5 podcasting “rules” you can ignore
Yes, there are non-negotiables when it comes to creating a high-quality podcast that sounds professional and eye-catching branding to support it. But there are also some things that shouldn’t keep you up at night or take up your precious time. Podcasting is just as much a unique, personalized experience for you as it is for your listener. There are few one-size-fits-all solutions that will work for every creator. But this piece of advice from podcast tastemaker Wil Williams does apply to all podcasters: “There is no best [x] for podcasting. There is only the best [x] for your podcast.” So go ahead, be a podcast rebel and forge your own path.
Here are 5 podcasting “rules” you can ignore.
1. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery
While they say there’s nothing new under the sun, copying other podcasters has never worked and will never work. 200,000 new podcasts were added in 2018 alone — it’s noisy out there and you’re competing for the attention of listeners. Following the footsteps of those before you may seem like fast track, but when you’re THAT different, there is no competition. Owning your uniqueness will not only give you a head start in attracting audiences but sponsors as well. Besides, working under the constraints of someone else is just plain boring.
2. Doing it all
All social media is not created equally. While you want to be everywhere at all times, simply being everywhere is not a good strategy — or a strategy at all. Anyways, the big guys have the man and woman power to take the “spray-and-pray” approach. But you’re smarter than that, right? You’re paying attention to where your desired target lives and not falling trap to marketing trends if they don’t make sense for your brand. Getting zero traction on Pinterest? It’s time to cut and run and focus on your flourishing Instagram following or Facebook group where you can have more meaningful one-on-one conversations.
3. It’s Apple’s world
It’s comfortable to simply drive to iTunes. It’s what the kids are using these days, right? Apple may hold the lion’s share of the podcast audience, but Apple is not the end all be all (Google, Spotify, and Pandora are in a race to fix that). If your podcast can be heard on it, it’s worth pointing to other platforms. Give the people options and the people will flock to the platform that works for them. The folks at Podnews found that equal promotion of Apple and Google podcasts leads to equal usage and that Google listens may, in fact, be more valuable as episodes are always streamed.
4. You need x downloads to be truly successful
Everyone loves to compare other podcasts to the giants of the industry: Serial, The Joe Rogan Experience, The Daily, etc. Sure, these are all successes in every sense of the word but are the result of huge budgets, the creative support of legacy media companies and/or years of entertainment experience. The thing is, there’s a growing contingent of small shows that their hosts can still be proud of. Is your audience engaging with you on your social pages and regularly sharing your content? Has podcasting enhanced your other business endeavors, whether that’s a book you’ve written or a product you sell? Success comes in many forms.
5. Your listeners don’t want to hear ads
Most podcast ads live in-content or at the beginning and 80% of podcast listeners are consuming most if not all the podcasts they listen to. The skip button exists, but listeners aren’t using the feature as much as you would think — they’re locked in, engaged, and along for the ride. More and more research is becoming available on how podcast listeners are interacting with the ads they hear. They are in fact taking action and are more accepting of podcast ads in general. Good news for the paying sponsor, but also good news for you too if you had any reservations about turning off your listeners.