Storytelling Tips for Podcasters
Podcasters are storytellers. Each podcast episode you produce can lead your audience on an adventure. The good news is that the basic structure of a successful story was established more than 2,600 years ago, and is something you can rely on today.
Joseph Campbell’s discussions with Bill Moyers popularized the Hero’s Journey as a storytelling model for storytelling that every podcaster can easily emulate. You have probably enjoyed some amazing storytelling based on the Hero’s Journey model and not even realized it. Did you read the Iliad and the Odyssey back in high school? Have you watched a franchise-building film from the 1970s titled Star Wars: A New Hope? Are you enamored of any recent Marvel movies? They are all based on the Hero’s Journey model of storytelling. And you can use this tried-and-true model for your next episode.
As you read the 11 steps to the Hero’s Journey below, think about your favorite hero movie (Star Wars: A New Hope is a great example) and recall the scenes that correspond to each step of this storytelling model:
- Introduction to the Ordinary World
- Call to Adventure
- Refusal of the Call
- Meeting the Mentor
- Crossing the Threshold
- Testing of Allies and Enemies
- The Approach
- The Ordeal
- The Reward
- The Road Home
- The Resurrection
- The Return
If Joseph Campbell were alive today, he would say that every podcaster can make each of their episodes better by addressing as many steps of the Hero’s Journey as possible. Think about doing this with your next episode. Below are a few examples of how podcasters within differing genres can use this model.
- True Crime Podcasters can start their episode by fully presenting the crime victim’s life before the crime (The Ordinary World). Also, the podcaster can address what the victim could have done differently (Refusal of the Call) before talking about the crime (the Ordeal) in detail. Including these steps in this sequence allows the listener to be even more invested in your show.
- An Interview-Based Podcaster should not ignore the steps of the Hero’s Journey after success is achieved (the Reward). Allow for your interviewee to fully share the struggles they faced (Call to Adventure) and are still facing (The Road Home) and what their typical day is like now (The Return) before ending your show. This allows more time for the listener’s brain to process the interview and be ready for your Call To Action. Try to avoid jumping straight from your interviewee achieving their success to you asking your audience to do something.
- A Paranormal Podcaster should fully introduce the person with the paranormal experience (Introduction to the Ordinary World) and then share opinions from professionals on similar topics (Meeting with The Mentor) and then share related stories from other people (Testing of Allies and Enemies) before presenting the full paranormal experience and conclusions of the person who was introduced at the beginning of episode (The Ordeal).
These are only three examples of how the steps of the Hero’s Journey can be incorporated into a podcast. You can easily incorporate these steps into your show too. Try to include as much of this time-tested model that you can into each of your episodes, however, do not feel like you need to include all of those steps all the time, and most certainly switch up the order to make the story compelling. The more steps you use, the more engaging your episodes will be. The Hero’s Journey Storytelling model has survived for almost 3,000 years for a reason… it works!
Have you been waiting to start your podcast? You now can start telling your podcast’s story in a more engaging manner from the very beginning. Also, start your podcast the right way technologically by hosting your podcast with the right podcast hosting company. Choose Blubrry.
What are some of your storytelling tips in your show’s genre, and how do they reflect the Hero’s Journey?