Blogging

Bloggers, Please Don’t Force Me to Listen to Your Podcast

The podcast is emerging as a way to entice a new kind of audience as well as convert readers to listeners.

It happens far too often: I see an interesting headline that promises content I’m interested in learning. And when I click the link to get to the site, I’m given a few introductory paragraphs that serve solely as a setup and then the invitation to listen to a podcast for the real details.

If I were to make a list of the blogging trends that tick me off the most — and sooner or later I probably will — this would be at the top of the list.

It’s like a bait and switch, really.

If you invite me to your website with a headline that implies you are going to impart some great knowledge, then impart it on that website.

I’m terribly sorry to disappoint you, dear podcast creator, but I’m not going to sit through a 27-minute podcast to find out the nine things your blog’s headline told me you were going to give me.

Especially when you don’t start the headline with a word like LISTEN: or PODCAST: so that I at least know going in that I’m going to have to go to yet another location for the information you could just as easily give me right there.

I understand the marketing aspect of promoting a podcast on the podcast creator’s website. I have 20 years of marketing experience, after all.

But besides thinking like a marketer, I also think like a reader.

Your readers and your listeners are both part of your audience.

There are practical reasons I won’t listen to your podcast. The most likely reason is that I don’t have that large block of time available to me at a given moment. That’s not to say that I won’t bookmark the link and listen later, but since my commute to work is all of about four minutes, I don’t have commute time to fall back on for podcast listening.

Another potential stumbling block to my listening to your production: If I’m on my lunch break at work, but happen to be surfing the web and social media and happen to stumble upon your post, I’m not going to be able to play your podcast at the office. Our IT department watches bandwidth and my co-workers probably aren’t going to be as interested in your post as I will at that given moment. One website (on which I can read your points) won’t make a bit of difference to anyone.

It’s not just the office. I wrote this post while having Sunday brunch at a restaurant. I realize there are some people out there who’ll happily listen to things out in public without any apparent concern for disturbing their neighbors. I’m not one of those people. Nor do I carry around a set of headphones or earbuds everywhere I go.

Then, there’s the big issue, one that doesn’t impact me, but could impact many others: accessibility.

People who are hearing-impaired might love to learn the information you can provide. But listening to a podcast is not going to work for them. By refusing to post a transcript of your podcast on your site, you are shutting that portion of your potential audience out.

Why would you do that?

I still haven’t listened to that podcast about the nine things I was interested in. Maybe I’m operating without information I need. Maybe I’m not.

If I find time to do so, I might. Otherwise, I’ll just consume similar content elsewhere.

Does it bother you when a post you’re interested in turns into a plug for a podcast that you must listen to get the info?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.