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My thoughts on engaging the listeners of RPPR

I’m on an email list for RPG podcasters. A few months ago, one of the podcasters conducted a survey of RPG podcast listeners to get a sense of what they thought. The results came back in recently. My podcast, RPPR, got a lot of positive comments and someone on the list asked why my listeners were so engaged with the podcast. I can’t read minds so I don’t know. All I can say is what I’ve done to engage listeners. Here’s an incomplete list of what I’ve done so far.

  • Our 4E D&D campaign, The New World, really boosted our popularity. We have 28 AP episodes posted so far (with quite a few more recorded) and some of the players have their own fan clubs. We’ve even created a series of PDF sourcebooks, freely downloadable on our site I financed them through the ransom model so I got to pay my hosting and equipment costs, which is nice. Listeners can not only listen to the campaign, they can follow the discussions in the comments and in the forums and read the PDFs to see how they can run their own New World campaign.
  • I outline each episode before we record it and I try to make sure we keep it on topic. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from listeners who say they listen to RPPR because we keep it on topic, unlike podcast X or Y.
  • I encourage listeners to post comments on the site  and thankfully we get a lot of discussion on most episodes.
  • I like to experiment with podcasting and try new things – we started doing sporadic readings of terrible fanfiction stories as short comedy skits. Listeners either really love or really hate them but they are short so it’s easy for the people who aren’t fans to skip them.
  • The RPPR AP podcast (which is weekly) is a big success – some listeners really love it and now that all the APs are on a separate feed those who don’t care for it can ignore it. It’s a lot of extra work to set up, maintain and keep posting new episodes though. Also, I’m rather fortunate that the regular RPPR gaming crew is very verbose and witty – people like the side table chatter.
  • A few months ago I ran a 2 part horror game (merged both parts into 1 AP, 6 hours long) based on the creepypasta Candle Cove. It went viral when it was first posted, even reaching Boingboing. The AP got a huge response from our listeners. One listener said he listened to the 6 hour game straight from midnight to 6 AM because he was so enthralled it. I eventually emailed the Candle Cove author, webcomic artist Kris Straub, and told him about the game. He posted it on ichorfalls,com the original home for the story, – we got new listeners as a result and he got new fans of Candle Cove.
  • I take a very loose approach to editing – I basically never edit AP episodes for content. I only edit interviews to trim out dead space caused by interruptions in connection or whatever. I take a minimalist approach to editing episodes. I’ve never set a minimum or maximum show length. I don’t see why I should place artificial limitations on RPPR.
  • I redesigned the RPPR site in January, with new original art for the banner and I tried to make links to the forums and the New World setting page highly visible (well and our paypal donation button of course)
  • I’ve made some RPPR schwag – postcards that I hand out at cons and just recently buttons that I’ve mailed to some RPPR fans who asked for them.
  • I post links to the RPPR forums in the show notes and encourage listeners to post there. A friend familiar with PbP games recently expanded our forums to accommodate PbP games.
  • I try to stay positive in the show – complaining about stuff is fun but I prefer to talk about stuff that interests me rather than stuff that irritates or annoys me.
  • In RPPR shout-outs, I try to mention stuff that ISN’T super-popular – I want to shine a light on stuff not everyone knows about it rather than state “yes, Iron-Man is a neat movie”
  • I try to make our show notes informative so a person will understand what a given episode is about before he listens to it. I’ve seen a lot of podcasts that have extremely sparse show notes. A recent RPG podcast episode had this for show notes: “Topic: Player Narration, Comic Book Movies, Writing Inspirations” along with a list of what games or shows they talked about at given times in the show. I have no idea if I want to listen to that or not.

Read some of the comments from the survey below the fold.

·         The Jank Cast and The Podge Cast have been responsible for introducing me to a variety of new games. While I am primarily a board gamer, I really enjoy reading RPG systems (they are so much better now than when I played 1990-2002).

·         Dragon’s Landing got me started. Sons of Kryos was my favorite; how I miss it. I also listen to the WotC D&D podcasts.

·         Really like listening to RPPR actual play cast and found heaps of awesome DM tips from Happy Jacks.

·         The guys from Nerd Bound are awesome. They play a wide variety of games and are responsive to listeners.

·         RPPR and Nerdbound Rule!

·         rppr is a pretty cool guy and doesn’t afraid of anything.

·         There are not enough podcasts for non-D&D game systems. Those that do exist are sometimes over-the-top in theme. For example, Order 66 is great but the little interludes with voice acting /fanfic themes is not appealing to me. The same for Darker Days. I really enjoy serious discussion, not in-character talk. Fear the Boot is the best though. BAR NONE. We need to clone them.

·         Also, I don’t tend to listen to podcasts with a lot of profanity. Oddly Gutterskypes is often flagged explicit, but it’s great podcast that I listen to regularly. This is an example of why I listen for myself to judge whether the language is pointlessly offensive.

·         Brilliant Gameologists irritates the crap out of me.

·         Oh yeah and Co-host of RPPR, Tom Church, is an awesome human being.

·         I love Happy Jacks. It is awesome. I wish I had enough time to listen to all of these pocasts.

·         I listen to The Podge Cast and Fear the Boot most commonly. Other gaming podcasts come after I’ve listened to my Podge and Boot episodes. And where the hell are the Brilliant Gameologists?

·         Listening to just the RPPR and the actual plays are enough podcasts for me. I didn’t know that there were that many RPG podcasts. I listen to one other non-gaming podcast but if I subscribe to more podcasts, I feel like I would have too many to listen to and would fall way behind.

·         Actual play is the thing that keeps me coming back to podcasts. Discussion is interesting and important, but it’s not nearly as interesting in a vacuum. (The Walking Eye is currently my favorite, although Actual People Actual Play gives enough of an overview of their games to be acceptable.)

·         Fear the Boot is still the highest quality gaming podcast by far. AGC has the best news.

·         Get Joe back on the Podgecast now that he’s given up on his own shows, damn it. He was the best host they had.

·         I appreciate the PodgeCast’s commitment to posting a show every week. I wish Trapcast would post more regularly.

·         I did not know there were so many gaming podcast, but my one true love will be RPPR. <3

·         Return to Northmoor is the most professional podcast out there.

·         i also started listening to SharkBone Posdcast probably because it’s local to Vegas.

·         Critical Hits wasn’t on there or the chatty dm but they rule.

·         I looked for RPG podcasts a while ago but didn’t find any I wanted to listen to regularly. A friend mentioned Happy Jack’s, which has in it a lot of people I know because I do faire. I’ll probably go through this list of podcast to find something to listen to in addition to Happy Jack’s.

·         It’s hilarious that you have Brilliant Gameologists on this list.,,although I guess they’re still releasing quarterly. Also: The Podge Cast rules.

·         I also listen to saved copies of Sons of Kryos, Durham 3, Misfit Brew, The Round Table, The Rolemonkeys, and RPGMP3-Whartson Hall Gamers.

·         Sons of Kryos — if it returned, I’d have something to tick.

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