TAP026: 10 Ways to Give Back to Your Listeners

The Audacity to Podcast - A "how-to" podcast about podcasting and using Audacity show

Summary: In the spirit of Christmas, I want to inspire you find new ways to give back to your listeners, if you aren’t already. After talking about Christmas gifts for podcasters, I was inspired by Elise from Knit Misadventures to talk about giving back to your listeners. 1. Be a linchpin and giver I’ve been reading Seth Godin’s Linchpin. While Godin primarily seeks to inspire employees and would-be entrepreneurs to be indispensable artists. The chapter “The Powerful Culture of Gifts” stood out to me regarding podcasting and my work. Art is a gift. A real gift, not part of a deal, not a transaction entered into with reciprocity in mind. The culture of gifts has a long history on this planet, and understanding how it brings people together is a critical step in becoming indispensable. [Seth Godin, Linchpin, page ix] What makes us podcasters stand out is our ability to give more personally than any TV-network show can. I fully believe Jesus’s words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35, NASB) and “Give, and it will be given to you” (Luke 6:38, NASB). When we give and create a “culture of gifts,” we build relationships of trust and gratitude. 2. Be passionate Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm. Unless you’re “big media,” you can’t build loyal following without giving enthusiasm. Be passionate over what you’re podcasting about! If you’re not passionate about it (or getting paid a ton of money), then find something else to podcast about. Yes, sometimes the passion will wane, due to current stress, difficulty for developing content, and other reasons. But passion is renewable and contagious. Give your enthusiasm and your listeners will get excited, too. 3. Respond and interact One thing that sets us apart from “big media” is our ability to personally interact with our audience. Don’t forget this! Remember the POD of podcasting (passion, organization, dialog)? Give to your listeners by interacting with them. Share and respond to feedback within your podcast Converse with blog commenters Respond to personal communications: email, tweets, etc. 4. Invite listeners as guests Have you ever considered inviting one of your loyal listeners as a guest? I relied on my loyal listeners to my clean-comedy podcast the Ramen Noodle™ when I was getting married and going on honeymoon. I invited several listeners to join us as guest cohosts and we had a great time and strengthened the community. Yes, you may not have the technology to support an offsite guest cohost, but look for other ways to incorporate your listeners, especially their feedback. 5. Make leaving feedback easy You should already be inviting feedback from your listeners. Although this is something you ask from them, be generous by giving your listeners easy ways to contact and interact with you. Install the CryptX WordPress plugin so you can clearly write your email address instead of “feedback [ at ] noodle.mx” (I hate that!). CryptX will encrypt your email address so bots can’t harvest the address for spam. Avoid Captcha or other cumbersome spam-prevention. Instead, use effective spam-filtering like Akismet, Disqus, or IntenseDebate (my preference). Clearly and slowly speak phone numbers. Clearly and slowly spell ambiguous or difficult-to-spell URLs. Many names and words may not be obvious in their spelling: too, to, two, and 2; effect and affect; John and Jon; etc. Do not require moderation before comments appear. 6. Listen to feedback When someone provides constructive critical feedback, the greatest gift you can give them is your attention and effort to change when necessary. You don’t have to change every detail of your show when someone complains, but consider constructive critical feedback as valuable as gold. Those people have taken time out of their day to generously share something with you (perhaps even one of their “secrets”) that can improve yourself or your work. Respect and appreciate others’ opinions,