I have a confession. I’m a podcast junkie.
I’ve found podcasts to be an excellent way to stay on top of new marketing and social media trends. I love that I can find podcasts on very specific topics and they can be streamed on my phone so I can listen to them anywhere and at any time. I listen to at least 3 or 4 different podcasts a day, so let’s just say I’ve had a lot of time to think about the ingredients that make a perfect podcast.
In my opinion, one of the most well-produced podcasts out there is the Freakonomics podcast. Here are the five ingredients that make this podcast so great.
#1: The Freakonomic’s podcast tells a story each episode
People forget statistics and facts but they remember stories.
Each Freakonomics episode starts with the host, Stephen Dubner, asking a question or posing a dilemma. For the rest of the podcast, Dubner will explore the answer to the question using anecdotes and stories often delivered by interviewing interesting experts.
Just to make things even more engaging, Dubner often delivers an unexpected counter-intuitive answer to the question he posed at the beginning of the podcast. An example in a recent episode was when Dubner posed the question “is free parking really free?” In the remainder of the podcast, he went on to interview experts who believe that free parking may not be an economically good thing and it comes a “cost” because the land could be used for more productive purposes.
#2: The Freakonomic’s podcast has catchy intro and outro music
It seems like such a minor thing, however great intro and outro music is important because it”s part of a podcast’s branding. It’s important that listeners of a podcast hear the same intro and outro music so that it becomes a part of their regular daily or weekly routine. If you’re producing a podcast for the first time, test a few different musical intros and outros with at least 10 different people. Collect their feedback and go with the music that is a crowd-pleaser.
#3: The Freakonomic’s podcast host is upbeat and energetic
A podcast is more entertaining if the hosts can inform and entertain the listeners. Having said that, to entertain listeners you don’t have to be Johnny Carson or a joke-teller per se. All you have to do is show personality, be upbeat, energetic, lighthearted, and find the humour in the material you’re delivering. Many of us are not stand-up comedians, but all of us can be energetic, upbeat, and lighthearted.
#4: The Freakonomics’ podcast is regularly delivered
Nothing is worse than a podcast that is delivered according to a haphazard schedule. Once listeners are engaged they will expect to hear a podcast on a regular basis. Some podcasts report on breaking news, such as the , which is delivered in the morning and evening each day. They never miss a time slot. The Freakonomics podcast is delivered once every two weeks, but in both cases, they’re delivered on a predictable schedule and that is what”s important.
#5: The Freakonomics’ podcast is “more killer and less filler”
Since podcasts are free-flowing and can be open-ended, a podcast does not have to adhere to a “time constraint standard”. Generally speaking though, I’ve found that podcasts can be engaging for about 25 minutes to 45 minutes. Once a podcast episode goes beyond the 45-minute mark, it tends to lose people’s attention. Podcast producers should strive to edit their podcasts so there’s more “killer content” and less “filler content”.
While we all may not have the budgets to produce a slick and professional podcast like the Freakonomics podcast, hopefully, the ingredients above can provide some inspiration for those who want to make a perfect podcast themselves.