I wanted to explore the question of what makes people share podcast content. I asked some friends and listeners to help me out.
Chris Kenworthy, host of Beyond the Basement says that the last podcast episode he shared with someone was an episode of the Beef and Dairy Network podcast called Pam Onion. The episode was about a career criminal from Swansea who went from scrumping apples and PlayStations to thieving a bejeweled dagger from a museum in Turkey. Chris describes the sheer genius, slickness, wonder, and imagination of people making it up as they go along and being committed to the characters they play. He shares it because of the joyful sense of people playing together and getting silly without limits but without going crazy.
Steph Fuccio from Podcast to Connect says that the last podcast episode she shared was Indie AF by Sarah Golding. The episode was the International Podcast Day celebration, and it was a chorus of women talking to each other about the creative things they’re doing in the podcasting space, specifically in the audio fiction space. Steph admired the work behind the audio she was listening to and the array of voices that she felt that she shared something with.
Saskia de Feijter from A Smaller Life says that she shares podcast episodes with her professional peers in community building, podcasting, and fiber and textile craft makers and sellers. She shares ideas and loves to share a good step-by-step process of how to make her product and service better, and then also their product and service, because she hangs out with people that love to share and that help each other grow their businesses.
Caroline Beavon says the first episode of the BBC podcast, The Witch Farm, with someone in the co-working space she is at. The person asked if it was scary, and Caroline said no. The next day, the person told her that it was absolutely terrifying and she would never take Caroline’s recommendations ever again.
Sal Jefferies says a Knowledge Project episode called The Science of Pain and Addiction. In the episode, Dr. Anna Lembeck, a neuroscientist, talks about how dopamine and getting dopamine spikes affect us in the patterns of addiction. Sal found the subject fascinating and highly recommended it for people interested in this sensitive subject.
Brendan Hutchins shared an episode of You’re Great with Unique Hammond, which uses drinking as a lens for actually discussing multiple things like sugar and caffeine, and it’s just about human health. Brendan loves to share valuable things he hears or makes with someone else, and getting feedback afterward is like hitting the spot. When he shares something that truly helps, he feels great because he has contributed.
Anya Pearse, host of The A to Z of Happiness says an episode from the Atlantic called How to Have a Happy Life and a New Formula for Happiness. Robert Waldinger, the head of the Harvard Adult Development Study, talked about the importance of having relationships of all different kinds, including casual ones as well as more deep ones, which reflected a conversation Anya was having with a friend. She sent it to him to show that his desire to be seen and known in a social group and how important it was to have those casual connections with others is backed up by science.
How to make sharing a no-brainer
Now we have an idea of why people are motivated to share your content, let’s take a look at how we make it easy and desirable.
- Start with a unique premise. Make sure your podcast episode has a clear and specific focus that’s not only interesting but also different from what’s already out there.
- Present new and interesting information. When your listeners feel they can relate to your content or learn something new, they’re more likely to share it with others.
- Provide value to your listeners. When your listeners feel your podcast episode has helped them in some way, they’re more likely to share it with others who might benefit from it.
- Focus on a single problem that your listeners are facing. When your listeners feel that you’re speaking directly to them, they’re more likely to share your episode with others who might be in the same situation.
- Make it easy and clear. Encourage your listeners to tap the Share button in their app and forward the episode to someone who could use it. Provide links to your website or social media channels, and make sure it’s easy for your listeners to share the episode in whatever way they prefer.
- Make it desirable as an action. Sharing your podcast episode could make someone’s day or even solve a problem for them. When your listeners feel that sharing your episode is a positive action, they’re more likely to do so.
- Make it an offer rather than an ask. Instead of asking your listeners to do you a favor, frame sharing as an offer that benefits both the listener and the friend they share it with. When your listeners feel that they are doing someone else a favor by sharing your episode, they’re more likely to share it.
Pass on valuable advice, change someone’s mind, or spread an emotion. When we share, we’re not just sharing content – we’re sharing a part of ourselves.