You Want Impact? Your Podcast Needs Storytellers.
Does this include business podcasts?
There is a time and place for the painful stories and the ugly truths on podcasts, as well as stories of caring and redemption. This traditional side of storytelling matters.
Any media that has been successful has been so because they evoked strong emotions from us. Jealousy, rage, anger, fear, love, hope, joy, etc.
There are times for those deep, dark secrets to be shared, so we don’t feel alone. We want to be loved. We want to feel accepted.
Stories help with that.
But if your podcast is about, say, tips to improve restaurant efficiency, you might feel these strong reactions are not what you’re aiming for. In a way you might be wrong about that. If you’re talking about improving the customer experience, I can bet you’ve seen reviews with strong emotions, and these may be what you’re trying to fix.)
So let’s look at a different way to tell stories.
I’m merely talking about making the information you share relatable to people’s lives. It means answering these listener questions, “What does this mean to me?” and “How does this affect my life?”
Let me give you a simple example.
Say I give this advice, “Always taste your coffee before you walk out of the coffee shop.” Right away, you may think, “Well, duh. That’s common sense!”
But do you do it? I bet you don’t, or at least not every time. You order from the app, you walk in and grab your cup, you get back in your car, drive off, and THEN you taste it.
So how about if I added this story?
I went through this weird stage with Starbucks where I would order a vanilla latte but they would forget to put the vanilla syrup in it. I wish I was exaggerating when I said over a 4-month period, they forgot more than half the time (After the first three episodes I started keeping track). It didn’t even matter which Starbucks I ordered from, and it didn’t matter if I used the app or ordered inside, it kept happening. It didn’t even stop when I started bringing up the issue when I ordered. Heck, at that point they may have been doing it on purpose.
Once I’ve told the story, your mind may start to think about when something like this happened to you. Maybe an incident where the barista got it really wrong, but you were now too far from the shop to take the time to go back. The coffee was disgusting but you decided to drink it anyway, or you settled for a still nasty but not as bad cup of coffee at the office. And now my advice becomes more relevant to you.
The point is, adding a story helps people relate to you and the information, even if what you describe is something they’ve never experienced themselves.
We seem to be programmed for stories about the human experience.
What if your information is a bit drier? Maybe you’re talking about accounting principles or scientific research. The same rules apply. You don’t have a business without people, so if you’re discussing business, at it’s core it’s about people. Try to find the relatable aspects.
What you’re discussing affects employees, customers, or both. Tell us how. Tell us why.
So when you’re planning out your podcast, keep these human elements in mind. Don’t just get your guests to share information, help them tell stories.
You want your podcast to have impact? The old proverb is that we won’t always remember what you said, but we will always remember how you made us feel.
I am a 30-year major market veteran of radio and other media. I’ve been a news anchor and reporter, as well as a morning radio host. My goal is to teach the soft skills needed to be successful in podcasting and broadcasting, the little human intangibles no one else is sharing.
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