Eric and Greg having fun podcasting

The Surefire 🔥 Way To Improve Your Podcast 🎙

Podcasting is a labor of love. If you don’t love the process and the Return on Relationships (ROR), you might not last long as a podcaster. If you’re looking for ways to improve your podcast, there are several things to consider. Things like, mics, mixers, hosting and streaming platforms, editing software, and so forth.

What’s the absolute best thing you ought to focus on, though?

This → Quality content and conversations.

I recently ran a poll within the niche I operate our Okayest Hunter podcast, which is in the outdoor and hunting community. I asked what listeners value most from a hunting podcast.

Here are the results from ~100 people polled.

It looks like most folks that listen to hunting podcasts value learning over pure entertainment. This makes a lot of sense for most that are looking to improve their success in tagging the animal they’re after. Moreover, it appears most people listening prefer both entertainment and education. This isn’t surprising when you consider that most are either looking for a dose of escapism via some form of entertainment, or they’re looking for something practical with genuine takeaways they can apply.

If you’re looking to improve, it’s good to start with what people are expecting and align those expectations with your capabilities. If people want entertainment and you’re as dry as Ben Stein doing a Clear Eyes commercial then you should consider doubling down on education or get a co-host that can liven things up a bit. The same thing goes for the opposite. The Dollop podcast does a masterful job at creating “edutainment” as they educate their listeners about American history as two comedians ad-libbing the narrative.

When things started to click

I got a review on our Okayest Hunter podcast (formally Where to Hunt) that was almost like a backhanded compliment. Heck, it was even five stars ⭐⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️️! It was the best review I had received at that time in terms of validating we were on the right track to a quality podcast.

So what did this listener say that got me fired up?

Okayest Hunter podcast reviews

Here’s my take on this review. Audio quality can be fixed and it was. Once we pumped a few dollars into new mics and a high-quality Rode RODECaster Pro mixer our audio improved significantly.

What would have been far more difficult to fix is the quality of our content. What a win to hear our content was excellent, especially since that was our focus. If the quality of your content is worthwhile and good enough, listeners (to some degree) will suffer through poor audio to get to the info they’re after. Of course, at some point, if your audio isn’t great, you should find ways to improve it. We’ve since built a podcast studio, too which helped reduce a lot of background noise from my kids and pets. I’ll add, though that we value being authentic insofar as we have lives outside of our show. So I don’t mind too much if those things bleed into an episode here and there.

So what was the number one thing I did to improve our show quality?

I’ll start by saying that when I started out back in 2013 I was nervous. Mostly nervous to be me. I didn’t even introduce myself as the host. I’d awkwardly skip past that part. I felt as though I did not have enough credibility to be hosting a podcast on deer hunting since I wasn’t a great deer hunter, I just loved hunting. For that reason, I lacked confidence and my listeners picked up on it a mile away.

Maybe not everyone struggles with confidence and comfortability. I did and it impacted my show and success directly.

Somewhere along the way, I had guested on a different podcast and all the questions they had asked were about me. The hosts did a particularly good job of making me feel comfortable. As a result, I was 110% myself. I let my guard down and I wasn’t trying to be a “podcaster”. I was just being me and people bought in.

To me, that was the pivotal moment. From that point forward I brought myself to my podcast. When I interviewed guests they picked up on my confidence and it made them feel more at ease. When they were at ease, they could be themselves and it produced a more natural flow of conversation in contrast to the former choppy scripted content we were producing by sticking to the show notes.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that a little bourbon and scotch 🥃 help to lubricate our conversations, too.

Since then we’ve added a live streaming component to read listeners' commentaries in real-time along with a live call-in line to chat with listeners on the show. A less comfortable and confident host wouldn’t do well with these added components.

I understand some folks not wanting to blend their personal life with their podcasting or professional life, but there’s still a way to be uniquely you. If you’re already doing that, you’re probably much further along than I was at this point. If not, this could be the thing that catapults you to the next level and there’s no cost in new technical gear or running social ads and all that. You have the ability to pour gas on the fire from within ⛽️ 🔥!

Let me know if this article struck a chord, I’d love to hear what’s working for you!

-Eric AKA the Outdoor Marketing Guy 🌲

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