3 Ways to Bring Out the Best Stories on Your Brand’s Podcast
Podcasts are a powerful medium for telling stories that engage and entertain. Here are three ways to make sure your podcast can bring out the best ones for your brand.
The 2019 global theme for Social Media Week is “STORIES,” and we’d be remiss if we neglected the role that podcasting is playing in telling our most interesting, necessary, and entertaining stories.
But a microphone, an Internet connection, and a host or set of hosts does not a good story make. It takes considerable thought, intention, and planning to ensure that your recording isn’t done in vain—or worse, that your listener’s time and energy isn’t spent in vain. After all, as we aim to elevate the role of stories, we believe that “with great influence, comes great responsibility.” How can you ensure that your time and energy produce the most engaging and entertaining stories possible?
Begin With the End in Mind
This tip admittedly belongs to Stephen Covey, but it’s an essential one for any content that you want to tell a story. As you consider a show topic or interview subject, think first: what do you want people to know about this thing (or person) by the time they finish listening? Our brains follow stories easily because they embrace narrative structure, present information in a digestible and easy-to-follow fashion, and answer the questions they pose.
As you conceive of a podcast episode, or of a podcast season (if you plan to connect episodes or tell a long-form story), these tenets have to stay front of mind. They will affect the questions you pose and ideas you share, they’ll affect how episodes and seasons are edited, and they’ll affect how you and your brand or organization are perceived as a result. Television showrunners will develop a “bible” to define the parameters of the world they’re creating; podcast creators and producers can do the same to help structure the stories they’re about to tell.
Think Like a Rookie
Anyone in a position of authority with information – an author, a keynote speaker, a podcast host – is in a position to teach someone, something. As such, it can be helpful to look at your task ahead through the mind of someone with less experience.
What would a “rookie” want or need to know from what you’re about to tackle? If you’re interviewing a luminary in a field or industry, what could they have to offer someone aspiring to their heights? What would you have wanted or needed to know when starting out, and how can the stories you tell address those gaps?
Don’t feel burdened to have all the answers, however. References to books, TED talks, or even other podcasts are fair game and can send curious listeners off on tangents that can fortify the information you do share. Feel free to refer to sources often, citing them in show notes for those not in the position to catch them at first listen.
Think of it as curating a syllabus for your listener; even as you aim to tell a complete story, consider sharing recommendations for new stories to embark on as they absorb yours.
Be Interested to Be Interesting
As a frequent interviewer myself, I always feel an inner twinge of glee when a query is met with the phrase, “that’s a good question.” Believe it or not, asking good questions doesn’t always come naturally—I’ve been to enough panels and book readings to confirm that notion, trust me.
The best questions come from a place of deep curiosity. Being truly curious about the topic at hand, whether you’re approaching it with an interview subject or not, makes for good listening. While you should honor what your audience wants to know on a topic, the excitement will shine through when you also honor what you want to know about it. Finding out what questions have already been answered, and framing your queries to supplement or further explore those details, is far more interesting than having a compulsory set of questions—or worse, posing questions with Googleable answers.
If you do employ a structure where the same questions or segments are employed, be mindful of getting too robotic as you engage in them. Provide yourself time and space to explore the topic or interview subject as fully as possible. Remember, you’re not a substitute teacher with an agenda to get through, you’re a facilitator of learning: able to provide some insight, but ultimately preparing listeners to learn and grow on their own. And we often don’t remember the subs who came to the classroom and held us to routine, but we do remember the educators who sparked the interests that sent us on new learning journeys.
Want to hear how we do it? Social Media Week’s Lead2Scale podcast aims to provide you with practical insights and emerging trends in social media, through interviews with authorities and trailblazers in the field. Give it a listen wherever you find your podcasts! Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.
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