Start a podcast: 5 reasons why you should (and five why you shouldn't)

5 reasons you should start a podcast (and 5 reasons you shouldn’t)

If you want to start a podcast, take a look at both the positives and the negatives before you make your decision.


Reasons to start a podcast

Have you noticed how popular podcasting is lately? The number of people listening to podcasts is growing fast.  

The number of podcasts is increasing at the same, if not accelerated rates. The figures change all the time, but it’s likely there are now close to 500,000 podcasts in the world 

There's no denying hosting a podcast can be great fun and it is an exciting opportunity. But there is a flip side. 

The life span of a new podcast is precarious. Within six months, most are in danger of extinction.  

So, does the world need another podcast?  Well yes. And no.  


Five reasons why you should start a podcast 

 

1.   It's a less competitive space

Have you ever asked: How many blogs are there in the world?  

Tumblr has around 400 million. There are also over 75 million blogs hosted on WordPress.ComNot to mention all the self-hosted blogs.  

That's at least 500 million blogs, with new ones launching every second of the day. 

By contrast, current estimates suggest there are around 500,000 podcasts. And only around 40% of those active. 

 

2.   You can create in depth content that is easy to repurpose 

A podcast allows you to produce detailed content and develop topic authority. You can also promote your business, products and services. 

The average blog post is 980 words. At most, it will take about five minutes to read. And chances are, your blog visitors will skim rather than read most of your posts. 

Most podcasts are over 30 minutes long and contain around 5000 spoken words. And it's pretty difficult to skim through a podcast. 

Podcast episodes are also a great source of more content. It's easy to repurpose them into blog posts, infographics and short clips for social media. 

 

3.   Podcasts are a great way to create sticky, evergreen content  

Evergreen is a big buzz word in content creation these days. It means a piece of content that has an indefinite life span. 

When you add an episode to your podcast, the biggest spike of listeners tends to be in the first few days. But over time, you'll notice the number of downloads will continue at a steady pace. This is what makes it evergreen. 

New listeners will also often browse back through all your previous episodes.  

 

4.   Podcasts create audience engagement 

Podcasts create a unique environment of trust and continuity. 

Audiences love podcasts. Their emotions are often triggered by the human voice. They listen longer and feel connected to the host.  

You can also encourage listens to subscribe to your podcast to get updates on new episodes. It's easier than relying on social media (and the ever changing algorithms). Or email (and the risk of promotions or spam tab banishment). 

 

5.   Podcasts are portable and convenient 

A podcast can go where a blog post, video or infographic can’t. You can’t read a blog post or watch a video while you're driving your car.  You can multitask and do the housework while you're listening.  

When it comes to podcasts, the biggest effort required is hitting play.  

 

Sounds exciting doesn't it? Still want to start a podcast? Well before you race out and buy a microphone, let's take a look at the flip side.  

 

Five reasons why you shouldn't start a podcast 

1.   It's not always easy or inexpensive to start a podcast

You could record a podcast with your built-in microphone and host the episode on your own blog. But if you go down that road, the quality is likely to be iffy. 

It's better to start by buying a suitable microphone and host your podcast on a platform like Libsyn. You should also distribute it via iTunes 

Yes, it's not rocket science. But if you've never done it before, there is a learning curve. Which microphone should you buy? Which software should you use to record and edit? How do you even submit a podcast to iTunes? 

As a first-timer, it's not going to be easy. Achievable. But not easy. 

 

2.   Maintaining a podcast is a commitment 

Here's a new term for you: Podfade. It describes a podcast that is less and less often updated. Podfade happens when people lose interest in the topic. Or because they underestimate the resources required to build a successful podcast. 

Creating each podcast episode, from beginning to end, is a process. You have to come up with a topic and plan the content. If your format is interviews, you'll need to book guests and schedule recording times. And once that's all done, you still have to edit the content, upload and promote it. 

It takes a lot of time to produce and distribute a quality podcast on a regular schedule. 

If you don't have that time, you will need to pay some else to help 

Either way, you need to make a commitment of time and/or budget to keep your podcast alive. 

 

3.   If you start a podcast you probably won't be an overnight success

You've got about as much chance of being an overnight podcasting success as you do of winning the lottery. 

You’ve heard about the person who launched a podcast and got thousands of downloads in their first month. Well, it's likely they already had an established audience. They were already successful. 

What you don't hear about is the person who launched a podcast and is lucky to get ten listeners per episode. Week after week after week. 

The median number of listeners for a podcast episode is around 200. That means there are a few podcasts with massive six figure downloads per episode. But most are in the handful of listeners category. 

Don't start a podcast for overnight fame. You may reach that pinnacle, but if you do, it’s likely to take a lot of time, hard work and patience before you get there. 

 

4.   It’s hard to analyze and fine tune a podcast 

Analytics rule in the world of content creation. They help us to understand what our audience wants. And what they don't want. Unfortunately, Podcast statistics are not as detailed as many other sources. 

You should be able to find out how many downloads there were of each episode and from which countries.

But you can't tell how long people listened. Or if they listened to more than one of your episodes. And you can't even find out how many iTunes subscribers you have. 

Optimizing content is important for any creator. To achieve this when you start a podcast, you'll need to dig deeper and encourage audience feedback.  

 

5.   You shoudn't start a podcast just to sell one product or service

Listeners don’t always translate to action. As a direct sales tool, a podcast requires extra steps. You have to tell your listener to stop and do something else, like go to a website and click a link. It’s well known that with each step in a process you lose an incremental number of people.  

It's true that podcast audiences become very engaged with the topic. But a loyal audience means each episode goes to many of the same people. This also limits the opportunity for ongoing sales unless you have a broad product range. 

 

So back to the original question. Should you start a podcast?  

By all means, if you do so with your eyes wide open. Expect it to be hard work. Expect it to take time. And be realistic that even after all that time and work, it may not deliver gold. Podcasts aren’t a magic recipe for success. Yours may well be one of the special few. So yes, it's worth shot as long you manage your resources and expectations. 

 

Got questions?

My free Facebook Group has a dedicated discussion thread on podcasting, so jump on in and join the conversation if you have any questions, suggestions or other thoughts about Podcasts.

If you’re not already a member of the group, you will need to join first to access this podcasting discussion.





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