[Podcast] What Is the Best Format for Your Content?

3 honing the writing craft podcast post Sep 26, 2023
what form should your content take

“You should write a book!”

Most thoughts leaders have heard this at least once in their life. It’s the go-to format for content.

But is a book the best format for your content?

For a long time, books were regarded as the ultimate testament to one’s expertise. Books are permanent and, when published, can provide credibility to one’s expertise. But writing a book is a big-time commitment.

Are you ready to spend a year or more of your life to writing a book? (And that doesn’t include the marketing phase!)

Before you start writing a book, you need to consider if it is truly the best format for your content. Ask these questions to delve deep.

1. Can Your Book Idea Sustain Readers’ Interest?

Books in the thought leadership genre should be at least 50,000 words. This allows an author to explore their topic in-depth. A lengthier book also allows an author to use anecdotes, case studies, research, and real-life stories to support the book’s thesis.

It’s difficult to write a book of value in less than 50,000 words.

This is where you need to be honest with yourself: Can your book idea sustain a reader’s interest for 50,000 words? And, what makes your book idea stand out from others?

A book idea must be unique. It should provide something new to the genre that hasn’t yet been considered, such as fresh expertise, new research, unique stories, etc.

Let’s look at an example.

The leadership genre is saturated with books exploring the same subject: how to be a good leader. It’s easy for a book to be lost to the thousands of others in this genre. 

Patrick Lencioni wrote The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,  a 67,000-word leadership book that tackles the issue of leadership. What makes his book stand out from others? He wrote it through a fable. He differentiated his book from others by writing through a unique perspective. His book remains popular 20 years since its publication.

As you consider the best format for your content, ask yourself: Can my book idea sustain 50,000 words? And, What makes my book idea stand out from others?

2. Do You Want to Write a Book?

Lots of people think they should write a book. Maybe family members or friends have said you should. Or maybe you think a book will improve your business and credibility.

But not everyone is cut out to write a book.

The book writing journey is exhausting, debilitating, and frustrating. It can take years to complete and it will change you. It will change your discipline, force you to think about your audience, and make you grow in ways you weren’t prepared for. 

To write a book requires passion. And the only way you will stick with it through moments of self-doubt and rejection is because of your need to write this a book.

If you aren’t interested in writing a book, save yourself the trouble and don’t write one. Writing a book isn’t the only way to influence people with your ideas.

If you’re on the fence and uncertain, start simpler. Start with a blog.

A blog is a great way to practice writing both short-form and long-form.

  • It allows you to gauge interest in your topics.
  • It requires consistency and discipline, and will introduce you to the challenge and time commitment needed to write long-form.
  • It’s an easy and simple way to share your ideas with your following.

Start with a blog. See if you enjoy writing long-form. Determine if you have an idea to sustain an entire book.

And if you’ve decided a book isn’t for you, there are other formats to consider.

Is One of These a Better Format for Your Content?

Substack. Similar to a blog, Substack is one of the best formats to share long-form writing. It’s easy to use and allows writers to focus on their writing rather than dealing with the chaos and complexities of starting your own website.

Substack also offers both paid and free subscriptions. Members will pay for a subscription if you provide consistent and frequent content updates. Paid subscriptions are an easy way to earn money.

Substack also allows for better engagement with your readership. You can capture readership data, determine what content resonates with readers, see how many members convert to paid subscriptions, and more!

Podcast. If you want to share your content through personable and deep conversations, or through interviews with experts that relate to your area of expertise, then a podcast might be the best option for you.

There are three main benefits to a podcast:

  • Every time you do a podcast episode, you create content for your blog. Google loves fresh content and favors websites that update frequently. So throw your podcast’s shownotes on your blog and bam! You have new content.
  • A podcast is a great way to help you further your expertise in your field. By interviewing people on your podcast, each interview will offer a fresh perspective for you to consider. And your thinking will either deepen or be challenged. We should all be learning and growing in our expertise. 
  • Podcasting can help you network. Hosting interviews on your podcast allows you to form relationships with industry leaders, experts, and/or professionals within your field. Building these types of relationships will expand your reach.

Podcasts are an easy way to cater your content to a niche audience. But it’s important to remember that podcasts are ubiquitous these days. That means you have to be focused with your content (serve your audience well!) and stay the course. With consistency you’ll have a loyal following over time!

How do you differentiate from other podcasts?  In addition to focusing your content to a narrow audience, seek to find a format that is unique in your space.

Dave’s podcast, “2 Guys and a River,” for instance, falls within the fly fishing space. Instead of appealing to an audience that desires expert advice, Dave and his partner focus on the love, fun, and joy of fishing. It’s packaged as a playful conversation among friends. And that is different than others in its niche.

An important tip: With any content platform, consistency is key. Subscribers will only follow you if you produce consistent and frequent content.

Interested in learning about four other formats for your content? Check out our podcast episode. We also discuss the best format options for family stories.



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