Regardless if you have top of the line podcasting gear, it won’t amount to anything if you don’t know how to hold a conversation, keep things interesting and most important understand how to interact with your audience.
With all things said, allow me to provide you with what I personally feel are the things a podcaster needs to understand in order to answer the question, how to be a better podcast host.
Shall we begin?
Tips On How To Be A Better Podcast Host
Understand The Persona Of Your Audience
Hosting a podcast means that you constantly need to assess your audience.
You need to be aware of what they want to hear, what could they be confused about, what they want to know more about – and what they think of your arguments as well.
Now the reason that you need to understand their collective persona is for you to pinpoint their needs and wants – and address them on your show.
Being able to resonate with your audience at this level improves interaction and makes them want to come back for more.
If you do your research and analysis right, you will be able to get a huge amount of information about what your audience wants to hear and then use that to create content for future shows.
But then again, the problem with having too much to talk about is…
Information Overload – Keep it at a minimum
With podcasting relying heavily on opinions, it’s quite easy to overdo it. And the problem is that most hosts don’t even know that they’ve crossed the threshold.
Information overload can push your listeners to become bored, or even confused – and in some cases end up not listening to future episodes.
To keep things in check, make sure to break up main talking points by using humor or self-deprecating stories related to the topic.
Now if you don’t have one, you can opt to come up with a fictitious story while you do your script.
Just don’t make it too elaborate as you might forget exact details if questioned about it in the future.
Also, try to look for new ways of delivering information, or ways to better communicate with your audience for you not to become less predictive.
And the most important part is to keep talking points short, digestible, and straight to the point.
Make It A Habit To Prepare
Regardless if your podcast is a one-man show or one that has guests, you always need to be prepared.
Planning ahead like creating pre-written scripts, or even having dummy calls with guests are a great way of ironing out any kinks before the actual recording.
We have dedicated an entire article about this, so there’s no need for me to discuss this part any further.
If you want to read our take about this matter, do read our Podcast Script Writing Tips article.
Don’t Hide Your True Self
All of us have something that we are truly passionate about. And regardless of what podcast format you run – you need to reveal to your audience what your real personality is.
I know that some of you might think that being passionate can sometimes lead a person to become subjective with his/her judgment or thoughts. Therefore, the possibility of alienating a certain section of the audience is increased.
Yes, that is indeed a real possibility.
Then again, be it in the real world or the internet, you won’t be able to please everyone!
That’s just how things are.
Just by the tone of your voice, your listeners will be able to tell which things you are truly interested in. And if your thoughts resonate with theirs, this can be very empowering for them – and creates a sort of bond between host and listener.
So what you can do is talk about things that you are truly passionate about.
Doing so makes it easier to….
Keep Your Content Interesting
Now the thing is, some podcasters are great hosts. The type that sounds like they have been doing professional radio work for years. Their content on the other hand – well, let’s just say is as dull as listening to an audio version of an encyclopedia.
Think of it this way. You’d be better off as a boring host that has interesting content than a fun host with boring content.
If you’re just starting out and only have a few episodes under your belt, don’t worry too much about trying to become a great host.
Focus on your content. Make sure it’s informative, interesting, and fun.
Assess Yourself (and your audience as well)
Always keep learning, and try to evolve into a much better host.
With that said, constantly listen to older episodes and compare them with newer ones.
Were you able to get rid of the errors you made in the past?
Given that you have an active social media campaign, how did your listeners react to specific episodes – especially those with somewhat polarizing or sensitive topics?
By assessing things, you will slowly get to paint a bigger picture that tells you what you need to work on as a host, as well as what topics your audience is interested in – and how they react to it.
Being Formal Is Good, But Being Casual Is Better
Just so you don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, acting “casual” pertains to you acting as if you’re just talking to a friend while having coffee.
Now there’s nothing wrong with being formal on your show. In fact, you should always try to keep a formal composure during your show to make things a bit professional.
Having said that though, too much of it can make things a bit high-brow or even “lecturish”.
Now unless that is the exact vibe you’re going for, nobody wants to listen to someone online only for that person to lecture him/her. (well come to think of it, there may also be a niche for that – but it’s a completely different story)
So find the right balance between being casual and formal.
And going back to the “having coffee” example, I think that’s the closest description of how things should be.
A relaxed, free-flowing conversation that is free of judgment.
Ok, so those for me the important tips on how to be a better podcast host.
I know there are a few more out there like “Go And Be Yourself” I don’t subscribe to that one though as being yourself is exactly why you are reading this.
Being yourself is ok if you know your limitations and capabilities. But for those that don’t, it’s just straight-up annoying.
Anyway, now that we’re done with how to be a better podcast host, then I guess it follows that we should at least try and skim…
How To Get People To Listen To You
Rather this is all about trying to connect with your current audience.
Replace Your Old Mindset
Speaking your heart out to a complete stranger, much more a crowd (even if you can’t see them) is something most of us have a hard time doing.
I got news for you bud. If you want to do well as a podcaster, then you need to get rid of that defeatist mentality and go for an “I can do this attitude”.
This will also lead to you mustering the courage to try out new things.
Keep in mind that people gravitate to people with confidence. And even though they can only hear your voice, they’ll know. Believe me, they’ll know.
Explore Your Creative Side (and let it out)
Don’t be afraid of failing. Get excited and be persistent in going after your goal.
Yes, there is always the possibility of things not working out – but so what?
If it doesn’t, laugh about it and go find the next thing to try out.
People love rooting for the underdog. And if you incorporate your audience on your journey of self-discovery, they will definitely follow each step you make.
I hate to admit that this one is only suited for specific types of podcasts. But hey, maybe others can find a way to tweak it to fit their needs.
Now being unpredictable for me is not only limited to how to speak in front of the mic, but how you market the brand itself.
For example, why not do a live podcast? Or maybe, set up a town hall type podcast with a limited audience?
All of this makes things exciting and prevents monotony.
People love to be surprised, and by shaking things up you bring new life to how people look forward to your next episode.
Rather than just them saying “oh it’s Wednesday. New episode must be out” it could morph into “oh it’s Wednesday, I wonder what he/she’s going to do/say this week”.
And with that, we reach the end of this how to be a better podcast host article.
How was it? Did you get value out of it? Do you think that by applying all the how to be a better podcast host tips I gave – you’ll be able to become better?
If you want to add anything to what I just said, please feel free to leave a line on the comment section below.
And if you are a podcaster in need of professional help, then maybe we can help you find a solution?
Regardless if you need help with sound editing, creating marketing content from each episode, or maybe guidance on how to streamline your entire process – all of that we can do for you.
Schedule a FREE call with us now and tell us what it is you need help with.
Rom is a podcasting specialist, ranking his show in the top 100 for all business podcasts in only his first 6 months since launching. He is also the co-founder of Podblade, creating an affordable yet professional editing solution for podcasters. When he isn’t working, you can find him watching his favorite soccer team (Tottenham Hotspur) in action.