Present in the moment

1. Present in the moment
Good podcasting isn’t created for background listening. It holds our attention and commands respect—with flair. Swallowing our surroundings, it paints pictures in our heads. It is right in front of us and makes us want to share it with the people we care about. [Part of the Good Podcasting Works Manifesto]


The purpose of the Good Podcasting Manifesto is to promote Good Podcasting by identifying key aspects we should pay attention to. It is aspirational but points to the practical. Get your copy here

This post is an exploration of the first item – Present in the moment.

What we create invites a deliberate choice to listen – to be engaged with and by its content. Podcasts paint with words and sound to transport listeners somewhere else. What we are aiming for is that it is so good people can’t help but share it.


Today’s culture seems to have a preference for sonic-wallpaper. This can be from always-on TV, streaming music, or occasionally old-school radio – though even that tends to be streamed rather than terrestrial – unless you are in a car. (And whatever happened to CDs?)

Silence and quiet is a choice and so are podcasts. It may not be for everyone all the time but I like to think that everyone can appreciate a good podcast on occasions and it could be yours.

Present in the moment

People choose to listen – podcasts are not created for background listening.

Our challenge as creators is to make something that will connect and hold the attention of our audience. With so many competing calls on their ears, why should they give you their time? We can demand attention by shouting really loudly. By being brash, or sensational. But that is what everyone else does and it doesn’t make for loyal listeners.

How might it be if we created something that is a place people want to come, and a place people want to return to? Could we make something that attractive, that compelling? I think so and so do you. But just liking the idea of doing it doesn’t make it easy to achieve. “If it was easy, everybody would be doing it” – how many times have you heard that, or even said it?

Can you think of something that everybody is doing in their podcasts? Then you probably don’t want to do that. Not to be contrary and shockingly different – that sounds like shouting again – but to stand out as a thoughtful producer of finely crafted podcasts. It needs a beginning, a middle and an end, but beyond that, I think you can do your own thing.

Totally absorbed

For that captivated audience you need something good to say, said well and to people who want to hear it.

Think back to the last time you were totally absorbed in a podcast episode.

  • What was the podcast? (do you remember it’s name?)
  • Are you subscribed? (do you want to keep going back?)
  • What surprised you? (we want both familiar and surprising)
  • Did anyone else recommend it? (how do you find the podcasts you listen to?)
  • Have you shared it with friends or family? (when did you last do this? Maybe you are listening to the wrong podcasts)
  • What made it compelling? (if your audience are like you, which they probably are, they would feel as you did)

Some things have a lasting impact – and I believe your work can have that effect on others too.


  1. How compelling is your content?
  2. What would improve it?
  3. Identify one new thing to add and two to remove.