Why are reaction videos so popular? I mean, I can watch or listen to something and have my own reaction. Today, I'll discuss podcasting and how sharing your opinion can help you build your community.

I play clips from a show I like, one that drives me nuts and one that could potentially offend you as it deals with pronouns (which is the whole point—how does it make you feel).

I also discuss brand safety and how it's not working, and I suggest we shouldn't worry about it.

Why Are Reaction Videos So Popular?

My friend Georg Hrab brought this up on his show, which got me thinking. George made a great point about YOU knowing WHEN they will react in many cases. So you are waiting to see if they will react the same way YOU react, and if they do, you feel a connection to that person.

This also introduces the “I wonder what will happen next?” feeling that keeps people listening to your show.

In And Around Podcasting Example

This happened to me as I listened to an episode of In and Around Podcasting. Their segment was “Stupid Things in Podcasting,” and as they played clips they had recorded in the Podcast Show in London, I kept agreeing with each person (it's a six-minute clip), so when it was over, it somewhat verified why I like this show. People know what they like, and they like what they know.

Sometimes We Purposely Listen to Show That Drive Us Crazy

The Media Round Table loves to talk about how they are for the Chief Audio Officers. This always floors me as it is a roundtable of rotating guests who work in audio and yet show up so unprepared (not the hosts) that they unknowingly trash their own brand by sounding AWFUL. They have taken steps so that the people from Oxford Road now sound decent (another head-scratcher for a while), but they love to talk about brand safety and make it easier for brands to buy podcast advertisements.

So far, the solution has been to create companies that stalk podcasters and feed transcripts of their episodes into some sort of AI that then gives them a rating on how “Brand Safe” they are. For me, brand safe is simply boring. In this episode, a woman talks about getting cutting-edge information, and that was a red flag(??).

So yes, I listen to this sound to keep up with what is going on in the ad-selling world, but most of the time, I strongly disagree with statements like, “There is no movement without brands.” If we lost all the advertisers tomorrow, there would still be podcasting. Sure, those who rely on making a living from ads would fold or pivot, but podcasting would be just fine.

Neither Of These Examples Would Work Without Sharing an Opinion

Neither of the examples would work if their shows didn't share their opinion. When you share your opinion, your audience gets to know you a bit more, and that can help the connection with you and your show. Obviously, topics like sex, politics, gender, religion, abortion, etc can be quite the lightning rod of so know that going in. I was surprised that Julia Hartley-Brewer of TalkTV who expressed her opinion about using pronouns on her show with a trans-woman. When I saw the video, I figured this woman had been canceled, but with a small amount of searching, it doesn't appear so. This topic is one that, if you watch the video, will have you feeling one way or another (again, lightning rod). 

You Don't Have to Be Controversial

This woman expressed her opinion on proper pronouns, and it got a fair amount of press (which is how I heard it). This doesn't mean you need to tackle these types of topics to become popular. I use this example because I'm sure that after watching it, you will feel closer to the host or disgusted (thus proving my point). When people voice their opinions, it allows the audience to agree with them (or not). If you focus on being brand safe, you will likely end up sounding like every other person reporting and end up in a supercut.

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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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