Breaking The Podcast Loop

I think podcasts have gone seriously off the rails. From what I observe, everyone is pretty much following the same formula. Tom Smith will invite Sophia Jones to be a guest on his podcast and then Sophia Jones will invite Tom to be a guest on hers. It’s a loop. It’s all the same people interviewing each other.

I like what Derek Sivers did with his podcast. He has short (less than five minute) episodes of his own thoughts that align with what he writes on his blog. He also adds recordings from other podcasts he has been a guest on to his own channel. It’s nice not having to search for all of these different podcasts when I’m really interested in hearing from Derek, not the hosts. 

I feel like we are taking advantage of the medium. There has to be more formats than just interviews, right? Isn’t there a way to make them more interactive and engaging? Here’s a few sample ideas of what 


Each episode has two people in your industry face off on some topic they disagree about. Think of it as a debate where you would act as a moderator. At the end, people that listen can vote on who they agree with. It would be significantly better than listening to two people agree for an hour.


Think of this as a scavenger hunt. Each episode will have challenges for people to complete based on the topic of that episode and there would be clues throughout the episode. This would keep people engaged and listening and give you an idea of how attentive they are instead of just getting ‘plays’ metrics.


Just because it’s your podcast doesn’t mean you have to be on it. Each week someone gets 10 minutes to talk about something they are passionate about for 10 minutes. When they’re done, they have to tag someone from another company to challenge them to do the next episode. Think of it like the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Go Serial

Many non business podcasts use a serial format where the story builds each week as compared to the episodic format which lives in a vacuum. This would be refreshing and would entice people to keep listening to see where the story goes. Just because it’s business related doesn’t mean it has to be real. Fables and parables are a great way to educate and engage with an audience.

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