A few years ago, when I first started out in the online business space, I did not know anyone with a podcast. I listened to podcasts avidly, but I didn’t know anyone personally who had a podcast.
Now, I know several podcasters personally AND I ended up launching my own podcast. And it seems like everywhere I turn, someone else is starting a podcast or at least talking about wanting to do so.
But many of these same people are frustrated by the process. Some people are simply overwhelmed with the prospect of starting a podcast. Yet, they know they have a message they want to share.
Others are able to get the podcast off the ground with an initial burst of excitement, but they struggle to keep up with it (many podcasts don’t make it past episode 7). There is a lot of work involved, and many people “podfade” (stop podcasting without planning to).
Or, they do get their podcast going on a consistent basis, but they are upset that their audience is tiny and they are not getting the results they want.
As an avid podcast listener and fan for many years, I understand the obsession with podcasting. I also know, from launching my own podcast and helping other podcasters manage theirs, that there are pros and cons to launching and managing a podcast.
Today I want to share with you some of the pros and cons so that you can decide if YOU should launch your own podcast.
Pros of starting a podcast:
Podcasting can help you grow your audience and, therefore, your business. If done correctly, your podcast will show up for the exact people you want to reach.
Just like people search online for content, people are also searching in podcast apps for particular topics or interests. I have had many people tell me they were searching for a podcast about Christian women in leadership, and they found mine.
Through my podcast, I have been able to reach women that I wouldn’t have been able to if I had simply kept blogging. There are people who listen to podcasts who do not read blogs or watch videos, and my podcast is allowing me to reach those people.
Podcasting is an incredible way to build trust and connection with your audience. When a listener has their earbuds in and they are listening to your voice for 15, 30, or 60 minutes every week… imagine the trust that builds! Your listener feels like they know you, especially if you share some personal content on your podcast.
I have met podcasters that I listen to in person, and I can honestly say that I felt like I was friends with them. After hearing them speak to me for several weeks, months, or years, it seemed like we could just hang out. That is a powerful connection that is tough to build through writing alone, and I propose that it’s also tough to build through video for a different reason noted below.
People listen to podcasts for a much longer percentage of time than they watch video content. Simply said, the consumption rate for podcasts is much higher than other content channels! For example, one piece of content mentioned in this article had a 1% consumption rate on Facebook live, 11% on YouTube, and 64% on the podcast. (Similar stats are found for all the other content they studied in the report). Which would you rather have?
It’s for this reason that I believe it’s easier to build a strong connection with your audience via podcasts rather than video: people are listening to podcasts for a higher % of time than viewing videos (especially on Facebook).
Podcasts can be listened to from just about anywhere. Another pro of podcasting is that your audience can listen to podcasts on their phones, while they are cleaning or driving or exercising. Or they can listen on their computer while you work. They can listen in their office or through a bluetooth device while they prep dinner.
With blog or written content, someone has to be sitting down and focusing on reading your content. And with video, they need to be able to watch in order to get the full effect. But podcasts? Well, you’ve got the most flexibility with delivering your message.
I could go on, but for the sake of time, let me say this: while I believe wholeheartedly that podcasting is the best way to reach potential clients or grow your audience, I also know that it can be very challenging.
Here are some of the cons of starting or running a podcast:
Podcasting takes a lot of time. This is probably the biggest challenge that podcasters face, and often they don’t realize it until they are several episodes in.
The average I have heard from other podcasters as well as from my own experience is anywhere from 4-10 hours per week to produce a weekly podcast. This can vary, obviously, based on your show format, how structured you are, how much editing you want or need on your podcast, and so on.
To have a podcast that will help you grow your audience or business (i.e. a good podcast), you’re going to have to put in a decent amount of time.
Podcasting costs money. Yes, it’s true! There is a financial cost involved to starting and maintaining a podcast. Again, there are ways to do this cheaply or in some cases free. However, I’m a fan of doing things well, and therefore I want you to be prepared to spend a little bit of money to get your podcast going.
Here’s a few things you’ll need to spend money on: podcast hosting (I don’t recommend using a free host), equipment (at least a decent microphone), and a website (if you don’t already have one). Of course, you do not HAVE to have a website, but I recommend at least having a basic landing page for your podcast. This gives you somewhere to point people when they ask about your podcast.
You can also spend money on outsourcing a lot of the work for your podcast if you do not have the time or desire to do it yourself. This would include having an editor, someone to write show notes, graphics creation, uploading, scheduling, and creating and scheduling social media content to promote your podcast. You can hire these roles individually, or you can hire an agency to manage the entire process for you.
Podcasting is a long game. If you are looking for an immediate audience, or immediate results (i.e. new clients, new business), then podcasting is likely not for you.
You may need to focus on referrals, paid advertising, or other marketing methods. As I mentioned in a previous post, podcasts take time to grow. Some do grow quickly, and this can be impacted by how much of an audience you already have, as well as a launch strategy in place when you get started. But most podcasts grow slowly, with consistent time and effort (kind of like a business).
Okay, I’ve shared some pros and cons of starting a podcast, so now we need to come back to the ultimate question:
Should YOU start a podcast?
The truth is, only you can answer that. But there are a few questions you can answer that will help you make this decision.
Questions to ask before starting a podcast:
WHY? The biggest question you need to answer for yourself before starting a podcast is WHY. Why do you want to launch this podcast? What is your motivation for doing so, and is that reason strong enough to keep you going?
Some of the reasons to start a podcast might be business related. You may want to grow your audience and email list or increase the number of clients you work with.
Your reason could also be non-business related. You might want to podcast just for fun, and that is okay! Perhaps there’s a hobby you love and you want to talk about it. Or maybe there’s a passion project you have been putting off, and a podcast is the way you want to pursue that.
It is essential to be clear on WHY you are starting the podcast before you jump in.
HOW? How will you fit podcasting into what you are currently doing? Do you have a plan for how it’s going to line up with your current business model? Do you have the time to commit to getting it off the ground and maintaining it?
You need to decide how the podcast is going to work with your life and business and make sure it’s something you want to pursue.
WHO? Who is your podcast for? Who do you think will listen to your podcast? Do you have a sense that they want or need a podcast like yours?
These questions are not as essential if you plan to simply have a podcast for fun or a hobby. (Although it’s not a bad idea to work through this if you want people to actually listen).
If you can decide exactly who you want your podcast listener to be, it is going to make everything else about your podcast easier. You’re going to be much more successful in building your audience when you speak to a specific person rather than trying to reach “everyone” or “anyone”.
Now you know some of the pros and cons of starting your own podcast. You know some of the questions to consider before beginning. So if your answer is “YES, I want to start a podcast!!”, then I’m here to help.
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