In honor of October 1st (or is it September 30th), #NationalPodcastDay, here is my rather epic diatribe on the state of podcasting and how we can bring about positive change.. You may want to grab a large cup of coffee or tea!
For many podcasters, their shows are labors of love. They stay on the grind because they have built an audience and, with that, have developed a sense of responsibility. They might really enjoy what they do but they are not necessarily compelled to up their content marketing or social media game. The tragic part is that, to them, there may not be much value in podcasting beyond sticking to habit/ritual.
Why is that?
Well, podcasters tend to have day jobs and other responsibilities well beyond the general umbrella of social media, online business, and marketing. That is not the primary challenge but it does impact how producers and creatives approach their podcasts. The more other projects and work take precedence, the more podcasts suffer in quality and growth. This happens in business and it’s the result of not having a deliberate direction or clear plan early on.
My challenge or, better yet, burning question to podcasters is this:
Why can’t your podcast(s) support your other endeavors? Brah, do you even social media strategize?
I’m all for labors of love and doing your life’s work, but eventually something has to give. You also have to think about your collaborators. They may have other expectations and obligations… But we’ll get to that.
What I have found is that many podcasters do their shows “just for fun” but, deep down inside, whether they realize it or not, they are desperately seeking motivation and purpose. They wish they could monetize the content or justify doing it full-time. In some cases, our fellow podcasters simply use podcasts as an excuse to catch up with friends. Remember, folks: podcasts may be one of the last forms of free media left but that doesn’t mean it should be devoid of rewards.
Success in podcasting, like all social media, starts with being honest with yourself.
Friendly podcasts are nice but there is a growing number of brocasts these days. Brocasts are typically defined by pointless banter, lack of diversity, and the chaos that ensues from lack of preparation, organization, and/or motivation. I’d hate to say it but pointless brocasts are the direct result of doing things “just because you love it”; a nice notion that is usually not 100% true and leads to resentment. Without some path to revenue or incentives, podcasts become mere technical feats, time killers, and space fillers.
Not all brocasts are inherently bad.. Our friends at the Gaming Death Podcast go deep on gaming news, social issues, and other relevant matters, but they keep things fresh with banter and sophomoric humor that some geeks find endearing. The podcast is not for everyone (no podcast is or should aim to be) but they make it clear what their tone and voice is early on in each episode. Love them or hate them, they’re authentic and passionate about the subject matter they discuss.
Let’s be clear: pursuing some personal gain is not a bad thing. So long as the art and message come first, no one can really blame you for trying to do more through and with a medium you love. We all have to make a living, after all. Monetization doesn’t have to be a dirty word.. Just don’t be a shark – be honest and social about self promotion.
What’s Your Podcasting / Social Media End Game?
A theme I often revisit in business and marketing coaching sessions is the notion of maintaining a deliberate direction. The idea is painfully simple: identify and support systems for repeat success. In order to do that, you need to set milestones and have goals. With deliberate efforts towards goals, momentum will be steady and your direction intentional. Of course, there are plenty of people that have random luck and simply stumble into big success but that’s usually reserved for those in niche markets with timing or brand power already on their side.
With that in mind, think about what your “end game” is. It can be an exit strategy or a major milestone. What will happen when you reach that goal or if you don’t in X amount of time? When will you feel most or least satisfied? You need to know your limits and those of your team members. Before you can think about your ultimate goals, you have to look at the road laying right in front of you.
As weeks, months, and years pass by, what will keep you and your collaborators engaged?
We simply must pace ourselves and not jump TOO far ahead. Again, it all boils down to what will give you the most satisfaction and motivation. Running on fumes is no good. Plan ahead but also enjoy today for everything it brings. Be content and grateful.
I saw our friends at Zombie Life Podcast tweet about how podcasting is the last of free media. They tweeted (and I’m mostly paraphrasing),
#Podcasting is the only truly free media left. We dont do it for $$, we enjoy it
I LOVE that sentiment but podcasting can only move forward if we start think more strategically. Sharing compelling content we are passionate about is awesome.. But love alone won’t get you through the rainy days, folks.