What need does listening to your own show fulfill for you, the podcaster? I'm not asking you what you get out of making your podcast. I've talked extensively about how the act of creating a show impacts you, either professionally or personally. Or maybe both! So keep on hitting that endorphin button. Keep overcoming challenges. Keep learning. All of that is good for you as a podcaster.
Today, I'm asking a different question. I want you to think about what is it that you get out of experiencing your own show as a listener.
I trust your answer isn't "I don't listen to my own show like a listener, just as I produce the episode, and that's enough." First; no, that isn't enough. And second; seriously! You need to listen to your own episodes like a listener, not a producer. Back to those of us who do find value in listening to our own shows...
Why do you do it? What itch does it scratch for you? There are a few possibilities.
Listening Back Makes You A Better Podcaster
The craft of podcasting is one of continual improvement. And while I'm sure you listen to other podcasts to learn other techniques, you can't know why certain decisions were made by those other podcasters. Unless you're listening to the new season of 3 Clips, hosted by me, that is!
But you do know the what and the why of your own specific choices made during your own production process. Listening back to your episode when you're not in production-mode lets you evaluate whether or not those choices worked out in situ.
Even long-term podcasters—present company included—are on the constant improvement train Some of us listen back to our stuff with even more intensity than most listeners. We're more like an athlete reviewing their own game footage with a finger on the pause and rewind buttons, taking hours to pore over just a few minutes of footage.
Listening Back To Reassure You Are A Good Podcaster
Podcasting, like any creative endeavor, can leave you feeling quite vulnerable. Listening back to the way listeners listen can boost your self-confidence and give you proof that yeah, you are good enough to keep going!
Listening to your episodes like a listener can give your reinforcement that you're doing a good job and that you know what you're talking about. Maybe you need the self-affirmation ritual to prove that to yourself. There's nothing wrong with that. It's quite natural.
Listening Back Can Keep You Humble
Maybe your reason for listening to your own stuff like a listener is orthogonal to that, and you instead listen to your podcast's episodes to keep you humble.
Podcasting is often done in isolation, where it's easy to become a bit too full of yourself. I mean, I've heard that's possible. It'd never happened to me. (This is sarcasm, in case it's not obvious.)
This problem is compounded if you're not getting much or any feedback from your audience, or if your podcasting peers are reticent to tell you what they did and didn't like about your recent episode. It's up to you to keep yourself in check, ensuring that what seemed a good idea in the moment of production came off every bit as impactful, deep, or as witty as you planned.
Listening Back As A Defensive Move
Maybe you listen back for self-preservation reasons. Chances are, someone is listening to your show. It might be your peers. It might be your competition. It might be your prospects. All groups of people you want to make a good impression upon.
Listening back gives you confidence that you're putting your best foot forward and that you didn't say anything dumb. (And if you did, you can quickly fix it!)
Listening Back Can Keep You On Mission
Everyone has their own reasons why they podcast. What True North they're trying to reach. What greater purpose their podcast serves.
All of that goes into episode planning, sure. But you need to check the final product to make sure it worked. To ensure not just that you're hitting the right notes, but that you are producing a show that is the perfect fit for who it is for and is, in fact, why they are there.
What's Your Reason For Listening Back To Your Podcast's Episodes?
In case I've been too subtle, I'm clearly trying to convince you not just of the importance of listening back to your own content, but to give you some ideas of how to listen back to your own content. What mindset to take. What sorts of things you might get from listening back. And quite possibly, there are other attitudes you can take as you listen back.
For me, it's a mix of all of the reasons I mentioned, but with an emphasis on staying on mission. My mission is to make podcasting better, and these episodes and articles are largely how I do that. So when I listen back, that's what I'm primarily checking for.
But what about you? What need does it fulfill for you? I would love for you to share that with me via email, you can hit me up on Twitter, or you can leave a voicemail or a text comment on the episode page on my website. I'd love to hear from you.
I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.