It was the perfect podcast episode. From the beginning, I could tell it would be something special. As guests shared their stories, I could almost hear a collective gasp from our audience, who were hanging onto every word! The sound effects perfectly fit each moment – ranging from laughter to suspenseful music as each story unfolded.
The witty banter between guests created a light-hearted atmosphere that kept everyone engaged. Even when things got serious or intense, there were still moments of levity in which you could feel everyone smile.
It felt like we had brought them into our world and they couldn’t get enough, eagerly anticipating what else would come next…
Ok, that may have sounded a bit cheesy, but let’s admit it, as a podcaster, I’m sure you have a vision in mind of the “perfect podcast episodes” and what they may sound like; episodes that captivate your audience and keep your listeners engaged. You undoubtedly have a different picture in mind than what I described, but there are key building blocks you will want to use when creating captivating content.
Let me share 5 big building blocks with you to set you up for success in creating the most engaging episodes you’ve ever made!
1. Talk about what you’re interested in.
You are most likely to be engaged and passionate when you talk about something you genuinely care about. Your enthusiasm will transfer to your listeners, engaging them as well. Remember your podcast is your platform, and you want to use it to showcase your expertise and knowledge so you can help out or entertain your listeners.
2. Speak to a target audience.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before but let me reiterate it: You do not want to create a podcast that speaks to everyone. Speak to a specific audience that is interested in YOUR topic. Niche down. Who exactly is your podcast for? Backyard gardeners? Small business owners looking to improve marketing strategies? Parents who need advice and a laugh to break up their day?
Develop your target audience persona, figure out what they will gain from listening to your podcast, and create content that speaks directly to their interests and needs.
Stories naturally draw people in, and they help to create an emotional connection with your audience. Sharing personal experiences, memories, or anecdotes has the power to evoke feelings of empathy and relatability.
When you add in these stories, keep a flag up in the back of your mind to remind yourself to also stay on topic. For example, it can be easy to stray off-topic as you share a story that takes you down memory lane. Remember the reason you shared the story and how it ties into your topic. Stray too much too often and you can lose your audience.
But stories are powerful and if you use them well and create that emotional connection with your audience, your listeners are more likely to remember your content.
4. Add value for listeners
The main reason people listen to podcasts is that they want to get something out of them. So, be sure to add value to your listeners by providing actionable advice, useful tips, and critical insights. Invite experts and guests onto your podcast that also add the same value you’re looking to give your audience. Everyone likes hearing expert input or a different opinion and if people can come to your podcast and get that variety, then that adds more value to your podcast for your listeners. The more value you offer your listeners, the more they will enjoy it and keep coming back for more.
5. Make your audio quality sound crystal clear
Notice I didn’t say to make it “perfect.” Your audio quality doesn’t need to be perfect to keep your audience coming back, but it absolutely does need to sound clear. If it sounds muddy, has way too much ambient sound that is distracting or loud, or you and your guests cannot be understood easily, then you won’t keep most listeners around.
I’ve heard some podcast episodes in which the podcaster simply used his phone to record and minimal background noise could be heard, but his message was so valuable that the audience cared more about that than the fact that he didn’t use the perfect podcast mic in a quiet room.
All in all, the main thing to keep in mind is this: value and connection over perfection. If you focus on that, then you are well on your way to keeping your listeners engaged.
Let me know what you are going to start doing to create those engaging episodes!