Pearson Podcasting: How ‘This Is Us’ Can Help Us Become Better Podcasters

A Guest Post By Brittani Riddle, Graduate Student, American University & PR Expanded Blog Contest Winner

By now I’m sure you’ve seen the hit series This Is Us, the one-hour drama known for its heartfelt storylines, family-friendly themes, and of course, “The Big 3” Kate, Kevin, and Randall. (And I promise, there will be no Season 4 spoilers in this post!) The show has become a pop-culture juggernaut since its debut in 2016, winning the hearts of both Hollywood and millions of viewers. When the Pearson family isn’t making us laugh and cry weekly, they can teach us a few lessons on polishing up our podcasting skills. Whether you’re a podcast novice or more adept, here are a few tips on how the Pearson clan can help you perfect your podcast.

This Is Us Cast Photo Credit:

Start with Solid Foundation.

We wouldn’t have the “Big Three” without our beloved fictional lovebirds, Jack and Rebecca Pearson.  Their origin story lays the foundation of what makes This Is Us a fan favorite. Their relationship sets the tone and reminds us to begin with a quality substance. For podcasting, the quality substance begins with good audio. If you aren’t able to record in a traditional studio, record in a quiet and soundproof location. Always use headphones when recording, to make sure there’s no background noise and that your audio levels are even and not distorted. This Forbes article is one of my favorites and offers excellent technical tips for podcasters. If you want to add creative sonic elements to your audio, try some of these free sound effects.

Sell the Star Power.

Kevin, the oldest of The Big Three and the actor of the family, brings the star power. Much like Kevin, the hosts are the stars of your podcast. And the same way Kevin studies his lines for television and film on the show, your hosts must know their material! If you host your own or are a podcast producer for a third party, make sure all hosts have the tools needed to shine! No matter the subject, you want your podcast to inform and entertain your listeners with catchy and engaging topics to keep them wanting more. Prepare for your show by watching and reading the news, listening to new music, attending events, or any activity that will be relatable to both your topic and listeners.  There’s nothing worse than a host that doesn’t sound aware or sure of their content.

Stay On Task.

Kate, our favorite middle sister, is a task-oriented member of the family. Like Kate, setting a weekly list of tasks will keep your podcast on track. Before re-launching her music career, Kate worked as a personal assistant to both Kevin and other high profile clients. This part of Kate’s journey teaches us to dot all of I’s and cross all of our T’s. Make sure to maintain a consistent recording, editing, and posting schedule for all of your episodes. Have special guests joined you for the show? Be sure to follow up with them on when the episode will be available to listeners. Mention any reference materials such as books or albums while discussing the topic? Provide an accurate description of each resource in the show notes, so it’s readily available for listeners. You’ll make Kate proud, trust me.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks.

Randall, the adopted member of the Big Three, has grown quite a bit since Season 1. We’ve seen Randall go through a number of changes, from quitting his job to becoming a City Councilman in a new city. Randall’s’ gumption teaches us to take risks, and we must have the same attitude with our podcasts. Are you thinking of launching a new segment? Introduce it on one episode and ask listeners for feedback to gauge if they enjoyed it. Want to add a video component to your show? Record a few snippets of the show on your phone and post it to your social media or website. If it works and viewers respond well, expand to full recordings so listeners can have a new visual component to enjoy.

Have a Supportive Cast.

Our beloved Pearson family wouldn’t be able to thrive without some of their biggest supporters: Beth, Toby, and Miguel, to name a few. Much like the supporting stars of our favorite show, it’s important to have people around who will support your podcast. Your supporters can provide constructive feedback to keep your podcast fresh and exciting.  A supporting cast can also provide additional exposure. Supporters can help by sharing episodes on their social media to amplify your show to their followers or write positive reviews on podcast subscribing sites. These word of mouth efforts can help you reach a wider audience. It’s always a plus to gain new subscribers!

Now that we’ve examined how an Emmy award-winning series can help us with podcasting, I hope you find the connection between the characters and concepts helpful while working on your podcasts.  If you have any other Pearson Podcast connections, be sure to connect with me on social media so we can compare notes! One final tip, avoid all This Is Us spoilers by catching up on episodes here

Brittani Riddle, American University Graduate Student & DC Communications Professional

 Brittani Riddle is a Washington D.C. based communications professional and first-year graduate student at American University. A lover of communication, books, music, and pop culture, Brittani always looks for creative methods to intersect all of her passions to create dynamic and innovative messaging and communication in various fields.