What is the Cardinal Rule of Podcasting?

What is the Cardinal Rule of Podcasting?

You could easily get caught up in a rousing game of Choose Your Adventure when pondering the answer to this question. But let’s skip the drama and cut right to the chase.

It’s All About The Listener.

Period. With every podcast episode you produce, you need to think about the experience your listener will have while consuming your podcast. This, naturally, will encapsulate many items, including:

  • Is your audio quality up to par?
  • Are you recording in a quiet environment?
  • Are guests and hosts talking over one another?
  • Is the direction of the conversation staying on point?
  • If your podcast is rated PG, is there too much swearing?
  • If your podcast is rated R, is there too much swearing?
  • Is there distracting background noise like music, dogs barking, or cars zooming by?

Your listeners will come to expect a certain quality from you. Likewise, you should demand a certain quality from yourself and your production. If your quality is not up to snuff, the likelihood of a listener coming back for another episode of your podcast is not very good.

A brief story from my own experience: the first podcast I produced was a beer podcast. It featured various personalities from the beer industry and, as you could probably predict, was recorded while consuming craft beer. When I decided to wind the show down, I did a series of episodes as a “last call” for the show. One of them was at my friends’ brewery…and featured probably a dozen of us…after having “sampled” a fair amount of my friends’ product + other beers everyone had brought to the party.

This was a recipe for disaster, but I hit the record button anyway. And the final product was exactly what you’re imagining. A shit show.

Did we have a blast recording? Absolutely.

Was there good conversation caught on tape? You bet.

But was at least 70% of the show inaudible nonsense? Most definitely.

I didn’t think about this until I pulled up the file to edit the next day. As I listened back, it hit me that, while my friends and I had a great time recording, most people on the other end trying to consume this audio would find it hard to digest. There wasn’t enough quality conversation to overshadow the shenanigans, thus lowering the bar and setting the standard at a new level.

Editing that episode, I asked myself: If I’m not enjoying this, why would anyone else?

No matter what the content of your podcast may be, always, ALWAYS keep your audience front of mind.

Ask yourself – would I want to listen to this? If the answer is no, chances are your audience will feel the same way.

And if an episode below your quality standards is the first one someone listens to, they’re probably not coming back for more. There are just too many other podcasts out there for listeners to consume.

It’s All About The Listener. Write that down.

I covered this topic on Episode 7 of Pod Theory. Listen below
and subscribe wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts!









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