While the word Podcast is a portmanteau of the words “iPod” and “Broadcast”, podcasting has evolved into so much more since the first podcast was launched in 2004. Podcasts have become a cross platform multimedia experience and one of the most popular and fastest-growing ways to share new information over the past decade. With over a million podcasts as of January 1 st , 2021, the industry is only showing more signs of growth, so the question that many people run into is, “Why Start Now?”
Before you start a podcast, the first question you will want to ask is “What would mine be about?” and that question can be very overwhelming, as the simple answer is “everything.” When browsing through any of the Top Charts you will surely scroll through multiple podcasts about True Crime, News, Comedy Shows, Edutainment, Fiction, and Celebrity Discussion, and that is just before you break the top 25. What you might not realize at first glance, though, is how some of the most successful podcasts will never break the top of the charts while still achieving their goals.
The first thing to keep in mind is that whether this is for business or pleasure, the topic should be something you are absolutely in love with. A popular term in the podcasting industry is “podfading” and it is the concept that many (if not most) podcasts do not make it past their first few months ‘on air’. Of all the podcasts that you can find out there right now more than 1/3 of them have not released any content in 3+ months. This can be due to many things, but the most popular theory is the fact that if you do not manage your expectations in advance you will be disappointed.
You must love it, because let us get the elephant in the room out of the way- you will almost definitely not make money from it anytime soon. You are just as likely to become Insta-famous after a couple selfies as you are to become a viral sensation or financially profitable off your podcast- at least at first. Getting into something equivalent to Apples “New and Noteworthy” is rare and more likely a matter of being “Know”-worthy than noteworthy.
Finding a topic that you love is a great first step, but you still need to turn that passion into a vision. Like most shows, movies, and networks, the content can be almost anything. Will your podcast be a narrative or be told interview style? What will the tone be? What segments might the topic entail? Will it be episodic? I learned from personal experience that podcasts cannot be everything at once when I attempted a podcast that is about happiness, aging, mental health, comedy, and health, while sliding between being interview style and narrative driven. While that sounds silly in retrospect, at the time I tried to turn every creative idea I have ever had into one project, and that does not work in any art form.
Once you have your concept, then we get down to the heart of the matter- why do you pull the trigger and work on turning your dream into a reality? The simplest answer is “Why not?” Now is the perfect time to start a podcast as there is currently a greater need for podcasts than there are active podcasts. Edison Research released its Infinite Dial 2021 study, showing that 41%, or 116 million US adults over the age of 12 listen to podcasts every month. Podcast listeners are statistically more educated, wealthier, and more loyal than TV or radio consumers. As of Edison’s 2019 findings, podcast listeners consume an average of 7 shows a week, 6 of which are ones they subscribe to.
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