There are many well-intentioned articles that say you should start a podcast because it’s easy. I’m going to be straight with you. While easy to start, producing and publishing a podcast regularly requires tremendous effort, energy, and discipline.
You will encounter moments of joy, but you’re also likely to have moments when you question why you’ve committed to such a time-consuming project.
As I reflect on my experience, here are seven real reasons to start a podcast. Being easy is not one of them.
Launch a podcast and you’ll have a platform that gets you one-on-one time with people who would not otherwise talk to you. Think of it this way. Your podcast is your party. As host, you get to roll out the red carpet for VIP guests. Do things right, and you’ll grow your network. Even if you don’t cultivate these relationships, you’ll raise the level of your brand by organizing the party.
This is perhaps the most valuable benefit of having a podcast. It stands triumphantly regardless of how many listeners download your episodes. This one is black and white, and it begins with episode one.
Because of podcasting. I’m thinking in the language of stories. Does my story have a beginning, middle, and end? Will my episode tell a story from start to finish? These are the building blocks of becoming a better communicator. I ask better questions. Listening is a work in progress, but at least I’m willing to admit that I have a problem! That’s the first step.
When speaking, I still use crutch words — those dreaded ums, ahs, and you knows — but I’ve gotten better. Whether I’m speaking to someone one-on-one or presenting on stage, I have no doubt that my improved ability to communicate is because of my podcast.
The real reason to start a podcast is that there is not a gatekeeper to tell you no. In radio, you’d have to sell your idea to a program director. Then, you’d need sponsors to cover the overhead to put your show out over the airwaves.
In podcasting, the biggest barrier to entry is often yourself! With an idea and a smartphone, you can start recording audio. Upload it to a web or media host, and you’ve got a podcast. Sure, you can go down a rabbit hole researching gear, but it’s quite possible to start with what you already own. And when you are ready to upgrade equipment, sponsors won’t be necessary because you can level up a reasonable cost.
The idea that you can be a big podcaster with a grand audience is alluring. Don’t start a podcast for the promise of fame and fortune, though. The truth is that the typical show has a median of 130 downloads during its first few weeks of publishing.
Don’t fret, because the magic is not in a million downloads. It’s in building a relationship with a real person listening on the other end. Whether your intention is to educate, entertain, or inspire, a podcast grants you the ability to make someone’s day a little bit better. Be the best podcaster that you can be, and you’ll have the power to reach a listener who really needs you. You might inspire someone to make a positive change. You could save a life!
A recent study found that the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds today. That is sad. People view Facebook videos for an average of 23 seconds. A “good” YouTube consumption rate is somewhere around 50%.
Podcasts are different though. They’re binge worthy! According to Edison Research, 80% of people listen to all or most of each podcast episode. This is despite the fact that many podcasts can run for hours. No wonder podcasts have been called “the slow food movement of the media world.” A podcast is an opportunity for you to develop trust and build relationships with listeners.
Okay, not all podcast episodes are evergreen. There are news podcasts or topical episodes that are timely. For most creators, though, podcast episodes can be evergreen, meaning that a listener can download it at any time and get value from it.
As you build a portfolio of podcast episodes, this is where the power is. A listener who discovers your podcast can download multiple episodes. A true fan may download your entire back catalog! With each episode, you create leverage — a force multiplier for success.
No matter where you are when you start, I guarantee that you will be even better by episode one hundred. You cannot help but to improve.
Many of us did not go to school to learn how to be a podcaster. Your talents will be developed through hard work, good strategies, and input from others. Great podcasters worry less about looking smart and put more energy into learning.
I feel like podcasting makes me a better person. I learn from every guest that I interview. I’m learning to be a better listener.
These are the real reasons to start a podcast. Of course, I want to always improve my show and grow an audience. But even if the only listener of my podcast was me, these are the reasons that keep me going.
If you haven’t started a podcast yet, now is the time!
Why did you start your podcast? Did I miss any? Please post a comment.