Lost in Conversation? A Visual Exercise to Keep Podcasts on Track


PodMov Daily: Tuesday, September 1

Episode 276: Testing, One Two-sday

Lost in Conversation? A Visual Exercise to Keep Podcasts on Track

Every long conversation will have lost threads. Joseph Ensminger looks to UX (user experience) design for help: “Podcasts could be much more interesting to the audience and the speakers if they had a visual aid that mapped the conversation flow and points dubbed by the speakers they'd like to return to.”

A researcher and strategist, Ensminger is interested in reducing idea-overwhelm. “You’ll hear phrases like ‘let’s put a pin in it for now’ [and] ‘let’s revisit this,’” he says. As these “pins” are created, speakers and listeners struggle to keep track. Ensminger describes a visual aid model that draws inspiration from messaging interfaces.

In a nutshell, it’s sort of like flagging text messages. The framework “allows you to see the flowing conversation, while also seeing all the pins created,” Ensminger explains. Just considering the core idea can help us visualize clearer, more complete conversations ― no cognitive science background required.

Cross-Promotion: How to Effectively ‘Swap' with Other Podcasts

As part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Audio Studios team, Andrew Davies is an expert on cross-promotion for podcasts. Thinking about a possible ‘swap’ with another show? Labeling is key: “The last thing you want to do is confuse listeners into thinking the episode is something it’s not.”

Even if your show and its counterpart have lots in common, listeners may not appreciate unexpected material. “If you release a bonus or partial episode, be really clear with your listeners ― in the title and episode description ― that it’s not a regular episode,” Davies says. “Reinforce in the episode description why you’re doing the swap.”

The article links to well-executed examples, including a Radiolab cross-promotion for NPR’s Rough Translation. “Each time you’re presented with a possible cross-promotion opportunity, really think through all the options,” Davies suggests. Above all, “Respect your audience’s interests and time.”

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Here's what else is going on:

  • Numbers game: Podnews has launched Sounds Profitable, a weekly newsletter about adtech in podcasting. Its author, Bryan Barletta, has worked in the space since 2013. He writes in the first edition, “The goal of Sounds Profitable is to educate and empower each of you.” 
  • Hurry back: Between seasons, “is there a science as to how long of a break is acceptable?” Blk Pod Collective discusses the logistics of seasonal podcasts and their lesser-known benefits. For example: “Easier crowdfunding or sponsorship negotiation for an entire season.”
  • Alarm clock: To fix inflated numbers, Apple Watch podcast downloads may be filtered from Apple Podcasts. Ben Lovejoy of 9to5Mac explains, “Podcasts will see their audience number appear to fall ― and, indeed, for Apple Watch listeners to more-or-less disappear altogether.”
  • Alright then: BBC Studios is producing a podcast series that will be exclusive to Spotify. Hosted by father Danny and daughter Dani Dyer, Sorted with the Dyers is yet another celebrity-Spotify deal. Both are TV personalities; Dani is known for UK reality show “Love Island.”

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