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Should You Start A Podcast Of Your Own? (Episode #96)

This episode starts with some basic stats on the growth and popularity of podcasting from the likes of Edison Research and Libsyn. Numerically speaking, it seems like podcasting makes a lot of sense. And for many, it does.

You’ve possibly heard about the big surge in podcasting lately. And since we’re talking about growing our traffic during this phase of the podcast, a natural question is….

“Should YOU Start A Podcast?”

This episode starts with some basic stats on the growth and popularity of podcasting from the likes of Edison Research and Libsyn. Numerically speaking, it seems like podcasting makes a lot of sense. And for many, it does.

But, there’s some questions you need to ask before diving in so that you don’t run into the wall quickly and sputter. I share 4 specific questions you need to ask yourself before starting a podcast. Also, I give you 3 things you need to think about before getting started.

No doubt – podcasting can be a powerful extension of your blog and your brand. This very podcast is even beginning to catch up to my blog. When you compare my weekly downloads to my weekly blog visits, the podcast is now doing about 43% of the traffic of my main blog. Really cool! But, don’t dive in without asking yourself these key questions.

Learn from my mistakes.  🙂

Now, we are talking here the general theme of this big set of episodes that we are doing right now. And this podcast is about getting traffic to our sites and there is no doubt that a podcast can serve as a good audience building in traffic getting vehicle. And perhaps you have learned and heard a lot about podcasting and maybe you have thought about getting a podcast of your own,l starting up your own podcast. And so, what we are going to do is we are going to talk about this question of “Should you start your own podcast?”

What Stats Tell Us

Now, the first thing that I want to do is look at a few stats. Now, before I hit the record button I went out and look at a few stats to see where podcasting is today because I have been hearing about how we are kind of in a golden age of podcasting right now; how there is a lot of growth in podcasting. And I have experienced it because I am definitely seeing growth in this particular show, but I haven’t looked at the stats much to see what was actually happening collectively. So I went out and looked around.

Edison Research

There’s a company out there; their name is Edison Research and they have dropped a few stats. One, was that in the last 7 years, the percentage of Americans who listen to podcasts has almost doubled. I think it started out around 7% or 9% and it is up to like 17% or something like that, like regularly listening to podcasts. So it has definitely gone up. Now, 33% of all Americans have listened to at least one podcast. Now that is pretty good because this is a medium that started out where it was basically just the really geeky type. It used to be like a technical thing. And you have to kind of be in the “know” to listen to podcast. Well, now it is changing. It has become a lot more accessible and today a third of all Americans have actually listened to a podcast and that is definitely an up-tick. About 50% of Americans are aware of podcasts.

Now again, looking at it as the medium coming from the really geeky background… It used to be like going up to somebody and talking about RSS fee and their eyes would cross and like bad things will happen; they would not have any idea what you’re talking about. And to this day, with an RSS feed that is the way most people are. A veteran blogger might know what an RSS feed is but most people don’t. And that is the way podcasting began. You have to know what the RSS feed was; you have to plug it in a little app, blah-blah-blah.

So the fact that we have gone from that dorky-geeky point to now today that 50% of Americans actually know what it is; that is a really big up-tick. Now obviously we saw a 50% of us left, but that is a really big up-tick. Now Americans, they now listen to 21.1 million hours of podcast per day. Now that is a boatload of podcasting. 21.1 million hours of podcasting per day…

Another study that I saw is called the Share of Ear Study; this was put out by Edison Research… They look at the amount of time that people spend listening to various forms of audio; audio in any format and they look at the breakdown. And 25.9% of that total time spent listening to audio was spent listening to podcast. That is 25.9%. Now just to put this into perspective; if you think that is not a big number, 27.5% was spent listening to AM/FM radio. So we are talking here about listening to music, listening to talk radio; whatever it might be… The entire collective listening to radio; podcasting is just a hair behind the amount of people listening to the radio.

Now here is another interesting one… 22.3% of that time listening to audio was spent listening to music that they actually own. So in this case we are talking about CDs, things like that. I guess the amount of time listening to music has dropped. And so, 25.9% listening to podcast; it is really up there. When it comes to people who listen to audio regularly, it is now a major, major player.

LibSyn

Now let us go over to LibSyn. LibSyn is a hosting company specifically for podcasting and in fact, this podcast along with millions of others is hosted with LibSyn. Now LibSyn came out with a stat which said in 2014; which is just last year, there were 2.6 billion podcast download. That is billion with a “B”; that is a big number, 2.6 billion downloads and that is just from LibSyn, because there obviously are other places where people host their podcast but LibSyn happens to be the biggie. Now of those 2.6 billion podcast downloads; here’s an interesting thing… 63% of them were from mobile devices. Now that is huge and that goes to a really big key point in how and why podcasting is growing quickly these days because we have got a very rapid increase of mobile device usage.

This is why when it comes to the web in our blogs that we have to pay so much attention to mobile responsiveness and what our sites look like and how they act on mobile. Mobile is a pretty big thing and it has definitely created a really big up-tick in the world of podcasting. And when we are relegated to our desktop computers to listen to this stuff it made it a lot less useful. Now that we can bring podcasting with us to the gym, in the car, things like that; it means that it is so much easier to listen to podcast; it makes it a lot more accessible. Not only that, in the world of iOS which is the Apple operating system for the iPhone and the iPad, the podcast app is now a standalone app and it is now standard on iOS. It wasn’t always like that, okay? Now there is a podcast app sitting right there and so now obviously it increases a lot of awareness as well.

And the other thing is that we are seeing more cars come out with built-in connectivity to podcasting. Things like being able to access podcasts right from the car without even having to plug their phone in; it is just right from the car. So that really puts podcasting on par with radio. Which of course if we back up to the Edison Research study; statistically speaking, it really is on par with the radio. It is right up there with people who listen to the darn radio. So podcasting has grown a lot. It really has reached a really substantial point and I think it is going to go higher from here because we want more choices in our content; well, podcasting gives that. The other great thing that people love is the fact that, yes, podcasts are free. And that is a great thing, right?

So for many, many reasons and a lot of statistics, yes… Podcasting is a really big thing. Now this all comes down to the original question and that is… “Should you start one? Should you personally get in on this wave of podcasting so you can ride it as it grows further?” Now, numerically speaking the answer will be yes. Statistically speaking it will be yes. It would be like getting in on the worldwide web back in the 90’s; which I did, actually. Now it was a lot easier to grow a site back then than it is today.

And in many ways, podcasting is in that situation right now. There is a lot of rapid growth going on. Now you can’t just start a podcast and it is going to be like willy-nilly easy to grow it; it already reached past that point. But numerically speaking, there is still a lot of growth to podcasting as a medium.

Now the second question; and this is why we need to ask this question of ourselves…

“Is podcasting really the right fit for you? Do you have what it takes to actually get in on it?”

The last thing you want to do is start a podcast just because the numbers make it seem very attractive. But then you crash and burn because you didn’t really have a plan of action.

So we are going to ask ourselves a few questions here at the outset:

Do You Have Something To Say?

First one is “Do you have something to say?” Now that is important. Can you actually huff behind the microphone and go for it for however long you plan to have your episodes be? The last thing you want to do is start up with a bang thinking you got such a great idea and after 2 or 3 episodes you are kind of like “you’re done”, you don’t really have anywhere else to go. You don’t want to go there, that is not what you want to do. So you got to ask yourself the honest question. Do you have something to say? Do you have something to add to the world?

Do You Have A Reason To Start One?

Another question you want to ask yourself is “Do you have a reason to start a podcast?” You don’t want to start a podcast only because there is a lot of growth. You got to have a strategy in mind. What do you do in a podcast for? Are you going to direct your listeners into something? I can tell you straight up… the reason that I do Coffee Break Blogging; there are two things: One is I wanted to provide value to the world of podcast in the format that I do it. I do not believe that there is anybody who is doing a purely instructional, tactical podcast like this. Most people were doing primarily interviews. So I wanted to do something a little bit different. Secondly, though; let’s be honest, I am doing it to promote my business as well. I mean, I would not do it, otherwise. I mean, I do this for a living so therefore, when I promote something at the end of the podcast or what have you, I am really hoping that all of you guys who are listening right now are going to go check out what I said because it is a promotional medium. But in order for it to be a promotional medium you got to have somewhere to go. You got to have something to promote, in the first place. And so you got to ask yourself what is your reason for starting a podcast.

Can You Do It On A Regular Basis?

Now another one; another very important question that you need to ask yourself is “Can you actually be regular about it?” You have got to be consistent with a podcast. And in fact, my biggest mistake with this podcast at the beginning was being irregular. This podcast did not start out as Coffee Break Blogging, it started out as one called The Blog Program. And in fact, if you go back to the very first 30 episodes of this particular podcast, it was called The Blog Program; very different thing than what I do now. Now the problem with The Blog Program is that I essentially let it die. And that was because I became irregular about it. And so I am just telling you, with experience, and any other podcast will tell you the same thing; you don’t want to start a podcast unless you know that you can actually be regular about it. It is important. You got to have a plan. If you are going to do like a once a week episode, you got to be consistent… Once a week.

Are You Good At It?

Here’s another question you need to ask of yourself and you just got to be honest about it: “Are you good at the medium? Are you good at speaking?” I’ll be honest, you will get better at it over time. I do not put myself out there as an expert podcaster or as an expert speaker. Quite frankly, I think I am a better writer than probably a speaker. Maybe you got a better opinion, I don’t know. But the thing is you will get better at it over time but you need to ask yourself, can you do this type of thing. Can you speak for a certain block of time and do it with some smoothness to you without having a bunch of “ahmmss” and “ahsss” because that can be really difficult to listen to and people won’t do it. So, are you good at the medium?

 

Plan Ahead

So here is the thing… Should you start a podcast of your own?… Only you can answer that question, but there is a plan of action here and in the next few episodes of this show, we are going to be talking about podcast. And that would be the general theme of the next few episodes here. But I encourage you not to rush into podcasting without a plan. The first thing that you want to do is really nail down the concept that you plan to bring to the table with your podcast. What is the big idea? When I started out this podcast under The Blog Program name, I can’t say that I had a really solid plan. And that was part of what made it become irregular because I started, quite frankly, running out of ideas.

Now when I re-launched it as the Coffee Break Blogging podcast I had a very solid plan. I knew exactly what I was going to do and in fact I actually went out in my RV and I spent time by myself with no kids there, nice and quiet; it was a beautiful thing… And I planned out this exact podcast all the way out through the end of the year. So as it is it sits right now, I know exactly what I am going to be talking about in Coffee Break Blogging up through the end of this year; up to Episode 146, I think it is, something like that.

Now you need to have a plan. So you are going to have an idea and then you have got to plan that thing out for quite some time because that is going to be a big tool in your arsenal when it comes to your ability to remain consistent. If you are struggling on what to say on your own podcast, that is going to be rough. It is going to be rough.

Another thing I am going to mention here before we end off is that you want to put some time into systematizing things so that you can actually produce podcast episodes fairly quickly without a whole lot of confusion. Now the first few episodes are going to be a little odd because you are still getting used to your equipment, you got to maybe get the equipment to begin with, you got to get used to your audio program, what have you… But you want to get to a point pretty quickly where you can systematize it and really make it to where it doesn’t take a lot of time, okay? And you can use VAs and all that stuff but it doesn’t really matter. You can actually do it all by yourself.

 

Keep It Simple

The big thing is not to make the show so overly complicated that you can’t do it yourself. Don’t think that you have got to make your show sound like some magic, Hollywood production that you are going to spend so much time on it yourself trying to get it to that point that you are ultimately going to hate it. Okay? So keep your show to something where you can put them out there on a regular pattern that it doesn’t take too much work on your part; make sure it sounds good. Your audio quality is very important but otherwise; do not complicate it with a bunch of different segments, all these stuff. You can actually make simple podcast that is still valuable and easy to listen to.

So that is my quasi answer to “Should you start a podcast of your own?” Statistically speaking, yes, this is a good time to start a podcast but you got to ask yourself a few honest questions on whether the medium is the best fit for you.

Now I am going to end off this episode by letting you know about one of the courses that I have inside the Blog Monetization Lab. This one is simply called Finding Your Niche. Now the reason why I bring this up, especially right now is because if you are going to start a podcast you obviously have to start with a solid idea. Now the idea of starting up the Finding Your Niche obviously goes very heavily into starting a blog in the first place. But it is very, very important when it comes to starting a podcast as well. You need to have a niche.

Now I mentioned earlier, what I came in with the idea of Coffee Break Blogging. It wasn’t just “Yeah, my niche is blogging” because that is way too big. I came in with it with a little bit more in mind and with this thing called “Unique Selling Proposition”. I have to have an aimed goal. And that is the kind of stuff we do talk about in Finding Your Niche. Now Finding Your Niche also gets in to some of the classic things that you need to go through like keyword research and stuff, into determining if there are legs into a particular market. But then I also guide you through some questions so that you can actually evaluate that market also from the psychological basis and also from a business basis to really see if it is going to have legs for you.

And it works just as well in the world of podcasting in determining your niche as you come in to this medium as it would with your blog. So the Finding Your Niche Course is available only in the Blog Monetization Lab and you can of course learn more about that inside the Lab.

I’ll see you next time. 😉

 

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