With thousands of podcasts already in existence, it’s easy to believe that the podcasting space is overcrowded. However, this is a myth that often discourages potential podcasters from starting their own show. While it’s true that there are many podcasts covering various topics, there are still numerous untapped niches and specific audiences waiting to be engaged.
Let’s dig a little deeper on the actual numbers. There were, as of the last figures I uncovered, 2022, about 4 million podcast RSS feeds. Now that could lead you to believe there’s 4 million shows in the wild. The article I read suggested around about 320,000 – 350,000 of these feeds were active. The definition of active used was that a show had published an episode in the last 90 days. That’s a pretty wide definition. There are shows related to sporting competitions that only run during the season. For half the year they would qualify as a dead feed. These though are the exceptions. The majority of shows publish on a daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. That being so, the number of active feeds is probably much lower than the 320,000.
Why are there so many inactive shows? Well podcasting requires a commitment. It may not be a massive commitment but it can be. Back during the unpleasantness of 2020 to 2022, a company called Anchor had a sweetheart deal in place to avoid the usual vetting process from Apple Podcasts Connect. See the episode Apple Podcasts Connect to understand the role of this gatekeeper. Now Apple didn’t stop all shows that ended up podfading but they just add an extra step to see if you’re fully committed to medium. So, eventually we arrived at the point, individuals and organisations signed up through Anchor, published 3 or 4 or sometimes only 1 episode and discovered a commitment to the artform was required and just stopped. A certain ex-Royal couple spring to mind along these lines too, but I digress. The Anchors of the world and the fact podcasting takes effort has led to so many inactive feeds.
The point is: there’s space for your service to enter the medium.
One of the beautiful aspects of podcasting is its diversity. Every podcaster brings their unique voice, perspective and expertise to the table. No two podcasts are exactly the same, even if they cover similar subjects. Each host has their own style, personality, and way of presenting information, which resonates differently with audiences. This is true too for organisations. Your disability service podcast will be a reflection of that service. Its strengths, foibles, vision and purpose will all be on display. This is great as it attracts the people who resonate with your view and tends to push away those with whom your service would not be a good fit, saving huge amounts of time and money. There’s plenty of space for you and your service in the podcasting arena.
Instead of viewing the existing podcasts as competition, consider them as proof that there is an audience hungry for audio content. The fact that so many podcasts already exist shows that people are eager to consume content in this format. It’s a testament to the popularity and effectiveness of the medium. Moreover, there are numerous untapped niches waiting to be explored. Think about your services unique skills and passions, interests or areas of expertise. Is there a specific topic that you feel passionate about and would love to share with others? There’s probably more than one. Four ten episode seasons a year would allow you to dive deeply, with your service’s unique perspective, reaching out to those in need of what you deliver. By focusing on an aspect of your service that you genuinely care about, you have the opportunity to provide unique insights and perspectives that may not be available elsewhere.
Remember that podcasting is an intimate medium that allows hosts to build a connection with their listeners. People often listen to podcasts because they want to hear from someone they trust and resonate with. By finding your service’s unique voice and providing valuable content, your podcast can attract a dedicated audience that appreciates your perspective and expertise.
To make your podcast stand out, consider what value you can bring to your audience. What makes your service different? Is there a specific angle, format, or approach that sets you apart? Focus on delivering high-quality content that educates, entertains and/or inspires your listeners. By consistently providing value and engaging with your audience, you can build a loyal following.
Additionally, cross service collaboration, bringing guests from other organisations whether in the same space or an allied one can help you reach new audiences. Cross-promotion can be a powerful tool for gaining exposure and introducing your podcast to potential listeners who may not be aware of your show. By supporting and collaborating with fellow podcasters and service providers, you can create a supportive community that benefits everyone involved.
In conclusion, the idea that podcasting is overcrowded is a myth that should not deter you from starting your own show. While there are many podcasts out there, each one brings a unique voice and perspective. By focusing on a specific niche, providing valuable content, and connecting with your audience, you can carve out your own dedicated listenership. Embrace the opportunities podcasting offers and let your creativity shine in this vibrant and ever-growing medium.