Podcasts are incredibly interesting methods of communications and, when managed properly, are incredibly efficient ways to build or engage existing audiences. But how do you know if you should create a podcast?
You’re the only person who can really answer that but here’s a couple questions to ask yourself as a starting point:
1. Why do I want to start a podcast?
Most important question you can ask yourself. Like any marketing channel, you need to have a goal when thinking about starting a podcast. What’s the end game here? **Spoiler alert** If you’re goal for your podcast is to make you money, you probably shouldn’t start a podcast.
2. Do I have a business that would benefit from a podcast?
Not as straightforward of a question as it sounds – many of the people that start podcasts don’t actually have businesses at all, the podcast IS the business. This is usually a terrible idea because it takes a long time before you start making any real amounts of money. One of our clients started a podcast with us and after 12 months the podcast is most likely be worth $250 per episode in advertising. This is still a significant loss after factoring in fees and time investment.
Now granted, if after 12 months you’re making $250 per episode on a daily show then you’re making a decent living but keep in mind, your podcast probably takes 60 hours a week to maintain a daily schedule. There’s about a million better ways to make $91,000 per year then starting a podcast and then working for 12 months for it to pay off.
Keep in mind that unlike starting a business, a podcast will not be easily sellable. If you want to quit and cash out by selling your podcast to a new host, chances are that you’ll be unsuccessful. I mean, does any band feel the same when they change lead singers? Podcast is no different.
3. What does your audience expect from you?
If you’re in the position to seriously consider a podcast, chances are that you’re in the same position as many of our clients and already have an audience. Before jumping right in, take a minute and think about what your audience expects from you.
Consider what your current distribution channels are and where you’re seeing the most traction so far. If Instagram is your biggest hit, keep in mind that it’s extremely hard (but not impossible) to translate from Instagram to voice. Instagram is highly visual and voice may be a jarring experience for your audience. A youtube to podcast transition is a much easier one to make if your content is voice based. Less so if there’s a unique visual angle that requires the audience to watch rather than listen.
Bottom line is that your audience has expectations for your content; it’s the whole reason that they follow you at all. You’ve demonstrated a certain kind of content in the past and they expect similar content in the future. There’s a good chance you’ll struggle if you stray too far from expectations.
4. Do you have the time and/or money?
Podcasts are like blogs, you’ll only see traction if you keep going with extreme consistency for very long periods of time. So that begs the question, do you have 5 hours of free time to spend on every hour of finished content? Or, if you don’t have that much time, do you have several thousand dollars available to hire a firm (like us) to manage your podcast and the growth of it?
Those aren’t small commitments and you’ll likely be invested 12-18 months in your podcast before you start to see real payoffs.
In summary, a podcast is a great investment for the right kind of business. In particular, if your business offers informational products or a professional service, podcasting can be an incredible tool to reach your audience in a new and exciting way. If you don’t already have a business with a fleshed-out marketing strategy, don’t start a podcast; start or grow your business in a more manageable way (see the other articles on this blog for ideas on that front).
What do you think? Comment below!