16 min

Should you shorten up your average episode‪?‬ MicroFamous

    • Marketing

Joe Rogan is the exception that proves the rule.
For every 3 hour episode of Joe Rogan, there's a podcast that is shortening up their average episode.


And rightfully so, I think.


We're going on 10+ years of long-form interview podcasts, and the format itself is no longer rare and valuable.


So either your topic must be incredibly rare and valuable, or it's time to shorten your average episode to deal with shrinking attention spans.


Here are my 3 best tips to shorten your average episode, starting with Guest episodes.


1. Set Expectations before hitting Record.


I let my guests know that my goal is to have a fun, fast-paced 30 minute chat that covers a few compelling topics.


We spend enough time before hitting Record that I know roughly what topics we'll start with, so I can tease those for the audience right away.


Then as I spot juicier, more interesting topics, we might go off on a tangent. But I try not to cram too many topics in, that's where you get into 45 minute-plus conversations.


I remember being on a podcast as a guest a couple years ago.
We were recording within 5 minutes of jumping on the Zoom session. As a guest, it feels super weird and you have no idea where you stand. Am I taking too long to answer each question? Should this be relaxed and slow-paced, or should this be rapid fire? Am I giving the host what the audience will want?


It was like flying blind, and you never want to make your guests feel like that.


So set good expectations, and most guests will try to give you exactly what you ask for.


2. Open Strong.


One thing that keeps your average episode long is asking the guest about their background too soon.


This invitation to share their background slows down the pace and tends to start at the very beginning of their story. We've all heard it.


"Well, it started on a dark and stormy night at the hospital in 1957. I was a strapping 11 lb 4 oz baby boy, and I took my time coming. "


No one wants that.


Think of a Bond movie like Casino Royale or Spectre.
You want to start with an action scene.
Then you reset and slow down, go back to the beginning.


Depending on what kind of podcast you're running, you can start strong in different ways.


If you run a business podcast where people expect actionable tips and tactics, start with that. Invite the guest to share something actionable as soon as possible.


If you run a podcast more focused on inspiring stories, start with a question about one specific anecdote from their life. Something that hooks the audience's attention, builds the guest's credibility and sets up the audience to be interested in hearing the rest of their story.


Managing the guest's expectations and helping them start strong will go a long way toward producing fast-paced guest episodes that hold your audience's attention.


That brings us to the last way to shorten up your average episode...


3. Publish solo episodes. Just you talking directly to your audience.


I'm a big advocate of solo episodes, at one point this podcast was ALL solo episodes, nothing but me teaching and sharing.


I'm mixing it up more now, but I encourage all my clients to include at least one or more solo episodes per month. That's part of my Weekly Podcast Formula.


Especially if you're in coaching or consulting, you are selling YOU.


In order to sell access and proximity to you, your audience has to trust you and come around to the way you see the world.


They can get some of that from the conversations you have with guests, but they'll get a lot more from solo episodes. Just you and the audience.


The example I gave in the MicroFamous book is Barbara Walters.


While she's a skilled interviewer and journalist, I don't know what she actually believes about the world. I have no idea whether she actually likes her guests. She's a vehicle for their story, and her...

Joe Rogan is the exception that proves the rule.
For every 3 hour episode of Joe Rogan, there's a podcast that is shortening up their average episode.


And rightfully so, I think.


We're going on 10+ years of long-form interview podcasts, and the format itself is no longer rare and valuable.


So either your topic must be incredibly rare and valuable, or it's time to shorten your average episode to deal with shrinking attention spans.


Here are my 3 best tips to shorten your average episode, starting with Guest episodes.


1. Set Expectations before hitting Record.


I let my guests know that my goal is to have a fun, fast-paced 30 minute chat that covers a few compelling topics.


We spend enough time before hitting Record that I know roughly what topics we'll start with, so I can tease those for the audience right away.


Then as I spot juicier, more interesting topics, we might go off on a tangent. But I try not to cram too many topics in, that's where you get into 45 minute-plus conversations.


I remember being on a podcast as a guest a couple years ago.
We were recording within 5 minutes of jumping on the Zoom session. As a guest, it feels super weird and you have no idea where you stand. Am I taking too long to answer each question? Should this be relaxed and slow-paced, or should this be rapid fire? Am I giving the host what the audience will want?


It was like flying blind, and you never want to make your guests feel like that.


So set good expectations, and most guests will try to give you exactly what you ask for.


2. Open Strong.


One thing that keeps your average episode long is asking the guest about their background too soon.


This invitation to share their background slows down the pace and tends to start at the very beginning of their story. We've all heard it.


"Well, it started on a dark and stormy night at the hospital in 1957. I was a strapping 11 lb 4 oz baby boy, and I took my time coming. "


No one wants that.


Think of a Bond movie like Casino Royale or Spectre.
You want to start with an action scene.
Then you reset and slow down, go back to the beginning.


Depending on what kind of podcast you're running, you can start strong in different ways.


If you run a business podcast where people expect actionable tips and tactics, start with that. Invite the guest to share something actionable as soon as possible.


If you run a podcast more focused on inspiring stories, start with a question about one specific anecdote from their life. Something that hooks the audience's attention, builds the guest's credibility and sets up the audience to be interested in hearing the rest of their story.


Managing the guest's expectations and helping them start strong will go a long way toward producing fast-paced guest episodes that hold your audience's attention.


That brings us to the last way to shorten up your average episode...


3. Publish solo episodes. Just you talking directly to your audience.


I'm a big advocate of solo episodes, at one point this podcast was ALL solo episodes, nothing but me teaching and sharing.


I'm mixing it up more now, but I encourage all my clients to include at least one or more solo episodes per month. That's part of my Weekly Podcast Formula.


Especially if you're in coaching or consulting, you are selling YOU.


In order to sell access and proximity to you, your audience has to trust you and come around to the way you see the world.


They can get some of that from the conversations you have with guests, but they'll get a lot more from solo episodes. Just you and the audience.


The example I gave in the MicroFamous book is Barbara Walters.


While she's a skilled interviewer and journalist, I don't know what she actually believes about the world. I have no idea whether she actually likes her guests. She's a vehicle for their story, and her...

16 min