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4 Things Your Podcast Can Learn From The Super Bowl

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Watching the Super Bowl, the championship of the National Football League in America, I was reminded of a few things you can do to improve your podcast.

Your podcast can mimic a lot of the steps taken by the NFL to create a successful show. Here are four:

It’s Always Showbiz

Regardless of the topic of your show, it is always show business. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about movie reviews or mortgage reduction, it must be entertaining.

Entertaining doesn’t necessarily mean funny. To be entertaining, you need to make a connection with your listener. Find a way to stir the emotions of your audience. Emotions make it entertaining.

Think of great movies. Some make you laugh. Some make you cry. Some make you angry. Some make you think. Some make you question authority. Strong emotions make those movies great. The exceptional movies elicit multiple emotions.

Show business is about the “larger than life.” Show business makes you forget your problems and worries. Great entertainment takes you to another place and time. It stirs your imagination.

There is also a bit of amazement, sparkle and glamour in show business. Add some flash and pizzazz. Sound effects, big name guests, professional announcers, and quality production are ways you can add a touch of show business to your podcast.

The content of the Super Bowl isn’t the critical element. The two teams playing are simply the foundation of the game. Most people are not big fans of either team. They are watching to be entertained.

People watch the Super Bowl for the entertainment value. They watch for the pomp and circumstance. People want to see the half time show. They want to see the commercials. They want to have the same experience their friends have. Year-to-year, the viewing audience of the Super Bowl is roughly the same regardless of the game’s participants. It’s all about the entertainment.

If the content of the Super Bowl isn’t the critical piece, what does that say about the content of your podcast?  Your content is just your admission to the game.  You need to have more to set your show apart from others.

Create A Story

Stories help create relationships with your listener. Great stories reveal thing about the storyteller. They also engage the audience. A great story can make an average topic compelling.

The NFL puts great effort into the story of the Super Bowl. The organization works to find the stories that will captivate the imaginations of America. Then, they do all they can to spread that story.

This year, the stories included the Harbaugh brothers competing against each other, along with Ray Lewis’ final year.

Most of the headlines involved the Harbaugh siblings. It is the first time two brothers have been the head coaches of opposing Super Bowl teams. There have been many story angles. Which team color will their parents wear to the game? Have the brothers discussed the game with each other? Will they treat the game differently with a brother across the field? How will the post-game handshake play out?  The stories are endless.

The stories make the game personal. Tales create a connection between the spectators and the participants. A human feel is created about the game when personal details are revealed with great stories.

Great story lines also create interest amongst the cursory fan who would not normally be interested in the game. Fans of teams not participating in the game suddenly find themselves sucked into the drama of the stories. Those fans want to see how the stories play out.

Make Every Piece Entertaining

Every part of your show should add to the entertainment value. If you make a throwaway comment, your listener will also throw it away. Your listener should be delighted by every element of your podcast. Do not air anything on your show that doesn’t add value.

Find ways to make the generic content on your show compelling content. If you need to convey general “don’t forget” messages, find creative ways to make those announcements. In his School of Podcasting podcast, Dave Jackson has his “Morning Announcements.” It is simply a clever way to make his general messages.  It makes his information a little more captivating.

The Super Bowl does a tremendous job of creating entertainment out of every piece of their show.

Some people watch the Super Bowl just to see the commercials. In every other show broadcast on television, people sigh, groan and moan when the commercials air. During the Super Bowl, you find others in the room quieting guests so they can hear those advertisements.

The NFL also adds sizzle to other pedestrian elements of the game. The coin toss handled by an honorary coin flipper and is executed with a special coin. Intermission in play (half time) is turned into an over-the-top music performance by the biggest superstars, each year bigger than the last. They players don’t just show up on the sideline ready to play. They are introduced with an opening video piece and fireworks.

Every piece of the Super Bowl adds to the entertainment. The field is customized. The exterior of the stadium is customized. The jerseys are customized. Every detail is special.

Make every part of your podcast memorable.

Create Multiple Streams Of Income

As the saying goes, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. If you only have one income source, you leave yourself vulnerable. If that source disappears, your revenue drops to zero. Play it safe.

With multiple streams of income, your revenue isn’t greatly affected by fluctuation in any one particular source. You have some buffer room. When one stream is diminished, you have time to make adjustments any of the others to get the revenue back.

The NFL has monetized every part of the game possible. If something can be sold or sponsored in conjunction to the Super Bowl, it usually is. The NFL makes money in many, many different ways.

Sources say the average price of a 30-second commercial airing during the Super Bowl is $4 million. That revenue is received by the broadcasting network. However, the NFL is paid a hefty sum for the broadcast rights.

The pre-game show, half time show and broadcast studios are sponsored. The coin flip, game clock and replays are all sponsored. Even the NFL donations are sponsored. The Super Bowl Champion t-shirts and hats are for sale as soon as the game ends. There was even a Mercedes Benz emblem on the ceiling of the Superdome.

Revenue comes from many different streams. Create some consistency in your income by creating multiple streams of revenue.

Copy a few of these NFL Super Bowl tactics with your podcast. You will make the relationships with your audience much stronger. You will create more consistent revenue streams. Your show will also be more consistently entertaining and successful.

Erik K. Johnson has coached radio personalities since 1995. By building audience relationships, he has guided multiple radio stations and shows to ratings success. His writings are aimed at transforming your information into engaging entertainment and your podcast into meaningful, profitable relationships. Find more at PodcastTalentCoach.Wordpress.com or Erik@PodcastTalentCoach.com.


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  • Beth Hewitt

    Hi Erik,

    Podcasts are something that Ia m considering for 2013. You are right about being entertaining and captivating. I like your analogy with the Superbowl. We don’t have anything really like that in the UK, where the advertisements become just as big apart of the big day as the game itself.

    Definitely some food for thought, thanks for sharing and great post,

    Beth 🙂

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