The Common, Unnecessary Question Podcasters Need to Quit Asking

Photo via Flickr.

I listen to a lot of podcasts (and recommend some of them in AudioTeller). I actively try to listen to a sampling of different shows, but I’m partial to interviews.

As an interview is winding down, the host/interviewer will often ask the guest some formation of the following: Where can people find you?

It’s an invitation for the guest to mention his or her website, and it’s an opportunity for those listening to bookmark the information.

I get why hosts do this. It’s a way to thank the guest for his or her time and insight by clearly inviting the audience to take action (and presumably visit the guest’s website).

But the question is wasteful, doesn’t add to the value of content and frustrates me as the listener. Here’s why:

  1. It does not recognize how people actually listen. Podcasts are mobile, which means that people are often listening while doing something else —commuting, working out, cleaning etc. Listeners probably aren’t able to be receptive to the URL at the moment it is mentioned.
  2. It underestimates the audience. Podcast listeners are savvy and tend to have higher levels of education than a general audience. If listeners are interested in learning more about the guest, they’ll probably have no trouble figuring out where to find that person! SEO will probably help too.
  3. It’s redundant. Many podcasts capture this information in show notes or link out to the guest’s website in a show blurb.

As a podcaster, there are also better ways to show appreciation for the guest. A few possibilities:

  1. A well thought-out public acknowledgement before the end of the show. Lewis Howes does this well. He will thank guests and succinctly describe the value that their thoughts and resources have added to his life. Not only does Lewis communicate his gratitude, but it helps to deepen his relationship with his audience because you understand what moves him.
  2. Post-show feedback highlights. After the show has aired, podcasters can collect emails, tweets and any other kind of content from fans expressing appreciation — particularly in cases where the show guest wasn’t tagged.
  3. Link or recommend the guest at a later date. There isn’t only one opportunity to show appreciation. If a guest is truly valuable and you, as the host, believes other people would benefit from his or her ideas, link or recommend that person in a roundup or some other form of content. A smart list — like this one from Mark Manson — is one option for format.

I suspect a lot of hosts/interviewers toss out the question without much thought. But with so much content competing for attention, audiences appreciate shows that deliver relevance, value and eliminate the fluff.

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