Make Noise

Make Noise

A Creator's Guide To Podcasting And Great Audio Storytelling

Eric Nuzum (/10)

Summary

"Veteran podcast creator and strategist Eric Nuzum distills a career’s worth of wisdom, advice, practical information, and big-picture thinking to help podcasters “make noise”—to stand out in this fastest of fastest-growing media universes."

Review

A beneficial habit I've adopted is to read a book on any topic I get involved in. Because I started a podcast and want it to succeed, I figured reading a book on the subject is a good way to start.

Notes

Welcome

  • A poem is never finished, only abandoned
  • The best creativity comes from working with positive constraints
  • Luck is preparation meeting opportunity
  • Podcasting is simple: know what you are making and stick to it
  • Podcasts are an experience for the listeners -- they need to be intimate
  • The level of selection for podcasts is extremely intentional, keep that in mind when making content

(1) Story, Character, Voice

  • Great audio is composed of compelling stories and ideas, engaging characters, and a unique voice
  • Podcasts can be themed around a question, event, or suggestion
  • Podcasts should be "high-concept" -- an immediate and strikingly clear idea (think Snakes on a Plane or Sharknado)
  • Podcasts are considered a "companion-medium"
  • Good characters are motivated and want something
  • Your show concept should be defined such that it is unique from any other idea in the world

a(2) The Only 10 Words That Matter

You should be able to describe a unique show concept in 10 words or less

I took a stab at this for my podcast and asked 10 friends to help me generate ideas as well.

Here are some of my attempts:

  • Sharing Wisdom by Interviewing Incredible Entrepreneurs, Athletes, and Investors
  • Louis Kyle Real Estate Fitness Entrepreneurship
  • Stories That Inspire You to Take Action
  • Seeking Wisdom From Mentors
  • Documenting and sharing our journey learning and applying life lessons from incredible mentors in real estate, fitness, and entrepreneurship
  • Sharing inspiring ideas for improvement in health, business, and investing

Bottom line: it is difficult and important to concisely encapsulate your show concept in an easily communicable sentence.

Podcast creators should ask themselves "Why are my listeners listening?"

  • To become more productive
  • To learn about fitness, entrepreneurship, and investing
  • To make better decisions

What effect do I want to have on my listeners?

  • Increase their bias toward action
  • Increase their odds of success in entrepreneurship and business
  • Inspire them to become more intentional and organized
  • Inspire them to have deeper conversations with the people in their lives

What is my customer avatar?

(3) Function and Form

  • Begin with the end in mind (start with the goal and work backwards how to get there)

Four-Pointed-Circle

  • Which version of you do you display on the podcast?
  • Who are you speaking to? (Envision a specific person with specific life interests and needs)
  • What do you have to say? What is your message?
  • What effect do you want to have on them?

I want to inspire 'ambitious' people to take the necessary actions to increase the probability of them reaching their ambition. I want each episode to leave people hungry and inspired. I want to uninstall the false belief that most success stories are written off to genius, talent, or luck. I want people to realize how much they are capable of by demystifying glorified success. I want to humanize founders and investors as just people with work ethics, thick skin, and ideas. I want listeners to be bold, take action, overcome analysis paralysis, learn from mistakes of interviewees, and get a sense of what is possible by hearing the stories of others. I want our show to foster development of productive beliefs and lead people to unlearn unproductive beliefs.

I want listeners to think of our show as a place to turn when feeling low on energy and motivation. Episodes should be reliable sources of inspiration to get back in the proper mindset and headspace.

So many people in society tell you what you want to hear. I want to be "tough love" and what you need to hear.

I want to truthfully depict lessons in entrepreneurship and success.

I want to encourage deep and thoughtful introspection about where are listeners are in life, why they are there and equip them with stories, books, lessons, and tools they can and should consider when thinking about how to get to where they want to be next.

"Your aspiration should not be to keep them from getting bored while folding laundry"

How long should my episodes be?

"A podcast should be as long as it needs to be, but no longer"

"Almost every podcast can be improved by editing to tighten and clarify what happens"

"Its worth the time it takes to pick up pacing where it needs it, take out the dead weight, and get rid of what doesn't really work"

  • "If you do the editing well, no one will ever notice that you've done it; they will just think all your speakers, characters, hosts, and contributors are smart"
  • All podcasts fall into one of two categories: people chatting and people telling stories.
  • Chatting podcasts are one of three types: rant, q & a, and conversations
  • Story podcasts: seasonal narrative, episodic narrative, and multiple narrative
  • Use stories to convey ideas (for me this means asking guests to share the story behind the ideas they have, this provides a memorable way to share ideas)
  • Don't add something new because you can, add something new because it will delight your listener (be customer focused, it is all about them)
  • I should sign off every episode with a "challenge" call to action for the listeners (make a cold call, call a relative to say hey, compliment a stranger, etc)
  • Guy Raz: "Making a good podcast is about simplicity, and elegance, and a really clear idea"

(4) Asking Questions

TLDR: Don't fixate on writing perfect question, doing all the research, and building rapport. Just be genuinely curious about learning more about the subject/ person and let that natural curiosity be visible.

Interviews are a means to tell stories.

Only ask questions that you don't know the answer to (except to provide context/clarification).

Your goal as the interviewer is to do as little of the talking as possible.

In some instances, the awkward silences indicate to your guests that they should keep talking. Often nuggets of wisdom come from these moments.

A great way to do as little of the talking is just by interjecting short prompts such as "such as." The purpose of follow up questions like this is called "turning the jewel." Asking for examples and more details often leads to guests revealing new "angles" of themselves or their ideas.

Making the guest feel comfortable is more important than trying to build artificial rapport.

Editing

All effort spent editing is worthwhile--even if its very time consuming.

It should never be obvious that edited audio is edited.

Some Good Questions To Evoke Details
  • How was this different than you expected or imagined it would turn out?
  • Why do people fail doing what you do?
  • What do people often get wrong about you?

How To Think Going Into Interviews

  • A good heuristic for conversations is asking yourself "what do I want to learn from this person that I can't learn from anyone else?"

(5) How To Tell A Story, AKA Don't Be Boring

The rules of storytelling are time-tested (and lindy for the Taleb fans among us)--don't ignore them.

How to make sure that something is interesting (3 steps)

  • Know the rules of story telling
  • Follow them as simply and clearly as possible
  • Don't be obvious about it