A Podcast’s Power To Change People… And The Podcaster
Podcasting may look hot, but it’s still one of the slowest growing mediums ever. As podcasters, we’re partly to blame. Here’s how we can fix that without changing how we make our own shows.
Whether we know it or not, our podcasts and the episodes we produce change our listeners. And if they listen to the episodes of our podcasts long enough, that change can become permanent.
Oftentimes, this happens like erosion, where small pieces get chipped away or re-shaped gradually, eventually resulting in a different mindset. Other times, it’s much faster, with landslide-like speed as a listener goes through a rapid transformation.
Many podcasters aren’t consciously aware that their show is affecting change on their listeners. Producers of a comedy show may not intentionally set out to change listeners… or do they? All those endorphins released from laughter is a good thing. Even shows that are irreverent in nature and seem to have no point other than to poke fun are likely encouraging their listeners to not take life so seriously. Makers of podcast fiction, who really just want to share a great story, may not set out to change minds. But as an avid reader of fiction, I assure you that happens. Frequently.
Some podcasters are not only aware of their impact, but overt and explicit in their designs. Take Danny van Leeuwen’s podcast, Health Hats. His tagline is “Learn with people on the journey toward best health”, which clearly sets his intention to effect positive change on the health of his listeners.
With Podcasting, Change Flows Both Ways
I’m not sure most of us podcasters-and until recently I was in this camp-realize that we too experience permanent change as we produce our episodes. Especially if we’re highly niche, presenting similar ideas and thoughts to our audience on a regular basis. As we engage in the act of podcasting, some of the change we’re putting out into the world flows back on us.
For some podcasters, that’s 100% intentional. Neil Hedley uses his podcast, The Snooze Button, to actively seek out solutions to his ongoing struggles against insomnia. He brings on guests, both expert and experienced, so that he and his audience can learn together.
But for the majority of podcasters, change is just something that happens to them as they progress through the podcasting process. It’s possible that the changes are too subtle for them to notice on an episode-by-episode scale. But if you zoom out, and really examine your thoughts and ideas a year ago or five years ago, you’ll likely realize that you too have been changed by your podcasting efforts. Your journey, as my nomadic friends have told me for years, changes who you are.
Put Down The Drum Circle And Back Away Slowly
As a rule, I’m not a consumer of self-help content. I don’t go in for the books and videos that talk about transformative change at your fingertips if you’ll only fork over $19.99. My skeptical nature often skews cynical, and I’ve seen too many earnest people peddling easy answers to an all-too-eager audience for my taste. So please don’t ascribe deeper meanings like “be the change you want to be in your own life” to my words. I’ve no interest in being saddled with the “guru” mantle.
I’m a firm believer that people really are pretty much the people they really are deep down inside. I don’t think people change who they are at their core. Instead, changes visible to the outside world are evidence of us revealing our true selves. Some of us really are the scorpion.
But can we at least present a more frog-like nature to the world? We’re in control of our actions and engagements with the outside world. We’re thinking beings, often with an abundance of free will. With that, we can accept and direct the subtle shifts our podcasts make on our listeners and ourselves to create permanent change. Hopefully in a responsible and positive manner. But YMMV.
Speaking of changes, I’ve added a new section to the bottom of PodcastPontifications.com. It highlights the podcasters and those in the podcasting industry who support my efforts. That’s just one of the perks they get. You can get on that list and gain access to other nifty perks by signing up for an ongoing membership at BuyMeACoffee.com/evoterra.
I hope this episode sparks a conversation between you and your friends who also have a podcast. Let them know you heard/read about it on Podcast Pontifications and, if you would be so kind, ask them to give it a listen. This show only grows by word of mouth to a small group of podcasters who also care about the future of podcasting, and I appreciate your efforts in helping me reach more of them.
Think about how your podcast is changing you as much as your listeners. And in the meantime, I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.
Originally published at https://podcastpontifications.com, where it started life as an episode of my four-times-a-week short-form podcast called, oddly enough, Podcast Pontifications. It’s a podcast for working podcasters that’s focused on trends in our growing industry and ideas on ways to make podcasting not just easier, but better. Yes, you should listen. Here’s an easy way: 👇
Evo Terra (hey, that’s me!) has been podcasting since 2004, is the author of Podcasting For Dummies and Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies, and is the CEO and founder of Simpler.Media, a strategic podcast consultancy working with businesses, brands, and professional service providers all around the world.