Storytelling in Podcasting is an essential skill that allows you to capture attention and engage with listeners. It can help you to transform a basic massage you want to tell into an immersive episode. To master podcast storytelling, you need to control the episode structure, pacing, emotions, music, and scenario.
If you focus on implementing storytelling in podcasting, you can increase your listeners’ engagement by 300%. All you gotta do is tell the story right.
Podcasters and content creators work hard to convey their message, opinion, or expertise to their listeners. While doing your research right and pulling out impressive data is important, it’s not enough to engage your listeners.
Storytelling is an art.
And we usually associate art with creativity and passion. But I would say that storytelling in a compelling manner involves reasoning and logic too.
Especially when we are talking about storytelling in podcasting.
You might think, ‘I am not doing a fiction podcast. How is storytelling important to me?’
When you aim to reach your audience through spoken words, no matter what your motive is, podcast storytelling is a powerful tool that can help you make that impact, which you desire.
So what should you do?
Content without a story is not sufficient to lure the audience.
Studies show that a story with carefully crafted content can get you 300% higher engagement.
In this post, I will discuss the importance of storytelling, and how should you structure storytelling in podcasting for maximum impact.
So Why is Podcast Storytelling important?
You can gain a high level of audience engagement by incorporating storytelling in podcasting. By directly jumping to the content, you risk sounding too self-centered or commercial.
However, when you begin with a story, you capture your listener’s attention, and they are encouraged to stay for more.
Podcasting storytelling can help you boost your growth and gain more subscribers. Moreover, podcast storytelling can make your content memorable.
When you stay on top of your listener’s mind, they are highly likely to recommend you to others! Especially if you attract Super-Listeners. This group of listeners recommends podcasts 96% of the time!
Without Podcast Storytelling, you are risking a lot.
Storytelling in podcasting is a fantastic way to attract and gain new listeners and make them come back for more. And it is an excellent way to make a sales pitch too! If you are ignoring podcast storytelling, you are losing a potential business opportunity.
There is evidence that reflects the power of storytelling in podcasts.
One of them is a recent study that concludes that by conveying their brand story well, companies have the power to increase the value of a product or service by over 20 times.
While podcasting is not a saturated space like blogging or visual platforms, podcasters are working hard to outshine their competitors.
If you slack somewhere, your competitor podcaster, will whisk away your bored listeners! So I would say, do not cut corners or your listeners might wander away.
Importance of storytelling in numbers
If my arguments haven’t convinced you yet, have a look at these numbers that are compelling evidence supporting the power of storytelling in podcasting:
- Around 45% of content marketers attempt to nurture their audience by storytelling or relating to them.
- Storytelling is very important to content marketers, with 69% of most successful marketers almost always taking storytelling into account while creating content for their organization.
- 41% of content creators say that becoming a better storyteller is on their priority list.
Moreover, in the present time, a marketer faces many challenges. Have a look at these figures to understand the cut-throat competition that you are facing if you are looking to sell something through your podcast-
- In the year 2011, there were 555 million websites on the Internet. In 2020, this figure stands at 1.74 billion.
- According to Forbes, an average American is exposed to a plethora of advertisements each day, the count ranging from anywhere between 4,000 to 10,000.
- According to Google in 2011, people researched and consumed 10.4 unique pieces of content before they made a purchase decision.
I have presented these numbers to you just to make you realize the sheer amount of content an average person comes across every day.
Podcasters are not the only competition you have. There are websites, blogs, videos, TV ads, all battling for those moments of attention from the audience.
Hence, you really need to make your podcast content stand out and stay on the radar of the listener – and podcast storytelling is an effective way to do this.
Examples of Great Stories and Changes They Make
Use your words to change your world
According to Emily Hiers in her Ted Talk, which is aptly titled ‘Use your words to change your world’, she explains the impact words have on people.
With the example of her younger sister’s life who was born differently-abled, she explains how our choice of words can make people feel, and we might not even be aware of the unintended effects of our words. Every podcaster should listen to this Ted Talk to know the weight our words carry.
The Power of Words
In this video, you can see how people respond to the blind man’s message asking for alms. A simple change of words from “I’m blind, please help” to “It’s a beautiful day, and I can’t see it” grabs the attention of pedestrians and touches their hearts.
Whether your podcast is about a social issue like climate change, or you have a fitness podcast, or you are podcasting to promote your brand and merchandise, how you put across your message is as important as the message itself. Since there will be no visual elements in the message, it’s all about your words!
Examples of amazing podcast storytelling
If you want to listen to some podcasts that have excelled in the art of podcast storytelling, let me share my picks with you all.
‘In the Dark’ is a terrific podcast in the true-crime genre. If you want to know how storytelling in the podcast can keep people sitting in their places with rapt attention, spend some time listening to this podcast.
‘We Share the Same Sky’ is another podcast that I would recommend, it happens to be a documentary podcast about life in the holocaust.
The beverage giant Coca-Cola has underlined the importance of storytelling in its long-term brand strategy. They aim to focus on dynamic storytelling- conveying meaningful stories in a coordinated manner through different channels.
Their stories are about making the world a better place to live in- they integrate positive stories with their brand story for reaching out to more consumers. Many brands are recognizing the strength of storytelling, and you should be one of them.
Top 10 Elements of Good Podcast Storytelling Technique
So the next question arises- what all should one include in podcast storytelling? What are the different points that should be touched upon in your podcast?
1. Is the Listener’s Problem and Main Struggle formed as a Question?
No matter what your theme or genre is, your podcast storytelling should revolve around your listener. Who are your listeners? Where do they live? What is in there in your podcast that will interest them or benefit them?
Make your podcast relevant to them. Make your narrative about your listener. Your listener should feel that you are talking about him or her!
Take some inspiration from a TV advertisement- the characters in a TV ad are similar to who the target audience is, or who they aspire to be.
Consumers connect with them and see them customer-centric; they believe they have the right solutions for them!
2. Develop Scenarios Filled with Details
While storytelling in podcasting, you need to build up a picture with your words.
Rather than stating a dry fact, create a simple scenario. It will help listeners identify with your podcast.
Pick ideas and examples from their daily lives. Add little details that will help your listeners immerse themselves in your work.
You can also sprinkle your narrative with references to history, pop-culture, etc.
One of the best storytelling strategies that always draws attention is to talk about a change. Let users know how your ideas, expert advice, or products can make a profound and valuable change in their lives.
3. Prove Importance of Story with Numbers
While we are discussing the importance of creating a story around your intended message, we are not debunking the importance of data. In fact, a good story can help you put forth the numbers in a way that will pique the interest of an average listener.
According to a study by Pennsylvania University, people are more perceptive towards stories than they are to statistics and facts. So use storytelling and content marketing to make your audience listen to your content and let it stay on top of their mind.
Cleverly placing in important data in your story will boost your credibility.
4. Provoke emotions
Employ human sentiments while storytelling in podcasting to influence your audience.
Studies suggest that buying decisions are only 20% logical and 80% emotional. No wonder why those print and video ads try to tug the heartstrings of the viewers.
Yet another study, this one by New York Times, pointed that readers shared emotional articles more, which means that if your podcast touches someone emotionally, he or she is very likely to share it on social media or tell friends and family about it.
It has also been noted that emotions like urgency and scarcity can boost sales up to 332%!
5. Have a Clear Point of View
Instead of taking a diplomatic stand, it is better to present the champion solution and go against another in your story.
The listener is seeking your expert opinion. He or she wants to know what is best for him.
Rather than puzzling your listeners, guide them, and make them see why your solution is the best one. So take a stand and defend your opinion!
6. Use Relevant Soundtrack
Use the right soundtrack in the background to invoke the desired emotions.
Sounds convey more emotions than you might think.
Podcasters and sound artists should incorporate this theory into their work. Identify the right kind of music or sound that can embellish your story and make it more impactful.
7. Clarity of Voice and Audio Quality
Technical aspects of sounds are crucial to the success of a podcast.
Make sure that your audio quality is top-notch, and your voice is clear. This is your story, your idea, your expertise- display this confidence in your voice!
8. Good Grammar and Language Usage
In the world of text messaging and acronyms, good grammar has taken a backseat.
Yet, for a podcaster, good grammar, and impeccable language is a powerful tool that will leave your listeners impressed. Your podcast should be in the language of your intended listeners.
In fact, incorporating the colloquial terms used in their everyday life in your storytelling can help you develop an instant connection with them.
Also, it’s important to be the ambassador of the brand for inspiring your listeners. You are not supposed to be an advertiser, you have to be a genuine person who has tried out the product or knows it well inside out.
9. Use economy, don’t overload your listener
Keep your storyline uncomplicated and focus on one or two narratives in the story.
Too many threads in the story will leave your listener confused and overwhelmed.
Excess content is noise, and listeners would prefer to shut it out. Pick up one problem or one topic and explain it in simple words.
10. The pacing of the Story
The rhythm of your podcast story is another important aspect.
You can add another dimension to your story by experimenting with the pace.
How slowly or quickly, your story progresses can change the impact. Read more about words per minute and its impact on podcast storytelling.
Also, if you intend to sell something to your listeners, I would suggest you respect them. By being predictable, they feel smart and satisfied.
Blending storytelling in podcasting will make your content relatable and interesting.
If you aim to make an indelible mark on your listeners’ minds as well as to influence their purchase decision, podcast storytelling is an essential tool that every podcaster should learn and use.