Like blogs, everyone’s got one. You might be asking yourself “am I just adding to the noise?” When faced with a question like this, experienced podcasters and pundits often point to TV and books. Turns out we haven’t completed books, and TV isn’t finished. We still keep writing books, and we still keep making TV.
Yes, anyone can make a podcast – you can edit it yourself, or engage the services of an editor. You can hire a consultant or coach, or turn to Facebook groups for help. Making a podcast is easy; making the right show for the right audience, and getting that show in front of that audience is much harder.
That’s why this question feels important to us. It’s not because we think podcasting’s full, it’s because it can feel daunting to differentiate ourselves. So, taking the subset of podcasts about podcasting as an example, let’s survey the competition. If you search for “podcasts about podcasting” you end up with names such as
- The Audacity to Podcast.
- Podcasting Step by Step
- Better Podcasting
- Podcasting, Q&A
- Ask the Podcast Coach
- The Podcast Accelerator
- Podcasting Simplified
- Build a Big Podcast
- Podcast Talent Coach
All of these shows are educational, just like the podcast and YouTube channel backing this article. And yet we still keep making new podcasts about podcasting. Why is that? Mostly it’s about audience fit.
“Podcast listener” isn’t a demographic
It’s certainly not one that interests us, since that amounts to 100% of our listenership, just like “TV viewer’ isn’t a demographic to those who make TV shows.
Not everyone listens to podcasts, not everyone watches TV, and not everyone reads books. Being a podcast listener is not a niche among podcast listeners, so we have to narrow down our scope and figure out exactly who we’re making our podcast for.
This website is for people who are at the very start of their podcasting journey, and who wants to take it a little bit further. But that’s not a unique audience, so let’s look again at what’s already on offer. A few of the shows I’ve listed above are no longer putting out regular episodes. There’s a lot of Bible stuff in podcast education, which isn’t going to be to everyone’s tastes.
Some are nice and short, but have long or repetitious intros that make them hard to binge. And sometimes it just might come down to the tone of voice or style of this presenter. These aesthetic considerations have an impact on us because, while we might cover the same ground as others, the way you deliver a message could suit your audience way more than someone else’s.
We come from the future (sort of)
Starting from episode one of a podcast in a fast-moving industry means we can cover old ground from a new perspective. It doesn’t invalidate others’ past work; it just means we can draw on what we know now, that a competing podcast didn’t know when it launched episode one, however many years ago.
We get to choose our focus
There may be certain aspects of your industry you don’t want to cover in your podcast. Breaking news coverage is good for an immediate hit and a shot at something that might spread quickly, but if you’re looking to deliver something more instructional, perhaps a more evergreen approach is the way to go, where you eschew trends and focus more on longer-term developments or elements that will seldom, if ever change.
Podcasting as part of a broader offering
Podcode episodes are recorded live and streamed to Twitter, Twitch, Facebook and beyond, edited for YouTube, mastered as audio podcast episodes, and written up in article form. Your podcast may form part of a larger media strategy, or you might have the germ of an idea you can take from live video all the way through to written article in the span of a day, that can then be delivered across your various touch points within a week. If you want to see this done really well, check out Podcast Pontifications.
I left Evo Terra’s podcast-about-podcasting off the initial list because it’s less of an educational resource for beginners as it is a series of think pieces for already working podcasters. So although the method of delivery is similar between Podcode and Podcast Pontifications, we’re aiming at different markets, and we have different delivery styles.
Nothing lasts forever
Death comes to all podcasts. Podfading is the slow death of a podcast over time, whereas some shows just end, whether through neglect or because they’ve said everything they need to say. So while your incumbent might have great SEO and standing within directories right now due to their depth and breadth of content, you have the potential to grow into that space since there’s no more growing that dead show can do.
From 👂 to 🧠 to ❤️
As podcasters, we get to occupy a little space in the brains of our listeners, which we get to via the ears. After time, through honest, authentic and generous communication – sharing our knowledge and a little piece of ourselves – we can end up in our listeners’ hearts, and we can capitalise on the trust we’ve built, genuinely and without cynicism.
Of course you’re not too late to podcasting. You have something to say that other people haven’t said yet, and still more haven’t heard. You just need to find the people who want to hear what you’ve got to say, in the way that you say it.