Unmeasurable Metrics: Tracking Intangibles
With a few notable exceptions that get all the money, most podcasters aren’t paid by the download. For us (probably you), the intangible benefits of podcasting are the most important thing. How do you track those?
Intangibles are, by definition, things that cannot be tracked. At least not easily. They’re wispy. They’re cloud-like. They’re difficult, if not impossible, to wrap your hands around.
Yet to most of us podcasters, they are the most important thing. The intangible benefits you get from your podcast are likely the most important evidence of your success as a podcaster.
In the spirit of brevity, I can take this fairly complex topic and make it more simple to understand by talking about two different intangibles that you need to be tracking.
They are: reputation and resource.
Let’s talk about resource first. Specifically, I’m talking about the content you create. Even more specifically, you need to understand whether or not others perceive your content as resourceful.
Is your content referenced by people after you produce it? Is it seen as a resource, be it how-to, inspirational, motivational… whatever. Are you making the type of content people refer back to? Do people say to other people “Hey, I saw that you had this problem, Jane, and here’s how a podcast I listen to solved that problem.”?
Do people find your content such a resource that they use it as an example? When I keynote the Outlier Podcast Festival in Salt Lake City at the end of this month, I’m going to reference a lot of podcasts as examples of the things I’m talking about, even if I don’t currently listen to some of those podcasts. In fact, some I don’t. Some I no longer listen to, but I’ve internalized those shows as a resource in my brain and use them often as examples of excellent content.
So what about you? Are you making content for your show that other people, whether they are listeners or your peers, view as a resource?
Let’s switch to reputation, perhaps even more intangible. Of the two different groups where your reputation is established — peers and listeners — we’ll focus on the former, as the latter tends to vanish (or fails to emerge) if your reputation isn’t worthy.
To be clear, I’m talking about your reputation. Not the reputation of your shows or your episodes. This is your own reputation. Are you, personally, seen as someone with a good reputation amongst others in your own industry?
My peers are obviously also deeply involved in the podcasting industry. Your peer group may also be podcasters, but podcasters who make content that appeals to the same or a similar audience as yours. Look beyond that group of podcasters to industry leaders who don’t podcast. Look at the audience who consumes non-podcasted content that’s relevant to what you do on your show or shows. Are you seen as someone with a good reputation in your peer group?
Do you get invited to speak at events? Do people bring up your name in conversation when discussing your industry? And when it does come up, do others say nice things about you?
One of the mistakes I see a lot of podcasters make, especially in my peer group, is being so focused on making sure that their content is seen as a good resource that they neglect to build their own reputation. So much so that they, the person providing the content, oftentimes disappear.
I can’t tell you the number of shows that I listen to where I don’t know the name of the host, the producer, or anyone involved. I know the name of the show, and I know the content is a good resource. But that person doesn’t get any reputation points from me because I don’t know who they are. They failed to say their name enough for me to lock it into my long-term memory. They fail to brand themselves as a part of the content they produce.
Clearly, the content needs to be great. I’m not going to listen to your show unless it’s a good piece of content. But you need to find a way to make sure you are blending yourself in with that. So make sure you mention your name at the beginning of each episode. And mention it in a way where it’s easy to understand and memorize. I don’t come back and say “Evo Terra” five or six times in the middle of my episodes, so don’t do that. Still, my name is pretty prominent during the episode. My show’s artwork has my name in it. The website for the show talks about me enough.
I’m pretty sure I’ve done a good job of self-branding so that my own reputation can stand on the resourceful content that I make.
So those are the intangibles I want you to think about as you look and listen back to your own content. Is it resourceful? Is it increasing your reputation? Those are the things that I want you to understand.
Enjoy your Friday tomorrow. I will be back on Monday with yet another Podcast Pontifications.
Since you got this far, how about mashing that 👏 button a few dozen times to let me know you dig the written-word version of my thoughts on these podcasting topics? I’d sure appreciate it!
This article started life as a podcast episode. The 251st 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 Productions, a strategic podcast consultancy working with businesses, brands, and professional service providers all around the world.