Most podcasters do not approach their work as a professional, and it is the single thing that is currently missing from the space.
“Please, Please for the Love of God Do Not Start a Podcast,” writes Ryan Holiday, in a 2016 article, citing Jordan Harbinger founder of the Art of Charm podcast, about why most entrepreneurs should be swayed from not starting a podcast. Based on the supporting data, Harbinger has a very valid point. Podcasts are an excellent public relations and communication tool that can help businesses reach many new customers that otherwise would have no clue they exist, but most of them are doing it wrong and for the wrong reasons. They are looking to serve themselves rather than an audience desperate to learn.
Harbinger and Holiday are 100 percent correct that the current climate in podcasting is not only unsustainable but hurts the credibility of those that are very successful in the space. Podcasters are all using the same email format to approach guests, and not even taking the time to learn who they are interviewing, rather just looking for the next big guest to pump their numbers. This is not only a sign of a problem in podcasting, but a wider problem in the world of internet marketing.
In the time since the 2016 article was written, the space has event taken a vast shift. Hundreds of thousands of show have “Pod-Faded,” meaning still exist in iTunes but no longer publish content and usually have less than 100 episodes. As of June 2019, of the over 700,000 shows in iTunes, only 18% had added an episode in the last three months.
Enter the Online Marketers…
Why? There is a glut of short-sited entrepreneurs and wannabe’s that rolled in thinking that podcasting was the next big internet marketing fad, and they would get there quick, easy fix.
In 2007, Tim Ferriss published the Four Hour Work Week, the bible for most in the internet marketing world. Ferriss opened my eyes to the huge amount of wasted energy just to claim we are being productive, and the value of systems in business. However, in a world of digital entrepreneurs looking to make money for doing pretty much nothing, Tim’s point is missed. It’s about creating the highest level of efficiency in your business so that you can not only make more money but also live more life.
John Lee Dumas, founder of Entrepreneur on Fire podcast, created a very successful model in which he only spends one to two days a month creating content and has hired a team to publish his podcast with very little effort from himself. John is then free to spend the rest of his time working on creative projects like his recent book, the Freedom Journal and his training program called Podcaster’s Paradise. Too many in the space are trying to be John, rather than taking his very successful strategies and infusing their unique own self and creativity into their podcast.
Why does Pod-Fading happen? There’s many reasons, but essentially new podcasters find out that building an audience takes work and if they do not have a different opinion or something unique to make them standout out; they quit.
Is There Room for Professionals?
Many in the digital world treat the podcast as the ultimate freedom business tool. They’re working eight hours a month, getting a large number of listeners, then bringing on advertisers and starting a coaching program. Which brings me to the thing that most podcasters are missing and that is professionalism. It’s about having the viewpoint of a journalist, connecting with an audience and treating well-accomplished guests with the respect they deserve.
As a podcaster, I have learned what a little bit of professionalism will do for connecting with guests but also in creating opportunities sheerly for treating people like people and not just the next big score. In fact its allowed me to connect with some amazing individuals like three-time Indy 500 Champ Helio Castroneves, best-selling author Grant Cardone, NCAA National Champion football Coach Jim Tressel and platinum recording artist Matisyahu.
Most podcasters will never make the gold rush money that they expect when they start, but there is an ability to create a valuable network and promote their business if they learn to act like a professional. There is a great need for basic journalism and public relations skills for podcasters, and even a bit of a need for journalistic integrity.
A podcast may be new media, but until podcasters learn to treat their job more like traditional media, then there really is no need for new podcasters to enter the space. A podcast can be the single greatest Public Relations tool that a company can ever undertake, but doing it without professionalism can hurt more than help.
The Death of iTunes
If you haven’t noticed, iTunes got a little weird on July 24th. I’ve noticed that search has changed drastically; It hard for me to find my podcast under “Jeremy Slate,” unless I put in exactly “Jeremy Ryan Slate.”
Another thing is only the top 100 chart for all of iTunes works as of the following Monday, sub charts do not work; the recent email from Apple says sub charts will now be removed until the new podcast app is launched.
For the time being, a tool like Chartable still works and is actually show positions on the new charts; I was #90 in Self-Improvement this morning.
The steps have started to shut down iTunes and launch the new podcast categories as well as a dedicated podcast app.
The exciting part? There will be even more categories than before and they will be way more specific!
How awesome is that? It’s a huge indicator that not only is the industry growing, but it will also be easier for users to find new shows they like.
Why is this such a big deal?
It’s about discoverability, making it easier for the listener to find new shows, that are exactly what they are looking for.
If you have really good content it can now be found.
What to do I mean? “Marketing & Management,” used to be the largest category in the business category, but both are very different things. Now, there is a “Marketing” category and a “Management” category.
Previously, there was no category for entrepreneurship, though its a big deal, there was no place to put it that quite fit; now there’s a category for that.
Overall, I think this will have a really big effect on growing the podcast space, because there are so many more, ultra specific categories.
Where is Podcasting Going?
Though all the above sounds negative, it’s actually a huge opportunity. The overall podcasting number has grown over 200,000 additional shows since 2018. Based on current growth trends, podcast advertising is predicted to hit $1.6 Billion by 2022; to which 78% of listeners found reported they didn’t mind the ads.
In fact, Tim Ferriss, recently tried to go a model where he removed ads and went listener supported. His inbox was then flooded by individuals tell them that they missed the ads because they saw them as Tim’s recommendations. Given that, Tim is moving back to an ad supported model. He returned all donated money to listeners, including an Amazon gift card matching the amount of money they donated; 200% of their money back.
Podcasting is the next wave of media that will continue to grow, as radio continues its slow demise, and moves towards listener demand driven content. As food for thought, would it be the end of radio if auto makers were to remove AM / FM radios from cars? There’s a good chance radio would not survive were that to happen.
The point is, if you are going to create content or make a media appearance, the best use of your time and money for the foreseeable future is podcasting. That being said, the content has to be good, differentiated and actually valuable. Otherwise, you may end up with firsthand experience to what Pod-Fading is.