You can find a podcast that covers just about every business topic today. Content writers and marketers looking to step up their game can potentially strike a goldmine of advice in podcasts.
Podcasts give us access to experts that we otherwise might never meet in person. You get to listen in on your own schedule. It’s the ultimate way to pass time during mundane tasks and workouts.
Podcasts for Marketers
Those are the obvious ones, though. Here’s a not-so-obvious podcast that every marketer and content writer should listen to that has nothing to do with business:
The podcast is called RISK!
If you listen to podcasts then it’s possible that you’ve already heard of it. According to the RISK! Show website, their podcast gets about a million downloads a month.
RISK! is a live show and podcast hosted by Kevin Allison. You might know Kevin from the sketch series The State on MTV. RISK! defines itself as the show “where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share in public.”
The stories on RISK! are told by real people from all walks of life. Their stories usually cover some pretty heavy subject matter. Story topics range from drug abuse, sexual experiences, personal achievements, humiliation, heartbreak and more. Nothing is off the table.
Why should you be listening to storytellers that aren’t giving direct business or marketing advice?
The answer is simple: So you can tell a good story. To tell a good story you need to be listening to good storytellers.
The Importance of Storytelling for Marketers
Storytelling is a crucial part of content marketing strategy. A strong narrative for your brand can cut through the clutter of your competitors. Storytelling gives your audience a reason to listen to you and engage.
We live in an age where more and more people want to know who they’re buying from. They want to know your brand’s story! A mediocre ‘About Us’ page won’t cut it anymore. To connect with your audience, marketers should be telling a compelling story through the content they produce.
Storytelling can provide answers to the questions that your audience wants to know, such as:
- What does your company stand for?
- How was it started?
- Why was it started in the first place?
- Why should your customers trust you?
Brand loyalty occurs when consumers feel a connection with the company or their products. It’s up to marketers to facilitate that connection. Storytelling is a powerful tool for making connections.
Storytellers and the RISK! Show Podcast
The people that tell their stories on the RISK! Show didn’t just wander in for open mic night. They had to follow the guidelines and pitch their story idea to RISK! Some of the speakers use the Story Studio to help them craft their stories. Ultimately, what you hear on the RISK! podcast is the polished version of a story that has gone through a strict approval and editing process before it makes it to you.
RISK! prides itself on representing a diverse group of people through their speakers. This means that listening to the stories on RISK! lets you see the world from a different perspective. Marketers often have to put themselves in the shoes of their audience and listening to a podcast like RISK! exposes you to wide variety of lifestyles, experiences and personalities.
When you listen to RISK! you’re also listening to the structure of a good story. As marketers, particularly those of us that write long form content and blogs, our job involves telling stories. RISK! might not be directly talking shop, but their speakers can sure tell a good story and they know how to keep their audience engaged.
The Takeaway for Marketers
Marketers and content writers should know the importance of storytelling. Marketers often tell the story of a business, brand or a product. The podcast won’t tell you those kinds of stories, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it. The stories are crafted to hook the audience, keep them engaged and have them feel a particular emotion. As marketers, we share a common goal.
From the Social M’s: “People do not buy products or features. They buy solutions or experiences. And it is up to you (or your copywriter) to use your storytelling to convince your prospects of the experience they will make with your products.”
A Freelance Writer and RISK!
Recently, New York based freelance writer Jillian Richardson (you can check out her website here!) told her story on the Getting to Know You episode of the RISK! Show. I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her experience.
Jillian participated in The Story Studio before telling her story at RISK! The Story Studio teaches the art of storytelling. The instructors are some of the most accomplished storytellers in the country. When asked about her experience with The Story Studio, Jillian said her teacher was great. Her instructor was Michelle Walson, one of the founding producers of RISK!
What made a writer decide to take a stab at public speaking? First off, Jillian isn’t the type of writer that hides behind a computer screen. She’s all about getting out there and having fun. She does sketch comedy and improv, is part of a community of “play makers” in NYC, and strives to bring play into others’ lives and the workplace. On top of all that, she’s a full time freelance writer. When I asked Jillian why she decided to tell her story on RISK! this was her response:
“I’ve told that story to a few people, and they’ve always seemed to enjoy it. And since I love RISK!, and it seems like that’d be a story they’d share, that’s why I pitched it.”
Super casual. As if performing in a room full of people and telling a personal story about her sexual experiences on a podcast downloaded by a million people was no big deal.
Many freelance writers are used to pitching their services to prospective clients. I asked Jillian how pitching to tell her story on the podcast compared to pitching her writing business:
“Very different! I had to submit an audio version of me reading the story, and then submit another audio version with me reading with the edits they gave me.”
Not only is the pitching process different, but after the story was accepted Jillian didn’t just publish it. She had to speak in front of an audience. Introverted writers everywhere are breaking into a cold sweat at the thought. So, I asked Jillian how she thought telling a story on the podcast could help other freelance writers:
“I think it’s helpful for writers who are interested in hearing how audiences respond positively to vulnerability.”
Content marketers often rely on analytics and comments to gauge the response to their work. We don’t often get the chance to personally see the reactions of our audience. RISK! is a prime example of how audiences crave a personal connection and openness from the storyteller. Be open with your audience and inject some personality into your work.
Become a Better Storyteller
I’m not saying you have to send a pitch to RISK! and get up on stage. If you’re close to a show and want to do to it, then great! I’m sure Jillian would agree that you would benefit from doing so. What I am saying is that you should give the show a shot. It might not be for you, but you won’t know until you’ve tried it. So pick an episode and listen to a story. You never know. It could be just the thing you needed to become a better storyteller yourself.