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How Do I Make My Podcast Stand Out In My Category?

Do you remember being a little kid, finding yourself in a big empty room somewhere and immediately – almost as if some pre-programmed, childlike instinct kicked in – belting out your favorite chorus, or silly sound just to enjoy the echo bouncing off the walls?  

We all love a good echo; it’s a natural auditory phenomenon that delights even the oldest and most curmudgeonly among us! But there are times when an echo may not be the best thing; at worst, it could become an unwanted nuisance.  And the podcasting world is certainly not exempt from this reality. 

Podcaster, you didn’t jump into this industry to become a mere echo. Whilst variety is the spice of life, and options and diversity – even within categories – are a wonderful thing, you need to stand out and be unique. No one wants to walk into their favorite creamery only to be presented with a choice between 30 versions of vanilla ice cream!  

Your listenership, and every potential listener out there, wants your unique flavor. So, let’s get practical how – if you’re a fitness guy, how do you make your content distinct from all the other personal trainer’s out there? If you’re an investment gal, how do you make your information distinct from all the other financial advisors in the market?  And how, O comedian extraordinaire, do you make your show stand out amongst all the comics on the podcast scene?  Hang with us in today’s article, as we explore the question: How Do I Make My Podcast Stand Out In My Category?

Let’s kick things off with point number one…  

1. Lean In To Your Unique Voice

You’re a podcasting snowflake with an audio fingerprint!  Okay, it’s a strange compliment, but the sentiment stands – you are uniquely you! Podcasting friend, no one has your story, your upbringing, your victories, past traumas, treasured memories, or quirk personality. And no one has your literal, physical make up – your larynx, your posture, heck – the size of your head! It’s more than the type of mic you choose to use! All these things contribute to your unique voice.  Lean in to your uniqueness and bring it into your podcasting content. Let it be the lens through which your content is filtered.

What could that look like?

Well, let’s say you have a fitness podcast where you discuss working out and personal health.  Great! How can you lean into your unique voice? Share about your childhood as an inactive and overweight child. Share about your college career as a collegiate athlete. Share about the potentially life-altering injury that you had to overcome with years of rehab and physio. Share about the quirky, esoteric physical activity that you’re crazy about (spelunking, anyone?).  Leverage your decades-long career as a personal trainer/physiotherapist/bikini competitor to speak to your audience in a way, and from a place that only you can.

Lean in to your unique voice and you will have tons of unique content to draw from, and subsequently, you will produce tonnes of unique content for your audience to draw from.

Speaking of drawing from content…

2. Listen To Similar Podcasts

This may seem counter-intuitive, you may find yourself wondering..

 “So you’re telling me to tap into my unique voice, and make my podcast stand out…by listening to other podcasts like mine?”

Yes! Let me qualify this point with an interesting analogy: When training bank tellers to be able to decipher between authentic and counterfeit monetary bills, banks will expose trainees to thousands of genuine bills. This would mean that when a fake bill eventually came along – despite looking and feeling like the real thing – there would be a subtle, nuanced, almost undetectable difference that would alert the teller that a fraudulent transaction was under way.  

Now, I’m not calling all the other podcasters that are creating content in your category a bunch of degenerate fraudsters! On the contrary, they are the real thing, in the sense that they are the truest version of “them”.  

By listening to other similar podcasts you will be able to recognize and pinpoint the cool things that make those other shows unique. You’ll see and/or hear the notable differences that set their show apart from yours and others.  And that’s a good thing!  Because you will invariably be able to highlight the cool, unique, notable things that make your podcast your podcast.

Head over to Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts, and check out some of the shows listed in your category. Make notes of what makes each show you pick unique. This will further help you differentiate your own unique qualities.

Celebrate those unique qualities…

Maximize them and leverage them. Here’s another hypothetical example: Whilst there are many podcasts in the real estate space, perhaps no other realtor is taking time to highlight the stories of their clients, whereas in your most recent episode, you loved sharing about the young family you helped get into their first property. That is your personal touch! That is an example of a unique feature in your podcast that may not be present in others, and the way you come to appreciate this cool truth is by listening to other similar podcasts.

Also, listening to other podcasts may leave you feeling impressed, inspired, and motivated to up your game. It’s the age-old byproduct of healthy competition!  In this case, the byproduct is the drive and motivation to craft content that is distinctly yours, and thereby stands out from the rest. 

Related read: 10 Podcasting Skills To Master To Take Your Podcast To The Next Level

And whilst you’re busy listening to the competition, don’t forget to listen to yourself…

3. Revisit Old Episodes

Checking out your past episodes is like the basketball coach playing back footage of his team’s most recent game, even to the chagrin of his budding superstars. One of the best ways to improve your game and sharpen your toolset is to review your past performance. This way you’ll see areas in need of possible tweaking, you’ll be able to realistically determine what segments need to be highlighted, and what items may need to be chopped entirely.  

This is the act of critical self evaluation; and it’s not only critical in the sense that it may hurt (…ouch!) but it’s also critical in that it’s pretty darn important.  

Podcasting friend, you are an artist! By taking the malleable clay of your podcast, and shaping and sculpting it into a masterpiece you will end up cutting out the excess parts that don’t fit with the whole, and accentuating the features that are most beautiful.  

You will inevitably grow and become better by going back and analyzing your past performance.  

And the hard work of improvement is essentially what lies at the heart of your desire to stand out from the crowd.

Once you’ve taken a good, hard look in the mirror, you’ll now be perfectly positioned to… 

Related read: 6 Effective Ways To Repurpose Your Podcast Content

4. Flip The Script

Examining your content may be a great way for you to revamp some things. Change is good!  Whether you are using the interviewer-interviewee approach, a 20 minute splash of ideas, or a solid hour of power, deviating from your typical episode format for a single show, or a series, or even a season can be an effective way to stimulate new content. And innovation in the form of the introduction of new content is a great way to set yourself up to stand out!  

Go a step further and intentionally explore content and ideas that you may not be familiar with; make a point of taking a look at content you may not be acquainted with or confident in.  Be sure to clearly communicate to your listeners that you are doing this as you do not want to compromise your brand and their perception of you as an authority in your specific niche – but invite them along for the journey, and allow your audience to learn alongside you as you learn.  Being able to pivot, or being charmingly transparent in this way is potentially exciting ways for you to make your podcast distinct amongst its peers.

Whilst the dynamic, somewhat unpredictable capacity for change is a great way to keep things fresh and unique, going to well-known sources of information may also be a potential way for you to stand out…

5. Share The News

Recycling glass bottles is one thing, but have you ever thought to recycle the news cycle?  

Today we are all inundated by the relentlessness of a modern 24 hour news cycle, social media chatter, and events in culture that are shared and gossiped about at coffee dates and lunch meetings. These events are sources of interest and intrigue to your audience, and  they present an opportunity for you to put your own spin on things.  

Your listeners want you to filter the events of the day, the newest developments in your specific sphere  through your unique lens. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to stand out!

Process and digest the latest headlines on the day (or even at the time) of your recording, and embrace a live, interactive feel that your listeners won’t be able to find elsewhere. Or do an in depth deep-dive beforehand, and share your expert analysis. Again, they won’t get this from the podcast down the street!  

For sources of inspo, check out traditional mediums like your favorite television news broadcast, or the talk radio show that you tune in to on your daily commute.  Go ahead and consult more contemporary mediums like newsletters delivered via email, or the twitter accounts of influencers and commentators who have a reputation for sharing quality content in your specific industry.  Then, deliver these interesting stories to the ears of your listeners, through the vehicle of your unique voice.  

Again, they won’t be able to find up to date, cutting edge content like yours. It’s a sure fire way to stand head and shoulders above the others in your niche.

In Conclusion

Podcasting friends, whether you choose look in-house and plumb the depths of your own uniqueness, or outsource you inspiration by looking to other podcasters and sources of news, you will always have to deliver your final product – your stellar content – through your own unique voice, colored by your own unique experience.  

Celebrate this fact! Embrace it, leverage it, and you will most definitely begin creating podcast content that sets you apart as your own distinct voice, in a world of indistinct echos.  Adopt the five points in today’s article and you will be well on your way to creating content that stands out!

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