At The Podcast Host we like nothing better than to help people plan, launch, and grow their own podcast series. We’re always excited to spread the word of the medium, to introduce it to people, and to offer reasons as to how beneficial it can be for them, and for their business.
However, there are some circumstances where we would actually have to discourage people from starting a podcast. We really live by the principles of honesty and integrity, and we’ll never work with a client if we don’t think Podcasting is right for them. It’s not likely to work out well for either of us, after all, so we’re more than happy to take a hit to our bottom line in that circumstance.
So, if you thinking about Podcasting, let’s make sure it’s for you. Here are all the reason why you might NOT want to start a podcast!
I Need to Earn a Living From Podcasting, Right Now!
It is possible to make money, and even earn a living from podcasting. Eventually.
But if that’s your goal straight out of the gate, then you’re in for a rude awakening. In podcasting, the opportunities for monetisation arise when you have built a relationship and established a situation where your audience trusts and values what you say. This isn’t an overnight thing, and it can take years to fully reach this stage.
I Want to Quickly Build Loads of Downloads & Traffic
Again, this is something you can certainly achieve in podcasting. In fact, podcasting is one of the best ways to build traffic out there. But… not overnight. Same answer as above: this is the long game, and it takes time to grow people’s trust so that the network effect kicks in, and you start to get loads of traffic through listener referrals.
One exception to this might be celebrities or media personalities who already have a following, as well as other platforms to drive listeners to their show. But the majority of new podcasters have no audience yet. And in order to effectively build one you need to spend time and effort interacting with, and creating the best possible content for your first handful of listeners.
Forget setting targets of getting 100 or 200 downloads or unique hits on your site, and focus instead on those who are already listening, and who want to hear what you have to say. If you build strong relationships with these people, they will eventually be the ones who talk about your show to others, and effectively do your promotion for you.
I Don’t Want to Give My Knowledge Away for Free
Whilst a podcast can be great for you or your business, the information and content you put in to it has to be about your listener, not you. When someone discovers your series, or one of your episodes, they will make a decision to listen based on what they can get out of the experience. People generally want to learn, or take something away when they consume content. If you look at some of the most popular podcast episode titles a large number of them will start with “How to…” or along the lines of “5 Tips for…” or “7 ways to…”.
It could be that the very content you need to put into your podcast in order for it to be discovered, listened to, and enjoyed, is the very information you or your business charges for. You might think that if you give all this away for free, who is then going to need to pay you for anything?
Firstly, it’s probably fair to say that the information and knowledge held by you or your business is already available from someone else somewhere online, and probably also for free. Would you rather people came to you, or went somewhere else?
Secondly, when you reach and impact someone by giving them free content and helpful information, they will feel a sense of gratitude to you. They will almost certainly like you for it, and they will grow to trust you. Granted, many may never do business with, or buy from you – but they probably wouldn’t have anyway. In some cases, listeners to your podcast (or people that they know) will arrive at a point where they’re in need of a service or product like yours, and who do you think will spring to mind first?
I Don’t Have Time to Interact With People & Build Relationships
If you feel that interactions and relationships with your listeners are a waste of your time then don’t start a podcast. If you never set a small amount of time aside to reply to those who get in touch with you, either to thank you for your content, or to ask a follow up question stemming from a recent episode topic, then your audience will never grow, and might even gradually die off. Rightly or wrongly, they might start to see you as inaccessible or aloof, and that’s unlikely to lead to many people liking and trusting you.
Granted, you probably don’t have the time to sit and answer every single question that lands in your inbox – often someone’s “quick question” can take 20 minutes to half an hour to answer. A good tip here is to see these questions as opportunities for future content. Seldom will you be asked something that only one person wants to know the answer to. So, thank people for their questions and endeavour to deal with them fully in a future episode. There’s no need to answer the same question over and over again to different individuals.
I Want to Get in New & Noteworthy
Being featured in the iTunes New & Noteworthy page isn’t a bad thing by any stretch. It’s always feels good to be recognised, and showing up here does, to an extent, allow you to reach a wider audience. However, this should never be your sole focus or reason for starting a podcast.
As Paul Colligan of The Podcast Report said recently – “Starting a podcast to get in New & Noteworthy is like launching a business to get into the phone book.”
There are also a few myths surrounding New & Noteworthy, namely that you only have 8 weeks from your launch date to be featured. You can be featured as “New” in that period, but you can be featured as “Noteworthy” any time. Go and have a look at some of the podcasts that are on there right now. I bet many of them have been on the go far longer than 8 weeks.
There’s also a misconception around how many extra downloads you’ll see from being listed here. Rob Walch – VP of podcast hosting service Libsyn, and co-host of podcast series The Feed, recently revealed that on average you might see 200-300 more downloads per episode. Again, this is a nice bump in numbers, but it isn’t the golden carrot many might have you believe. Our very own Colin Gray talks about a range of examples where New and Noteworthy really didn’t lead to much in the way of gains at all. We worked together on one show, in fact, which hit New and Noteworthy for the ENTIRE iTunes, and still only saw slow gains in download numbers – around the 200 per episode mark over a few weeks.
The best thing to do regards new and noteworthy is to treat it as a nice extra, and to make sure your content is good enough to have these extra listeners subscribe and stick around. New & Noteworthy is a means, not and end.
I Want to Copy an Existing Successful Show, or Presenter
Whilst certain shows or presenters might have heavily influenced your decision to start your own show, keep in mind that it must must represent your own personality, not someone else’s.
Spoken word content is intimate, and it’s hard to ‘fake it’ for very long. People will notice that you aren’t being genuine and switch off. If you’re just copying a successful show, wouldn’t people just listen to that show, rather than a copycat version that won’t be anywhere near as good?
And the reason it won’t be anywhere near as good is because the original show represents the personality of its presenter, whereas yours represents the personality of someone else.
The only way to have a positive and lasting impact in podcasting is to create a show that fits you, and fits your personality. This will sound genuine and authentic simply because it is, and will attract like-minded people as your listeners.
There’s nothing wrong with learning from others, noticing the things they’re good at, and the techniques they seem to use to great effect. But, you need to harness these to your own personality and not simply become a caricature of another podcaster.
None of These Apply to Me
Then you absolutely SHOULD start a podcast, and we want to see you do just that! There are plenty of resources on the site here to get you started, but if you fancy a little help, shortcutting the guesswork, then check out our Podcast Liberation course. Either way, take the step, and begin the journey towards running your own series, making a difference in your field, your community, and in the lives of your listeners. Have fun!