The Guardian: How to Annoy a Podcast Listener


PodMov Daily: Monday, May 23

Episode 650: Your Monday Mix

The Guardian: How to Annoy a Podcast Listener

Gwilym Mumford of The Guardian listens to “close to three hours” of podcasts a day, and he loves them. However, he’s not alone in finding certain patterns “really, really annoying.” Badly placed ads, epic running times, and other listener pet peeves may help creators avoid a loss right off the bat.

Of course, no set of grievances accounts for style. (For example, Mumford strongly dislikes episodes recorded in front of a live audience). But creators need to understand that some universally “infuriating” sins are avoidable, like an ad dropped in without warning when the content is in mid-sentence. 

The overall message is that if a podcast asks a lot of the listener, there needs to be a good reason. A long episode can work, though not if it “amble[s] on for two-plus hours without any sense of structure or direction.” Paywalled shows are thankfully forgiven – this journalist knows to blame the platforms.

The Power of Unusual, Very ‘You’ Podcast Merch

If you offer merch or are thinking about adding it, listen to Were You Raised By Wolves? creator Nick Leighton. Bryan Barletta of Sounds Profitable spoke with Leighton about the hit etiquette show’s unique products and partnerships. High-end stationery through a 150+ year old company has been a major hit.

“We’d definitely recommend figuring out what sort of merchandise is very ‘you,’” Leighton says. “Whatever it is, it should feel like a natural extension of your show.” For a wine podcast, he recommends a carpet cleaning kit “for those difficult pinot noir stains.” For parenting, a mini battery-powered vacuum for Cheerio dust.

When you venture beyond t-shirts, it’s “crucial” to work with partners who are aligned with your show’s goals. WYRBW and the stationery company have cross-promoted one another with strong results. Leighton says to start here: “What’s the main thing you want your listeners to take away from every one of your episodes?”

Swell: Where Short Audio Meets Great Conversations

Swell is a new platform offering the best of social audio with none of the noise. Posts up to five minutes long bring short conversations and interviews directly to a growing community. Podcasters use Swell like bloggers use Twitter – it’s the perfect way to share, engage, and grow your audience.

Unlike live-only platforms, Swell is asynchronous. Anyone can listen to your posts and reply with audio, anytime. With no need to schedule, spontaneous thoughts can reach a wider audience. You can even moderate speakers and replies to keep your conversations on-track. 

Swell is full of interesting people discovering new content. It’s free, fun, and flexible: Your dedicated page and embed widget let you share off-app, without limits. Ready to make great audio in small packages? The world is listening.

It's enough to be benign, to be gentle, to be funny, to be kind.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Rescue plan: “Help! I Need to Grow My Podcast!” is this Wednesday at 7:00 pm ET. Hosted by The Podcast Academy, Disney’s Rob Peterson will talk marketing, PR, budgeting, and audience growth with experts Meggan Ellingboe, Jeremy Helton, and Christine Ragasa. Free registration.
  • Center stage: The first in-person Blk Pod Festival is this weekend, May 28-29, in Atlanta. Built from a need to showcase and connect Black audio creatives, the conference focuses on podcast education and growth for hosts, providers, and entrepreneurs across the industry. $250 registration.
  • Wave pool: What exactly does spatial audio bring to podcasting? Brendan Baker, director and sound designer of Marvel’s Wolverine podcasts, has the answers. If you’re curious about the format but not an audio expert, skip to this part. Baker puts it all in context with hopes for the future.

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