How to build a profitable podcast.
Podcasting is for everyone!
I'm sure you are thinking… "this is contrary to the title of the post," right?
Well, it's true – the internet is entirely free for everyone to venture into anything they want and believe they can make a massive success with. Now, there's a tiny issue when it comes to venturing into 'online business.' I quoted online business because every podcaster aims to profit from their show at the end of the day.
As big as the podcast industry is at the moment, several new entrants venture into the industry because they are fascinated by the outcome and revenue established shows make off the industry but don't care about the effort that the show hosts have invested to bring it to where it is.
The industry is so huge that 51 percent (116 million) of the United States population listened to a podcast in September 2021, and 22 percent are weekly podcast listeners. You wouldn't understand this number until you hear that in the early 2000s when podcasting started gaining fame, only 22 percent was aware of the industry. However, in 2021, 78 percent (222 million) of Americans listen to a podcast – that's a 3 percent increase from last year – and more than one-third (104 million) of the population listen to a podcast regularly.
Now, you see… if you are asking if podcasting is for everyone, then the answer is yes regardless of if you have a passion for it or not, you can start a podcast if you want to.
The real question you should be asking yourself is – should I start a podcast?
Forget what you have read online or what you believe to be true. Ignore the "acquire to perspire" motivation quote you might have to listen to or read online from motivational speakers by podcasting. You need to look past all of that at the moment and focus on the absolute truth and why podcasts might not be for you.
This is not to discourage you but to make you see a few reasons why you shouldn't start a podcast so you don't get stranded in the long run. We have seen people start podcasting with a few episodes and stopped midway because they couldn't keep up.
You need to think about these essential things before you decide to dive into podcasting. You shouldn't go into podcasting without thinking about them beforehand if you want your shoe to have a chance at success. A little planning can be the deciding factor for listeners to engage your show and for you to eventually get a massive following as your show becomes the talk of the town.
So, let's dive into what we believe are the reasons you should not go into podcasting. Make sure you are not doing it for these wrong reasons, except you want to stop halfway when you could have invested that much time in something more productive.
1. You shouldn't start a podcast if you are looking to get rich overnight without putting in the works
Just because you hear people make money from something doesn't mean it's something you have to do. You will be surprised to know that as lucrative as the podcast industry is, not many people are making a living off it even though there are so many shows on the internet.
Keep in mind that you may not make money for a while – or for a long time at that. Podcast equipment, for instance, is not too expensive, and this equipment is not for free, too, so you will have to fork out some cash for that. The same goes for hosting and a few other essential things that will help promote your show.
In one of our recent posts, we broke down the expenses and the cost of starting a podcast. You can record a podcast for free if you have a laptop, but there are no guarantees that you will get clear, crisp audio that wouldn't irritate your listeners. Hence, spending a little cash on a microphone and a few other essential things will go a long way. Think about how much you will also invest in recording and editing your podcast.
So, our advice if you don't want to put in the necessary work or investment, either financially or manual labor, is to never consider podcasting. The internet has made it seem that you can join in and start making money if you see a lucrative industry – that's not the case with podcasting. To achieve fame or success in your show, you need to look past making money as a motivation for joining this industry and consider putting in enough work to get your show to where you want. It's the effort you put in that determines where your show gets to.
2. You shouldn't start a podcast if you are not sure of who your audience is and what they want to hear
You need to also do the work of locating who your audience is. There's never one content that fits all. You need to know those that your show appeals to, and you should be able to appeal to your audience as it would do you no good to hope that you will learn that as you start recording your show.
As easy as it may sound to understand these few points, it will go a long way to help you build your audience and grow your show. Look at this like an entrepreneur trying to identify who their ideal customers are, you need to find that one person – the perfect somebody – which you want to share your voice.
Rather than focusing on a group of people, focus on just the perfect person – this will help you identify what everyone else, like the person, would want to listen to. Ask yourself the following question:
You need to give answers to these questions to get more. The more perfect your answers are, the more successful your podcast and its ability to reach the right audience. If you can take the time to research the questions and find the correct answers for them, then I'm afraid podcasting is not the right fit for you – you should look for something else that works better and won't need that much effort.
3. You shouldn't start a podcast if you are not bringing anything to the table when it comes to your show's uniqueness
We have seen people copy other people's styles because these 'other people's shows are popular in the market. I'm here to tell you that is a bizarre idea. This is not to say that you might not create a great show or that you may not have the voice or personality to make that – this is to say that the show wouldn't have much value in the ears of people who already listen to the show you copied the style from.
Copying some other person's work will not take you anywhere in this industry. This is not the music industry where musicians sample other people's music and look away because the new sound has a better ring. Here in the podcast industry, if you have to use some other style or idea, I don't see a reason why anyone would want to listen to you as opposed to the person you copied it from. Why not just listen to yourself speak instead of boring people with the same tune they are already used to.
Most listeners have listened to many podcast ideas – unique ideas, to be precise. As such, making sure yours isn't one of the many podcasts that copied or regurgitated someone else's idea would do your show more bad than good.
Unless you have something unique, you won't go too far in the industry. So if you want to start a podcast without bringing anything to the table when it comes to your show's uniqueness, you most definitely shouldn't be thinking of starting a podcast.
4. You shouldn't start a podcast if you think starting a podcast is easy
I met people who seem to believe podcasts are just all talks and talks. They believe that since they like to talk, they could suddenly start a podcast, which would be successful. I mean, that's what they think. They believe they don't need any other skill, regardless of how little.
If you are thinking like this person, ladies and gentlemen, podcasting is not for you. To be an excellent podcaster and create great shows, you need to learn new skills that you may not have. You need to study your topic thoroughly, extract new facts and information, and convince listeners to want to listen to you every time you speak.
Podcasts take time and effort to record and edit… you need to know how to edit, how to write scripts and show notes, how to design artwork, how to market your show, and that's just to mention a few.
Yes, you can outsource all of these, but what's the fun in that? The disadvantage with outsourcing is that you get to spend more money on fun stuff you should be doing yourself, even if you will still end up doing the most work yourself.
That's except you also want to employ a speaker in your place – which of course, means you are not running a podcast. You are running a business. If that's the case, why not run that? Instead of thinking you can run a podcast.
So, if you want to run a podcast legitimately, you should know that it won't be easy at first. It is difficult, but it is not impossible, and all of these skills we mentioned above are to be honed if you want to stand out in an ever-expanding industry.
There's work to be done, and you need to do it if you intend to be a force to reckon with.
5. You shouldn't start a podcast if you are not consistent
Like Dwayne Johnson once said;
"Success isn't always about greatness. It's about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come."
Being consistent while trying to achieve something will make you complete it in time and help you achieve greatness in the process. And to be an excellent podcaster, you need to be consistent and remain consistent. The word consistency means being able to do something regularly. When it comes to being a fantastic podcaster and creating amazing shows, it is crucial to create and stick to posting regularly, especially when your audience expects new content from you every week.
You can be sure to gain more listening if you publish consistently as they look forward to hearing from you daily, and as a matter of fact, it makes it easier for your listeners to add you to their podcast listening routine. This will help you go a long way – although it could be challenging initially, I can assure you that as long as you keep it up and manage your time effectively, it becomes effortless over time with every new content.
Talking about consistency, though, we use a new word for shows that just disappears out of the blue due to the podcasters' inconsistency. The term is Podfade – this describes shows that are less often updated. This happens to people who lose interest in their podcast topic or undervalue the available resources needed to build a podcast successfully.
It takes so much to record and distribute quality content regularly. If you don't have that much time, considering it would be a waste of time. Or let us break it down quickly about what you have to do. First, you have to find a topic (a unique one is better) – plan your content – book guests if your podcast is interview-based – schedule recording times – edit content – upload the content – and promote it.
So, do you see why you need to commit to this?
6. You shouldn't start a podcast if you are not planning on promoting it
I hate to break it to you, but your show might not get far if you don't promote it. Especially if you have no social media presence, although there's nothing wrong with that, this won't help your show.
Except you are already popular before starting your show, you should aim to have an online presence to attract more people. You can hope to upload your show on a podcast directory and sit back for it to promote itself – it doesn't work that way. Running a podcast means that you need to have an active social media presence to promote your show and reach more people on the internet.
One other important reason to promote your show on social media is to get feedback from listeners. Criticism or review makes it easier to know where you are lagging to better serve your listeners. Unless you want to outsource all of these to a third party, you will need to create a social media account and a podcast landing page, create show notes for every episode and stay connected to your audience through email marketing MailChimp.
All of these will help your show gain more popularity and visibility, so please don't start a podcast unless you are willing to take the time and do all of these. You will only be wasting a heck of your precious time recording, editing, and publishing.
7. You shouldn't start a podcast if you don't want to invest in equipment
To be honest, starting a podcast isn't cheap, especially if you're going to produce great audio content. Even if you choose not to buy a fancy microphone, invest in a new laptop or paid editing software, there are other things you will need to invest money on.
For starters, you need to host your show, and that's not free. At bCast, we can host your show for as low as $19 monthly, and that's one of the cheapest hosting packages on the internet. We offer you a feature that you can't possibly find anywhere else for this low price. Anyway, enough about us.
You also need a website for your show – it is vital if you ask me. You can upload your show transcripts and show notes on your website. You will also need upgraded cloud storage to save all of your recordings if something happens to your computer, or anywhere else you store your files. Oh, you also have to buy rights to the music you use – you can't just pick up any kind of music and use it on your show.
You should be looking at spending, let's say $30 monthly, and that's on hosting and editing software. Although we didn't calculate the equipment you have to buy or your time, we guess it is precious. At the end of the day, podcasting needs investment, and you need to invest in your show to produce high-quality audio that the audience will respect. On equipment, you may have to spend a minimum of $200 to as high as $1000 if you want your show professionally produced.
So if you don't intend to spend any money on producing a great show that your listeners will appreciate, then you shouldn't consider starting a podcast.
8. You shouldn't start a podcast if you have no self-discipline and are easily distracted
Forget what you may hear; starting a podcast is a solo journey and one that needs you to be self-disciplined. If you can't motivate yourself or struggle with motivating yourself without needing other people to watch over you, understand that podcast might not be for you.
Not being able to motivate yourself will be one of your biggest challenges as a new entrant in the market. More than you can imagine, there are countless benefits to being disciplined in this industry, such as becoming less distracted and self-reliant, higher standards, and others.
Owning your podcast and ensuring that you stick to the schedule will help you understand your productivity, but that needs a lot of self-monitoring. Although it's normal to be distracted, sometimes we don't even realize that we have lost focus, so even if you have to create an alarm to keep you focused and remind you when you should be uploading new content. Recording and uploading new content can be very stressful, especially if you are behind schedule. Hence, getting distracted isn't an option as you are forced to record the episode multiple times if you want to get it right. This can be more work for you and time wasted when you don't get it right.
More so, you must never lower your content standards just because no one is around to motivate you! You should always aim to provide high-quality content for your listeners, especially if they expect a ton of value from you that they can use in their own lives too.
You need to find what works best for you, for starters, and learn to turn all of these tiny distractions into productivity. If you can't do that, I am afraid this isn't for you.
9. You shouldn't start a podcast if you are not passionate about podcasting or don't listen to any
Some people just start podcasting because everyone is doing it. That's a big joke, in my opinion. Podcasts take time, it takes effort, it takes money, and it takes work. Doing it because people do it or you found out that some people are successful isn't the conviction you need to start podcasting.
You need to be passionate about this because it's not a one-size-fits-all all industry. Just because a particular idea worked well for one podcaster doesn't mean it would work for you too. Like we earlier mentioned, copying other people's styles or ideas is a horrible idea likewise.
Podcasts being a hobby of yours means that you will have so much fun doing it. I know this to be true because it was my hobby – I mean, it still is – before I started looking to make money from it. So, if you think you should make a podcast just in case or you don't give a flying fudge about it – or you don't think of it as one of your hobbies, podcasting is not for you.
Anybody that feels like they should have a podcast, just in case, definitely shouldn't be creating one. And that's okay if you don't own one because you might just end up abandoning it like the only garlic bread on the bread aisle at the end of the day.
There is another medium out there for you to explore your creativity. I know you are creative; you can consider writing a poem or even a novel or a movie. You are creative regardless of if you end up as a podcaster or not; you just need to find the suitable medium that works for you.
This is another reason why podcasting is probably not a suitable medium for you. So find those things that are fulfilling and a hobby that would have fun making.
10. You shouldn't start a podcast if you are hoping to sell one product or service
One of the many reasons that push people into the podcasting industry is promoting or selling their products or services. Now, this isn't a bad idea, to be honest, but promoting one product or service wouldn't take you far in the podcast industry. While we are not saying you shouldn't promote your product or service, you can certainly do that if you want.
However, when it comes to podcasting, promoting your product or service doesn't always translate to your audience taking action. Using a podcast as a direct sales tool demands more work than you typically do when not promoting. You have to tell your audience to halt and do something else; let's say go to your website and click a link or buy a product or service offline.
You know what this does to your show; it bores your audience. It is well-known that with every step in the instructions, you lose a lot of people. Although podcast audiences can be very engaging when listening to their favorite topic, you need to build a loyal set of listeners instead of losing them. You need a lot more audience on each episode as you upload them, and you ought to try to retain the old ones.
A lesser audience will limit the chance of getting ongoing sales for one product or service. So, you need to first hand a lot of audiences, which needs dedication from your end – you also need a wide range of products, unlike just wanting to share one product at the end of every episode.
The whole point of uploading content is to ensure that you keep your show in your audience's mind, and while I will admit that you can use that medium to share your product or service with your audience. Still, it needs to be an array of products and services and not one. If you have just one product or service to share, you should use other media because it will take more work than you'd expect.
11. You shouldn't start a podcast if you don't have enough time
I don't have time. I will do it later. Recording a podcast is hard isn't an excuse you should be making as a podcast, especially as a new entrant. If you don't have a lot of time, you should first take the time to think about your day after you add making a podcast to your to-do list. If you are already overwhelmed with so much, and there's no time left for recording a podcast to your already occupied schedule, then starting a podcast isn't the right fit.
Be that as it may if you see a little slot of squeeze in one or two sessions for recording your podcast, or you have someone that can do that for you but would you have time to edit and publish it also? Editing and publishing isn't something you can finish in two or three minutes; you may have to invest more time in removing noise and the "s" "pt" sounds. Do you think you have enough slots for things like that? I know how much time people spend on editing just one episode and believe me, it is not a walk in the park, especially if you are new to producing podcasts.
Before you venture into podcasting, you need to first consider the number of episodes you will be posting and every episode's length. A fifteen-minute podcast might take you two hours of editing to get right; that makes almost three hours on just one episode – I said three hours because you have to prepare to start recording. Now, think about when you want to upload your content – is it monthly, weekly, or daily. The most popular time frame per episode published is weekly, but you can choose to post monthly – that's entirely up to you.
12. You shouldn't start a podcast if you hate competition
The good news is that the podcasting world isn't as flooded as other online worlds like websites and YouTube channels. There are not many people in the space, yet you will want to come up on top, and you can only do that by beating the competition. You need to be serious about this, except you want to be left behind in the process. Like I said earlier, it is not a walk in the park. It is not a space you can just stroll in, and everyone bows to their feet. You need to work for it and keep working.
So, suppose you are afraid of competition, or you shy away when things get competitive. In that case, you definitely shouldn't consider starting a podcast because you will meet a lot of competition. You need to keep creating content that your audience would love and relevant to them to stay in their mind constantly. You need to be open to constructive criticism and ensure that you use those critics as an improvement medium for your show. You need to know what your competitors bring to the table for their listeners and improve on that for your listeners too. You also need to stay committed, like I earlier mentioned, because you can't do this for the short term.
Do you hate to be criticized? Are you somebody that loses interest in something when it doesn't work out for you? You need not think far, maybe consider something else that's easier and doesn't need much criticism.
13. Finally, you shouldn't start a podcast because it is hard to analyze and fine-tune
Unlike every other space, the podcasting space is different. Whereas analytics rules and tools help us understand what our listeners need and what they are not looking forward to in the content development and creation space.
The case is entirely different in podcasts creation as the statistics here are not as detailed as you would want. It appears as though it's all trial by error method we are using. Hence, if you have been used to using google analytics and keyword research tools to generate content, you may not be able to use that here.
Some podcast hosting platforms will provide you with the number of downloads on every episode on your show and the location of the downloads in countries. Yet, it doesn't tell you how long people listened or if they listened to other episodes on your show, among other things. Thus, if you don't have the patience to dig deep to find something, your listeners will be excited about it. I'm afraid podcasting is not your forte.
Probably not if you fall under any of these categories, but we are guessing you don't fall under any of these categories, so yes, you can start one.
Starting podcasting for the fun of it, for instance, will only lead you to abandon it before it hits the ground running. You need to be passionate about it, put in all the work, and show some commitment too. Think about the time you will invest in creating the first few episodes, producing, and publishing.
Do you want all of those efforts to go to waste when you abandon them? I'm pretty sure the answer is no, so it's only good we advise you to invest time and effort in something you are passionate about. It is okay if you are not a podcaster. There are other spaces where you can showcase your creative skills. Find what works for you. More so, if you want to start podcasting and the categories don't apply to you – please, by all means, get started with your podcast equipment and record your first episode but please ensure that you stay committed.