Long-Form Podcasting: You’re Doing It Wrong

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I run into this on a weekly basis. Someone wants to be like…Joe Rogan. Someone wants to be like Howard Stern. Someone wants to be like someone else. That’s a recipe for disaster. Nobody wants JR 2.0. We want original, new, exciting, different, shall I go on..?

But here’s the real problem. You’re copying all of the wrong aspects for success.

Joe’s podcast isn’t successful because he has 3 hour-long conversations. Nor is it successful because he’s playing hard into the shock-jock game. Nor is he successful because he’s controversial. 

Joe is successful because 30 years ago he spent 6 months perfecting a five-minute comedy routine. He spent four years hustling as a comedian. Then he spent five years on a sitcom, 9 years as a commentator, and some more time working on all sorts of shows, bla bla bla. When you work that long in entertainment, you get a ton of feedback. You have a small scale of suck or not suck when it comes to material. In 2009 he started his podcast, and it wasn’t until 2020-ish (depending on who you ask) that he became a household name, a name of fame. 

Meanwhile, you want to go from your data-analysis job, or car salesman job, to becoming a long-form podcaster because you can make your mom and your best friend’s ex-wife laugh. 

Now that I’m past my diatribe, let’s talk about how to make this work for you. 

Record a 90-minute interview. Sit down with your girlfriend, your best friend, and your dad, and make them all watch the interview in the same room as you. 

Every time you want to try and explain something in the show, make a note to yourself. 

Every time you see one of their faces glance at their phone, make a note. 

Every time you see one of them lose attention for a split second, make a note. 

Now go back and delete all of that crap.

Rinse and repeat, the same interview. Seriously, do the same thing again. You’ll find more to cut. Cut, cut, and then cut some more. Cut everything that isn’t entertaining or educational. 

Does this seem ridiculous? This is how movies and tv shows, albums, and plays are made. Everything that is going to try and attract the attention of more than your immediate friends, has multiple rounds of edits. 

But the pros do a lot of the editing in preproduction. We’ll discuss that another time. 

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