Do We REALLY Need Your Podcasts Guests ENTIRE Backstory?

You tell me that your guest is a master of (skill) and I'm ready to hear about (skill), but first you make me listen to where he went to high school, and his entire backstory while all I want to talk about is how he can help me boost (skill).

So for me the “tell me about yourself” drives me nuts. I asked my audience, “Am I missing something? and they answered (and in some cases I am).

Thanks To The Contributors

Scott from What Was That Like?

Max from Aviation New Talk

Louis from Love Thy Lawyer

Bill From the Stroke Cast

Mark from the History of North America

Reasons Why You Might Need More Backstory

  1. If your podcast is NOT about what the guest is doing and is more about the guest and how they got to where they are (you know, their backstory), then having a backstory in the podcast makes perfect sense.
  2. In some cases, the guest's backstory provides stakes to their story. It makes you wonder What happened next?”
  3. Their backstory enables the audience to identify with the guest (Hey, they sound like me!).

Why You May Want to Get to Their Best Content

  1. People are busy. Don't waste their time providing content they don't need. Yes, there is a fast forward button, just like there is a delete button when you are editing.
  2. When you are watching a series on Netflix and you click on “Skip Credits” it ALSO skips the intro of the next episode (so it appears Netflix believes people want to get to the goods tuff).
  3. People don't tell their friends to listen to boring podcasts. “Hey you've got to hear this podcast! It takes them 28 minutes to get to the point!

For the most part, I think you should bring in the relevant back story that enables your audience to identify with the guest or boost their credibility (I doubt I need to know where they want to school).

Is Producing an Episode Taking Longer Than Expected?

I heard from Eric from the White Collared Podcast who seemed despondent after creating one series of a podcast and was going to take a break to readjust his schedule. He was commenting on episode 795 where I had said, Don't take a break, but if you have to, here is how I would do it.” He felt that when people ask how long it takes to make a podcast people would add, “Be sure and leave extra time” but that nobody was really explaining just how long it can take. In his message,

Eric's advice is to calculate how much time it would take to make an episode. So if you think it would take 10 hours to create an episode then plan on 20 hours. Then when you look at your life to see where this will fit in, double the amount of time again (40 hours). With this in mind, if you think it will take you an hour to do a podcast then multiply it by four. Eric says, “Determine how much time think you need to achieve that particular task.” When people say “leave extra time” that means something different to the new podcaster than the experienced

This is similar to what I have told people that AT MY BEST I can achieve a four to one ratio (A 15-minute podcast takes one hour. A one-hour podcast takes four). Eric is accurate when I don't talk about the WORST side of that spectrum (Like when I spent 5 hours editing a poorly recorded 20-minute interview – the solution? – don't record it poorly). Think of planning and editing on a see-saw. The more you plan (which admittedly takes time) the less you have to edit. The less you edit (God forbid you “Wing it) you will spend all day editing that into something usable.

My Advice on Picking a Schedule

Eric had mentioned “calculating” how long is was going to take. I'm not sure (as this came in via voicemail) if he means “guess.” I have always advised my students to record your first few episodes and throw them away. Why? Because the first time you shoot a basket, you probably missed. There is a reason the term, “Rough draft” exists, or “Dress rehearsal.” Then after you have recorded a few episodes you are not calculating or guessing how long it takes to make an episode you know.

I DO AGREE with Eric that you do NEED to look at your life and then determine your schedule. I also advise people (even though I have a rough time doing it) to have a few evergreen episodes recorded (in the can as some people say) so that when life happens you can use one of the pre-recorded. Again, taking a break is not the end of the world.  I just feel if you can avoid it, you should (but as ALWAYS with podcasting IT DEPENDS). Here is a link to that episode How to Successfully Take a Break From and Come Back To Your Podcast

November Question of the Month

As you produce episodes between now and November 26th, 2021 pay attention (and even track) how long it takes you to go from Ideas to pressing “Publish” on your media host (this does NOT include promotion). As always feel free to record a message and say something like, “Hey Dave this is (name) from (name of the show) at (website) my episode was (length of the episode) and it took me (time from idea to publishing). You can find more about my show at (website).

If you'd like, I've even made a spreadsheet where you can enter
Name of Podcast (not episode – the podcast)
The length of the finished episode (in minutes).
The time spent (in minutes) to complete the episode
If it was solo, co-host, interview.
If there is video was involved.

You can answer your question at

P.S. This 44-minute podcast was created in eight hours (while I multitasked and “watched” some movies). “Question of the month” episodes always take more time, and this would've been shorter if a TV wasn't on in the background.

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Mentioned In This Episode

White Collared Podcast

Affordable Audio Editing

atracker time tracking app

Rescue Time

EP766 How to Get Booked on Podcasts Figuring out Who and How to Pitch with Kristin Molenaar

Daily Podcast Tips

Daily Podcast Tips! Put Your Inbox to Work

About the Author
Owner of the School of Podcasting. Also produces the "Ask the Podcast Coach." He is also the author of the book "More Podcast Money" and is a regular speaker at podcasting and media conventions.

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