Podcasting is a relatively new medium with a lifespan of about 15 years so far. And it appears to be reaching its peak. At the time of writing this, there are 4,333,701 podcasts in The Podcast Index, with 347,123 of them published in the last 30 days. Not only are more podcasts better, but there has never been a better time to start one.
Alex from the Time For Your Hobby Podcast thinks of it this way:
“The idea that it’s too late to start because the big-name podcasts will be getting all the listeners forever would be like if a baby saw adults walk and said, ‘well, they walk better than me, I guess I shouldn’t try.’”
Let’s explore why you should start a podcast right now and also embrace a few cautions, not to discourage you, but to prepare you for some of the stumbling points. Because, to be clear, I think and we think that you can and should start your podcast….right now.
Here are the top 3 positive aspects of starting your podcast now.
There are so many resources available now to help podcasters start, record, promote and expand their podcasts that many days I wonder what’s being produced more: resources for podcasters or new podcasts themselves.
These resources can be found easily in a Google search, on social media (especially Facebook and Twitter), on The Podcast Host website, and more. And the best part of starting right now is that you can benefit from those who came before you. For example, there are groups and resources for black podcasters and women podcast editors. Information on the tech needed for a podcast, how to record and market your podcast, etc., is very easy to find, follow and afford. If anything, you might be overwhelmed by the amount of information available. Don’t be. Take it step by step and you’ll be fine. Don’t try to do everything at once. Burnout just sounds bad on any microphone.
Chissa Pennix-Brown of the Real A** Affirmations podcast highlighted how affordable making a podcast is now: “Podcasting is great for marginalized communities/people who want to have a voice. Most people have a phone which means they have access to share their message unfiltered.” Starting your podcast on your phone is indeed an option, just remember to use a small cloth to cover the phone mic to help with your p-p-popping p’s. Mobile phones usually have recording apps pre-installed that are super easy to use as well. And if not, you can download a free recording app.
Recording your podcast is just one possible expense but literally, every cost of creating a podcast is lower now. This includes microphones, podcast hosting, social media planning and so much more. The ability to grow and, to be honest, spend, is high in podcasting. Just like with resources, take it slow and enjoy the process.
My favorite reason why now is a great time to start a podcast is building confidence. Ben from the Words About Books Podcast shared a few reflective moments on Twitter recently. After listening to himself (while editing) he found that he’s more careful with how he speaks now. In addition to his speaking skills, his technical skills have improved since starting his podcast. “...my ability to organize a presentation and speak publicly has improved. I’m more comfortable with my voice and take my time to avoid stumbling and filler words.”
This resonates with me. I’ve always loved public speaking but before podcasting, I focused only on the facts and knowledge in my presentation. Podcasting helped me add emotion to what I was saying. In a sense, being on the mic made me more of the sentient being that I am naturally.
Now it’s time for the less sexy notes of caution. These are here to help you possibly avoid some of the pitfalls that more seasoned podcasters already went through. Please do NOT let these discourage you. The positive side of podcasting far outweighs the negative for the vast majority of us.
With all of the products and services mentioned above, you can guess how many people and organizations are in the podcasting space at the moment. A lot. And the more money that drips into podcasting, the more populated the space gets.
What this means is that it can be hard to get the attention of listeners, sponsors, and even potential guests. I started podcasting in 2017 and from then to now the level of competitiveness in the space has increased by leaps and bounds. Even if you’re going to be a hobby podcaster and ignore the entire monetization element, there’s still a time competition that’s very real.
It’s important to focus on this time competition for a moment. Podcasting is much more fun if we view other podcasters as companions, not competitors. Helen of The Allusionist podcast shared a viewpoint on this that’s great anti-competition advice for new podcasters. “I think it’s a harder time to get an audience but a never better time to make connections with other podcasters to support each other as you step into this often taxing pursuit.”
The combination of all of these resources, tools, education, community, and such on the podcasting space is that the bar has been raised. Podcasters, independent and network, have raised the standard of podcasting a lot in the past few years. And listeners have noticed. They’re pleased but also they’re picky.
Listeners ear hop more now than ever before. I’ve been an avid podcast listener from the beginning and I don’t even listen to every episode of my favorite podcasts. Often I’ll scan show notes and listen to the intros and then skip to another podcast if I’m not feeling inspired enough by that info. Podcast listeners have many choices now so there’s a certain level of intentionality that is needed in making a podcast that didn’t exist before. Simply put, you’ll need to work harder to get a dedicated audience for your podcast than a podcaster with the same quality of podcast from even 1 or 2 years ago.
Mike Cunningham of The Track and Field Connections Podcast explained this unfortunate reality recently and made an apt comparison between podcast episodes and social media posts. “It’s funny, we put out a Tweet and we don’t expect 1000+ people to read it but we put out a podcast and the expectation is MILLIONS!”
Don’t be this podcaster. Keep your expectations in check. Instead of focusing on becoming the next big thing, focus on the gorgeous connections you’ll make, the personal growth you’ll go through, and the amazing experiences that you’ll have while making your podcast. These expectations are realistic.
The last bit of advice I’d like to leave you with is from Chris from Play Comics podcast. “The best time to start a podcast is when you’re ready to say a thing for the world to hear. Also, being awake while recording is usually a good move.” Well played Chris, well played.
If you’ve ever wanted to start a podcast and felt like it was too difficult, we hope this article has helped! We know that starting your new show can be daunting but with the right research and planning, you will find success. With our Alitu trial, getting started is easy- just sign up for free today and see how powerful your voice could become.