Many of my friends love podcasts – especially the ‘true crime’ ones (so much so that some proudly call themselves “Murderinos“)
Others keep recommending self-help podcasts, or sales-training podcasts, or communications tip podcasts.
In fact, some of my friends regularly create podcasts – such as the Presentation Boss podcast or Raven On (which began discussing Game of Thrones, but then morphed into much more) – and I have dabbled with creating my own at https://cairnscommunications.com/category/podcast/ (11 episodes, with an ever-shrinking audience … not my finest hour!)
I understand why people like podcasts – but with only a few exceptions (including those I mentioned above) I just can’t seem to get personally hooked on them.
Which is strange. After all, I have spent my entire working life working in radio. I love the long-form presentation style of the ABC, the BBC, National Public Radio, Deutsche Welle, Radio Netherlands.
I regularly commit to listening to 24 hours or more of factual content in Great Courses lectures. In fact, a quick glance at my Audible library shows I’ve listened to more than two dozen of those courses.
And in the same Audible library, there are another dozen or more podcasts. But here’s the rub … I have only finished about five of those.
It seems to me that I start a podcast – and then I lose interest, quite quickly.
Actually, on looking back at the podcasts I HAVE stayed with, I have just noticed something.
In every case, they were presenting factual information – but they were doing it in the form of stories.
Nut Jobs by Mark Fennell, for example, is a ‘true crime’ podcast that had me engrossed from the start – and I wanted to meet the protagonists.
Heist, narrated by Michael Caine, was a fun and fascinating look at robberies (some of which I had heard about but others which were new to me). But I also have to say that I was beginning to lose interest as the podcast series wrapped up – and Midnight Son by James Dommek just didn’t engage me from the start. I just could not get invested in the story.
So what is the lesson here, not just for podcasters, but for content producers of all sorts?
Well, perhaps there is no single lesson we can draw.
After all, while I am not a huge fan of podcasts, it is obvious that for millions of others they are a daily must-do.
And while I love listening to college-level lectures on history and philosophy, that might sound like paint-drying territory for you.
On the subject of paint-drying, I know that for many, Star Trek is nerdygeek territory. But there’s an underlying philosophy behind Vulcan society in that franchise – Kol-Ut-Shan, or Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.
As producers of content – whether podcasts, or blogs, or speeches, or stories, or media releases, or company reports – we need to establish our specific niche and be the best at that, if we can. But we also need to remain open to other ways of telling our stories.
Because what we like may not be to others’ tastes. But that’s not a bad thing.
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