Part of the series of answers to students’ podcasting questions. For more about this series, read this post.
Question from Neha M.
My question is based on Trafcom News Podcast 82: Five tips for podcasting success. Apart from the niche and the use of proper sound recording gear, what does a podcast listener value and look for the most in a podcast? Is the main goal of a podcast simply to speak and take a stand on an issue, hobby or interest?
Quality above all
I’ll start by answering the first part as an avid podcast listener. Most important to me is high-quality content. That’s why I faithfully listen to For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report (which I mentioned when I was a guest lecturer in your class). I learn from this podcast, and it makes my time on the treadmill or other torture device fly by quickly. Fortunately, this podcast has excellent production values so it doesn’t strain my ears or my brain.
I do listen to other podcasts in the public relations and communications realm, such as Inside PR, Marketing Over Coffee, Six Pixels of Separation and others. And from time to time I enjoy entertaining podcasts that are not related to work. Check out some of the offerings from CBC and NPR.
But beyond my own tastes in podcasts, my conversations with podcast listeners, and surveys I’ve been involved in, reveal that the majority of podcast consumers are looking for relevant content delivered in a way that’s easy to listen to.
Hobby podcast vs. business podcast
As for the goals of a podcast, I think there’s a big difference between hobby podcasts and podcasts that are produced to meet business goals. If you simply want a platform for sharing your views on your favourite TV show, political party, sports team, vegan recipes or whatever, then you can create a podcast and have a lot of fun with it. You might not be too concerned with listenership. Of course, if your passion shines through and your content is great, you may just find an audience anyway.
The podcasts that I produce for my own consulting practice and for my clients do have a business purpose. They are designed, for example, to demonstrate thought leadership, or showcase expertise, or spark a discussion about an industry topic, or highlight an event, or encourage donations to a cause. In this case, we do set goals for the podcast, and try to measure our success against those goals. And overall, we do want to podcast with passion and create content that our intended audience will consume with enthusiasm.
Let me ask you, Neha: What do you value in a podcast?
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