We all want to be GREAT podcast hosts. But, 99% of us are learning how fill that critical and foundational role on the fly. I did it. You may be doing it right now… and that’s why you’re here. (good on ya!) But here’s what’s rarely said (and absolutely SHOULD be in every podcast 101 anything):
Being a podcaster goes beyond picking up a microphone and chatting away. It’s more than asking some questions or covering bullet pointed topics. It’s about more than your personality (which I’m sure is awesome).
We throw that word around often: HOST. Reading A LOT of posts each day on social media from “hosts,” it’s clear that we aren’t really thinking about what the word actually means or how it’s relevant in our work… beyond something that’s ego driven.
Host. Capital H. Noun.
I’m a Podcast Host.
I’m not saying that ego is a bad thing. After all, you’ve probably got a lot on your list to be congratulate yourself for accomplishing. You’re probably doing most of this podcasting thing by yourself. You’re putting yourself out there. You’re in the ring. Wear that Capital H with pride for you have birthed a podcast!
Yet, I challenge you to think about the word HOST differently.
Lower case h. Verb.
I host a podcast.
Before you accept the challenge, let me define HOST for you… it has many definitions, but I think there’s only one that’s useful to successful podcasters.
A host is a person who facilitates an experience.
You take your audience on journey with you. You make your audience feel welcome. You’ve packed snacks. You’ve arranged for entertainment. You’ve put thought into what people will value and how you build a connection with them.
Because you’ve facilitated that positive experience for your listeners, they will come back for more.
A great host knows that it isn’t about them at all. They are merely giving conversations they feel are important to have a platform. A host provides a space for that conversation to take root and blossom. They nurture it, advocate for it… and through that encourage others to join them, creating something that transcends “I’m a Podcast Host.”
And for those things and the experience a host creates, we love them. They resonate with us because of the work they do for a thing or things we care about. A great host doesn’t need the capital ‘H’ because it gets in the way of the action orientated lower case ‘h.’
Now, you may be thinking, “Carrie, you’re nuts. It’s the same thing…” And I get that. This may appear really meta and unimportant if you think language is no big deal. BUT, language is our industry, so I counter with it IS a thing.
In my experience, there’s a HUGE mindset difference between…
I am a Podcast Host.
I host a podcast.
That difference is how you show up and lean into your content.
And if your podcast isn’t gaining the traction you think it deserves, consider whether you’re showing up as a noun or a verb.
Because as the facilitator of the experience, it starts with YOU.
And if you really, really, don’t believe me… then why not believe an expert on hosts. Listen to Emmy winning producer Bill Carroll in this podcast episode discuss what makes a great talk show host.