4 Things That Make a Podcast Good

It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what makes a podcast good, but when I listened to Erik Newton’s interview on Jason Havey’s podcast, Spinning Logic, that’s exactly what I heard: a really good podcast. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. It keeps you listening in your car even after you reach your destination. I usually listen to podcasts when I’m driving and I know a podcast is really good when I get home and I don’t want to get out of the car and stop the podcast! When I was listening to Spinning Logic on the way home from my office, I sat in my driveway, not wanting to turn off Erik telling his story of the Tibetan guide! Since my husband was inside putting our kids to bed, I found a good place to pause and head inside to lend a hand, but the point is, I was so engaged in the interview, I didn’t want to stop listening! So is your podcast white noise, or does it keep listeners locked in until the last minute of your show?
  1. It goes deep. Shows that are really engaging are shows that tell stories. Sure, actionable content is great, but unless that content is delivered in a way that listeners can relate to, its impact is going to be lost. Good podcasts also allow the time and flexibility to go beyond the surface and dive deep into content through anecdotes, explanations, and following the natural flow of conversation.
  1. It’s honest. When both the guest and the host are open, honest, and even vulnerable, amazing content is produced. Ali Brown of Glambition Radio calls after-effects of this kind of honesty a “vulnerability hangover!” That’s what makes a great show! Listeners don’t want to hear about your perfect life and your perfect business where nothing ever went wrong in your perfect world. Listeners want to hear your REAL, raw story, and when you are brave enough to share that side and allow your guests to do the same, some incredible podcasting moments can happen.
  1. Highlights the guest AND the host. No matter how great your guests are, your listeners will keep coming back for YOU, the host. So why is it that so many hosts I talk to are hesitant to share from their own personal stories and graciously default to their guests? Jason Havey does an amazing job interjecting his own experience and anecdotes without overshadowing his guests, and as a listener of his show myself, I am always so happy to hear his perspective! Remember, your audience wants to hear from YOU.

So with all these elements of what makes a good podcast, what truly makes your message matter? The answer is, the RIGHT audience. If the right people are listening to your podcast and are entertained and getting value, your message matters. Notice I didn’t say a big audience makes your message matter. In fact, the opposite is often true! I’ve recently focused my podcast to cover questions that clients or potential clients generally asked me, and even though my download numbers are only around 200 per episode, I know I am reaching the right audience. How do I know that? My engagement and conversion rates are fantastic. I’ve drilled down my content and my format to reach my target market, and the results are speaking for themselves.

So don’t worry about getting higher download numbers or getting more subscribers. Worry about making your show GOOD. No amount of marketing will make people share and subscribe to your podcast if it’s just not good. But rest assured, listeners will come and will naturally share your content when you are producing a really good podcast.