This week on #bufferchat, Jay Acunzo of the Unthinkable podcast stopped by to share his expertise and insights on the anatomy of a great podcast! The community discussed why they listen to podcasts, what keeps them hooked, the makings of a great podcast host, and much more.

Read on to discover all of the awesome insights that were shared during the chat!

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, at TWO times every Wednesday for valuable industry insights and to meet hundreds of other smart marketers and social media enthusiasts. Same topic, same place, just at different times – feel free to join in to whichever chat time works best for you!

4 pm AEST (Sydney time)

9 am PT (San Francisco time)

Bufferchat on July 12, 2017 (Topic = The Anatomy of a Great Podcast)

This week’s stats:
1st Bufferchat: 31 participants; reach of 1,141,874
2nd Bufferchat: 115 participants; reach of 1,499,885

Q1: Think about your favorite podcasts. What do you specifically love most about them?

From Jay:

  • Podcasting is intimacy that scales. Most content’s emotion gets operationalized away, but u cant hide on a pod. It’s YOU.
  • Also, gotta love the old-school nod to the iPod (RIP). It’s like the save button-as-floppy disk icon. O.G., baby.

From the community:

  • “The honesty & rawness. I love podcasts that feel more like you’re listening in on a awesome conversation b/t friends.” @DevlinKenny
  • “Great podcasts feel authentic and spontaneous, like they’re sidestepping processes that makes other media sound/look the same.” @JWB519
  • “Strong storytelling + self-editing. Too many podcasts are too long – I lean towards the more concise / polished.” @JuiceboxCA

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Q2: How do you decide to subscribe to and become a regular listener of a new podcast?

From Jay:

  • It needs a great hook. Overtly shares the concept of the show, the angle or POV. For instance: How to Stand Out in a Noisy Niche
  • Podcasting is noisy. LOTS of sameness. Your title/tagline should say why you’re different/worth subscribing to.
  • ‘s pod is The Science of Social Media. Hook COULD be “SM’s mad scientists share their experiments.” Whoa! That’s a hook.
  • Subscribing is a commitment over time. A hook shows that the show host has a plan for you. Not just “interviews w/ experts”.

From the community:

  • “Curiosity, Interest, Potential Value may lead me to subscribe but you got about 3 episodes max to keep me.” @relishwell
  • “If I spend an hour listening and it feels like 5 minutes, I subscribe.” @ItsJeffHiggins
  • “Needs to be something I wouldn’t read in an article. I read much faster than people speak therefore I need analysis.” @TABGeeks

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

Q3: In your opinion, what makes someone a great podcast host?

From Jay:

  • Confession: pod hosting, like public speaking, requires being an entertainer matters as much or more than teaching skills.
  • Both are linear mediums. Gotta hold attention over time, make em feel, make em remember. Otherwise, just do a list article.
  • Even asking questions. LOOKS easy, but SO hard to be great. Review the best to learn: L.King, B.Simmons, Glass, Abumrad.
  • Above all, great hosts obey the Golden Rule of Podcasting: Get ’em to the end! Obsess over that, the rest falls into place.

From the community:

  • “They can create a narrative and they can bring the guests back to what the audience wants to hear from them.” @jakejordan
  • “They have to be able to improvise creatively and with knowledge because you never know what your guest is going to say.” @AKKerani
  • “A great podcast host should have empathy & ability to adapt questions and convo for the person/scenario.” @julieannebourne

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

Q4: Which podcasting recording/producing/editing tools and equipment would you recommend?

From Jay:

  • Podcasting tools don’t matter at first. Tech wont save you. Focus on show concept + your skills 1st. For tools, Google it.
  • I have a list of my tools here, to help you make a decision quickly & get back to the real work: Podcast Production Playbook
  • Look, tech makes u incrementally better. Go for step-function improvements first: Hosting chops, show structure/process, etc.

Suggestions from the community:

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

Q5: Do you prefer podcasts driven by interviews, storytelling, reporting, casual conversation, or something else?

From Jay:

  • I like it all. I just want the host to be empathetic to me: Don’t meander, get me hooked, keep me interested, MAKE ME CARE.
  • Looking @ my subscriptions, I’m evenly split b/w interviews & narrative. (This concludes my least interesting tweet EVER 😉

From the community:

  • “Something else. I prefer instructional or entertaining content where the host talks to _me_ primarily.” @theDanielJLewis
  • “Topic driven conversation! I hate it when a host relies on an interview and doesn’t put any effort into their own podcast.” @andrew_c_becker
  • “I think a mixture of all of the above. Give me an interview/casual conversation reporting a wonderful story. haha!” @blakec432

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Q6: For someone who’s interested in starting a podcast, what’s your #1 piece of advice for them?

From Jay:

  • If you want to podcast, podcast. You’re gonna put out a ton of bad episodes before it’s good…so start!
  • If you obsess over the Golden Rule (get em to the end), you’ll keep making the show better over time, and that’s the point.
  • Everybody is saying “How? Just do it!” But what’s that look like? Maybe make a pilot, use it to tinker/improve/get feedback 1st.

From the community:

  • “Don’t get caught up in the technical side of things. Make sure your content is great before worrying about which mic to use.” @xjavontax
  • “Start by asking ‘why should anyone care?'” @JessOB1kenobi
  • “Know what you’re talking ? about & listen ? to your audience.” @KhadyaHale_VA

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

Q7: If you could only choose 1-2 podcasts to listen to, which ones would you choose?

From Jay:

  • and the Podcast, hands down!
  • All: This has been fun. This is SUCH a nuanced medium, so happy to chat more! For now, 4 AWESOME resources I’d suggest:

There were so many awesome suggestions from the community… ?

See all the great suggestions for question 7 here!


Thank you so much to Jay and our awesome community for sharing such great insights in this chat!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

Looking for a better way to share on social media?

Schedule, publish & analyze your posts across the top social networks, all in one place.

Start a 14-Day Free Trial
Written by Arielle Tannenbaum

Community Strategist at Buffer. In addition to her love of community building, Arielle also loves vegetables, cooking, practicing yoga, meditating, living mindfully, and exploring the connections between health and happiness!