Storytelling and the art of engaging your podcast listeners

Storytelling in podcasting with a book and headphone

Written by Aimene

Aimene is a podcast producer helping businesses reach their customer’s ears.


July 27, 2021

Stories make up life, and a good one adds spice to life, whether read, watched, or listened to. Good storytelling in a podcast can have your audience feeling like they have had the most delightful dessert that hit all the perfect spots. Whether audio blogging, sharing interviews, or head talks, storytelling in podcasting is the best bet when it comes to engaging your listeners. 

Storytelling in podcasting vs Narrative podcasting:

Before we start we need to clear up the confusion between storytelling and Narrative podcasting, as it might sound like they are the same even tho they can be completely separate:

So Storytelling is a set of techniques you can use to create a story, Let’s say the most basic one is in each story you need to have a beginning, a middle, and an end to have a complete story.

Narrative podcasting on the other hand is a way to present the matter at hand in a narrative style while using storytelling

Narrative podcasting requires storytelling but storytelling doesn’t have to just be in narrative podcasting as it can be in other forms of podcasting as you can implement it In interviews and talk shows.

If you want to learn more about how to create a narrative podcast I recommend checking this article instead: The Ultimate Guide to Make a Narrative Podcast 

The importance of storytelling in podcasting

The vast majority of your audience has an attention span that fizzles away as quickly as eight seconds, so if your podcast is not appealing enough, you lose them faster than you gained them.

Also, an average podcast listener only chose podcast over other content forms because it’s screen-free and allows him to multi-task. This means he has other things vying for his attention on and off-screen, and the only trick to keeping him engaged is to incorporate good storytelling into your podcast. I bet you this trick is never stale.

Times like now, what starts as hobbies can turn quickly into side-hustles check our article about making money podcasting, so whether you are podcasting in your free time or you are podcasting for work or marketing purposes, there is a lot to gain, Putting conscious effort and seeking knowledge like you are doing now is what would make that a reality.

How to incorporate storytelling in podcasting

Every good book or movie that stood out for you had a narrative. There is always a narrative to a good story whose point of view is being told from and why. 

In podcasting, even if it’s an interview, you can still tell a story with it. 

Here are some podcast storytelling tips

stories flying around a man sitting in the middle of a field that tells a story

  • Start with a storytelling idea. A podcast topic you think your audience will find interesting.
  • Create a storyboard. An overview of the big story
  • Break down contents into parts/ episodes
  • What questions do you want to be answered in each episode?
  • Add a narrative
  • Research.
  • Do a rough draft 
  • Decide a P.O.V
  • Create a script.
  • Fine-tune, rinse, and repeat.
  • Add music and sound effects.

The foundation of a good storytelling podcast

We are all very interested in what happens to other people, admit it or not. Even more, if we can relate to them, however exciting or dangerous it is. This means that everyone is up for a story.

 However, the style of delivery and other technicalities determines how long the audience will stay. Stories generally have a structure no matter its adaptive form, whether as a screenplay, a book, or in this case, a podcast, the foundation of a good story still follows the same structure.

Storytelling structure 

the essential parts of a story are broken into three parts: 

  • The beginning
  • The middle
  • The end

This typically follows the three-act structure from which every other structure is built.

The beginning

Here is where you set the tone for your story. Only you know where the story leads, so you need to leave no question in the hearts of your audience as you take them along this journey. Don’t jump parts or leave out details they should know.

Here is an example:

Liz has always known she wouldn’t make it to the theatre in time for the concert, so she got even more annoyed when Toby called. Nancy, her assistant, had her coffee ready on her table when she arrived, and I wasn’t pleased to see her.

Any listener would have a lot of questions hearing this.

Who is Liz, and what does she do?

Who is Toby? 

Why does Liz have an assistant? 


Whose point of view?

What your story should have at the beginning includes;

  • The Setting

Here you introduce the character, know who they are, what they do, their skills, where and when the story happens. Give a background.

  • The theme and genre 

In the beginning, the listeners should know the genre of your story, and a good indicator is your sound. There is no podcast without a good background sound that matches. 

Your voice should resonate with the exact emotions that suit the story; this would also draw out the same feelings from your audience. 

The theme is what unites the story; it is responsible for the characters’ actions, values, and philosophy.

  •  A point of view.

In narrative podcasting, a point of view is critical in engaging your audience right early. Whether you are narrating from the first person or third person point of view, stick to the narrative.

  • the plot

What does the character want, and who or what is in the way.

The middle

Character arcs, conflicts arise, and there’s a rise in action.

The End

The Climax and Resolution

Some storytelling podcasts you should check:

This American Life

The Moth Podcast

Hello from the magic tavern

S- town

Reply All

In the dark

If you go over these storytelling podcasts examples I just shared, you’ll notice that each one has a different approach and genre to suit their audience’s interest. 

Why you should know your target audience:

Whether blogger, YouTuber, or podcaster, every content creator has to know his audience and what interests them. You should know what makes their skin crawl, what makes their hearts leap in excitement, and what would make them jump out of their seats in shock. Only then can you successfully interest them with your stories.

Your content is only valid if it hits the bull’s eye every time. The bull’s eye in reference is your audience, and your content is the arrow.

Here are some podcast storytelling ideas 

  • Investigative journalism
  • crime stories
  • behind the scenes 
  • real-life inspired themes
  • documentaries


It is believed that one of the gateways to the mind is the ear. As a podcaster, your content has the power to affect people’s decisions. So if you are sleeping on storytelling in podcasting, you are missing out on the engagements you should be getting and all the money those engagements could make you. 

So you made it to this point, then this is a sign to serve your audience that yummy dessert and make them keep coming back for more.

What’s the most exciting storytelling podcast you have listened to?

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