Podcasting is certainly popular these days. Not only does it seem that everyone and their mother has started one but they all appear to be listening to them too. According to recent statistics, there were over 19.1 million podcast listeners in the UK alone in 2021, and that figure is expected to rise to 28 million by 2026. In addition, folks tuning into their favourite digital audios do so at least seven times a week!
It’s enough to make you stop and think, “Huh! Maybe I should start my own podcast!” – especially if you’re a small business or solopreneur attempting to cast your net a bit wider.
But the truth is, while podcasts can offer a world of opportunity to many, like everything, it might not be a medium that works for all. Putting one together takes time, consistency and several original ideas that you’re willing to chat about … a lot.
But if you’re still sitting on the fence about whether to pop on some headphones and start sharing ruminations with the listening public, read on. We’ve put together some thoughts on what it takes to create a successful podcast along with pros and cons to help you decide whether you should start a podcast in 2023.
Your time and podcasting
Let’s be really clear – A 10-minute podcast does not take 10 minutes! You’ll need to clock in behind-the-scenes to ensure your 10 minutes (or 20-30 minutes) rolls out as seamlessly as possibly. The best podcasters prep, plan and write a script that they then record and edit before presenting to the listening public.
You may also want to invite guests onto your podcast or add in some fun “bells and whistles”. All of this is great – but all of this also takes extra time in the editing room, and it’s important to be aware of that.
Also, one of the greatest success markers of podcasting is consistency. When listeners can count on you delivering a show, if not every week, at least regularly enough for them to know they can count on different content being available to them each time they tune into you, they’ll be more likely to stick around and support you.
PRO: If you know you can add an extra 3-5 hours to your weekly calendar to achieve the above, then podcasting might not prove a problem.
CON: If, however, you’re already struggling with your current schedule to fit in everything you need to do for your business, then taking on another project like starting a podcast series may not be the smart decision right now.
Your purpose and podcasting
Starting a podcast because everyone else is doing it will likely leave you flagging on the field after a few shows. If, though, you have a great idea (be it based on a personal interest or your business) about which you could talk for hours and feel very passionate, then there’s a greater chance you’ll stay the course.
That great idea could be an aspect of your business or it could even be your whole business. For instance, say you’re a career coach, then your podcast could be based around the whole topic of finding jobs. Or it could be niched down to a specific clientele, such as college-leavers or older people completely changing their career paths in mid-life.
If your podcast has a clear purpose and you’re 110% behind that purpose, then you’ll have little problem showing up each week to produce and present it, particularly in the early days when you might not yet have a solid listenership.
PRO: Having a podcast show with a sparkling clear purpose can really help you to build your business or personal brand. The more knowledgeable, passionate and consistent you are about your subject, the more people are going to want to tune into what you’re saying. Also, it’ll make creating content easier (more on that later!)
CON: Creating a podcast show without a clear purpose as to why you’re really doing it and what it’s all about may start out as fun but will simply become stressful.
However, if you really LOVE the idea of having your own podcast series, then brainstorm some ideas.
- What do you love?
- Can you base the show around your business or even your journey to building your business?
- If you don’t want the podcast to be related to your work, and you can’t think of what you might love enough to keep talking about it week after week, think about the kind of podcasts you do listen to – why do you listen to them? What is it about their topics that attract you? Could you talk about those same topics but add your own spin to them?
Your content and podcasting
As noted above, there are millions of podcasts out there already – so what’s going to make yours stand out from the crowd? Quick answer? Your content.
Before you even start practising your “1-2-3-testing” voice over a mic, it’s critical you know what kind of content you’re going to deliver.
That means finding your niche, developing a concept, knowing who your listeners are going to be (or who you want them to be), understanding what problems you’re solving for them – and delivering on these points consistently.
PRO: If you’re already well established in your business, you’ll likely be able to transfer whatever concept or solution your business is based on straight to your podcast series. Even better if you’ve been in business for a while because you’ll no doubt already have audio, video classes, blogs and other content that you can easily repurpose for your show.
CON: If you’re starting out and still not fully sure what your business niche is, who your clients are or how to speak confidently and clearly to them, it’s a better idea to sort that out first before putting a podcast together whose themes and type of content you might end up pivoting again and again.
Your business and podcasting
If you’ve decided that you want to create a podcast show that’s directly related to your business that’s great – as long as you understand how it fits into your business, and specifically how it supports your business model.
Your business model describes how you plan to make profit with your product and clientele within a particular market. You might have a B2B model, a direct sales business model, a subscription-based one, or any of the many types that are out there.
So, if your podcast is hosting lovely interviews or discussing interesting topics but it’s not engaging with the right audience or encouraging that audience to seek out or subscribe to your product or service, then it’s not supporting your business model nor, ultimately, helping your business to grow. In fact, it’s making your job harder for you because it’s taking your time and energy away from what you need to be doing to help your business succeed.
PRO: Knowing your podcast’s purpose, being able to plan and present it consistently, and having a clear idea of the content that’ll drive listenership is hugely helpful when putting together a business podcast. Also knowing your business model is a help!
Some businesses may have more than one business model. For example, an e-commerce store may use print-on-demand and a subscription-based model. If this is like yours, then decide which model your podcast is going to serve. Perhaps the podcast is aligned with the specific product the subscription service is based around or maybe it’s more focused on getting people to your e-commerce store in general.
CON: Your business model might not lend itself to working well with a podcast show. For example, you might be B2C but what if your clientele consists of predominantly seniors? It’s unlikely that delivering a weekly podcast series is going to hold any real significance for customers that are known to be less tech-savvy or interested in anything Internet-related – and, as a result, have any impact on your bottom line.
So, make sure you understand who your business serves before you decide to spend hours producing a podcast show. Because if it’s not serving anyone, it’s certainly not serving you – or your business.