By June 1, 2010 2 Comments Read More →

Making tough choices

Like many others, my start in podcasting was shaky at best. I knew I wanted to podcast though I hadn’t given much thought to what I wanted to share and how I wanted to share it. It took a few months to figure things out. What I had to do is listen and learn from my own content consumption habits and especially feedback from listeners. From that exercise, I made three touch choices that ultimately led to a large and dedicated audience of my Electric Sky podcast.

1) Enforce a time limit

It’s easy to decide that each show will stay focused on a particular topic or idea. Sticking to that rule is a lot harder. Deciding to communicate the story or idea in a finite amount of time is a perfect way to force yourself to stay focused and can ultimately help you make tough editing decisions. In my case, I set a 10 minute limit.

2) Leave space

Too many content creators find it difficult to leave breathing space in their productions. The breathing space can be actual silences or silences in the ideas. Silence in ideas means knowing the story in such a way that it’s obvious when adding something takes away from something else. This could mean eliminating one line of thought because it works better as a suggestion rather than a billboard, or it could mean recognizing that the additional thoughts are extraneous and take away from the whole. Learning to leave space is where you really earn your battle scars of great content creation and storytelling.

3) Have a hanging thought

Many of the podcasts I listened to wrapped up nicely and I went on with my day having no relationship to the people or ideas in the program. It was like the producer stole some time away from me and gave me nothing to take away. From experimenting, I discovered that having a hanging thought at the end of my show kept the people and ideas rattling around the heads of my listeners. Some sent feedback saying they wished there was more in the show; others sent feedback that they’d done their own research online or had bought a book on the subject. Wanting more meant my listeners did more for themselves and came back for the next show.

Sure there are other pieces of advice I can share such as provide value for your audience, create your show to cater to your own self interest, be authentic and passionate and have fun. Most people already do that because those are the obvious and easy choices. It’s the tough choices that make your content stand out just as it’s the tough choices in all of our pursuits that make our achievements that much more meaningful for all involved.

I had largely forgotten about those tough choices until I received a great piece of feedback from a dedicated fan of Electric Sky. It came after a new episode was published following yet another extended production break (eight months this time). And that’s all the motivation I need to dust off a few episodes that have already been recorded and to conduct a fresh interview tonight.

avatar

About the Author:

Mark Blevis is a digital public affairs strategist and President of FullDuplex.ca, an integrated digital communications, public affairs and research company. His work focuses on the role of digital tools and culture on issues and reputation management. He also leads research into how Canadian opinions are shaped through online content and interactions.
  • http://agilepainrelief.com/notesfromatooluser/ Mark Levison

    Interesting – who is your target audience? Are they already readers of your blog? I'm interested because I'm trying to decide if there is value in doing podcasts in software development world.

  • http://www.markblevis.com Mark

    As much as I consider my audience and, in the case of Electric Sky, reaching people who have general interest and like compelling stories and interesting people, the target audience of Electric Sky has always been me. That may be what has made it a successful show. If I can't create content that appeals to me, that inspires me or that speaks to me, I can't expect anyone else to be interested in it.

    So, is there value in creating podcasts for any area of interest, no matter how broad or niche? I say “yes!”