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Why You Shouldn’t Podcast

Podcast MicrophoneThe great thing about the web is that the publishing tools are freely available and everyone can have their opinion about what ever comes to mind. And, as soon as you start to explore any topic you’ll find people who believe you should and those who believe you shouldn’t. Some believe in climate change (I do), some don’t. Some believe the Paleo diet is the best thing since sliced bread* (I do) and others don’t.

(That’s a Paleo joke – those following the Paleo Diet have usually stopped eating sliced bread.)

An Article on Podcasting

A good friend Jon Yeo (Here’s Jon talking at TEDx Launceston on Small Gestures and the Ecosystem of Possibility) pointed me to this article from Damien Elsing: Why You Shouldn’t Podcast Despite What the Experts Tell You.

A little backstory… I interviewed Jon a while back for my podcast. And, Jon’s interview is the most popular episode in our podcast series. It’s been downloaded over 400 times.

Damien’s article takes the view that to have a successful podcast you need to make it to the front page of iTunes for anyone to find your show. And, if you don’t make the front page of iTunes then the rewards are simply not worth the effort of putting a podcast together with all that recording and editing.
This is a bit like being on the front page of Google search results. If you’re not on the front page, so few people look at the second page that you’re unlikely to be found.

Podcast Numbers

Also, he suggests some numbers. You’ll only make the front page of iTunes if you have about 500 podcast downloads per episode. And, to do this you’ll need a list of about 5000 people with one person in ten listening to your show.

This fits with my experience. Roughly my podcast downloads are about 10% of my list size.
And, here’s my numbers… After 35 episodes my shows are downloaded about 120 times each. Jon’s is the most popular at just over 400. About 10 shows haven’t reached 100 downloads yet.
Clearly I’m not going to be on the front page of iTunes any time soon.

Should You Stop Podcasting?

So, should I stop podcasting? And, if you haven’t attracted a list of 5000 people should you cross podcast off your list of content marketing activities?

The short answer is: It depends. It depends what you’re building and how you define your success.

I’d love to have a massive audience for my podcast. And, that’s not my only measure for success. I’m actually chuffed at having 120 people listen to each episode. That’s a pretty big room filled each week listening to me and my guests. Perhaps I’m playing small – you decide… And, that’s based on 2-3 hours of effort to put the show together.

Why I Podcast

I also have some other reasons that I podcast:

  • I love to connect with people through the interviews. The interview is its own reward.
  • My preferred way of creating content is through conversation.
  • I like to dabble in multiple formats of content. In other words, I like writing and I like talking and I like creating slideshows and… This keeps me interested and I enjoy it. Plus, I know my audience each has a preferred way to learn. Some read only the blog, some listen only to the podcast and so on…
  • I think there is something intimate about a podcast that is really useful. A listener has me in their earbuds for 30-60 minutes, they hear my voice, they hear me laugh, they hear me think out loud, they hear me say ‘umm’ and ultimately I think they get to know me in ways that my writing doesn’t allow. Given I am my brand, I believe that knowing me a little more personally through a medium like podcasting is important.
  • I’m also building my skill set around presenting and interviewing. Plus, the production skills make it easy to create other products.

Are you going to Podcast?

So, here we are… Are you going to podcast or not? I’m not attached either way. Just because I podcast doesn’t mean you should. I think the great opportunity of digital media and the web is that there are plenty of different ways to express yourself, attract an audience and be successful in business. If podcasting appeals, then give it a go. Track your progress, measure your success and if it works keep doing it. Otherwise, explore one of the many other content publishing formats… Video, writing, slides, info graphics, animations, forums…

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