In mid 2017, plenty of people are still asking themselves, “Should I start a podcast?”
We all know that podcasting is super trendy, and sometimes it can feel like everyone and their mother has one. Given the crowded landscape of podcasting, a better way to approach this question is to first ask yourself why you should *not* start a podcast.
Around the end of 2016, an article was floating around titled, “Please, Please, For The Love Of God: Do Not Start a Podcast,” by Ryan Holiday. Obviously, the title struck controversy and conversation about what podcasting for the right reasons and the wrong ones looked like. Holiday argued that people who are looking to cash in on the gold rush without putting in the effort to make “compelling work” should just stay out.
As a huge admirer of the medium, I don’t completely disagree with Holiday. And as a producer, I know that podcasting is indeed a significant dedication of your time and energy.
However, I’m more aligned with Women of Forbes Contributor, Sarah Rhea Werner’s response, where she points out how difficult it actually is for fakers to make it in podcasting. Werner explains, “Podcasting is such a deeply authentic, intimate and work-intensive medium that fakers will fail to gain traction, make zero profit or simply succumb to podfading over time — that is to say, they will weed themselves out.”
Werner builds on this idea to argue that if fakers will eventually fade out, then why write a headline discouraging anyone who sees it from even starting – including readers that may have had better intentions than the “trend-crazy marketing executive” (who, for the record, don’t all have bad intentions, #notallmarketingexecutives).
Now, let’s check your intentions.
I’m not writing this to shame anyone, podcasting is a new medium that all of us are still trying to figure out. These are my insights on why new podcasters tend waste a lot of their time and money, and hopefully, I can save some of ya’ll from that fate or better clarify for others that they are indeed ready to start podcasting.
So here it goes. You should not start a podcast if:
1. You’re just jumping on the bandwagon
If you’re hoping that all you have to do is record yourself and your Skype guest and upload it to iTunes and voila now you’re a Podcaster, yeah this probably isn’t for you. In Holiday’s article, he argues in more detail why this is an ignorant way to think about podcasting, but essentially it’s a misunderstanding of how much work goes into making compelling audio.
2. You want to add a “fashionable” marketing technique to you or your agency’s repertoire
While a podcast on iTunes to show clients in theory sounds cool, it’s much harder to execute *well*.
Lots of people listen to podcasts, and many podcasters make the mistake of underestimating how many of these listeners will be able to pick out your poor audio quality, unoriginal formats, and incoherent interviews.
Let me tell you something about podcast listeners, they REALLY LOVE podcasting and they know when yours sounds like shit. Your clients may or may not be able to tell, but the listeners will and your stagnate download numbers will reflect that.
3. You’re looking for a new medium to advertise your product or service
While podcast ad conversion rates are respectable, according to Midroll, a podcast advertising placement service, 61 percent of podcast listeners have bought a product they heard advertised on the show.
While this high rate is a result of a number of factors unique to the medium, I’d like to emphasize that this figure reflects the listenerships of well-established podcasts – meaning podcasts with enough listeners (at least 10,000 to 20,000 per episode) that advertisers will even consider placing ads on their shows.
Unfortunately, it’s much more difficult for independent producers – without an already existing platform – to even build that audience, let alone capitalize from it. It’s not impossible to build this kind of audience, but, for a new show, it really does take a unique concept, strong production quality, and time to accomplish.
• • •
All right, hopefully this clarified for some of you whether or not you’re ready to invest your time and money in podcasting.
Again, this isn’t meant to deter anyone who’d like to try podcasting – especially independent producers. But you will have to start from zero, and I want you to begin your process with clear expectations.
If you’d like to chat more about podcasting with me, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
True Voice Media is now offering a Podcast-In-A-Box service where you bring the talent and we bring all the professional production value.
And if you’re local to Philadelphia and just looking to do it yourself, we also have time slots available at our recording studio. Click to here to inquire about booking.