T.H. Ponders: Audio Production Lessons from Avery Trufelman


PodMov Daily: Thursday, August 6

Episode 258: Your Thursday Podthoughts

T.H. Ponders: Audio Production Lessons from Avery Trufelman

In an excellent article for Bello Collective, podcast producer and critic T.H. Ponders explores what makes Avery Trufelman’s work on 99% Invisible so compelling. Trufelman’s 7-year production role with the hit podcast led to an acclaimed meta-miniseries, Articles of Interest. Upon its ending, Ponders took a thoughtful dive.

Audio creators have much to learn from Trufelman’s distinct style. Ponders writes, “Her production elevates stories from typical radio show to incredible works of art, while at the same time, making them feel intimate, human, and alive.” Ponders highlights five special episodes, describing their quality and craftsmanship of storytelling.

Now a technology, design, and podcasting teacher, Ponders turns to these works when illustrating examples for class. Listening to episodes like “The Pool and the Stream” alongside their commentary truly lifts “the curiosity, the focus, the honesty, and the personal touches” that make up “audio storytelling at its finest.”

Raise Your Show's Contrast: Every Podcast Needs a Villain

“In a nutshell, your show’s positioning is a way of describing your show’s offering relative to other shows in your niche,” writes Jeremy Enns of Counterweight Creative. To avoid blending into other shows, a podcast needs a foil. Some contrast. A presence to counteract. In Enns' words, “define your show’s villain.”

Based on style, format, length, and other factors, you’ve already established an identity. Now, “pick a show or publication in your niche that you don’t necessarily agree with, and start using them as a measuring stick to present your show as a clear alternative,” Enns suggests. What does your show not represent? What does that say?

Obviously, do not call out an actual person or entity as your show’s foil. “Oftentimes, your chosen villain may in fact be a fantastic collaborator for your show as you may offer very different approaches to or opinions on the same topic,” Enns points out. This unusual ideological exercise has a lot to offer.

Who’s Visiting Your Website? Find Out With Claritas

For podcast advertisers, knowing your potential audience is key to growth. Your website is generating traffic, but 90% of the time you don’t know who’s exploring your brand. With Claritas, you’ll have insight into every visitor, especially those that don’t engage with a subscription or sign-up.

Your best prospects are within reach. The Claritas Identity Graph tells you more about the purchase behaviors, device usage, channel preferences, lifestyles and demographic attributes of anonymous visitors. As a data-driven marketing company, Claritas can help identify your best prospects and turn them into loyal, paying customers more efficiently.

With Claritas’ industry-leading understanding of audience segments, you can even identify new targets that share behaviors with your best customers. Ready to see it in action? Claritas found Metro by T-Mobile 300,000 new leads in a month — read on to find out how.

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Frame job: Masterful podcasters often employ an ‘invisible script’ for episodes that sound spontaneously ad-libbed. Kevin Anderson of The Podcast Host shows how to turn an obvious, flow-busting script into a subtle guide that “gives you the roadmap to deliver confidently.”
  • City sidewalks: For travelers, the phrase ‘audio guide’ means awkward headsets and dry commentary. Taking cues from immersive podcasts, Vidi Guides has developed a new style of audioguide. The project debuts with seven “fresh and accessible” tours of London.
  • Aim high: Applications for Transom’s Fall 2020 Story Mentorship close tomorrow evening. Six audio storytellers will be selected for the 6-week online training, which features special guests like Ira Glass (This American Life) and Shereen Marisol Meraji (NPR’s Code Switch).
  • Home run: Spotify highlights a set of new podcasts that tap into Indonesian culture. On Dear Dearest, celebrities share and discuss real love letters. The true-crime series LENYAP digs deep into infamous murder cases, “taking stories straight from the nation’s headlines.”

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