You know what’s better than having a lot of podcast listeners? Having engaged listeners.
An engaged listener is someone who genuinely cares about your content. They don’t just listen for an answer to a specific question or because they like the guest on today’s episode. They listen because they want to hear everything you say.
Most importantly, engaged listeners are loyal. They want your show to succeed, so they leave positive reviews and share your episodes with their friends. They also tend to provide useful feedback and take your sponsorship recommendations seriously.
If you want engaged listeners you have to create engaging podcast content – the type of content they can’t wait to get more of.
How to Create Engaging Podcast Content
In this article, we’d like to go over some important strategies to create engaging podcast content.
1. Create the Right Kind of Content for Your Audience
You can’t make a podcast that pleases everyone. You have to focus on a narrow type of listener who gets value from the content you produce.
Whenever you create a podcast episode, it’s important to ask yourself if it’s right for your audience. Will it add value to their life? Will it make them a better person in some way? Will they sit and listen to the entire episode?
Your content should focus on your listeners’ needs, not your own. Don’t dive into a topic just because you like it without considering if your audience will like it too.
If you haven’t yet, now’s a good time to create some buyer personas.
Understanding your audience is a continuous process that lasts forever, but let’s pretend for a moment you have a pretty good handle on who listens to your show. Your next step to creating engaging podcast content is to give them what they crave.
Where are some places to get inspiration?
- Your fans themselves. What do they tell you they want to learn about?
- Relevant forums or online groups. What topics do they discuss?
- Popular magazines or publications your audience likes to read.
- The comments on your social media posts and blog pages.
- Popular topics from previous podcast episodes.
Once you have some ideas on paper, go through each one. Ask yourself where you can add the most value. Which topics have clear pain points you can address? Who can you interview to provide more information for your audience?
2. Tell Lots of Stories
Stories are powerful ways to connect with your audience. They create neurological responses in our brains that help us focus and empathize with the storyteller. Researchers at Stanford learned that people are also able to remember stories better than other kinds of information.
Fortunately, stories are everywhere. Instead of reciting facts, tell your listeners where that knowledge came from. What struggles were faced? What challenges were overcome? What lessons were learned?
Instead of saying something like “data shows that people prefer fewer choices,” tell the actually story of the experiment, and maybe an anecdote about where saw this fact in real life.
3. Help Your Listeners Take the Next Step
Unless you’re a big-time celebrity with an existing following, people won’t follow you just because you have a great personality. You have to give them a reason to follow along. This means the most engaging podcast content is actionable.
Actionable content explains how your listeners can do something, not just what they should do or why. It gives them direction so they can accomplish something or make themselves better.
For instance, if your music podcast discusses how difficult it is for young artists to get noticed, you can create more engaging podcast content by explaining how to get noticed (or at least offer some tips).
4. Ask Questions to Your Listeners and Report Their Responses
Podcasting may be a one-way medium, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a little audience participation. Ask questions to your listeners to create engaging podcast content. Tell them to reply in the comment section of the page they’re listening on, on whichever social media channel you prefer, your online community, or via email.
Just make sure to ask open ended questions they can answer thoughtfully. If the question can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” the listener will think it’s not worth their time to reply.
5. Don’t Wander Too Much – Stay on Topic
As you get better at podcasting, you’ll start to have fun, especially if you like your co-host or guests. In fact, it’s possible to become so comfortable that you let the conversation flow and stray from the topic. (Believe it or not, this even happens on solo productions.)
Make sure you follow your script or notes, at least loosely. If you catch yourself talking off topic, reign the conversation back to your plan. You can always edit out tangents.
That isn’t to say all tangents are bad. Just make sure you don’t erode the value of the episode by getting off track.
6. Post Transcriptions of Your Episodes
This tip doesn’t really make engaging podcast content, but it helps more people engage with it.
An easy way to squeeze more value out of all the work you do is to transcribe each episode. Once you turn it into text, you can post that content right below your podcast widget on a blog page. This has a couple benefits:
- People who don’t like podcasts can enjoy the content.
- People who don’t have time to listen can find what they need.
- Google has some content to crawl and rank your pages.
A free way to transcribe your podcasts is to play your episode through your speakers with a Google Doc open and the Voice Typing feature active. You’ll have to give it an edit before posting.
Another easy way to is to pay someone to transcribe it. There are plenty of transcribes on Fiverr who will do it well at a very affordable price.
7. Listen Carefully to Your Guests
Some interviewers read a prepared question, wait for the guest to stop talking, and then read the next question without really listening to any of it. If you want to create engaging podcast content, you have to be engaged with every episode.
Listen carefully to your guests’ comments. Use questions to help them tell their story. If one of your questions becomes irrelevant, abandon it. If you think of something interesting to say or ask, bring it up immediately.
8. Talk About Something You Actually Like
You can’t make engaging podcast content unless you actually like the topics. You’ll be spending hours each week dealing with these topics. If you don’t find them interesting, there’s a good chance you’ll fail to craft strong episodes.
It’s better to start a new podcast based on a topic you like than commit to something that bores you.
9. Invite Unique Experts on to Your Episodes
Every niche has a bunch of experts who like to hit the “podcast circuit.” They’re on a different show every week. These experts make great guests because they know how to perform on a podcast, but they aren’t unique. Your listeners have heard them before.
Instead, go after guests who have great stories to tell, but aren’t that well known. Keep your listeners on their toes by serving them something fresh they’ve never heard before. Plus they’ll feel special, like they’ve come across something genuinely new.
Ask your guests great questions that challenge them to come up with unique answers. If you ask the same questions every other podcast asks, you’ll get the same answers.
In order to ask great questions, you’ll have to prepare well for the interview. Learn as much as you can about them before you record so you can prepare intelligent questions, rather than trying to come up with interesting things to say on the spot.
10. Choose Guests with the Right Qualities
Every quest should be…
- Relevant – The guest should relate closely to your topic and the listener’s need. Don’t invite your buddy Tom on the show just to have another voice (unless, of course, Tom has something meaningful to add).
- Knowledgeable – Your guest needs to have something useful to say that’s applicable today. For instance, an investment podcast might bring on a mortgage broker to talk about the housing market. But if that mortgage broker retired 25 years ago, he probably doesn’t have the right kind of knowledge.
- Entertaining – Your guests don’t need to sing and tell jokes, but they should be able to speak in a way that doesn’t grate or bore your listeners.
11. Tell Your Fans Where to Learn More
You can’t cover everything in a 30 or 45 minute segment, but your listeners may still have questions about whatever topic or issue you covered. The most engaging podcast content helps readers explore the topic further by giving them avenues of additional learning.
For each episode, think about some places your listeners can go to learn more, such as…
- Print media (books, magazines, newspapers, etc.)
- Social media profiles of influential people
- Facebook/LinkedIn groups or YouTube channels
- Businesses (digital or physical)
- Government agencies
- Nonprofits or religious groups
Wherever possible, offer specific resources. Don’t say “Visit the EPA’s website.” Instead, say “Visit the EPA’s website, click on ‘laws and regulation,’ then ‘compliance.’” This shows your guest that there’s something unique and specific you want them to learn.
12. Be Different Than Every Other Podcast
You probably aren’t the only podcast in your niche. That’s quite alright. There’s a lot of space in the market for multiple podcasts with overlapping missions.
But the most engaging podcast content is also unique. Find a way to create value in your niche differently than someone else.
13. Make Your Audio Perfect
This should go without saying, but people can’t engage with poor audio. It’s distracting an unsettling. Your listeners will abandon your episodes before they have a chance to gauge your content.
14. Be Yourself
This may sound like a cliché piece of advice, but it’s important!
You might be tempted to exaggerate one facet of your personality, or embellish a behavior you think people like. For instance, a lot of podcasts who aren’t naturally funny people try to write jokes, but the jokes fall flat or make listeners cringe. This is far worse than not telling jokes at all.
If you want to create truly engaging podcast content, you have to be yourself. If you try to be anyone else, you’ll inevitably come off as inauthentic and lame. Listeners can always tell when you aren’t being truthful.
Engaging Podcast Content Takes Work
The best kind of marketing is a quality product. Engaging podcast content takes time and work, but it’s worth the investment. If you focus on your content’s quality, you’ll build a loyal, engaged fan base that listens to every episode and shares your show with their friends.
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