More Podcast Listener Interaction – PTC Episode 029



Many podcasters ask me how to get more listener interaction with their show. How can you get more listener feedback and comments? We need to transform your information into engaging entertainment. When your content is engaging, people take notice and take action. If you want your listeners to interact more with your show, make your content engaging.

When you tell stories on your podcast, you reveal things about yourself. Vivid details are critical elements of great storytelling. You are creating theater of the mind. Draw pictures in the mind of your listener.

Details are more believable than generalities.

Details reveal specifics about your thoughts, beliefs and character.

Details put your listener in the moment helping them envision your story in their mind.

Garrison Keillor, in one of his “Stories From Lake Wobegon”, describes a woman who endures crushing loneliness and town gossip. Keillor says, “She got into bed with a dying man – so she could sing ‘Abide With Me’ in his good ear”. You can see the details in your mind. Envision the man’s hearing aid. Can you hear the song? There are so many details in that sentence, many of which aren’t even described.

Lake Wobegon is a fictitious place, yet is believable due to the details. The story details reveal what Keillor finds amusing. The story is also vivid enough that you can see it in your mind.

That’s the wonderful thing about audio. Everyone sees their own personal, mental images in their own way. Those differences add to the enjoyment and entertainment of the story. Each listener can enjoy the unspoken details in their own way. They are not at the mercy of the interpretation of a movie director.

Tell great stories. Use vivid details. What did you reveal today?

1. Tell me great stories

I’m not simply talking about your integrity. By character, I mean all of the attributes that create you, as in character in a play.

The purpose of your show is to attract an audience. Whether you want to monetize that relationship, encourage a call-to-action, or simply create an audience for your ideas, creating the audience is where you begin.

The stories you choose to tell reveal how open you are to others. Your openness is a sign of trust. Trust is a big piece of a relationship. Reveal things about yourself through your stories and you’ll begin to build trust with your listener.

The details you include tell your listener what you value. If the listener feels you value things they too value, you solidify the relationship. People like to hang out with similar people. If your values are opposite of your listener, you may also attract them. It is like a love/hate relationship. They may dislike it, but they continue to listen. This often happens when talking politics.

What you find entertaining will be evident by the stories you tell. Since people like other people who have similar tastes, revealing those things you find entertaining will also build the relationship.

Stories also have the power to demonstrate your vulnerability. Stories can show that you are a real person. Your listener will see you as approachable. They also may begin to see you as a friend. That is when true relationships begin to form.

Next time you watch a late night talk show, notice how the great, memorable interviews contain great stories. Interviews that focus on facts and information rarely cut through. Those guests come off more as a lecturer than as a friend. The guests that tell stories appear more personal, warm and friendly. Their stories reveal things and help you feel like you know them personally. Take note next time you watch.

Foster a relationship with your listener by revealing things about yourself through stories. Stories will define your character.

2. Put your audience in the story

If you truly want to engage your listener, put her in your story. This doesn’t mean create a fictitious part of your story where she becomes a fake character. Include details that are so vivid that your listener feels like she is right there in the moment. Stir the passion within your listener with great emotion.

You have probably seen a movie like “Silence of the Lambs” where you completely lose awareness of your surroundings as you’re sucked into the scene. It may have been a movie like “Casablanca” where they say goodbye at the very end. Those are two great stories that put you right there in the moment.

Stories told by great storytellers do the same thing. Garrison Keillor is probably one of the best storytellers of our time. When listening to this story, you can see the guy Keillor describes in a few short seconds. He includes great lines like, “… In the midst of drinking a Bombardier at the Moonlight Bay Supper Club and she’d gone off with him to the Romeo Motel.” The story is short, yet the details are vivid.

If you can create details so vivid that your listeners can almost feel them, you can truly put her in the story. Your listener will be fully engaged. That is where information becomes entertainment. Strengthen your relationship with your listener at every opportunity. Put the audience in the story.

Create a movie and put your listener in it

3. Make them forget they are listening to a podcast

When your audience is listening to your podcast, make them forget they are listening to a recording. Take them to another place. Make your storytelling so strong that their imaginations put your listener in another time and place. That’s what great storytelling is all about. That’s what great relationships are all about.

People seek entertainment to escape from reality. They want entertainment like movies, concerts, television, radio and podcasts to make them forget about all of their problems. Entertainment that succeeds will take the audience member to some other place and time.

When you record your podcast, you need to create that wonderful theater of the mind. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading fiction or talking about gardening, put your audience in the moment. Make your listener forget they are listening to a recording.

4. Intrigue & Suspense

What will happen next?

Anticipation is a key feature to storytelling. Your story should build just like a good plot builds in a movie. You need to make your audience anticipate the content that is on the way. It is like a vacation you are planning to take. The fantastic anticipation for the trip is almost as pleasurable as the trip itself. You can’t wait for the trip to arrive. You want your listener to feel the same way about your content. When they can’t wait for the story to arrive, you have created some great content.

Teasing is the art of creating anticipation for your audience to entice them to stick around for the payoff to your setup. It is a critical element of your show. Teasing helps create momentum for your podcast.

When you promote parts of the show that are coming up, you must creatively tease your audience. You must give them a reason to stick around. It isn’t enough to simply say, “A great story about this weekend is coming up.” Few will stick around for the payoff. Tease. Create anticipation. Instead, use something like, “You’re never gonna believe what I found in the attic this past weekend.”

The evening news does a wonderful job at teasing. Create anticipation. Tease me.

5. Use active language

Your details should contain active language. Words like walking, carrying, and eating are current tense. They create images in your mind. You can see a clown walking. If I am telling a story about a clown that walked, using the past tense, it is more difficult to envision in your mind. It already happened. He isn’t doing it anymore. I can see walking. I can’t see walked.

When you use active language, your story comes to life. Use rich, vivid words that will draw fantastic pictures in the minds of your audience. “The old man, small and fragile, came slowly walking into the art shop gingerly carrying the tattered, leather-bound, black-and-white photo album he had been saving from his depression-era childhood.” You can see the old man. Active language paints those photos.

I’d love to help you with your podcast. E-mail any questions or comments you might have to

You can also find tools to help you create great content at

Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

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