(By Richard Davies) Podcasting, by its very nature, is an optimistic endeavor.
From venture capitalists and big media firms who’ve poured huge sums of money into risky podcast ventures, to small teams of independent producers, we are all making a bet that our shows will reach their intended audience.
The enthusiasm and passion we express for what we do provides fuel in the difficult times and dark days when it’s hard to pay the bills or hope for a better future.
As we search for growth, it really pays to be positive in all forms of our communications.
“Every time I’m writing an email to people that I work with and I find myself using the word ‘not’ or ‘don’t’ or ‘shouldn’t,’ I stop, look at it, and think: Can you rephrase that in a way that is not about ‘not,’ and ‘don’t,’ and ‘shouldn’t’ and turn it into something positive?” says Benjamin Dreyer, copy chief at Random House and the author of Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style.
During a long, entertaining, and highly informative interview with Preet Bharara on the latest episode of his podcast Stay Tuned With Preet, Dreyer declared’ “Honest writing is a kind of truth-telling… Good writing is a kind of morality.” And so it is with podcasting.
No other medium is so one-on-one. When we listen to a podcast it’s usually just that single voice in your ear. Nothing more. Hosts and producers should choose their words carefully to communicate exactly who they are, and what they want to say. It’s the most vital task.
We live in a time of anger and polarization, when hateful, fearful messaging is amplified by social media. Don’t copy what may appear to work on Twitter or in the political arena.
As podcasters, our measurement of success goes much deeper than the number of followers, retweets, or “likes” that we have. With each episode, we are trying to connect in a thoughtful, authentic way with people who may not have heard us before.
“When it’s in the context of love and grace, and somebody really cares for you, you can hear a lot from them,” former Congressman Bob Inglis told me recently on our podcast How Do We Fix It? “If you don’t hear from me, I’m not going to hear anything from you,” he said. “We need to reach people and say: ‘We really like you. We think you’re good.’”
Our industry is growing all the time, and changing fast. Facing others with a smile on our face and hope in our hearts is a necessary way to stay focused and balanced when things get crazy.
Richard Davies is a journalist and podcast consultant. He makes podcasts at daviescontent.com.