If I Had A Podcast And Everything I Know About Podcasting
Quarantine has put us in the thick of a kind of mental warfare…another type of pandemic that has been sweeping the hearts and minds of the world: the doldrums. Social distancing has made connecting in real life next to impossible, and normal life in general has been on hold since mid-March. So as to combat the stress, pain, and negativity, we’re all trying to find new things to occupy our time and minds. And one of those things is podcasting. Podcasting not only helps listeners feel less down, it also helps the podcaster feel more connected to others, similar to how talk therapy works.
Why Are There So Many Podcasts Right Now?
I think the most likely reason for why there are so many podcast shows cropping up is that there is a potential for a passive income stream.
There are two ways to make money with a podcast:
- Pay Wall: requiring people to buy a subscription to their podcast.
- Planting: the podcaster is hoping that down the line listeners will buy something from them or will help boost their reputation and vis á vis their businessthrough word-of-mouth.
For Podcast Listeners
Distraction is a good prescription for the doldrums, but why have podcasts specifically struck a chord with listeners? I think that the key is the listening part. Listening in many ways is more powerful than the visual. Thinking about it—when we were all in our mother’s wombs, we first got familiar with our mother’s through their voice. Music, as I’ve written before, there’s this powerful emotional thing about music that impacts us, and I think podcasters know that if they want to stay top of mind, they need to keep people listening to them too. Podcasts are a way to get more intimate with your target audience and they are also filling that void where being social used to be.
What’s Holding Me Back
So podcasts by nature are simple—you need a computer, a microphone, internet connection, a podcasting service provider, and your voice—BUT the finding your audience part is the hard part. Anything that goes viral right away didn’t go viral by accident; it takes preparation, timing, and asking for help from your network of friends, etc.
But why not try podcasting? Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Here’s my retort to that question: what is the point of a podcast when it feels like everything has already been talked about? Well, one mom told me why it’s not silly to try podcasting, this is what she said to me, “everyone does it differently and they all have their own audiences because of that”—so that’s the key. Be myself, see what happens.
If I Was A Podcaster
A new celebrity podcast keeps coming out every week since quarantine began, but it’s non-celebrities that I think should be getting more attention. So if I had a podcast I would want to give locals the spotlight on my podcast. I like the way Anthony Bourdain and Dick Cavett gave their subjects the mic so to speak. The made it about the people they were interviewing, not themselves. I’d interview local businesses to help them get exposure, from the sole proprietor, mom n’ pop, all the way to the bigger businesses.
I have so many interests that having a niche would not be my modus operandi. I’d want to cover everything under the sun because I like to learn and I love sharing what I learn if I think it’s really cool or helpful. I like helping others a lot.
But running the gamut of subjects in a podcast (or any medium) runs the risk of confusing listeners. Ugh! Well that’s a risk I’d have to take. If you don’t try things your way, you’ll never learn what works. So what if I might be a bit too Rick Steves (which means I can be a little academic a.k.a boring or milque·toast)—I also have a wacky Lucille Ball side to me too that I think balances out the informative with the entertaining elements you need to be a good storyteller.
Art Appreciation Via Voiceover
The written word has always been my go-to method of expression, but if I had a podcast I’d read passages from my favorite books, new books too! I’d read aloud some new poetry I’ve written…I defintely need a theme song or jingle to open and close each episode. Maybe my dad can play a little original ditty on his accordion and that’ll be my theme song/jingle.
I could devote entire podcast episodes telling the story behind some of the world’s most famous songs. Playing music during my podcast would be a must, but there are legalities that I need to figure out so that whoseever music I’m playing get’s proper compensation. Also, Tinley Park’s rebranding is all about music, so music would definitely need to be a part of my show. I know the perfect name for my show too: The AMP Show (A Mom’s Perspective).
And like any good talk show, I need a wingman—I know the right man for the job: my husband. My husband would be the Ed McMahon to my Johnny Carson; the peanut butter to my jelly. And of course our daughter and doghter can pop in from time to time; they have such star quality those two.
Will I Take The Podcast Plunge?
As nice as it is to be witnessing the return of a Golden Age of Radio via a new medium (podcasting), an overly saturated market tends to dilute the ease at which everyone can capture a large audience.
It’s also becoming a bit of a punchline stereotype, because if we’re honest—we’re not all Howard Stern, Joe Rogan, Ryan Seacrest, etc. The psychology behind the reasons many are starting a podcast is self-esteem related I think, so it takes a good friend or two to point out when it might just be a pipe dream.
If you’re trying to get into podcasting with the hopes of earning an income, here’s the equation you need to accomplish: Lots of Subscribers = Lots of Moolah. Podcasting might seem like a get rich quick kind of thing, but it’s not. In order to make the big bucks you have to differentiate yourself from everyone else in order to draw that huge audience organically. Therein lies the problem for most of us: we don’t know what our thing/niche is. Also, the best podcasts don’t cost a thing. So if you’re looking to make podcasting a career, you have to be really sure of who you are and you have to be able to churn content out that a lot of people like—consistently too. You’ve got to committ to it, but set a limit like 1 year or 2 years of it. Time management is key, so is knowing when to quit. It’s fine doing something for free if it makes you feel good because it’s in the doing of it that pays you back in that way that pasttimes can.
To answer the question of will I take the podcast plunge, the simple answer is I have to let the thought brew. As a digital marketer I know how hard it is to get people’s attention and maintain that attention consistently. My first priorities will always my family, my friends, my neighbors, and my work, so I don’t want to burn the candle at both ends. But if I do decide to podcast, I’d only do it as long as I was having fun doing it. There is something about doing something free because it makes you feel good that is in and of itself reward enough. But right now I’ve got enough on my plate and I’m going to focus on them first.
So what do you think?