How To Tell Better Podcast Stories – Episode 169
Do you want to create better podcast stories? Start with the end in mind. Then, start with the end.
Start with the end? It sounds crazy, I know. Let me explain.
Stories do great things for your podcast and business.
When you tell stories, your audience gets to know details about you and your life. That’s how friendships are born. Your listeners discover you have things in common. They realize you have been through similar struggles. Maybe you’re from the same area or visited a common destination.
After multiple stories, listeners begin to feel like they know you. That is when the magic happens.
Stories help you build trust. And as it is with all business, people do business with those they know, like and trust. People don’t do business with companies. They do business with people. Trust is the essence of relationships and business.
Better podcast stories define your character.
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 following 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.
MY STORIES WERE HORRIBLE
In the past, my stories were horrible. I struggled to hold the attention of people while I was telling a story. I couldn’t figure out why they would fade half way through the tale.
One day, in a coaching session with my radio coach, it hit me. The person listening had no idea where I was going.
The stories I was telling sounded like ramblings with no real purpose or destination.
My coach basically told me to open with the punchline. I thought he was crazy. If people knew the punchline, why listen to the story. That made no sense.
He explained that opening with the point of the story was similar to telling your passenger where you are going on your journey. Nobody wants to sit next to you in a car wondering where they are going to end up and when they are going to get there. They want to enjoy the journey.
I began opening my tales with the point of the story. Right up front, I revealed the whole purpose of the story to create better podcast stories. My opening began serving as a bit of a headline.
“I can’t figure out why people can’t signal their turn before they are actually in the turn lane.”
“My dog got sick and had my up 4 times last night.”
“If you want more traffic, you need to be more traffic for others first.”
Opening with an intriguing introduction will also provide a framework for the story. You will know exactly where you are going and what details are necessary to get there. This helps shorten your story while including only the important parts.
In addition to the intriguing introduction, there are three other elements to better podcast stories. After you open with the intriguing introduction, provide wonderful, vivid details while telling the story. Close with a powerful conclusion. Ask yourself, “What’s next?”
THEATER OF THE MIND
Create theater of the mind by using vivid details.
The use of active language will stir the imagination of your listener and help you connect to your audience. Put the listener in the moment. Make the listener see the action you are describing.
“I’m walking in the bustling restaurant and shaking off the cold without even watching where I’m walking.” That is active language. In your mind, you can see me walking in.
Sure, your restaurant may be different from my restaurant. That difference is what makes theater of the mind great. You see it the way you think it fits best for you. Your scene doesn’t need to match my scene in order for the story to make sense. It is your theater.
Active language connects each listener to the story in his or her own way. It will create strong audience engagement. Active language during storytelling is a powerful tool you can use while you’re building your podcast.
Create a great podcast brand. To create better podcast stories, create theater of the mind.
THE FIRST EXIT
Take the first exit.
When you are discussing a topic, take the first opportunity to get out of the bit or interview question. You will keep your audience engaged. You will maintain the momentum of the show. You will also avoid repeating yourself and becoming boring. Take the first exit.
There are clues in your show that let you know you’ve missed the opportunity to end the bit. When you find yourself saying things like “as I said”, “like I was saying”, or “as we’ve discussed”, you have missed your exit. Those phrases are simply additional ways to say, “let me repeat this again”. Once you have reached that point, you are stating your introduction point again. This should be your conclusion. Move on to the next discussion.
If you miss the exit, you begin retracing your steps. You begin offering information you’ve already provided. You listener then begins thinking of other things, because they have heard this part before. I got it. Let’s move on.
Only you will know when you’ve offered enough information to make your point. Once you hit that point, keep the show moving. Get to the next topic. Keep your audience engaged. Take the first exit.
To create better podcast stories, conclude your story by simply reframing your intriguing introduction.
ASK “WHAT’S NEXT?”
Include a call to action.
If you want to make money with your podcast, you must include a call to action. It seems logical. However, many podcasters believe, “If I build it, they will come.” It simply doesn’t happen that way.
Odd as it may sound, your podcast probably isn’t your product. Unless you are charging for your podcast, your show is only the marketing vehicle for some other product. Most podcasts are free. The show itself isn’t generating revenue. You need to create another product you can sell.
In his book “Free: The Future of a Radical Price”, Chris Anderson lists many ways to create revenue using the power of free. Many of these can be used to generate revenue from your podcast.
Some think access to the audience can be sold to advertisers as if it were traditional broadcasting. Unfortunately, audiences are not typically large enough for this model. Listeners also do not expect the traditional twelve minutes of commercials within their favorite podcast hour. Advertising is a very difficult path to revenue.
To generate revenue with your podcast, you need to create something else to sell.
You could make money by making your podcast a small portion of a larger show, which is available to paid members only. The free podcast becomes marketing for the member content.
You could turn your knowledge of some “how to” subject into a book, e-book, study course or other product. Your podcast could be the “why” behind your philosophy. The show would then promote the “how” that your listener will learn when they purchase the product.
There are many other ideas described in Anderson’s book. You could give away the product while charging for the service, such as consulting or coaching. Give away the content while making money referring people to retailers.
Rather than traditional advertising, you could give away the content while charging advertisers to be featured in it, similar to The Home Shopping Network. You could even take a cut of sales. You could podcast generic advice while selling specific, customized advice.
There are fifty ideas in the book. To make money with your podcast, I suggest you give the book (or at least that section) a read.
If you build it, they may come. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will become instantly wealthy. You need to create something to sell. You need to tell your listener to buy. Then, you need to show them the way. If you desire to make money with your podcast, make sure your podcast includes the call to action.
Build trust with your audience by telling better podcast stories. Start at the end. Create great theater of the mind. Use a powerful conclusion. Then, give them something to do when it is over. Implement a strong call-to-action.
Do you need help with your podcast? E-mail me any time at Coach@PodcastTalentCoach.com. Let’s see what we can do.
You can find my podcast and other tools to help you create great content at www.PodcastTalentCoach.com.
Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.