It’s no secret: podcasting is huge. According to Edison Research, more than one in five Americans listen to a podcast every month, and weekly listeners download an average of five episodes per week. Many self-starting and creative professionals identify their podcast as one of the highest drivers of their success.
Although some Patreon creators are generating thousands of dollars every month by podcasting, starting a podcast as your primary creative endeavor isn’t a sure-fire way to ensure you’ll bring in the big bucks.
However, the benefits to having a podcast as a supplement to your primary creative endeavors are tremendous. Content creators on Patreon and elsewhere, startups, Fortune 500 companies, and pretty much everyone else are using podcasting as a powerful content engagement tool. It creates awareness around a brand and encourages loyalty and evangelism for current customers.
Is podcasting for you as an artist? Here are some pros and cons to help you make an informed decision about starting your own show:
Podcasting is cheaper and easier to produce than video. A well-produced video with a decent camera, proper lighting, sound, and editing takes a ton of time to do yourself and comes with a high pricetag to outsource. If you’re looking to diversify the supplemental content you create for your audience, a podcast requires a much simpler up-front investment.
It gives you and your creations a voice. Literally! Podcasting is a fantastic opportunity to personify you as a creator. The human voice has tremendous power for connecting with your audience in a one-on-one way.
High-quality of engagement. It’s one of the only opportunities to get inside the heads of your audience. Because podcasting occurs mostly on mobile devices at the gym or in-transit, your listeners are often fully-focused and distraction free. Many of the digital distractions experienced on desktop computers don’t come into play with audio content.
Podcasting can be a lot of fun. It’s a break from the day-to-day work as a content creator and allows you to express a different side of your artistic personality. It’s also a great opportunity for anybody who might be a bit camera-shy, but still has a lot to say.
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It costs money to create a quality show. Anybody can record a conversation using the built-in mic on their mobile device and publish it online. However, with increasingly affordable audio equipment, the days of poor audio are in the past. Listeners are trained to expect a well-produced show. Although a decent microphone probably won’t break the bank, there are still some ongoing costs involved in hosting and distributing your show online.
Podcasting requires time and consistency. Podcast listeners consume their content in the same way that you’ll anxiously await the newest episode of your favorite show at 9pm every Sunday night. Even if you only publish one episode per month, the frequency is less important than consistency. Give your listeners something they can expect and look forward to on a regular basis.
Success is hard to define and measure. Setting baseline goals for your podcast (amount of listeners, another example, another example) are hard to set because engagement data on other podcasts is only available if podcasters choose to publish it themselves.It’s also tricky to get listeners from a podcast listening platform to your website or Patreon page.
Pro tip: Make sure your podcast has a presence on your website and that it is SEO friendly. Also be sure to create an easy-to-remember URL to provide your audience at the beginning and end of each episode.
As artists, a podcast with passion behind it has the most power if it is created as fun, supplemental content to your existing work.
The quality of engagement with your existing patrons and ability to generate awareness for your future die-hard fans is reason enough to start a well-produced show. But your passion is essential to its success.
If you have the time and passion for pursuing a new channel, go for it! However, if hosting your own show doesn’t seem like a good fit, try joining other podcasts as a guest to see how it feels while also commingling audiences with another creator.
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