Your Podcast ‘Deep Dives’ Are Shallow | How to Dive Deeper 

Have you ever listened to a podcast hoping to learn more details about your favorite topic, only to be let down with the host spewing mundane, already-known facts straight from the top of Google search results? The host clearly didn’t do their job right if it leaves you with more questions than answers. Let’s take a look at what constitutes an actual deep dive. 

Research is your friend

How can podcasts be so entertaining without visuals? Unlike movies or TV shows, podcasts rely on audio content to entertain and retain listeners, so what’s being said had better be good and it had better be accurate. 

It’s your job as a podcast host and creator to thoroughly research a given topic well ahead of time so you can plan episode content thoroughly. Podcast deep dives are typically associated with scripted shows over interviews or talk shows, but that doesn’t mean other forms of podcasts shouldn’t research ahead of time to ensure certain points resonate well across the airwaves. If you want your podcast to sound credible and entertaining, it’s time to dive into the research phase of planning your content.

It’s easy to tell when a host is talking about a topic that they aren’t interested in or haven’t done in-depth research on, which is something you want to avoid at all costs as a creator. For one, it makes your content seem untrustworthy and boring. It’s simply irresponsible reporting. Researching information for episode content can be daunting, but the key is to speak on a topic you’re passionate about. If you’ve already started a podcast, you’re likely already passionate about the content of which you speak, so it shouldn’t be much of an issue to find a related topic that sparks your interest. 

TIP: If you struggle coming up with talking points, try keeping a list of interesting topics. You never know when inspiration might hit. 

Research is your best tool for adding credibility and unique voice to your show. Think about your favorite podcasts. What do they do well? What about their content keeps you hooked? Chances are the hook has to do with the quality of the show’s information and how it’s relayed to the listener. While you can absolutely take inspiration from other podcasters, it’s important to do your own research! Nobody likes an unoriginal podcast and there’s nothing worse than uber-recycled content.

Question everything

So, how does one even begin to research their chosen topic? 

Research looks different for everyone depending on their podcast genre. For someone in true crime, research might look like keeping up with the news, reading article after article, and even conducting interviews. For other genres like history, research could entail reading books and articles, interviewing field experts, and fact checking again and again. There’s no limit to how much research can be done, just find a method of research that works best for you. I find YouTube to be a great starting point to launch full-fledged investigations into my topics. I often watch many videos on my topic and take notes along the way, making sure to keep track of and further digging into specific points that I either haven’t heard before or that genuinely interest me. Then I fact check by finding articles about those points online. 

In order to really nail a deep dive, taking extensive notes and cross referencing your sources is an excellent way to bolster the script you will inevitably write. Doing meticulous research and taking notes for a podcast episode is kind of like studying for a test (without the added stress, or course). It’s a repetitive process and the more in depth you go with it, the more you start to familiarize yourself with the script, and the better you’ll become at recalling key details necessary for telling the story.

TIP: Ensure your names and dates are accurate when telling a story, especially when recounting important, historical information. You want to avoid sounding like you don’t care about the facts of your story, especially to those listeners who may be experts on the topic.

A good way to approach research is pretending like you know nothing about the topic. Place yourself in the shoes of your average listener and imagine what it will be like to listen to your podcast for the first time. This method helps creators to understand how their content can be perceived. Also, try writing a list of questions about the topic and see if you can answer them through your research. Hosts sound well-informed when they can answer listener questions without the questions ever having to be asked. 

Never stop exploring

When covering a topic, don’t just set it and forget it. Reference key points in future episodes and encourage your listeners to go back and listen to older episodes to get a better understanding on the topic at hand. This is a tool seasoned podcasters use to boost downloads, not to mention that it adds authority and credibility to their voice

As a host, one of your goals should be to never stop learning about and exploring your topic. Stay up to date on the latest news, read and watch as much as possible about the topic, and keep your listeners on the hook.

The possibilities are endless with deep dives, which is what makes this form of podcasts so versatile and exciting! A deep dive by any means is impressive and listeners will appreciate the hard work that goes into making such a detailed episode. While the research aspect of deep dives requires persistence and tweaking where necessary, creating such a detailed episode that flows well together and sounds incredible to the listener is something to be proud of.

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