By Aishwarya Javalgekar
Podcasts are a relatively new format, and as podcasters and listeners, we are still learning what works and doesn’t work for podcasts. As a story nerd who spends all her time reading books, podcasts have been a new and interesting format for me. I listened to my first podcast only in 2019, but this number skyrocketed during the pandemic.
I have also learned a lot about what happens behind the scenes of creating a podcast — while producing our stellar Books and Beyond podcast and launching my own dream podcast, The Book People. I have noticed some things that make me perk up and pay more attention to the podcast I’m listening to.
Here are some of my pointers on what makes a podcast more engaging and bingeworthy!
1. It has a clear identity and direction
Like movies, every podcast needs a good trailer! The trailer tells me all I need to know about the tone and content of the podcast and whether it’s something I’d enjoy. I especially love podcasts where episode title and description (show note) give me a clear idea of what I can expect from the episode. I feel the satisfaction of making an informed decision and can go about doing other tasks as I listen to the podcast.
2. It sounds like a real conversation
A great podcast makes me forget that I’m not listening to a real conversation.
As a host, I sometimes tend to be self-indulgent while recording and have many fun tangential conversations with my guests. It can be difficult to find the right balance: not sounding like you’re reading off a script but also keeping the conversation short and to the point. My trick is to have clear points that I can refer to and explain in my own way. And if I do end up rambling, I can just edit some of it out!
3. It reveals something new
We often assume that audio conversations have to be light and airy, especially since it’s difficult to take notes while listening to a podcast. But I say, don’t be afraid to dive deeper into serious topics and give people the real meat.
For instance, a podcast on forming a new habit or developing some new skills can actually delve into HOW to incorporate tips and takeaways in everyday life. A story podcast that commits to the small insignificant details can make me forget I’m listening to a podcast until the very end of the episode.
4. It leaves the listener wanting more!
Finally, like a good Netflix show, a good podcast makes me come back for more. Especially if each episode feels like I’m listening to a friend talk and teaches me something new.
What are your criteria for a good and engaging podcast? Let me know in the comments below!
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About the author
Aishwarya Javalgekar is a writer, editor and podcaster. She is the Head of Content and Podcasts at Bound and hosts The Book People podcast. She loves reading genre bending novels and coloring her hair.