Where To For Podcasting?

Indeed, “Where To For Podcasting?”. This is a big question. 

Podcasting is a medium which speaks to individuals about their passions. It is not, usually, a get rich quick medium. Podcasting is about value. Building value for our listeners, providing a platform for like minded people to interact. The failed Buzzfeed model of a few years back appears to have been a variation on their website model. Difficult to run click baiting surveys like “Which loaf of bread represents my true love.” in a podcast. They also seem to have spent huge amounts of money on teams of producers, engineers and so on but not on storytellers. They were then surprised they weren’t getting a return on investment. 

Podcasting brings a return on influence, influence in a niche. The narrower the niche, the greater the possibility for influence.

Google moved their podcasting focus from Google Play Music to the Google Podcasts app, the possibilities are expanding. But they are only expanding for podcasters not for “radio” style networks who don’t understand the medium.

Podcasts are narrowcasts not broadcasts. Now we all dream of numbers like the BBC World Service but that’s not what podcasting is about. True enough, many radio networks have entered the space but rarely do they do more than repackage their radio material as podcasts. They do allow time shifting of listening but they are not designed predominantly as podcasts.

The future of podcasting, as I see it anyway, is limitless. We are still, despite the seemingly speeding up of time, in the very early days of the medium. Just 18 years in, we have seen networks come and go. We’ve seen the introduction of advertising and I hope but don’t expect the death of said ads. Sadly this seems to be getting worse. Once upon a time, we’d only be subjected to an ad at the start of an episode, now there are some shows with three at the beginning, some in the middle and more at the end. And they are ads for things that have very little to do with the podcasts in question. I’m not sure how mattresses fit with a podcast on economics but then I’m not an economist. The point is ads lower the value of your podcast. The patreon model is  now well established with similar options like “Buy Me a Coffee.”. This seems more like the future, particularly for non-radio types. Value added on value in a freemium model. Equally, your return on influence is, for a business, a matter of branding, of building long term trust and becoming the front of mind choice when a purchase decision is in your listener’s mind.

Compare that with the plethora of mostly US ads I’ve had the dubious privilege to be subjected to. I have a beard and don’t live on the North American continent so ads for razors, mattresses sold in that domain and food delivery services so located are of no interest to me. Then there’s the mailing services for use in the US. Why? Oh why am I subjected to these horrors?

I’m obviously not the avatar for these shows and geolocated variations are popping up but with a VPN in use I’m receiving Victorian government PSAs. The point I’m trying to make is this: unless you have a really good reason to do so, don’t accept adverts. Use your podcast to build a listener supported community via something like patreon or better yet use your podcast as a leading tool to develop your brand, an understanding of your service in your listener’s minds and to establish, through consistency, your authority in your niche. 

With these in mind, it is truly a great time to be podcasting.



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