network, not a competition. Learn from one another, don’t try to figure out how to gain an edge over another.
As always, we want to hear from you! Who are your favorite podcasters and how have they shaped the way you podcast?