We podcasters all have a lot of jobs to do. Making content requires us to wear many hats, often stretching our abilities to learn how to perform necessary tasks along the way. That’s part of the life we’ve chosen.
So at the risk of adding one more role to your already-overflowing plate, there’s another job I’m going to ask you to perform: The job of becoming an excellent ambassador for podcasting.
Yes, for podcasting. Not for your podcast. For all of podcasting. An awesome responsibility, for sure. But one you are uniquely qualified to perform.
Your favorite podcast is likely different than my favorite podcast. And we’re both podcasters! So there’s a slim chance your favorite podcast will be a hit with a person who’s yet to develop the podcast listening habit. And at the risk of dealing a devastating blow to your ego; your own podcast likely won’t be that person’s cup of tea either.
So before foisting your show on a friend or family member who isn’t a regular podcast listener, ease them into the lifestyle with a different show that won’t cause them the moral dilemma of telling you your baby is ugly.
De-mystifying Podcasting. And Hockey. And Beer.
I know it’s tempting to let your personal tastes or the popularity of a show influence any recommendation you give. But consider the following scenarios:
I love ice hockey. If someone who’s never witnessed a hockey game asked me for a recommendation, I would not suggest they watch a match between mites—7-year-olds. I think it’s fun watching the kids having fun as they play, and their games are super short! But does that really showcase the best of what hockey can be? Nope. Then again, I’m not going to suggest they plop down $300 for an ice-side seat to watch an NHL game on their own. They’ll see thousands of excited people around them, to be sure. But they’ll be puzzled why the refs stop the game at seemingly random times, and how “icing” could possibly be a bad thing in a sport that is quite literally dependent on the stuff?
If someone's never had a beer—perhaps they grew up in a very religious community or country—their first experience with the best-selling beer in America is not going to make them into a craft beer fan. Then again, if I suggest their first pint be a super-hoppy double IPA, they’re going to wonder if it’s their taste buds or mine that are clearly defective. Either way, their first experience will be a bad one and they’re not likely to come back and sample the wide range of choices available to them.
Make Their Next Podcast Listening Experience An Amazing One
For as hot as podcasting is right now, around 70% of people still don't listen to podcasts on a regular basis. It’s true that a little over half of people surveyed said they have listened to at least one podcast. But many of them—most of them—fail to pick up the habit.
Why is that? Was it a bad experience that kept them away? Possibly. More likely, I think, is that the experience was just… OK. Not necessarily bad. But certainly not great. And with all the quirks and challenges to overcome when adopting the podcasting habit, there’s just not enough payoff if the listening experience doesn’t spark joy.
But you have a chance to right that ship. You, as the podcaster they know, can ensure that their next listening experience knocks their socks off. Don’t squander this opportunity. Don’t try to push your own show. Don’t let them fend for themselves in the popularity-ranked charts.
Give them an IHNI instead.
I Had No Idea Podcasts Could Be So Great!
“I had no idea!” That’s what IHNI stands for, and that’s what you want to hear as they listen. Well, that’s what you want to imagine running through their head when the very first seconds of an episode playing in their ears. An episode from a podcast you recommended. Not because you love it or because millions of people love it. No. You chose that podcast because you knew it would be unlike anything they’ve ever heard before.
This is your job. It’s a job every bit as important as making a great show and being a great marketer. In fact, I suggest to you that it might be even more important than those other jobs.
Luckily, performing this job is a straightforward task that you can execute flawlessly every time. All it requires is that you install a second podcast listening app on your mobile device, and that you add to that app 2-3 shows that give that IHNI moment. Subscribe to those shows in that app so they are always kept fresh. You choose the app. You choose the shows.
The next time the inevitable, “Hey, I hear you're a podcaster, so what should I listen to?” conversation happens, you won't have to think about your answer. You can keep your marketer-brain on standby. You can be an excellent ambassador for all of podcasting by simply opening the app on your phone and sharing those shows with the fledgling podcast listener standing in front of you.
And hopefully, you can see the IHNI moment in their eyes as their ears experience the amazing content that exists among the millions of podcasts available.
After that, you can tell them about your show.
Spreading IHNIs One-To-Many
The best ambassadors among us will be proactive in their efforts to spread IHNIs far and wide. For my part, I’m going niche and spreading the best-sounding podcast fiction with the world every Sunday at 9:00a Phoenix-time (4:00p London, 11:00p Bangkok). Podcast fiction is a subset of podcasting I cherish and I am eager to get more people listening, especially those who’ve never listened to podcasts!
I’d love it if you’d join me. Please share the link above with your friends and family who love fiction. No, sorry… it’s not a podcast. It’s a live group conversation currently via Clubhouse. If you can’t make it, you can see my list of recommended podcast fiction on Podchaser. I add to it frequently.
Crowdsourcing Your IHNI Podcast Selections
The tough part is choosing what IHNI shows should go on your list. Perhaps that’s made easier with some close-knit friends who also listen to a lot of podcasts? Send them this episode to explain the need for this action, then start collaborating! They probably have some hidden gems you’ve yet to discover. And I’m sure you have some that will be new to them too!
We all need to be great ambassadors to podcasting. Every survey shows that most podcast discovery happens by word of mouth. So if you’ve not yet been asked by a friend to make a podcast recommendation, you soon will be. Have your IHNIs at the ready.
If you think this is a good idea and want to show me a little love and support this and the other thoughts I bring to you four days a week on Podcast Pontifications, please go to BuyMeACoffee.com/evoterra to buy me a virtual coffee as a way of thanks.
I shall be back tomorrow with 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.