One of the many great things about working at Solomon McCown is the encouragement to look outside the office for learning opportunities. We work tirelessly with our clients every day to make sure the strategies we provide, recommendations we make, social content we draft and plans we develop are future-thinking and innovative. To do that, we need to ensure that we ourselves are on the cutting edge and constantly learning about whys to make our own thinking better and more strategic. That’s why it’s great that this company doesn’t shy away from fantastic initiatives Boston like HUBweek.
HUBWeek is a weeklong celebration of innovation and creativity in and around the city, and the free events encourage us all to take advantage of the great organizations, minds and institutions it’s nurturing. Yesterday, I was able to attend “WBUR’s The Best of Podcasting” and heard from Iris Adler, Executive Director for Programming, Podcasts and Special Projects, Jessica Alpert, Managing Producer, Program Development, John Perotti, Producer, New Programming, Amory Sivertson, Associate Producer for New Programming, and Erika Lantz, Associate Producer in the iLab.
It was interesting to hear from a group of people who started working with a form of media that is sometimes viewed as “outdated” (radio) and are working to translate it to the next big platform. Kicking the night off with a with the discussion about how there is a tremendous sense to innovate in the effort not to get left behind, the panelists then moved on to talk about how the struggle is on to figure out how to create solid innovative journalism in the 21st century. They all came to the same conclusion: It’s crucial to deepen engagement with radio listeners while engaging people with podcasts. With 57 million Americans listening to at least one podcast each month, this point in history is being considered “the golden era of podcasting.” Jessica and John work on Modern Love, producing longer stories about love and complicated relationships, Amory produces the advice column Dear Sugar with the charismatic hosts Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, and Erika tells stories of human kindness with Kind World, but they all emphasize that the most successful podcasts are the winning formula of on-demand and the marriage with mobile platforms that yields results, because let’s face it – we want the exact content we want when, where and how we want it.
From the mouths of experts, the most important components of a successful podcast are:
- The right “voice” to use to tell a story: This can literally mean the right speaking voice or the tone in which you want to tell a story. For this, sound design is important because it adds in a rhythm, but doesn’t pull the listener out of the story.
- A connection with the host(s): Many podcasts are personality driven and listeners need to feel a connection with the host for longer running programs.
- Pacing: A good podcast creates stakes for the listener and through the writing, rhythm and music keeps people interested as a conflict arises, they are then able to visualize the scenes through the sound, and the story offers a surprise to catch the listener off guard.
- Research: “For every minute you hear, an hour of work has one into it…” It can only help you to do your homework, and for truly engaging podcasts you need to tell people what they don’t A good podcast considers who doesn’t care about the topic you’re discussing and how can you make them get invested.
Check out @HUBweek to get a recap of the week! What are some of your favorite podcasts that we should check out? Tweet at @SolomonMcCown to let us know.