Has your podcast got personality?*

Your production choices are saying a lot about your podcast

. 5 min read


(*Yes, there will be a quiz later.)

Think about the three or four people you most love to hang out with.

Why them, and not someone else? Maybe they’re funny, They’re caring. They’re deep. Something about them connects to something about you in a way that keeps you coming back.

And more likely than not, it’s not just one thing, it’s everything: what they care about, what they discuss, what they laugh at.

All these personal values come out in everything they do, and it all mingles together to be experienced by you as their personality. It’s the same with podcasts.

This is where I talk about podcasts like they are people

Y’all know I love talking about Show Values. I wanted to share an exercise I love to do when training Producers and Show Runners to get them thinking about how podcast Values get communicated to our audiences.

Imagine you’re at a party with a pal who wants to introduce you to another one of their friends.

They’d probably tell you who the person is, and maybe what they do or how they spend their time. Like “Hey, meet Karen, she’s a Maritimer who loves making podcasts, and bakes the best molasses ginger cookies ever.”

It’s great to have a name and a bio — kind of like seeing a podcast title and series description in your favourite app.

But what you really want to know, is if the two of you are going to click.

And if your pal knows you well, they’ve made this recommendation because they think your personalities are compatible.

So you ask your friend, tell me more?

The answer you get back will likely be a value judgement, more than a description.

Maybe they’ll say this new person is hilarious, generous, ambitious, or edgy.

Your friend will start describing their personality, the expression of their values and what they care about. And when you form your own opinion about your new acquaintance, you’ll size up how that person’s personality jibes with your own.

A lot of that will be unconscious as well as subjective. You might even have to think pretty hard about why you were left with the impression you got.

It could be that you formed an opinion based on what they actually said, but more than likely you also took in a million details about their tone, mannerisms — even what they’re wearing — when you came to a conclusion about how you feel about them.

First impressions are critical. That initial minute of getting to know someone can determine whether you want to ever or never see them again.

How often do you keep listening to a new podcast if it doesn’t hook you in in the first minute?

Just sayin’.

From parties to podcasts

No, podcasts aren’t people, but everything about them from their title, artwork, host choice, and theme music will leave an emotional impression, just like that new person you met at a party.

To take the ‘podcasts and people’ analogy a step further, we also know that more and more listeners are coming to podcasts for companionship, suggesting they are looking for something that delivers a positive emotional hit of community and common interest from the experience, regardless of the subject matter.

But while this cocktail party scenario might give you the choice of 15 or 20 people to spend your time with, the podcast universe gives audiences far more choices when it comes to their listening habits. That’s why you need your podcast to stand out, and ring the right emotional notes with the listeners you want.

Lean into your personality, it’s what makes your show unique.

So, if your podcast was mingling at a party, who would it hit it off with?

The PCC Podcast Personality Quiz:

This is the most unscientific multiple-choice test ever, to see what your production choices might be saying to YOUR next potential superfan about the personality of your podcast.

Question 1: Music

A. You searched “80’s British Invasion” in APM for your theme music (1)

B. You searched “breaking news” in APM for your theme music (3)

C. You searched “swirling dark urban synth beats” in APM for your theme music (2)

Question 2: Series Art

A. Your artwork is a selfie you took in the gym mirror (1)

B. Your artwork features custom portraits of each guest carefully laid out on a spectrum of backgrounds that when put together represent the colours of the sky as it moves from sunrise to nightfall (3)

C. Your artwork is a stylized mug shot photo, complete with crime scene tape graphics and film noir font (2)

Question 3: Episode length

A. Your episodes are 45 minutes long and release once a month (3)

B. Your episodes are 20 minutes long and release fortnightly (1)

C. Your episodes are 5 minutes long and release daily (2)

Question 4: Guests

A. Your guest this week is another podcast host (1)

B. Your guest this week is…PSYCH! You never have guests, it’s just you! (2)

C. Your guest this week is a big name celeb (3)

Question 5: Series title

A. Your show name features multiple punctuation marks (1)

B. Your show name features a clever podcasting or audio pun (3)

C. Your show name features the words “the” and “podcast” (2)

Answer key: 

Add up the points to find your true pod match!

5–8 POINTS: The Everybody’s BFF Listener — Your podcast BAE will be someone who carries spare headphones everywhere in case they lose a pair, who can always be counted on to ‘subscribe now’ so they never miss an episode, and dreams of someday being the kind of listener described in a personality quiz.

9–11 POINTS: The I Have a Podcast to Recommend Listener — Your audience soul mate is certain to be a podcast aficionado, who enjoys artwork best when it’s in a scalable square format, and uses the term “drops” to describe the date anything new comes is happening.

12 -15 POINTS: The Don’t Rush Me I’m Listening Listener — You’ll find your best listener match among the podcast demo who loves either dogs and/or cats, who never uses the x2 speed, and often leaves ratings or reviews in their favourite app because they know each one of them gets read by the host and the team.

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