How to Focus Any Episode with a Single Sentence


Heads up, gang: The Daily will be on fall break next week. We’ll be back on Monday, October 4 with your morning headlines, resources, and tips.

PodMov Daily: Thursday, September 23

Episode 510: Your Thursday Podthoughts

Focus Any Podcast Episode with a Single Sentence

There are many reasons why audio stories end up lacking focus, says Rob Rosenthal of HowSound. “The worst reason is, ‘Well, it’s a podcast. The story can be any length.’ Ummm, wrong.” The Transom Story Workshop founder explains how a single ‘focus’ sentence can sum up a story’s entire essence.

At first, the focus sentence template seems too simple: “Someone does something because, but…” However, character, action, motivation, and conflict are all there. This isn’t just fiction: Rosenthal breaks down examples with audio clips, one he wrote for an economics story for the BBC and Marketplace.

Podcasters in any genre can easily end up with a long recording and “no plan for wrangling it — just find good quotes and see what happens.” Instead, it’s best to craft a flexible focus sentence early in the episode planning process. Rosenthal outlines more story-lassoing techniques here.

For Hosts, Reading Ads is an Awkward Adjustment

Across the board, podcasters are taking on “the plight of the inadvertent pitchman,” writes Luke Winkie of Vox. Liv Albert (Let’s Talk About Myths, Baby) never planned on reading ads aloud. The necessary transition from feminist-Greek-mythology mode to that of a salesperson can be tricky: “It’s such an odd thing.”

Clearly defined marketing à la Billy Mays (OxiClean!) has largely been replaced by gray-area influencing, Winkie says. Podcasters are intimately aware of who’s listening, making it a delicate dance to “fold the language of the carnival barker into [that] relationship.” The awkwardness is an undeniable hurdle to income.

“I wanted to make sure that I didn’t come off as obnoxious or over-the-top or that I’m just trying to get paid,” Albert reflects. “But at the same time, I wanted to make people realize that I deserved to get paid because of how much effort and research goes into the show.” Fortunately, her “lovely” niche listeners get it.

Accurately Measuring Cash-Free Conversions

For campaign performance to be optimized, it first needs accurate measurement to reveal what’s working. 80% of consumers say they prefer to spend with a card over cash. Marketers have a valuable opportunity to track and integrate these insights, especially with holiday spending right around the corner.

A partner with a powerful Identity Graph is essential to precisely tie card spending back to advertising. With reliable purchasing data for 70+ million households and partnerships with the world's largest payment processors, Claritas can help you extract key information in a privacy-safe manner.

On the latest episode of The Marketing Insider, Omer Jilani simplifies measurement and provides tips for unlocking actual purchase data, eliminating unnecessary media waste, and optimizing campaigns in-flight. You’ll learn what you really need to know from a partner — and the right questions to ask.

Do what you can with all you have, wherever you are.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Light switch: In podcasting as in life, new ideas lead to arguments. In his blog, Seth Godin defends both change and resistance: “The challenge is in being clear that we’re about to take a side, and to do it on the effects, not on our emotional connection to the change that’s involved.”
  • Fast lane: Today in London, the inaugural International Women’s Podcast Awards will celebrate audio ‘moments’ under 10 minutes. Organized by The Skylark Collective and hosted by Vick Hope of BBC Radio 1, the event begins at 1:45 pm CT/7:45 pm BST. Virtual tickets are £10.00.
  • Mood boost: Indie audio fiction producers are beginning to get the recognition they deserve, says Sean Howard. The Fable and Folly co-founder is “finally seeing signs of established and funded podcast entertainment networks and platforms recognizing…the magic they were missing.”
  • Jump start: Applications are due next Friday, October 1 for Sound Up LatinX, Spotify’s newest podcast accelerator program. 10 participants will have an eight-week training, followed by an opportunity to pitch a trailer and proposal. Open to US-based Latinx creators over the age of 20.

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