How to find and express your podcast’s DNA

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How to find and express your podcast’s DNA

Knowing the aspects of your podcast's DNA will improve your show's quality, leading to more downloads!

October 7, 2021 • About 7 min. read

Podcaster writing the DNA of their podcast

What if building your podcast’s DNA and writing the script for your episodes was like writing a book?

This is Ingrid’s theory, the podcaster behind “Le Café des Auteurs”, hosted on Ausha.

Throughout this article, she’ll help you find your podcast’s DNA – the words and tone you’ll use – and express it without having to be a Marketing whiz!

A podcast is a bit like a book.

It’s based on:

  • a universe ✨ (subject area? time period? place? fiction or non-fiction?)
  • characters 😁 you (if you’re the host), your guests, and your listeners
  • and, above all, a message 👋 to convey, an intention that inspires you.

Do you write to relax, for enjoyment, to inform or to convey specific values? All these things?

When writing a book, the clearer the intent, the easier the rest becomes! The same goes for your podcast. 🤓

Podcast DNA

In the “Your Path to Success with Ruth Kearns Wollman” podcast, she has a very clear intention: introducing us to inspiring people, successful entrepreneurs, artists, etc., so several elements of its DNA stem from this:

  • her guests, of course, in congruence with her intention,
  • a public love of these kinds of meetings, with really genuine interactions,
  • and episodes with real conversations and digressions that align with these elements and with Ruth’s intention.

So you need to think about working hard on each aspect: the universe, the characters and the message will allow you to build your podcast’s DNA.

Some of them are probably obvious to you: the universe for example, if your podcast deals with a specific subject area.

Defining your message: the first step

You’re writing to have an effect. To relax, to have fun, to inform… Your listener will move from point A to point B because of your episodes.

How will this impact them? How will they feel before, during and after? 🤔

Podcast DNA

The Life and Science Podcast addresses various themes: rare diseases, new viruses, and new science solutions.

All these episodes offer their audience something to learn that they can take back with them after they have stopped listening. They also give the insight from experts within the scientific fields that they talk about.

All these themes are part of your podcast’s DNA! 🔥

If you take pleasure in creating your episode, your listener will take pleasure in listening to you.

Expressing your podcast’s DNA with a magic pen 🖊️

Many podcasters never even pondered DNA before launching their podcast because they chose the universe, characters and message based on THEIR personality, tone and values.

Every word they write is written by a “magic pen” (kind of like a magic wand in Harry Potter: it’s unique!).

Podcast DNA

In Meet the Expats, storytelling is first and foremost the main idea… but with a special magic pen.

  • Unique guests from all over the world
  • a relaxed atmosphere, making the guests seem at ease and able to share their stories more easily,
  • and a tone that’s very intimate and direct which shows a stronger connection with the guests that’s more relatable to the audience.

EXERCISES:

1) Create a “list of magic words” that best illustrate the effect, the people, etc…and if you get stuck, how about a mind map of words?

2) Write down ten words that symbolize your podcast’s DNA. The ones you repeat most often, for example!

3) Answer the following questions:

  • Which words are used: your listeners when they’re faced with your issue, you when you encounter a problem, you when you’re reassuring others?
  • What are some funny, interesting or otherwise unknown details about yourself that you could integrate into your universe?
  • What would the typical reaction of your listeners be if you: solved their problem, told them an incredible fact, tried to convince them to go kill a dragon (sorry, writer’s block. I meant say something crazy).

In my podcast, le Café des Auteurs, I wanted to propose a writing break for the authors who listen to me, but also to reassure them, because when you start writing a book, you can feel lost.

My introduction starts out as, “Welcome to le Café des Auteurs, the podcast for aspiring writers and creators who are lost in the jungle of conflicting advice“.

It means everything to a beginning author who doesn’t know which way to turn.

And in episode 13 “To Write and Be Published, You Need to Change Your Thoughts”, I drew a comparison between Harry Potter 6 and “Liquid Luck”.

A large number of my listeners grew up with that! And it fits very well with my uninhibited literary magic pen.

And what about giving first-person storytelling a try?

What do Harry Potter, Narnia, The Truth About Harry Quebert Affair, The Ants and 50 Shades of Grey have in common?

All of these bestsellers are written from what we call the first person point of view.

In other words, reading them means putting yourself in the protagonist’s shoes, experiencing the events with them, reading their thoughts, feeling what they feel… 🤔


EXERCISE:

Imagine the reactions of your listeners listening to an episode where you go against the conventional wisdom of your subject area. How can you reassure them?


Now write it down or record it directly.

Now that you’ve worked it all out, do what writers do: forget everything, disconnect, put yourself in front of a Word page and try to write for ten minutes straight. 🚀

When you’ve finished with that, take a break for a few minutes and then repeat the exercise. This will allow you to let your ideas stew while you take action! 💪

Remember: The clearer your intention is, the easier the rest becomes

I now recommend that you take a break for a few days.

In my podcast, le Café des Auteurs, I wrote a very personal and powerful episode retracing my steps: It took me several weeks to find the right formulas.

But when I published the episode and received feedback from the people for whom I’d prompted deep questions, even tears, I knew I was right to take my time! 😁

Taking a step back sometimes allows you to get back to the intention you had with your podcast, to reconnect to your DNA or maintain the essence of it.

Finally, re-read the text of your episode with Marie Kondo in mind: Keep what brings you joy! 😉

So let’s recap!

  • 💪 Work on each aspect: The universe, the characters and the message of your show allow you to establish your podcast’s DNA and blend it all into a harmonious whole.
  • If you’re having a hard time defining your message: what’s the effect you’d like to have on your listener?
  • 🖊️ To express your podcast’s DNA, use what I call the “magic pen” .
  • Write as you feel, and then step away so you can return to your episode through the benefit of hindsight.

And one last thing: Before I end this article, I’d like to share my mantra which I repeat to aspiring authors, but which works well with any type of content: If you take pleasure in creating your episode, your listeners will take pleasure in listening to it!

Ingrid has created “J’Écris un Roman”, an online writing school that allows you to not only write books but also to find your magic pen in order to create powerful content! To learn more, visit her website: https://jecrisunroman.fr

October 7, 2021

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