Many of them are probably thinking what I’m thinking… so here’s what I think… even as I lay on the dentist’s table, listening to a podcast with my Bluetooth headphones.
I DON’T CARE ABOUT…
* I don’t care if you publish your episodes on the same day each week.
* I don’t care about the length of your show.
* I don’t care about the brand of your mic.
* I don’t care about your intro – or your outro.
* I don’t care if you have ads – not even if you have 5 minutes of ads upfront, like Tim Ferriss does. I still might give you a pass.
* I don’t care if it’s stereo or mono.
* I don’t care if it’s a single-mic show.
* I don’t care about leaving a review for your show, because I just don’t have the time, and not because I don’t want to. My listening to your show and maybe even subscribing and my time and attention is the biggest gift you can ever get from me. So use it wisely.
Obviously, I’m even listening to your show in the first place only because your topic is what I’m interested in – that’s a given.
I CARE ABOUT…
* Fantastic, remarkable content
* I want to press play, and then just lose myself in your show, enjoy what I’m hearing, whether it is because you’re teaching, or entertaining, or making me think or trying to inspire… whatever it is that you’re promising me.
* It could be your personality, your expertise, the guest’s expertise, doesn’t matter.
* Your “craft” is most important to me compared to all the “tactics” you employ
* Give me a show that respects my time and undivided attention, by giving me something first, before you ask me for anything
* I dislike it when you won’t tell me for 5 minutes what your show is about
* I dislike it if you have a long show, and you don’t give me a sneak-peek as to what’s coming up, so that I know whether or not it’s worth sticking around for a dang hour
* I dislike it when you fall in love with your own intro, and play your intro – or worse, some random music – for way too long. If I wanted to listen to music, I would listen to Pandora. Don’t need to listen to a podcast for that.
* I dislike it when you take forever to finish a sentence – or speak like you’re talking to someone who doesn’t know the language, or like you’re talking to a toddler. No, I’m not talking about dramatic, pregnant pauses, which I welcome.
* I dislike it when you’re thoroughly un-prepared to interview your guest, and you know as little about the guest, as the guest knows about you.
* I dislike it when you ask the guest to “start from the very beginning” and ask them to recant their entire life history, starting with their birth. Unless you have a celebrity guest, I don’t care about where they were born, how they were raised, how they met their spouse, where they went to college, how many times they got fired, how many businesses and relationships they failed at. Just stop! Establish quickly why I should even care about this guest and what their achievements and accomplishments are. Maybe if that earns my respect and attention, I may just tolerate their entire life history.
* I dislike it when you name your new podcast has the word “Entrepreneur” or some version of that, and “On Fire”
* I dislike it when you bring on the same-ol same-ol, jaded guests who have already been interviewed on 10 other famous podcasts, and just because they’re on those famous podcasts, if you get them on your show, you think you have a famous podcast too.
* I dislike it when you simply just “Go for the Blonde” (like Russell Crow’s “Professor John Nash” says in the movie, “A Beautiful Mind”), and only go after the usual suspects for your guest, or simply post in a Facebook group – “Anyone in <insert> niche here who would like to be interviewed?”, rather than take time to do some research, do some Googling, research Amazon book authors, find undiscovered gems in your industry, and bring them on and well-and-truly pick their brains.
* I dislike it when you repeat everything your guest just said, right after your guest said it. Save the summarization for the end.
* I dislike it when you ask “What is the one thing I should’ve asked you, but forgot to ask?” Imagine Oprah or Larry King asking that question. Sheesh! Instead, phrase it differently: “Is there anything else that you would like to say to those listening?” or “Anything you would like to add?”
* I dislike it when you keep constantly interrupting your guest and make them lose their train of thought and derail the conversation and make it all about you.
* I dislike it when you try to blow off what the guest just said, by making it all about you, trying to show me (thinking I will be impressed because) you know as much as the guest about the topic, instead of letting them shine, and then adding your 2 cents after they’re done
* (continuing previous point) I dislike it when you say “I’m afraid we’ve gone over my usual time limit. So I’m going to completely ignore the most amazing thing you just said and end this interview, not because you, the guest, have to be somewhere, but because I have put this imaginary limit on myself and my audience, and have falsely assumed that the moment I cross my standard minutes, everyone is going to unsubscribe to my show”. Ummm… no they’re not. This is not a TV show. TV shows have hard sponsor breaks, hard segments, fixed time slots, and are not flexible, unless it’s a live sporting event. So no, don’t take yourself that seriously. Go on for as long as there’s great content to be shared. There’s no such thing as “too long” – there is only “too boring”.
* I dislike it when you start an episode with “Tell me a little bit about yourself” – that’s just being lazy and unprofessional
* I dislike it if you can’t say one thing about the guest because of something you researched on your own.
* I dislike it when you blow off an amazing answer by your guest, and instead of asking a follow up question that could make the entire interview light up, you just move on to your next question on your list, like you never even heard their last response.
* I dislike it when you spend 10 minutes catching me up on the past week of your life, without ever telling me why I should care.
* I dislike it when you start the show by asking me to subscribe to your show on iTunes.
* I really, REALLY dislike it when you also ask me to rate and review your show – all in the first few minutes, when this is the first time I’m listening to your show, and I haven’t even heard what you have to say, and I don’t even know if I like you yet
* I dislike it when you ask me for multiple favors – like joining your list, telling others about you, all before you’ve done a single thing for me, and befere you’ve provided me even a single drop of value.
As much as all this sounds like opinionated crap, I guess there’s really ONE major point I’m trying to make.
When people like you, like your show, or your content, or your guests, or the information they provide – overall, if they feel like they’re getting “value” from your show (everyone has their own definition of what that “value” is for themselves), then people in general will put up with a lot of crap in order to get to that value.
To put it in sports’ terms, Kobe Bryant’s fans will defend his 5 titles and his “Jordan-like” demeanor, while overlooking all his negatives, including the Colorado rape case. MJ’s fans will endless defend his womanizing, gambling, “Republicans buy shoes too”, not standing up for the little guy (or the little kid in child-labor factories), etc, because they think he’s the GOAT. Magic Johnson’s fans will defend his charm and skill and unselfishness in spite of the womanizing and other issues. LeBron James’ fans will endlessly defend him in spite of the “Not 1, Not 2”, leaving Cleveland, leaving the Heat, “at the end of the day, you go back to your life” and “Chosen 1” arrogance.
We all make excuses for those we’re a fan of, tolerate quirks of loved ones, spouses stay with cheating and abusive spouses (not always out of fear), all in the name of love, trust, friendship, relationship, etc. So my point was to say that a lot of people will tolerate not-the-greatest audio, annoying ads (wherever they occur during a show), annoying calls-to-action, etc etc – as long as there’s that ONE THING that gets them – that hooks them, that makes your show either incredibly great, or a can’t miss train-wreck (Skip Bayless anyone?), or something that makes it worth for them. What that “value” is, is different for each person.
Obviously, the level of tolerance will totally depend on how much they like/love/are a fan-girl/fan-boy of the host and the content. I’m only presenting one tiny sliver of one fan’s perspective.
So my big picture was…
Don’t delay launching a podcast because you don’t have the best mic.
Doesn’t mean you can have crappy audio.
Don’t drag what could be a 20-minute tightly run show into a dragged out 50 minutes, just because you can.
Don’t go after the biggest names – it’s not the size of the name of the guest, it’s the size of the heart of the guest.
Etc. Etc. Etc.
Lots of points within points. It is all rather oversimplified here, but some of it is just to make a point. Don’t take it too literally. Or too seriously. Take it and stretch it – in one direction or another – to suit your own opinions and extremes and boundaries as a podcaster and a podcast listener. If my article gets you to think about some of these things, and starts a conversation, then I will consider that a good-enough win for my time. Don’t take any of this personally. This is not about you. This is about your show, and most importantly, your listeners.
Do what you want with it, and go make a remarkable show!
This is an original piece authored by me. My first year podcast anniversary is coming up, and I’ve just completed writing a Kindle book about everything I’ve learned during that time… including how I have structured my show, how I’ve been creative with the format, intro and outro, how I’ve tried to position myself as an expert, how much money I made (not much, but not little either), how I made it, how I’ve promoted it, how I got paid for an ad 2 weeks before I ever launched it (list + positioning), etc. Comment below or PM me if you want a free copy. Thanks for reading!
Just my $0.02. Feel free to comment below if there’s anything you agree with – and also anything you don’t think is fair to you as a Podcaster.
Feel free to comment below if there’s anything you agree with – and also things you don’t think is fair to you as a Podcaster.
– Ravi Jayagopal
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