The Three E's of Podcasting

Why do people love podcasts so much?

What makes a great podcast?

These are the questions I get most often when I meet with people who are new to podcasting. My answer invariably is that it comes down to what I like to call “The Three E’s of Podcasting”


Great podcasts evoke empathy. More than any other medium, podcasts generate shared experiences and emotion. When a person listens to a moving podcast, they are transported to the world that the creator paints for them with their words. A recent study found that 90% of podcast listeners are alone when they listen to a podcast. That’s an incredible fact when you think about how rare it is to get in front of someone for such an exclusive and intimate period of time. This also speaks to how important it is that your podcast elicits emotion and is crafted with care.


Podcasts are great teachers. When a person gets done listening to an amazing podcast, they leave a little more informed. They can also find out more about a brand through the stories their favorite podcasts tell. Podcasts are increasingly being used in classes and by companies internally, to share information through storytelling. Podcasts also help listeners learn about fascinating people they’ve never met. It’s why shows like Stuff You Should Know and This American Life are so popular. People leave those shows feeling a little smarter about something. One teaches about interesting things and the other teaches you about people.


At the end of the day, podcasts have to entertain listeners. They should be fun and groundbreaking in their sound. Entertaining both hardcore listeners and newbies is vital for the growth and overall reach of a podcast. Know your audience. Is this entertaining to them or just you? That’s why it’s also important to think about the style of your podcast. A conversational podcast may be entertaining to one audience, while a storytelling podcast may speak to a different demographic. Distinguish your unique audience, so you can zero in on what will entertain them and keep them listening.

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