Every rational podcaster intends on making a great podcast. That’s good because I can assure you that every rational listener intends to only listen to great podcasts. No one intends to listen to a podcast that's just “meh” or “ok”. Our intent, as listeners, is to listen to shows we think are going to be great. Unfortunately, some of the shows we wind up listening to—and making—fall short of that goal.
Intent matters in podcasting.
Don’t Sweat The Podcasting Stuff
The idea of intent in podcasting isn’t new, but it was brought home to me last night during a remote barre class I was taking. Barre is an exercise form that is intense and precise, relying on small motions isolating particular muscles. Do it sloppy, and it’s easy. And you’ll see no benefit. Do it with intent, as the instructor reminded me, and it’s hard. And with the effort—and intent—comes the benefits.
The advice of fellow podcaster George Hrab suddenly made sense. Geo is much more serious about his workouts than me. And it shows. He also doesn’t listen to podcasts or even music when he works out. I always thought that was nuts, as gym-time (back when we had gym time in the Before Times) was a great “found time” method of churning through podcasts. But not for George. He focuses all of his intent on his workout. And did I mention it shows?
So from my sweaty realization with my leg hiked behind me and hip flexors complaining to your awaiting ears and eyes, I give you seven ways you can apply intent to your podcasting efforts. Seven ways you can break out of your habit (and my habit) of going through the motions and really focus on what it is you’re doing when you’re doing podcast-y things.
Select Your Podcast’s Guests With Intent
If your show, like many shows, features guests, examine your intent when choosing guests. Why are you inviting a particular person on your program? There are lots of reasons. Some suggest you invite big-name guests with big-time followers so that your show gets a boost when the guest shares the episode. And I can’t argue against the math.
But how does that intent serve your audience? Are you able to cultivate and expose good nuggets from your guest for your listeners if the entire reason you brought on the guest is to boost your numbers? That doesn't sound like a good basis to build an interesting conversation upon.
Publish Your Podcast’s Episodes With Intent
It’s a lot of work to put out a podcast episode, a reality I understand as well as anyone. So I’m not immune to, when the audio file is finally done, the overwhelming desire to just get the damned thing out there. Now, please, and as quickly as possible! And with the least amount of work!
Half-assed efforts at polishing the audio or writing the episode copy will certainly save you (and have saved me) a lot of time. But if the intent was “save time”, there’s not much benefit to your audience. Congrats on getting the time back for you. But your audience is left with a less-than-great episode to listen to, wasting (or at least devaluing) their time.
Repurpose Your Podcast’s Episodes With Intent
There’s more to podcasting than just updating your show’s RSS feed. But there are so many different places to repurpose the episode, it’s easy to get lazy. Hey, I get lazy on this and often copy and paste the same text and same image in lots of different places.
But like you, I know I should be doing better. The right thing to do is intentionally make content specific to each medium, channel, or property. When we don’t, we don’t get the benefits we want from these channels. My friend Mark from Captivate.fm has a great case study that covering his team’s efforts on YouTube, and why they’ve eventually decided to stop trying to repurpose podcast content there.
Guest On Other Podcasts With Intent
One proven way to get more attention to your podcast is to be a guest on other people’s podcasts. My default answer is “yes” anytime I’m asked to guest. I’m pretty focused on being a great guest, but that may be to my detriment. I’m usually not thinking “what am I getting out of this?” other than exposure. I could do better with my intent.
Next time, I’m going to do a little due diligence on the show to really understand the type of content the host is making. From there, I can make an educated guess about the audience and some ways I might make myself attractive to said audience. I’ll still be focused on being a great guest. But if I can present myself to their audience in such a way to better the chance the audience may want to seek out more from me… Why that sound like a great idea.
Displaying Your Intent Outside Of Podcasting
Yes, your friends and family know you're a podcaster. Perhaps because you bore them nonstop talking about your podcasting if you’re like most of us. But what about the other people you interact with on a regular basis? Do they know you're podcasting?
Does your social media presence clearly indicate you're a podcaster? Does that presence talk to your unique approach to podcasting? Do your posts and other forms of communication funnel back to the topic(s) you cover inside of podcasting? Take a look at the key places you communicate with the non-podcasting world, and apply some intent.
Listen To Other Podcasts With Intent
I don’t have any evidence to back this up, but I think a podcaster’s playlist of other podcasts speaks volumes to the type of show they produce. Are you being intentional with your own listening choices?
Do your own listening habits help you grow as a podcaster, nourish your psyche, or replenish your soul? If so, keep on listening to those! But if the preponderance of podcasts entering your ears are from the Top 10 or you just trying to keep up with the popular shows… Is that really helping you grow as a podcaster?
Prepare Your Show And Episodes With Intent
I saved the best—and hardest—for last. I’ve repeated the old and likely apocryphal adage about spending more time sharpening your ax than cutting down the tree far too much, but that doesn’t make it any less true. The amount of intent you bring to “show prep” matters. And the amount of before-mic-time is often many multiples of on-mic time.
But if you are intentional in your prep work, that will come through in your episodes. Your audience will appreciate it. And you’ll be happier knowing you’re putting out better quality content.
Something, Something… Road To Hell?
None of us are perfect. Thus, we cannot have perfect intentions. Nor can we perfectly execute our intentions.
I struggle with many of these. I’ve yet to reach Zen-master level with my own podcasting intent and doubt I ever will. But I genuinely do believe that if we're intentional about our approach to podcasting we will see a boost in and benefits to our overall podcasting efforts.
If you agree with me on this (and the other things I have to say on the topic of podcasting), I encourage you to visit BuyMeACoffee.com/evoterra and buy me a virtual coffee to show me your support.
Most importantly, please tell a friend about Podcast Pontifications. Do it with intent by intentionally reaching out via email or some direct form of communication to one working podcaster you know to let them know about Podcast Pontifications. Together, I think we can all work towards making podcasting better.
I shall be back tomorrow for yet another Podcast Pontifications.
Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra. He’s on a mission to make podcasting better. Allie Press proofed the copy, corrected the transcript, and edited the video. Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.