What’s the Motivating Drive Behind Your Podcast?

What’s the Motivating Drive Behind Your Podcast?

When you think of a podcast, the image that immediately appears in our minds is that of a host delivering engaging and exciting content for a specific audience. While this is true, and is the nature of generally all podcasts, there is a much deeper dynamic taking place.

When you think of a podcast, the image that immediately appears in our minds is that of a host delivering engaging and exciting content for a specific audience. While this is true, and is the nature of generally all podcasts, there is a much deeper dynamic taking place.

In my time in the podcasting industry, I’ve noticed that there are two foundational drives behind podcasts:

  • Ambition – The most common drive
  • Passion – The most powerful drive

For each podcast, which one of these motivating factors is behind it determines the following:

  • The relationship you with your audience
  • The method of engaging with your audience that will determine success or failure
  • The primary way you can actually grow your show in a constantly growing and competitive industry
  • How you should go about creating and promoting your content

Ambition or Passion: Understanding the Motivating Drives

I’m sure that many of you are thinking that you, as a host, feel more often than not that both ambition and passion are behind your show. While this may be true, these emotional drives are not something that lies with you personally. They lie within the core message, design, and purpose of your show.

Let me explain this by explaining these two drives in the context of a show. It is the synergy between what you are creating and who you are creating it for, as well as the emotional motivation that drives your audience to tune in and engage with your show.


Understanding these drives and where your show fits in is the very first step to competitive growth. It not only gives you the right direction to effective and consistent growth, but is also the basis for determining measurable metrics for determining success. Although there are some elements for growth that would work in both show types, there are very specific and unique approaches for each motivator. If used in the wrong show type, some approaches will not yield the success you’re aiming for and can actually demotivate you.

Ambition-driven Shows

Shows driven by this ambition are the more common type of show I’ve come across in my experience. The host has established their show for the purpose of either reaching a specific audience or interviewing a guest who is a potential client, an approach discussed in detail in the B2B Podcast Playbook. The host wants to establish authority and build trust, two key elements to attracting new clients and growing your business.

This is successfully achieved through delivering consistent and valuable content to listeners. The audience chooses to listen to the show because the content in turn empowers and educates them to incorporate what they have learned in their own businesses to become more successful. Both the host and the audience have a desire to achieve success, and therefore their motivation can easily be identified within the realm of ambition.


Ambition-driven shows have a very high-quality and value-based approach. They:

  • Deliver consistent and relevant guests and content
  • Are industry focused, unique, and effective tools for reaching potential customers
  • Have a structured website that is focused on user experience (UX), drive email sign-ups, and eventually drive sales
  • Have a structured website that is focused on user experience (UX), drive email sign-ups, and eventually drive sales
  • Do audience engagement on the industry’s preferred platforms—usually limited to one or two social media networks


Since ambition-driven shows are essentially a marketing and communications tool, the metrics used to measure success are similar to other marketing strategies:

  • Audience growth
  • Downloads
  • Email signups
  • Client acquisition
  • ROI

Understanding your audience by focusing on audience members who fit your client personas is the only real way to get those metric needles moving. Metrics such as audience growth, new leads generated and of course revenue generated. ROI must always be considered especially when investments move beyond just the show setup and management. Investing in targeted ad campaigns are extremely effective but can only be justified if sufficient ROI is achieved.

Learn how to identify your audience, create content they want, and measure outcomes in the B2B Podcast Playbook.

Passion-driven Shows

Shows driven by passion are some of my favorite shows to work on. It was in fact a passion-driven show I was working on called the Dreampath Podcast that first revealed this elusive and fascinating division between the motivations of podcasters.

Hosts who have created ambition-driven shows are more often than not doing so purely as a labor of love. They don’t really have any form of product or service they’re trying to sell. The show is not even set up for any form of client recruitment. It’s common to see this with shows that showcase creatives and their stories.

The host wants to shed light on parts of their guests’ lives that are often unknown, overlooked, or misunderstood. Examples are the struggle an aspiring musician faces on their journey to the mainstream, or the turmoil an artist faces when contemplating whether or not to share their creation with the world.

The audience type differs dramatically here. In this instance your audience should be viewed as a fan, and not a potential client. Fans enjoy listening to and learning about their idols.

The fan wants to give to their artists and support the industry they’re in. We see fans standing in the pouring rain and cold for hours to even catch a glimpse of their favourite star. With the right approach to engagement and delivery, you can turn your audience into fans for your passion-driven show. They will be willing and satisfied to support you as a host because you’re their access to the industry and creative individuals that they love.


Passion driven shows can become very niche, and are often found showcasing and / or fighting the good fight in terms of current and controversial topics within the industry. It is important to understand what is happening in the industry that is creating buzz, and are issues or topics that the audience want to learn about, debate and even share their opinion on.

  • Deliver content that is relevant for fans at the right time
  • Create hype prior to episode releases
  • Fans love to be involved. Incorporate a system that allows the audience to engage, for example by submitting questions, topics, or opinions prior to an interview
  • Showcase images and deliver a UX that is exciting and fun
  • Be active on at least 3 social platforms, and constantly engage in group conversations
  • Have some sort of fund, event, or cause that to promote that resonates with fans and gives them the opportunity to support the industry and creative individual that they love


  • Audience growth
  • Downloads
  • Social media engagement
  • Social media growth
  • Level of fund or cause support

What Should You Be Doing Now?

Evaluating your shows design, presentation, and goals should give you a clear idea of the audience you are trying to reach. The next step would be to research your targeted audience and build a detailed persona profile, which you can learn in the B2B Podcast Playbook. These two aspects of your show will clearly outline the core motivational drive that determines your show’s success. Focus your delivery and engagement based on your show’s drive and deliver a show that effectively grows and consistently achieves the metrics you aspire to.


Learn how Call for Content helps grow and monetize podcasts.

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