5 Reasons Why NOW is The Right Time To Start Your Podcast

and how to get started
Speaking influence podcast
Speaking influence podcast

To podcast or not to podcast? That is the question.

Well, it’s the one I want to discuss with you now. Maybe you’ve thought about starting your own podcast? Maybe you haven’t thought about it but would be interested to know why you might want to be thinking about it?

Could be that you started one before and got podfade (what it’s called when a show stops after a handful of episodes)? Is podcasting still the future?

Podcasting has proven to be a powerful format for sharing content and being able to raise your profile, although it’s often viewed as the poorer cousin of having your own book. The thing is, more and more people are tuning in to podcasts than ever before and more and more people are making shows than ever before. But why?

During the start of the pandemic, most podcasts experienced a significant downturn in listeners and downloads, seemingly caused by no daily commutes. However, not only did that turn around fairly quickly as people adapted to the new normal, podcasting has seen a level of growth that has even caused some new big-name players to want a slice of the action.

It sometimes seems like everyone and their dog has a podcast and a lot of people think they’ve already missed the boat when it comes to having any kind of podcast success but I want to share with you 5 reasons why now is the perfect time to start a podcast:

Reason 1. Massive industry growth. This year alone shows a new record for time spent listening to podcasts, with an estimated 15 million hours, an increase of approximately 3 million from just two years prior and these stats are only for the US alone, never mind the rest of the world that is also switching on to podcasts.

The next 3 years look set to reach over 100 billion podcast listeners just in the USA.

More and more people are heading to podcasts with increasing numbers saying it is their preferred audio media. (Thanks to Semrush blog for the stats). Most podcast listeners have regular shows they like to listen to and around half of that number listen to all the shows they download. Podcasts are binge-able content, especially when a show has a large number of episodes for a new listener to check out. Whilst there are a few podcasts most people have heard of, such as Joe Rogan’s or Tim Ferris’, there are plenty of others people enjoy tuning into. You just need to have the right kind of format and a passion for what you want the show to be about.

Podcasting doesn’t yet have the same kind of downloads or levels of usage as sites like YouTube but neither does it have anything like the number of creators and even though there are an estimated 1.5 million podcasts at the time of writing this, a huge percentage of them are no longer publishing. Sometimes it’s because they ran their course. Many podcasters put out shows as limited material or extra content and then move on. There are also industry podcasts that can be a great public access way to share non-confidential information within a large organization.

Some shows just get podfade and don’t make it past 6 or 7 episodes. Either the host expected faster results or started and found out it was more work than they anticipated. There could be any number of possible reasons why shows stop publishing but this also means that out of all the 2 million or so podcasts listed in directories, an estimated and whopping 75% of those are no longer publishing new shows.

This is good news for new podcasters, as competition is not nearly as big as it may seem. You can easily check to see if other shows in your niche are still putting out new episodes. It‘s also easier than ever to find services to take care of production, editing, publishing and promotions than ever before. If you can afford to do these things you will likely find yourself advancing very quickly and the podcasting itself will not feel like hard work.

Reason 2. It’s easier than ever to monetize. Apple Podcasts & Spotify recently announced some big changes. Both Apple Podcasts and Spotify are vying to become THE home for podcasts and both have announced new opportunities for podcast content creators to be able to monetize their shows with in-house paid subscriptions. Given that Facebook and Netflix are now getting in on the podcast action, it is reasonable to predict that this industry will only keep on growing with some unique opportunities sure to arise for popular shows and hosts.

Many shows are making commissions with affiliate marketing and sites that allow audience members to support the show with donations and/or memberships. Patreon was really the only player in town for some time and has long been a favourite of YouTube creators but now there are many different sites to choose from. My own favourite being Sitecast.

Podcasts are a great way to promote your own courses and programs to your ideal audiences. If you have a course or book about something like negotiation skills, you can look for podcasts that are reaching your ideal markets and you can approach to advertise directly with them.

Whilst businesses do tend to look for the biggest download podcasts, you can probably get much more favourable returns by targeting smaller shows who will be grateful for financial support, rather than popular shows that already have advertisers fighting to get promoted there.

There are new sites like podgo.co that are working collaboratively to set these up and can be a great place to seek to get advertised for your products or services at very reasonable rates.

Of course, if you have your own podcast, you can get the best of both words and even set up cross-promotional relationships with other shows that contain your ideal market group. There are many possibilities and many more coming.

Reason 3. Repurposing potential. Creating content and keeping it fresh is one of the biggest struggles for coaches, speakers and authors who are actively promoting their products and services online. Podcasting done right can be an endless source of material for you to post in multiple formats on multiple channels.

Most shows publish at least once a week, which is fairly important for growth, especially when you are not yet monetized. From that, you can create audiograms, videos, quote posts, articles, transcripts and more besides. With a weekly show, you will never run out of content until you run out of shows… and even then, you can go and revisit older shows, update your content, do compilations, clip videos and more.

Podcasts are a content creators dream because you will have all sorts of content suitable for all sorts of media channels. Some podcasters, especially from shows with expert guests, have created books from their transcripts and haven’t even had to do any writing. They usually hire someone else to go through the transcripts and edit them into a book.

Even if you did that yourself, the process of writing a book is going to be super fast in comparison to how most people do them. One of the first I came across like this was Tim Ferris’Tribe of Mentors. The format works really well of taking the best bits from the best episodes and putting them all together for your existing and new audience.

Many podcasts record with video, some even as live streams, which means it can go out on all your social media channels right away and you can even get interaction from your listeners.

Reason 4. Become an industry influencer. Podcasts are fast becoming one of the best ways to get free press and get yourself in front of other people’s audiences in countries around the world and become more known for what you do. If you have your own show too, it’s common to do pod-swaps where you take turns in interviewing each other and both help to promote the shows. If you want to build up your show, you can make that the thing you promote on other shows.

Get yourself known as a great podcast guest, get your media kit together and make it easy for podcast hosts to see the value proposition of having you on. If you have your own list, make sure they know you will promote your appearance on their show to your list and be clear on how.

In my experience, the best guests are those who know their niche subjects, are very clear on who they help and how. They are keen to be of service to the podcaster and their audience and they get excited when talking about their areas of expertise.

What doesn’t make a great guest is someone who just wants to go on podcasts and has no specific expertise or ideas of their own to share. People who just copy and paste the same pitch to multiple shows, regardless of whether they are a fit for the show or regardless of their value to the show’s audience.

It’s far better to be strategic and go for the shows you most want to be on than to play the numbers game. Most show hosts do not like receiving impersonal guest approaches any more than you like people sending you impersonal friend request messages on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Sites like Matchmaker.fmpodbooker.com and podmatch.com are just some of the podcast and guest directories that have sprung up in recent years. I do tend to find matchmaker.fm to be the most effective of them. There are also some great Facebook groups for connecting guests and hosts, as well as some that are fantastic communities and resources for podcasters.

Even if you don’t plan to have guests on your show, you should think about including a guest strategy in your marketing plan.

There are shows out there just waiting for guests like you to come and share their knowledge, experience and expertise and some of them get over 100,000 downloads per episode. Even so, don’t only do the big audience shows, do the growing ones too.

You never know how big they will become, they will still have a new audience for you and if you are a generous and interesting guest, they will be very happy to have you on, welcome you back and promote you and your show, course, book etc…

Don’t expect to get accepted to the big name shows unless you are very well established but also, don’t let that put you off trying.

Reason 5. It’s the networking! The most unexpected and unanticipated benefit I found in becoming a podcaster was in growing an incredible network of industry peers.

Podcasting has been worthwhile for me for the network it has helped me to build and the industry leaders it has connected me with.

Having people like ‘Profit First’ & ‘Clockwork’ author Mike Michalowicz and stoicism expert Donald Robertson on my show has been fantastic and yet, very often it’s the far less heard of names who get the most downloads and are terrific fun. Unless you remove the content, it’s up there forever and you are always associated with those industry figures. In my book, that beats getting a photo with them.

Having a podcast is a great reason to approach your industry leaders and ask them to appear on the show. Not everyone will say yes but many will and the ones who don’t, I generally put down as future guests to come back and try again with or get introduced to from someone in mutual networks.

I reached out randomly to Jordan Harbinger (who has the kind of podcast I strive for) not expecting a reply but not only did he reply, he was super nice and now there is a relationship where before there was not.

I’ve had similar things with high profile guests and that is often because they are in demand, too busy or only really go on high profile shows. No one has ever been mean or rude to me about being invited on my show.

The vast majority of podcasters are in it because they love it and they have a passion or interest they want to serve. Although every podcaster probably wants to monetize, not everyone will.

It’s not a rapid process unless you already have a big following ready to download your show and then it can be fast. Currently, the majority of shows take about 2 years to really establish themselves but you must remember that the vast majority of podcasters do not know what they are doing when they start, they just get started and learn along the way.

Knowing how to get guests, be a guest and promote your show are the most critical elements you will need to make this work. So much depends on the kind of show you want to make.

Your podcast network can help you here. My development as a podcaster has sped up incredibly since attending and connecting with people from podcasting conferences and training events. I even got invited to speak at a recent event and will certainly be going back.

Stay well organized with your network and former/future guests. It’s worth having some kind of CRM. I use Hubspot but I started out with just an excel spreadsheet.

Honestly, you’ll thank me for this one if you start off well organized. Keep a track of the shows you go on too. Put your favourites on your website and use clips and compilations to make a showreel of how great a guest you are.

If your brain is aching after that and you’d like to talk about the best podcast strategy for you and maybe even get some help launching, then fire off an email to john@presentinfluence.com and don’t forget to check out my own show Speaking Influence.

Podcasting is fun and it can be work too but it’s so rewarding and it is indeed possible to make a career in podcasting now, without having to be one of the top players, but why not aim high anyway. Imagine your show at the top of the podcast charts… yes you can!

Would you be interested in how to make money from podcasts without needing to start your own? Download my FREE guide here.