Is Anybody Really Listening to your Podcast?

One of the most fascinating aspects of producing podcasts is the unintended and unexpected bi-products of your efforts. For several years I hosted a weekly podcast called Tailgate Radio (now hosted by the very talented Gylon Jackson).

The podcast embraces everything about the social activities going on outside the stadium or racetrack. The food, the friends, the gadgets and the festivities is the focus. The sports experts can pontificate on the statistics; I want to grill a better tri-trip steak! Anyway, I used to be an analytics junkie and wanted to know everything about my audience. Little did I know.

I noticed over time I started seeing a significant uptick in the number of listeners from eastern Europe and like most of you are thinking right now, I assumed it was some sort of hacking/scamming/spamming thing.

That still may be the case, but I did receive emails from the area and one listener from Poland in particular, really caught me by surprise. She wrote that she had no idea what tailgating was (the party before sporting events or concerts), but said she started listening to my show because she was working on learning English and that I spoke slowly and clearly enough for her to follow along and she was very grateful for my podcast. What the deuce?

I found this to be shocking, amazing and horrifying at the same time. Obviously, I was flattered that she used my voice to help herself learn English. At the same time, some young lady is walking around Krakow with a fairly thick Texas accent. I guess there are worse things in the world…

Just recently, I was with New York TImes Best-Selling author Bill Schley (and co-host of The Brand Brothers Podcast with the uber-gifted author Lorenzo Gomez, III) at an event in San Antonio, Texas and he and I were chatting when a young lady came up to Bill and asked in a surprisingly nervous voice, ‘Are, are… are you Bill Schley?’ Somewhat taken aback, Bill answered in only the way Bill could, "With this fedora and a smile like mine, who else could I be?’

She went on to say that she recognized Bill’s voice from his podcast and wanted let him know that she had taken action on starting a new business because of his humor, wit and inspiration. She also wanted to know if she could take a picture with Bill, which he happily obliged. Full rock star mode engagement with an avid listener and a fan. It was amazing.

Not to be outdone, fellow Brand Brother Lorenzo was mentioned in absentia in my Sunday School class a few weeks later. The leader of the class mentioned she had recently listened to the first season of the Brand Brothers and was particularly interested in the one of the principles he spoke about on the show.

Lorenzo discusses the concept of developing your own personal board of directors and the lesson was akin to doing the same thing in our spiritual life. I did not tell the teacher that I produced those shows, but did go back to mention it to Lorenzo. Much like the cartoon Grinch, I think I saw Lorenzo’s heart grow three times as big that day. He was (rightly) humbled to know his words were being spread, albeit in an area he may not have intended, like Johnny Appleseed’s mythic journey across the land.

Recently, Lorenzo and I were getting some amazing lunch at King’s Highway BBQ when two businessmen approached Lorenzo and said they had both read his book and intended to start listening to his podcast. Lorenzo’s influence is truly felt throughout our region of the world and is no doubt validated by these interactions.

What does this mean for you?

If you find yourself questioning whether or not anyone is listening, ask yourself these four questions:

1) Are you doing everything you can to prepare for your recording sessions?

2) Are you happy with your efforts?

3) Are you telling a good story?

4) Are you sharing your story with others?

If you can honestly answer the above questions with an emphatic ‘YES!’ you will reach people who are genuinely interested in your podcast. Will you get a million downloads? Who knows, but don’t discount the profound effect your voice and your story has on others. Even if it is ways you didn’t intend.

John Largent is a veteran podcaster, producer and champion ‘yarn spinner.’ He currently serves as Founder and CEO of Gameday Media Enterprises based in San Antonio, Texas.