Why You Should NOT Start a Podcast
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I see people starting podcasts all the time. I've also been to a couple of conferences where entire sessions were dedicated to the huge benefits of starting a podcast.
And according to many, the market size of those listening to podcasts continues to grow. And I confess, I even listen to a podcast myself every now and again.
But based on my own experiences, I don't think starting a podcast is smart decision for many people.
I want to be very clear here, this blog post is not to discourage anyone from starting a podcast. I love listening to great interviews, and there are some fantastic podcasts out there.
However, what doesn't get talked about very much (that I'm aware of) is the downsides of podcasting. That's right, not everything about starting your own podcast is as rosy as it sounds.
Today, I simply want to cover my very real and raw thoughts about my own podcast and why I think many people shouldn't start a podcast.
There I said it.
Should I Start A Podcast?
Here are some things to consider when asking whether you should start a podcast.
Being Popular Doesn't Always Drive Results
When it comes right down to it, most podcasters don't see huge results from their podcast. Okay, maybe that's just my opinion…I don't have the hard facts. However, after seeing my own results (shared below) and knowing a few stats from others; I think that's a safe statement.
However, perhaps that's no different than many things; most people are never able to put together the right formula for maximum success in lots of business ventures.
I'm sure like me, you've heard the big success stories from some podcasters. I applaud people like: Andrew Warner of Mixergy.com, Pat Flynn at SmartPassiveIncome.com, John Dumas of EntrepreneurOnFire.com, and Cliff Ravenscraft of PodcastAnswerMan.com that have created highly successful podcasting businesses.
I have no doubt in my mind that for some people, podcasting can be a huge marketing or business opportunity. However, for others its important to consider the downsides before jumping in with both feet.
I have been blogging for about 4 years now. So, I had an audience in place when I started my podcast. So, when I launched my podcast, I had immediate listeners…yay!
In fact, my NichePursuits podcast made the New & Noteworthy list on iTunes when it was first launched…sweet! From what I hear, that's what everyone is trying to achieve with their new podcast.
Also, I just checked and the NichePursuits podcast is currently listed on the front page of the “Popular Podcasts” for Management & Marketing:
So, I made it to the new and noteworthy page, and I'm now on the “Popular Podcasts” page; that means I have thousands of listeners a day right? I must be seeing HUGE results from my podcast…I've made it!!
Well, not quite.
Turns out I average around 200 downloads per day with spikes up when I release a new podcast:
No New Audience?
You say that 200 downloads a day is nice? Well, it would be if I actually thought many of those were new listeners.
And here comes one of my big “beefs” with podcasts. I have no way of knowing if my podcast is reaching a new audience or if all those listeners are simply from my blog!
Think about it. I post my podcasts here on my blog and it gets lots of listens from my existing readers, but is anyone new discovering NichePursuits.com through my podcast? I'm sure there are some that do, but my guess is that its very few.
Why is there no software that can track this for me? (Idea alert for anyone paying attention, but not sure it's possible).
The problem is that I get WAY more NEW visitors each day to my blog already, and its MUCH less effort for me to write a new blog post than to produce a new podcast.
People Don't Take Action from Podcasts
Other than my doubts about how many NEW people are discovering me through my podcast, it's also extremely difficult to get people to take action from podcasts. I have just a couple of quick examples.
I actually got a sponsored spot on a podcast a little while ago for my product Long Tail Pro. So, this was on someone else's podcast, I wanted to see if I could drive some traffic to Long Tail Pro through a sponsored message on a podcast. I provided a special link that the podcaster read in so that I could track how many people visited that link.
The podcast that Long Tail Pro was featured on was listened to about 1,000 times after the first day or so; and I'm sure has well over 2,000 downloads now.
So, out of 2,000+ downloads, how many people went to that special Long Tail Pro link?
That's right a measly 7 clicks were tracked on that link.
And one of those 7 was me. Ha!
Will I ever pay to be sponsored on a podcast again? Nope. Unless something changes, or I find a podcast that can produce better results. However, other content marketing and advertising avenues produce MUCH better results.
What about results from my own podcast?
So, I've also tracked a couple of links from my own podcasts. When I decided to write this post, I finally went back and tried to find the stats. In a podcast I did just over a year ago here, I asked listeners to go to a link to find out more about my Niche Site Project.
That podcast has been downloaded 7,724 times.
Out of nearly 8,000 downloads, surely a few hundred have visited that link, right?!
That link has been visited only 70 times.
I get WAY more action out of just posting something on Facebook or Twitter (find out how to make a list on Twitter).
So, overall, podcasts are not a good way to get people to act. And I totally understand! People listen to podcasts while they are driving in their car, or running, or working on other projects.
So, if podcasts are not a great way to get people to act, why do people have podcasts?
What Podcast ARE Good For…
As a branding and relationship building tool, podcasts are excellent. I can think of no other format where you can essentially have someone listen to your voice for over an hour sometimes.
I'm not hear to bash on podcasts, I'm really not. For certain businesses or individuals, a podcast that is developed properly can be a fantastic way to grow your brand and awareness.
For individuals, that are interested in speaking at conferences and probably eventually writing books, a popular podcast can help them leverage those opportunities. So, if you want to make it onto the speaking circuit or otherwise have something that you can point to and say, “Look at how many thousands of people listen to my show!”… then a podcast may be a great fit for your business.
Or if you have the time to truly produce a stellar show on a regular schedule…that can also drive results.
I personally have no desire to speak at conferences or get a book deal. I prefer to be thinking up new business ideas and making them a reality. To clarify, I'm not saying people that speak at conferences or have book deals aren't also coming up with other business ideas, etc…that's just personally not where my focus is right now.
In addition, having a podcast is an excellent way to network and build great working relationships with other successful people. Nearly everyone I've contacted has agreed to be on my podcast, and I also get sent requests from impressive people that want to be interviewed on my podcast.
So, if nothing else, you can use a podcast to network with other people and learn from some of the best in any industry.
If you listen to my podcast much, then you know that I don't do a lot of sponsorships. But the past few months I've been working on promoting Ezoic. This has a dual benefit for me:
First, Ezoic pays me to mention them on my podcast. Second, Ezoic allows me to use my affiliate link. So I'm getting paid to promote my own affiliate link!
I have to admit that this is a nice benefit of the podcast. But it took me years before I ever got to the point where anyone offered to pay for me to promote them.
I wouldn't start a podcast based on the sponsorship opportunities. If you want to make income from ads, I recommend starting a content niche site.
Why Podcasting Sucks…Sometimes
Overall, your time is a very valuable resource. And for me, I don't see a lot of action taking place from my podcasting efforts. My blog has not grown because of my podcast…however, my podcast has done okay because of my blog.
I can see no growth in my blog readers and can't track any sales of my products directly to my podcast. However, I CAN track huge amounts of sales and blog readership to other methods that I have taken.
When it comes right down to it, I can write a blog post in less time than it takes me to produce a podcast. In addition, I can do it on my own schedule.
For a podcast interview, you have to coordinate your schedule with someone else's, prepare questions, conduct the interview, then do post production. Then I also write a blog post to go with each podcast. It's a lot of work.
And perhaps I'm a bit spoiled now, but I really don't enjoy having “official” things on my schedule anymore. I'd prefer to not have any calls or interviews ever on my schedule. I know, I know…you can call me a cry baby if you want, it won't hurt my feelings.
I just personally like to keep a free schedule so I can work on the projects I'm most interested in. So, if I'm completely honest, hosting and recording podcasts is probably the least favorite thing I do in my business. I don't have the wonderful radio voice, and I'd rather analyze spreadsheets than interview someone.
Yep, that's how lame I am.
Why You Might Consider a Podcast
So overall, I know lots of people out there are not as lame as me. So, if you actually enjoy scheduling and conducting interviews with people, then perhaps a podcast is for you.
If you are more interested in networking and building relationships than seeing immediate results, then maybe a podcast is okay.
Also, I'm fully aware that my podcast could grow much faster if I was producing more podcasts. So, if a podcast is going to be a primary focus of your business, and you are able to produce a daily or even weekly show, you are much more likely to grow a larger audience.
However, as already explained, for my personal situation a blog is much easier to maintain and grow. I get many many times the amount of traffic to my blog than my podcasts. If I put more focus on my podcast, I wouldn't be able to produce as many high quality blog posts, which would just be shooting myself in the foot.
So, everyone needs to determine a strategy that is best suited for their business and overall strategy. If you already have an existing business that is doing well, and you are trying to grow your brand, then putting some effort into a podcast might be worth it.
But if a podcast is taking away from other activities that can produce more direct results, especially if you are a young company, I wouldn't recommend it.
If you do want to start a podcast, here are some potential podcast niches that you could look into:
- Self improvement
- Facts or trivia
- Whatever your niche is!
As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Do you have a podcast? Have you seen the results you had hoped?
Again, I am not here to say that no one should be podcasting, but if you are considering starting a podcast, you need to go in with your eyes wide open. Its a lot of work, and often doesn't produce direct results (i.e. new readers and sales) that you might be looking for.
But if you are taking a long term branding and awareness approach that you hope to leverage into other opportunities, then perhaps a podcast is a good way to go. But its a huge time investment and other activities may be a better use of your time.
So, what about my own podcast, will I continue to produce it? Well, I'm not calling it quits yet. But for now, it will likely continue on the path that's its on…I produce maybe 1 podcast every other month or so, and that's plenty for me.
If by some miracle I find an extra 5 or 10 hours each week, perhaps I'll get all excited and try producing some more. But don't hold your breath! With a new baby and other booming businesses; the podcast is a pretty low priority at this point.
Am I way off base here?…Let me know your thoughts!
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I first found your blog after downloading a number of random podcasts from iTunes and listening to yours.
In my opinion, hearing somebody talking to you on a podcast makes you much more likely to visit their site on a regular basis than it does from reading a blog post.
Hearing the person talking also makes you feel more trusting of them. I would be much more likely to buy a product such as Long Tail Pro from your site than I would from a site and owner who I had never heard speak.
While podcasts may not dramatically increase the clicks you get, I definitely think they improve your the trust and reputation you have and probably make your existing site visitors more likely to buy products from you.
That’s great that you found me through my podcast! I knew there were a few people, but I have no idea how many. I agree with your analysis 100%. However, it comes down to a time/benefit analysis. For some people that want to make podcasts a vital part of their business, its a FANTASTIC method. For others, using other marketing avenues can be just as effective.
HMM. . . lots to think about here. I just spent the last couple of days reviewing John Lee Dumas income reports. I do agree that having to stick to a set schedule really sucks. I think if you can find a good niche you can develop a large amount of brand awareness.
Yep, lots to think about. John Dumas is a big exception, not the rule for podcasting. If someone wants podcasting to be their business, then its absolutely possible…but if someone is already a blogger, software developer, or has a full-time business, and they just want to do a podcast in addition to that…they should maybe think twice; that’s all I’m saying 🙂
I totally agree with you Spencer. I think the headache and returns may outweigh the cost if it is simply a side gig.
Jon, I strongly agree with you
Spencer, thank you for your post
Honestly listening to your podcasts, reading your blogs, and having bought your products I feel like some of who you are comes out. It strikes me as more of you not really wanting the attention that brings. Additionally, it may just not be a very efficient use of time for you.
When it’s writing your content and data is what stands out. It’s like anything, knowing yourself and where you’ll excel at is so important.
Awesome, thanks for the feedback Jeremy!
I really enjoyed your podcasts when I first found you, and I continue to listen to them. It’s mostly a cost-benefit thing, I suppose.
In the end, all decisions like this are about whether or not you’re getting a proper return on your time.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Perrin 🙂
Perrin! Get us a picture 🙂
This is really well-informed article that sort of goes against the grain of what you hear about from other online entrepreneurs (mostly podcasters).
I feel like the main value for many podcasters is having your audience get to know you on a deeper level, and ultimately growing trust in a way a blog post never could.
I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think I ever bought one of your products before I heard you on a podcast. I think I’ve bought 2 since.
Podcasts don’t always have to be interviews, although many feel much more comfortable interviewing someone than just talking for 30-60 minutes. I think trust can also be built with youtube videos or short audio recordings on your site, not just hour long podcasts.
Ultimately, I agree with pretty much everything you wrote, but think you may have slightly shortchanged the effect your podcast has had on your business. I hope you keep doing them!
Interesting, good to hear. This is good info for everyone reading…they can decide for themselves the pros and cons…
I also believe that for lot of foreign people, it is much simpler to read a blog than to listen to a podcast 🙂
Excellent point, hadn’t that about that.
I would say, it depends. I am a “foreigner” from Belgium and I enjoy podcasts more than reading articles.
Howver, reading an article takes less hassle 5you just need Internet and a browser° while listening to a podcast requires some more effort.
I must say, that I started to read blogs (and also buy products) after I heard an interview about these blogs or products in a podcast.
Anyway, I am about to launch my own podcast in Dutch and mostly interview based. I have my own goals for this podcast and I will evaluate them by the end of this year.
You can call me crazy or wish me luck (or both 😉 )
As an entrepreneur, you have to be crazy! So, I DO wish you good luck 🙂
Agreed. And a lot of podcasters don’t get the the point very quickly, so a written blog post is a great way for an audience to do that, too.
Lemme do a “deep dive” on your issue Spencer of people not taking your calls to action.
Most of the time when I’m listening to a podcast, i’m not in a position to take action when a call to action is made
– in my car
– at work
– walking the dog
– going for a run
– at the gym
So whenever that call to action is made
– I’m not going remember some url that is
– I should be able to just google the show name and the topic and find it at the top of my list
But often times I do hunt down the information if it’s useful
– I’ll go to the podcaster’s website, and it’s often hard to find the podcast area of the site, and then hard to find the specific podcast
– When I get to the specific podcast – the show notes are sparse, usually just links. (and often times, there’s no forum or no one in the comment section)
When I don’t have the time, or patience to listen to Jehosophat rattle off a bunch of self serving 5 star reviews – often times there’s no TRANSCRIPT. You mean to tell me, A guy making 5 figures a month serving his customers and can’t spend a couple hunsky to make a transcript?
That doesn’t *resonate* with me.
At least in this space, most podcasts are
– poorly conceived
– hastily done
– poor follow through and infrastructure.
– the hosts aren’t very engaging
– there are too many inside jokes
– they’re either informal or too formal to a fault
– interviews with the usual incestuous suspects
– numbered list of the week
– reaction to article read on some blog someplace
– news of little import
^In general,it’s much more comment and analysis of what is out there, the same stuff I can already read, as opposed to genuinely new and unique content.
That being said, if there’s no one in the space doing a podcast, the market will eat it up. And there’s long term value in that.
I have no idea if there’s an Oceanographer’s podcast, but if that was my niche, i’d explore it, and set it up. Sometimes First beats Best.
In this space, right now Best could easily beat First and Biggest.
Yep, all good points.
I would echo David and Ben’s comments – podcasts by their nature feel much more personal than blog posts and I think they do a lot to build relationship and trust. That said, I do understand that they take a LOT of effort to pull off and might not always feel like a worthwhile use of your limited time and energy.
I will say that I have gotten huge value from your podcasts, I have listened to them all (some more than once), and I hope you continue to do at least some every now and then. They helped me feel like I’ve been able to get to know you more as a real person and decide that I could trust and support your products (which I’m so glad I did).
As a listener, I have also experienced frustration with the difficulty of taking action on a podcast. Like you said, I’m usually listening to a podcast because I’m busy doing something else. If I want to follow up on something that I hear, I have to remember to go back and re-listen or find the show notes and hope that the author posted the links. Definitely not ideal.
Anyway, thanks for the nice post looking critically at what so many others invariably overhype.
You are nowhere near off base, Spence! The great thing about online business is that there are obviously multiple ways to drive traffic to your website/business. The best part about this is that—as entrepreneurs—we get to choose which platforms we feel are aligned with our strengths and are most enjoyable to us.
Kudos to you for even starting the podcast in the first place. Even if you never produced another episode, it wouldn’t disappoint me a bit—and I LOVE listening to podcasts!
However, as an avid follower, I would much rather you choose whichever medium you yourself enjoyed most, as this is what will allow you to produce the greatest content.
If I were in your shoes, I would most likely only do those things which produce the most ROI, are most enjoyable, and allowed me to spend the most amount of time with my family.
Isn’t this why we all strive to have successful online businesses in the first place?
Just keep those blog posts humming brother! 🙂
Excellent comment here, Angel. I think you stated my reasoning more clearly in your short comment here than I did in my entire post. 🙂 Thanks!
I’m one of those people who found your blog through the podcast. I’ve really enjoyed the podcasts you’ve produced and listened to them more than once. I’m soon to be in need of more hosting and Long Tail Pro so when I use your affiliate links and purchase Long Tail Pro, you can chalk it up to sales from your podcast. Your blog is great too!
This could get interesting…lots of podcast listeners coming out of the woodwork! Good info to know…as I would have no idea unless you mentioned it here…
Agree with most of your reasoning Spencer, good article.
BTW, you have a mistake in your 2nd sentence, it says “…sessions where dedicated…” and it should be “were” 😉
Blogs are not designed to be formal. Who cares if he made a mistake? No one likes the “Grammar Police”..
Hehe, no worries. I’ll fix the typo 🙂
What a great thread. What I love about posting information in virtually any format, but especially the written word is that free editors abound. You can be sure that when you post something if there’s a mistake someone will be point it out, you can fix it and all is good in the world.
Really cool post. Truly speaking I always enjoy reading blog post rather then listening to podcast.
As a reader I can analyse and think on the information, strategies provided in respective post, so that I can mutually create strategies for mine website.
Also I am waiting for next public case study…hope it will be soon….:-)
Thanks Raj! I’m actually doing 2 public case studies right now: https://www.nichepursuits.com/case-studies/
Just to echo some of the points above. Found out about you via a podcast I downloaded. Didn’t take any action straight away but it contained a few nuggets that prompted me to go back to it and listen to it again. You earned a sale of LTP out of this.
I also think it gives a more personal side to what you do. Being able to listen along while you do things is much more effective than reading a blog post – well sometimes anyway – and you don’t come across like some of the bigger ego’s on the web, hence why I replied to this post and continue to listen to your podcast long after most of the other guys have been deleted.
Awesome to hear Gary…thanks!
I found you through podcasts. I also bought long tail pro after hearing about it in a podcast.
Podcasts are the number one way that I consume content. But you’re right, I don’t take a ton of action outside of the podcast. I listen to pat flynn every day but only go to his sites maybe a couple times a week.
Podcasting is a bit tough. There are a ton of casts that I love but if there’s not consistent new content, I usually unsubscribe. I like to keep my subscribed list so that I don’t have to scroll.
Very interesting, apparently people HAVE found me through my podcast…different people consuming content in different ways. Good to know.
I don’t think you can underestimate the relationship building side of it.
This blog is all about advice and it’s easier to trust a guy when you’ve heard his voice and heard him interact with people.
Your podcast and appearance on other peoples podcasts i.e. when you were on Smart Passive Income makes you more real.
When we find a new blog we are evaluating them trying to figure out of they are the real deal and put out good advice.
A podcast or youtube videos help you gain that authority with your readers quicker so you become a trusted resource.
As someone who travels a lot, I’m a big fan of podcasts. I utilize much of my windshield time absorbing great information on building my business. As they say, it’s an education on wheels.
Also, as mentioned above, it’s a great platform for getting to know a different side of the blogger. For me it’s more personal listening to their voice vs reading text. I find myself trusting more through the spoken word.
Lastly, although I don’t podcast (yet), it seems consistency is the key to maintaining an interested audience. Most of my favorites are cranking out a podcast a week. Before I download a new podcast, I’ll check the date and consistency of the episodes before I consider listening.
Congrats on the new baby! With four kids and a thriving business, I can see your point in weighing the benefits of this platform. Good luck.
PS: still loving Long Tail Pro…
Yep, there are alot of pros. But there are other ways to run a business as well…especially when you have lots of time commitments.
Finally…. some real reasons for people to stop doing dumb shit… Some podcasts are great…. and I don;t miss… others are just try hard… giving little real value… and are probably a huge effort v’s reward issue for the people doing them..
There is a fine line between sprouting opinions (sometimes ill formed and poorly delivered) and giving real actionable useful information,tips and advice that people can take and do something with
However… I really admire anyone that gives it a crack…..
Good post Spencer.
Personally I don’t think I’ve ever listened to a podcast in my life.
Can see why it would be good for relationship building but it does seem like a LOT of work for results that are kinda hard to measure.
Don’t see me doing one any time soon.
Your podcasts are very good. You do good interviews and you give away a lot of useful information that I have actioned. But I understand where you are coming from not liking having official things on your schedule, that’s why I like niche pursuits so much – I can do things when I feel like it.
I first heard about you through internet business mastery, ( found them through a podcast) bought LTP and followed you ever since. I always check my iphone to see if you have released a new podcast. Your podcast brand says to me genuine nice guy. But I guess it is not a money making tool itself just part of a bigger branding tool that may work better for some more than others.
I wonder if people don’t take action because they are often on the go when they are listening. I always listen to podcasts when I am driving or walking to my daughters school to pick her up. Usually I am pushing my son in the stroller too so I always think, I must do that or look that up when I get home but often forget, because I cant stop somewhere to write it down.
Great feedback…and nice to hear that you actually think my interviews are good 🙂
Podcast are one way amongst others to increase your reach, I think it is not totally vain,
But at a point when you get big like Spencer, you should focus on what convert most and disregard what doesn’t since you want to be able to scale up what works bet for your business.
I am a listener to your podcast and have listened to many of episode. I have also bought your products, both software and courses.
I have tell you, by listening to your podcast, I do feel that I have got to know you, and trust you more, and that is what directly has led me to read your blog posts and buy from you, and perhaps even continue paying for LTP platinum.
I first heard of you through Pats podcast and then went on to listen to yours.
I think there are benefits to having a podcast that are less tangible.
They build up relationships/trust/authority that are hard to put a dollar value on. These are less likely through a text article.
This is certainly the case for me as i went on to purchase Long Tail Pro and am now much more likely to purchase through your other affiliate links and go to you if i ever want PBN links.
just my 2 pence worth
I get a lot of value out of your podcast. The interviews are great and I learn a ton of subtle things that get mentioned that wouldn’t always come out the same way in a text article. Offhand comments about this or that can really spark ideas or explain why you do something that you don’t even think about or take time to explain.
Also, I think it helps ramp up the trust factor for your product and your other stuff. I listen to your podcasts, I pay for Long Tail Pro, and I read your blog. It’s weird to call myself a fan, but I guess that’s what I am.
Podcasting might be super difficult to track, sort of like offline advertising, it is certainly something that can help turn people into the group of “1000 true fans” who trust what you say and do.
I’ve done some podcasting and I agree that it is a ton of work that isn’t always much fun – editing, transcribing, publishing, etc. and those things probably should all be outsourced to someone else, but even just taking the hour or more to create the show is not always great either.
One thing I haven’t seen as many people do, but could be super valuable would be to repurpose the podcast content and episodes into youtube videos and clips for the traffic and SEO rankings that those videos get. If you’ve already created the content, why not get a huge amount of value out of it by syndicating it everywhere you can? Also, that might solve the tracking issues as it is much easier to get someone to click on a link in a youtube video than it is to get them to take action while running.
Great thoughts Brian. I agree, that there is ton of value in podcasts…but everyone needs to weigh the pros and cons for their own business.
Spencer. What a potentially provocative title for a blog post. Well done.
It certainly captured the attention of many of my subscribers who saw this and forwarded a link to me, telling me that I had been mentioned in an article that suggested that people should not create a podcast.
I have read your post and I have so many thoughts, about the things you have shared, that I have actually decided to focus a majority of episode 355 of Podcast Answer Man to your blog post and my response to it.
I have every intention of being respectful to you in my response.
I don’t disagree with everything that you have written in your post. In fact, I hope to point out a few reasons why podcasting may not be right for you and, and for that case, many others.
At the same time, there are a large number of points that I disagree with. I plan to share why I disagree with them, point by point.
I hope that you’ll consider having a listen.
Nice! Looking forward to that one!
Hey Cliff, thanks for stopping by! We’ve met a couple times in person at conferences; and you have an awesome business…kudos! And I will most certainly give your podcast a listen…I look forward to it.
I mentioned you as someone that absolutely SHOULD have a podcast (among others)! Many people should pursue starting a podcast as there can be huge benefits. My point is simply that everyone needs to weigh the pros and cons. There are other ways to build a loyal audience outside of podcasting…there is another way. In an ideal world, we as business people would have time to pursue all marketing activities including blogging, podcasts, youtube videos, webinars, participating in forums, social media, and more. But at some point time runs out.
Some people will do best on video, some people will do best on audio, some will do best writing blog posts. People should find their “forte” and master it.
Tons of respect for what you do. Thanks Cliff!
Hi Spencer! I really enjoyed this article and appreciate the kind mention 🙂 I am purposefully replying on Cliff’s thread because I just finished listening to his podcast response to your post and I agree with everything he said, so I won’t repeat it here.
The only word I want to emphasize is consistency. I have never seen an inconsistent podcast succeed, and I have seen many consistent podcasts achieve great things. It truly is the one key ingredient you must have in your recipe for success.
Until a person can commit 1 day a month to recording, editing, uploading and scheduling out 4 weekly episodes, they are better off waiting until that one day a month becomes available.
Congrats on your success Spencer, and remember all…FOCUS: Follow ONE Course until success 🙂
I agree John on the elements of a successful podcast. I, and others, just need to determine if it is right for their business. Thanks!
I wanted to let you know that I happened to read this blog post…first one of your blog posts I have ever read. When I consume your content it’s always through your podcast. By the way, I also purchased your Long Tail Pro after finding your podcast 6 months ago or so. I think Cliff’s podcast based on this blog post is something everyone should listen to.
Keep up the good work…hope you continue to podcast…I really enjoy it!
All the BEST!
Thanks Jeff…another podcast listener! Yep, Cliff’s podcast was very good…he had some great analysis.
What an article. I love these types. Wish I had written it 😉
As for me I never started my podcast with the intention on getting sponsors or selling anything like that.
I started my podcast as a means to extent my brand, “Income Press” which has worked out very well for me and the brand.
Sponsorships really didn’t get huge till my homie John Dumas cranked out with it. That’s really when I learned about it.
I totally agree with John, it’s all about consistency. And I must admit that my podcast is far from consistent.
That being said, I still get traffic from my podcast episodes. Not tons, but they are super targeted and highly qualified traffic.
How do I know this? Well as you mentioned, there’s really no way of tracking it YET.
But what I do is exactly what you do. Make sure that the links I say in the show are specific to the show so I’ll know it’s from there.
And the traffic that comes from there is from people who actually take the time to go to a pc, type in whatever you mentioned on their browsers, and go to your site or link you directed them to.
Those people who take that extra step are highly qualified. This extra steps acts as a filtering system. You weed out all the bad and junk traffic.
Podcasting is definitely not for everyone. It’s a long term thing and you have to have the skin to stick around.
Even big John didn’t start seeing anything hard core till after a year. Most people won’t last that long.
Great article brotha. Man is it ever 😉
Hi John! Just heard Cliff’s podcast response and wanted to let you know that I was one of those that unsubbed after listening and enjoying the available episodes. Just figured you weren’t doing them any longer. Consistency and longevity is rare in the IM space.
I listen to a lot more podcasts than I read blogs but with endorsements from Pat, JLD and Mark Mason, I know you’re the real deal!
Do whatever you feel is right for you but just in case, I’m re-subscribing to the podcast…no pressure! 🙂
Your example as a successful entrepreneur is an inspiration. Keep up the great work!
Hey…thanks for the vote of confidence! 🙂
Hi Spencer. Weird! I literally just typed your url in my address bar to see if you had made any new posts recently and the email notification popped up at the same time. Law of attraction?
I like listening to you podcasts too. However like others have mentioned, it is not likely I am going to remember a url you state in the podcast (even super shortened ones). However If there is something to follow up I tend to make a mental note to visit the blog later on, rather than taking down the url in the podcast. This is total guess work by me but I imagine it is the same for lots of listeners / readers.
I know this doesn’t make it easy to track so it might take a bit more imagination to come up with a tracking method. Competition time maybe, that is only mentioned in the podcast? If you can then link the users to readers from your blog and subscribers from your list (can you do this with infusionsoft?) then you can measure the users that are listening in. But its still difficult to measure what affect this is having on your brand and bottom line.
From here its a case of doing what you feel is right I guess and using your time wisely. The main point I’m making is that building your brand (not just for speakers) and giving to customers can add a lot of value that is more difficult to measure. Whilst this trust might still be adding more to your bottom line than you realise. Or then again it might not.
One thing is for sure. Video (or vlogging) and podcasts being easy to tune in whilst on the move are becoming more and more popular media.
Its like magic! All great points…thanks!
Spencer I understand where are coming from with the time cost analysis, however if it was not for me stumbling across your Podcast I seriously doubt I would have ever visited your blog. I never purchased LTP, but recommend it to someone I know who did (and they recommended yo Nother frind of theirs who did also). That is 2 LTP sales just because I listened to your Podcast regularly, otherwise I seriously doubt I would have run across the blog or site.
I guess it all really depends on your website, type of business, and where energy should be focused for maximum results. I agree there are a lot of Podcasts out there, it is becoming a crowded market, and there are definitely some low audio quality ones I wouldnt waste my time on again.
But here is an example from someone in my same niche; they had their blog going along for 9-10 and were getting about 200 uniques a month. Now after 3 months of podcasting he has been averaging about 20,000 uniques a month. Now wether or not that will convert to more sales and business is one matter, but you cannot help but to be surprised at that kind of spike in web traffic over auch a short time. He told me it has allowed to grow his email list exponentially. Guess it just depends on each diffirent situation and what makes sense for each of us. Thanks Spencer
Thanks for sharing Nick! Great to hear that my podcast actually has generated some results…who knew! At the end of the day, a podcast is a great marketing/branding method…but there are others out there as well. People need to decide what works best for them.
Interesting thoughts here spencer, and I never really thought about the action that I took after listening to podcasts. I almost always learn something, but usually my motivation to take action comes from something else, and the podcast just cements (in my mind) that I’m moving in the right direction.
I do like listening to them while getting ready in the morning, but the are more of what a professor used to call “electronic wall paper” – something that’s there but you dont really pay that much attention to it.
I love to read your blog posts. This particular one has really opened my eyes towards better understanding of podcasting.
I support your views about the subject of discussion because as a foreigner – Nigerian, it is easier for me to browse to a blogsite and read the posts than going to download a podcast. Reason: Broadband internet access is a dream to be realized in our country even with over 63 million people already having internet access through mobile. I am sure there are millions of other internet users having the same experience.
Hence, spending time to write quality blog posts enables you to reach wider spectrum of your audience.
There are a large number of people who prefer listening to reading.
Info does go to the brain and through the filters there more directly via audio.
That being said, I read at a high rate of speed so I’m always hoping there’s a transcript. I’ll usually pass on most if no transcript.
I just did an interview with Michael Senoff on my scrap metal business and he pulled things out of me I thought were long forgotten. A good interviewer can do wonders in getting the best from you.
Michael has interesting models for making money from some of his interviews by using them as a lead gen. with an affiliate split from the person who did the interview or to sell a product he has.
Michael’s setup is different from a podcast in that the interview and transcript are up on his website so more effective long term and out where the search engines can find them.
Ben Settle did a podcast a few weeks back laying out why most people shouldn’t do podcasts too. Many of the same reasons as stated here.
Podcasts do have value, but nothing you can directly track, as in all the comments here about trust and the podcast leading them to the blog.
If you don’t like doing them…that’s all you need to know. On to something more enjoyable.
Fantastic points here Dave! I agree, if you don’t enjoy the activity…move on.
Hi Spencer. Great points and I agree with what you said just because you spoke about your personal preference and the fact that you can’t track so you don’t know how much conversion you are getting. And why do something you don’t like unless there is a good reason for it?
People buy from those they KLT and hearing a voice or seeing a face is a good way to connect heart to heart. But it is also a pain to do podcasts unless you are the rare individual that LOVES doing them. I grew to dread my day because of them and finally dropped away yet I have been strongly considering starting another one because I feel I have a strong message and good info that people need these days. So I think it is all about looking at the pros and cons and making an informed decision that works in your plan. Obviously, if you put good content out there regularly, in any form, you will build and keep your target audience. That puts you top of mind when they need what you offer.
Thanks for the great article and all you offer. I’m a fan and buyer of LTP but have never heard a podcast, although I’d love to. That’s just because it’s a step I haven’t ever found/had/created the time and set it up.
For the record, I found your podcast first, then started reading your blog, then purchased LongTail Pro etc
Selfishly I would love for you to release more podcasts, I enjoy how you present them and the interviews and case studies you have recorded.
I was however surprised when you recently emailed out promoting another podcast. I understand why you did it, I suscribed and do listen to the other podcast, but, the market for niche sites as such is saturated with podcasts in my opinion. Listening to new podcasts don’t hold the same prestige that the established ones do.
Great article, thanks for sharing and good day.
Well, turns out a few podcast listeners did take action…very interesting.
You nailed some truths here, but glossed right over the most important reason why new ventures will most definitely benefit from a consistent podcast.
People love talking about themselves. Influential people often have things to say. Provide them with an avenue to share and you’ve just made an incredible connection.
I created the aBabe Music Podcast as a Trojan Horse for our growing company. I don’t ever expect sponsorship, profits or massive traffic. We use the show to build relationships based on mutual benefit with our partners.
The music business is a rat’s nest of boozy “meetings” that lead nowhere. The podcast is our unique way of cutting through to the industry leaders that we need on our side as we grow.
If you’re producing a podcast to sell products or advertising, you’re wasting your time. Value your efforts from a networking angle and you’ll reap huge rewards. We’re living proof that it works.
Props on leveraging the podcast is a smart way! I did mention that podcasts are fantastic for networking and brand building…and they are. But there are other ways, that’s all I’m saying. I enjoy doing other activities more than podcasting, so I do those other things. If someone loves to do podcasts…go for it!
Interesting post here, I have to say in a lot of ways I do agree with your post. I have been doing my podcast for over a year now and the more I look around it seems “everyone” is starting one.
Even worse is that everyone is following a similar theme to just interview entrepreneurs, especially people who just interview a lot of the same big name people.
I have now done 70 episodes in about a years time, my show really does not get that many downloads (maybe 50-100 per episode).
What I will mention is the relationship part of podcasting has allowed me to finally see success online.
For years I dabbled with MLM marketing with no luck trying to recruit people, I then tried to learn “everything” about online marketing for a year never really getting anywhere jumping from one thing to another.
I finally decided the podcast / interview show was a great way to “focus” and still sort of do “everything” by learning from people who do all kinds of different things. So I started Voices Of Marketing but It took a lot of time for these relationships to work in my favor.
Here is a chain of events that happened for me because of podcasting:
-In July of last year I interviewed Jon Haver of AuthorityWebsiteIncome.com, we talked back and forth via email for several months here and there about SEO and blog networks
-I interviewed a blogger / speaker named Amanda Abella late September last year
-Amanda referred me to a job on the ProBlogger job boards, someone who needed help with an entrepreneur magazine.
-I applied and got the job out of over 100 applicants due to my interview and podcast experience. I was hired to write for the magazine paying $400 per interview / article.
-This led to my articles being noticed by Jon (Most were published as guest posts as well)
-Jon requested we work together on a writing project, which led to a bigger discussion of a partnership.
-We then started LightningRank, a PBN service together over months of planning and discussions
Now my income is up over an additional $2000 per month all because I started networking and building relationships through interviews. I actually have had many similar situations happen so I summed it all up and wrote a Kindle book on the same topic.
What I love about interviews is I can also learn from these people, it’s pretty awesome to be able to pick the brain of Andrew Warner, Pat Flynn, John Lee Dumas, Jaime Tardy and all these other successful people for 30-40 minutes completely for free. I’ve even become recently interested in learning more about niche sites so I interviewed Perrin after reading so many of your blog posts and I learned a TON during the interview!
So my opinion would be to start a podcasting for the relationships and possibilities of learning, I’ve also gotten a lot better over the mic substantially boosting my confidence knowing I’m potentially speaking to hundreds of people who could be listening.
Bam! Huge success found through networking using your podcast. I 100% agree that podcasts can be an excellent networking tool…your story is a perfect example…congrats!
This was exactly what I was thinking the benefit would really be when doing a podcast. The connections that you can make from them seem to add so much to the value of it. In marketing, sometimes it really is just about who you know and building those relationships can skyrocket your business.
I’ve been thinking about building a podcast of my own for some time now and my only hesitations are those that come from not having enough time. I have too many projects on my table right now and I know podcasting may be more than I can handle at the moment.
John – It would have been a lot less work to just buy me a beer 😉
Spencer – I have potentially an interesting perspective on it from your blog/podcast in particular…My success story on your site drove a lot of traffic and an increase of 50 sign ups for 2-3 days. While your podcast didn’t result in a noticeable uptick in email subscribers at all. However, now 6-8 months after both I will have someone maybe once a week mention they heard me on your podcast while I never have anyone mention the blog post. So podcasts are great at creating “connections” that are hard to translate into hard quantifiable numbers for those of us trying to make data driven decisions I am sure it can be frustrating to continue to pour time into a podcast with tough to measure “soft” benefits.
Those are some interesting details indeed…thanks for sharing, Jon!
I think for those considering their own podcasts – the real value would be the public exposure and authority it adds to the brand – or the individual’s name. It adds a dimension to the way the public interprets and views the content and although it may not be ambiguous in direct ” click ” measurement – as John Shea on this thread noted – it opened a lot of new doors for him.
Thank you for your honest thoughts on podcasting Spencer.
In all honesty, I’ve never bothered to listen to a podcast – not one! I helped my wife do a couple and placed them on her websites but still, I’ve never listened to them.
I’ve been involved in Internet Marketing since 2006 and still don’t like podcasts! 😉
So thank you for your warnings, looks like I will continue not using podcasts.
Yep, lots of other avenues to market a business…podcasts are not required.
I find podcasts take up too much of my time to listen too so I rarely listen to a podcast. When I do I’m annoyed there isn’t a transcription available.
I’d much rather just read a transcribed interview as I can do that quicker than I can listen to one, and it’s easier to reread the good bits.
That’s an interesting point of view Mack.
Personally I love podcasts because I spend daily > 2 hrs commuting to work. Listening to a good podcast has actually made these 2 hours very pleasurable!
On the contrary, then I don’t commute, I don’t listen to podcasts. Indeed because it takes too much time 🙂
I think anybody who is considering doing a podcast should consider YouTube instead.
It’s much easier to persuade a YouTuber to click a link in your description than to ask them to type in a URL or whatever. YouTube is also better designed to help people discover your content, while iTunes mainly only helps you find things you already know about.
That said, if you put something on YouTube that would make sense as pure audio, no harm in submitting it to iTunes as well.
I actually record my podcasts via Google Hangouts and the audio version is essentially my podcast. I can expand my audience this way and give people the option to watch the video version.
Great point, Carter. Youtube can be a great option as well…if you have time or enjoy it 🙂
Fully agree with your analyses Spencer. Early this year I’ve started a podcast myself for an authority site… I see the number of downloads increasing steadily (now exceeding 350 download per month) but the number of visitors on my website are lagging behind (read: don’t exceed 1-5 per day)…
I believe podcasting will definitely help you build your trustworthiness and will (only) have an indirect influence on your business. A nice portion of your audience will be listen to your podcast AND read your blog… Having listened to your podcast, your audience will be easier convinced when you offer or promote products.
Very good article!
Thanks for your thoughts, Marc!
I found you through your podcast. Now I visit the blog regularly and look forward to your podcasts. I also, like many of the others making comments here, purchased LTP. You reach more than you know. Very thankful to have your voice in the world.
Well, there you go…another one. 🙂 Thanks Matt!
What a lively thread. After a lot of thought, I began a podcast a week and a half ago. I found this to be an excellent medium for my overall marketing, positioning and sales goals.
With a background in broadcast media podcasting fits right into my overall vision.
What I love most of all is the opportunity to introduce experts to my community.
As has been mentioned by several people there are many roads to the end result we seek. For some, podcasting fits in great. For others, it would be the worst decision they could make.
One thing that has made a huge difference in launching my show is having support with the back end details. If I had to do everything myself I wouldn’t be able to move so quickly in the direction I’m going.
It’s truly about weighing the pros and cons on all levels.
For some, great move. For most, likely a bright shiny object.
I am sitting here currently editing episode #70 for Biz Chix Podcast (www.bizchix.com), my wife Natalie is the host. We have had better success than most, but certainly not overwhelming success.
She has fantastic content, but that is not enough, you also need to learn how to do some serious marketing and networking in order to up your downloads. We are still in the trenches learning all this.
That being said, I would say that I would only podcast if you:
1. Enjoyed doing it, even if you never blow the downloads doors off.
2. You are creating content that you would love to listen to yourself. Meaning you are adding value that was missing before.
Thanks for the thought producing article!
I am in the middle of producing a second podcast (coming soon) with a hot topic I could not find on any other podcast. I grabbed a great friend of mine, and we are just having fun with it.
That’s great. And that’s the key to everything here…if you enjoy podcasting, do it! For me, its low on the enjoyment list usually (some days I enjoy it more than others).
What a refreshing post Spencer. At the moment my Facebook feed is stuffed with promoted posts from experts telling me I NEED to start a podcast. And for a while I thought about it, jotted down a few ideas, people I would like to interview etc. But, like you, I’d rather spend my time doing something I really enjoy which is usually the stuff the experts tell me I should outsource!!
II’m a very visual person so I would choose to watch a video such as your coaching calls with Perrin for the Niche Project over a podcast anytime.
Look, i found your blog and not your podcast. I just find that reading contents is much more fun than podcast.
It is way much more easy to digest and i understand better. Because of how you layout your blog and the contents short in paragraph, I’m your most loyal fan. Hey, your blog is better than Pat if i may say so.
Yeah, one thing about podcast, foreigners like us (we are from Asian) kind of hard to digest the accent of you guys. Ha!Ha!
I think out there, a lot of you guys will agree with me.
Keep producing more contents and don’t change a bit. Err. For your Asian fans.
” this blog post is not to discourage anyone from starting a podcast”
…hmm…could’ve fooled me Spencer…
I heard you get interviewed on Pat Flynn’s podcast years ago, and I liked what you said so I went and found your blog online. Later in the game I bought Long Tail Pro.
I love listening to podcasts (good ones, lol) but I can understand that they’re a lot of work and if they’re something you don’t enjoy doing then don’t stress over it! There are certainly lots of other ways to get traffic – focus on what you like to do! Or just continue getting interviewed on other people’s podcasts (the way I found your website).
But some bloggers like Ileane Smith, Pat Flynn and others are making hell lot of money with podcasts.. Its all about what your choice is.. 😉
There’s other ways to make good money 🙂
Spencer, I just wanted to say that 2 years ago when I first started I found longtail pro through pat flynn (back when it was still check marks which I miss lol). BUT listening to you talk about niche sites is what made me buy and guided some early decision making in our business. I never read your blog…I just look for you on podcasts. I remember one time we had to take a detour off the interstate for like two hours. Listened to you the entire time. Keep it going bro 😉
Sit down 1 day a month… crank out four 30 minute episodes.
Have them transcribed, boom, 4 blog posts with audio and text. Just 2 hours…screw the interviews. I have my podcasting down to 1 day a month now plus 1 interview a month. But usually I try to do like 1 day for 4-5 interviews…then just schedule them later.
Wow…wow! Thanks you Shane…all these comments are seriously making me reconsider the value I’ve placed on my podcasts. You actually pulled over on the highway to listen to me…awesome!
I don’t know what I’m going to do just yet…BUT I am doing some serious thinking. If I can relieve myself of the interviews and just go solo; I actually know I could do it in less time and on my own schedule. Thanks for letting me know how much my podcast impacted you and your business…
Oh yeah, we were just getting started. Interestate was shut down and we had to go like 20 miles an hour down these winding mountain roads….but I had my earbud in 1 ear and my wife had the other. Just soaking in how to do niche sites and stuff. Good stuff. Seems like forever ago!
I think you’re making a really interesting point, not only about podcasts but about any part of an online business portfolio the owner might find annoying (or least favorite) to do.
One thing I would offer caution about is relying too much on number and ignoring intangible benefits. Whenever we do anything in this space we are trying to find a balance between value and revenue. A blog focused purely on revenue and ignoring value wont impress many readers while a blog focused only on value wont make much money.
Obviously the sweet spot is finding something that offers value to the customerreader and revenue (be it monetary or or other) to the owner, or if that isn’t possible balancing your content between value and revenue focused items.
The point you appear to be making about podcasts is that they are nearly all value and very little revenue and as you’re not a big fan of making them (which is a perfectly valid reason to not make them) you’re questioning their wider utility for an online business owner.
But by only looking at the numbers, “how many sales did this drive through the special link?” or “how many new visitors did I get because of a podcast?” you miss the more nebulous and harder (or impossible) to quantify benefits.
Everyone knows people buy from people they like and trust. You can also build most ‘sales trust’ from actually being with someone face to face in real life. It’s probably fair to say an advert has least trust (why else do companies spend so much on branding?) surely a podcast moves your trust levels for readers higher than blog posts? Does this result in more return readers andor more sales? Do more people click your links because they like you and are happy to do something that makes you money and means you’ll make more content because of your podcast?
I don’t know, and for now it’s probably impossible to know (and a moralethical minefield if it every becomes possible to know) so you just have to ask your audience and go with your gut. But I know personally you could write what is literally the best blog in the world and it wouldn’t have the same impact on me as someone talking honestly and passionately about things they care about. Writing is all well and good but its an abstract, actual human communication utterly blows anything written out of the water.
Just my 2 cents anyway. At the end of the day you appear to be doing well enough to not depend on a podcast at all so are free to decide to do one or not based purely on the “pain in the ass” factor.
Matt, I agree with your point about intangible benefits. The one clarification is about the importance of revenue from my podcast. Yes, I want to know people are engaged with my podcast, but my bigger point was that I have a successful business without a podcast. (I own niche websites, and other business ventures that are not related to my NichePursuits blog and podcast). So, I have to determine, do I focus all my energy growing my “Niche Pursuits” business, or do I focus on growing other business ventures that are currently successful and I’m passionate about. Its about finding a balance between time and enjoyment and benefits. Its a complex situation for me that most people don’t have to consider…
I heard Cliff Ravenscrafts show. I also heard about you from Pat Flynn and Mark Mason, as I listen to their shows as well.
I thought I would pass my own thoughts along as well.
I started my blog back in August of 2013. I started my podcast in December of 2013. From the month I started my podcast, the traffic on my website grew by a factor of 5 and maintained it ever since.
BTW, my numbers still not large by most standards, but a 5x growth was directly due to my podcasting efforts.
Good luck with the new baby and your further efforts whether with blogging or podcasting.
Thanks James…and congrats!
Hi Spencer, I actually found you because of your podcast and the mentions you and your product Long Tail Pro (LTP) received on other shows I really enjoy. It’s actually why I ended up buying LTP even though I already had Market Samurai.
Anyway, there are a few things that could be inhibiting action being taken from your podcast listeners. First, there are likely a lot of people who already follow the website and already own LTP – like me. Also, it could be an issue with content, the pitch, or any number of other conversion points.
For one thing, you haven’t been consistent with your episodes and your enthusiasm on the show was falling off. Both of those things led me to unsubscribe about 6-months ago. That may have been the case with other people too.
I still check in once in a while on the blog to look at things like the niche website posts about apennyshaved. It would have been great to see the podcast continue and it was actually the main reason I bought LTP and visited the blog in the first place. But if it doesn’t align with your business plans then it probably isn’t a good fit.
Keep rockin’ those niche site posts though. I love that stuff! Cheers!
I just listened to Cliff’s podcast episode on this topic and…WOW.
Maybe the silent majority that Dan Andrews talks about was discouraging you and contributing to making podcasting un-enjoyable.
Anyway, Cliff brings up great points.
Great to hear! Thanks for sharing that you found me through my podcasts.
There’s an article on LinkedIn by Gary Vaynerchuk where he makes a really compelling case why every one of us as entrepreneurs and business owners are in fact media companies.
In this day an age, content marketing is not a cool thing that we might dabble with, it’s a must if you want to achieve preeminence in your industry.
That’s not to say that podcasting is the right medium for everyone.
But there has to be some kind of content marketing strategy your business follows – whether it’s blogging, vlogging, podcasting or something else.
For me, doing a daily show allows me to connect with extremely high level influencers, NY Times bestselling authors and deliver incredible knowledge to our audience.
The ability to then build those relationships with my guests is amazing and provided wonderful opportunities already in the short time since we’ve launched Born To Influence: The Marketing Show.
Wish you all the best with your endeavors.
I’m so glad you’re finding from the comments that quite a few o your followers and customers actually found you through your show.
Have a great day! 🙂
I agree Esther. My “media company” has been focused on blogging…and this type of content marketing has done wonders for my business.
Yep, interesting to hear how many actually DID benefit from my podcast…
Hi Spencer! I have to say that being a new “wantrapreneur” and just starting out in the off hours… I first was introduced to you on Pat Flynn’s podcast. I don’t have much time to cruise the internet and the time I do have is looking more into people I am introduced to in podcasts. I spend lots of time the car, more time than I have to read blog posts.
I have one suggestion… How about doing audio posts of your blog posts?
There’s a few out there doing it and I appreciate it since I love their content and I’m way more likely to listen to it than read it. That way you share your great content in all forms so your audience can consume it in the format we like best 🙂 – and we don’t miss anything.
You might throw an interview in here and there – but just use the platform as just one more channel for your brand.
If I hadn’t heard you on Pat Flynn – I never would have found you.. now I follow you too and always look forward to your posts and PODCASTS 🙂
Internet Business Mastery just started a new podcast that is solely dedicated to their audio blog… it’s getting more traffic than their regular podcast! http://www.internetbusinessmastery.com/how-we-boost-listener-downloads/
Thank you Spencer for the great content!!
Crystal…that’s a FANTASTIC suggestion…an audio of my blog posts, might be much more manageable than finding new guests, interviewing, and coming up with new content. This might be a great answer to most of my dilemas I posed in my post here…hmmm…lots to think about!
Some time ago I was thinking about doing podcast in my niche, but there was always something that kept me back. I don’t really know why. Maybe I thought that it requires some additional dedication, a dedicated time that I wasn’t willing to invest at that time.
I will reconsider it after reading your article, Spencer. Thank you, it is very informative and useful!
I agree that your opinion is right – FOR YOU. One thing for me is that even though it may take longer to produce a podcast than to write a post, I actually DO the show. Blogging was always at the bottom of my priorities, procrastination set it and it never, ever got done. Not to mention that I had to have all these convincing sales calls before my show selling people on working with me – but not anymore. They come willing with money in hand and a specific idea on how I can help them. Finally, I think you need to love to do it – which I do. Not everyone does. That’s key. I have always loved broadcasting and I always will and it’s not about the 6 fig income for me. It’s about the story and the audience. So I agree with much of what you said – you don’t do it because it’s trendy. You do it because you GOTTA.
I don’t jump into these conversations very often but I thought I would lend my thoughts.
I entered the world of podcasting on the bleeding edge in 2005 and have built a thriving business out of it. Given that I have stats going all the way back to day one, I completely agree with many of your points.
My Daily Boost podcast is the most downloaded self-help podcast in history. It stuck at #1 for four years. Now, with all the new folks launching podcasts, it tends to live in the top 5.
I was one of the first to monetize a podcast in 2006 using a freemium model. I’m also the first to produce daily programs – and have never stepped.
My programs are produced 5 days a week. I giveaway my Monday program and sell the remainder in my membership site. I’m one of the few that actually sells a podcasts as a front end product. I now produce 16 programs per week – a total of nearly 7,000 since I began.
That having been said, I almost always tell people NOT to get into podcasting if you plan on making money. There are many reasons and you mentioned almost every one of them… but I have a few thoughts…
The current and popular “daily” model is something most people could never keep up with. Content is king… and you’ve got to have lots of it to fill daily shows… and keep folks listening. You better be prolific.
New & Noteable is cool and nearly anybody can become “#1 New and Noteable”. But… what will happen when Apple stops promoting you? I can’t tell you how many people I’ve heard brag about being #1 N&N. By the way… there actually isn’t a #1. Then… a few week’s later they’re gone.
I have actually had two of the current podcast Guru’s ask, “How do you stay top rated after your launch?” My answer? Produce a great product, and market your ass off.
I also so a ton of television interviews and work with producers. They actually laugh at people who brag about being #1 N&N. They want the real thing.
To make money with podcasting requires that you cross your audience to your funnel. In other words, get their email address and start some kind of nurture that ends in a sale. If you can’t do that… you’re just free entertainment.
Speaking of free. Most folks expect a podcast to be free. That means they start out listening with no expectation of ever paying you. It takes serious marketing and sales chops to move them to the customer category.
Finally.. and this is the big one.
You CAN make big money with a podcast if you have a perfect message to market match. One of my big pet peeves with the current group of so-called successful podcasters is that they are making all of their money by selling “how-to” stuff to other podcasters. I don’t have a problem with that at all. More power to them. But remember, it’s really just another form internet marketing and selling a dream. Again… you won’t get any complaints from me. Just remember… when you buy a product from a guy making his money teaching others about podcasting… the only way you will likely make money is to teach others how to podcast. Just saying’.
That’s my two cents. If don’t teach people how to podcast, I actually do it for a living. If I can help you succeed, find me on the web and we’ll chat.
Founder & Chief Motivating Officer
Congrats on the success, Scott! You make excellent points, and I agree with them…especially about what you said about making money with a podcast. So great to hear about the amazing success that you have had with your podcast…congrats!
I do want to clarify; I already have a very successful niche website, software business, and other ventures not related to podcasting at all.
I am making more money now that I ever dreamed I would, to be honest.
So, I don’t (and never did) see podcasting as a possible revenue stream…I just wanted to know if anyone was engaging with my podcast. From the links I put out (for tracking), I assumed no one was engaged much or even enjoying the podcasts. But the comments on this post clearly show that many people have found value with my podcast.
I blog here as a way to teach what I’ve learned and hopefully launch others towards success. As a teaching tool, I think podcasting can be very effective and am starting to reconsider some of my original “cons”.
Your advice is spot on…thanks for sharing!
Spencer I found you through your podcast and have listened and even re-listened to most of them. I wish you had more podcasts but even so, I’ve found other podcasts to listen to in part because of your podcast. I guess I’ll have to find a routine that gets me coming to your blog on a regular basis instead.
Now I will further explore the podcast option. It seems that many people are making money with them.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ll add my first-hand experience and that is this:
As a “newbie” blogger and podcaster, my podcast has introduced me to more new audience members and more awesome people than I ever otherwise would have found.
The podcast growth has eclipsed the blog growth more than 3x.
I get notes all the time from people who say, “I found you in iTunes.” These numbers may be slightly outdated, but I’ve heard there are around 200 million blogs in the world, with 170,000 new ones added to the mix each day.
For the sake of comparison, that 170,000 figure is closer to the TOTAL number of English language podcasts.
That means it’s WAY easier to stand out from the crowd and build an audience with a podcast than with a blog.
Sure it takes time, money, and effort. (Like anything worth doing.)
But at least for this guy, it’s resources well spent.
200 downloads a day? Even if they’re not new, incremental additions to your audience that’s 200 people electing to spend 30-40 minutes with you in their earbuds. It’s a higher level connection than someone just reading a blog post.
I’ll take that kind of engaged audience all day long!
Good linkbait headline, btw 🙂
Thanks for posting Nick! I’m starting to feel the humble pie coming… Aparrently people are having lots of great success with podcasts! And I guess my point wasn’t that podcasts cant be great, just whether or not it was great for me.
But I’m taking a hard look at my strategy moving forward now….
I wish all these comments were compiled in a podcast since I don’t read blog posts and their comments, I only listen to podcasts (and audiobooks).
That’s summarizes how I feel about if people should podcast or not.
I listen to both of Pat Flynn’ podcasts and he has built trust and authority with me. I do not subscribe to his newsletter or blog. I visit his site only when something in his podcast peaks my interest. Am I less valuable to him than those who read his content? I doubt he would say so. I have purchased products from him, but I have learned so much from the free info he puts out, I intentionally hunt down his affiliate links when I need to purchase something, just to say thanks.
After reading this post, found via another podcast, I get the feeling that relationship with your readers and listeners aren’t important to you, unless it results in a sale. That’s kinda sad.
Also, 200 downloads a day, from a very inconsistent podcast? That’s quite good. Many podcasters would love those numbers.
Gary, I think you’ve have misread my intentions completely. Your words are well taken…but its not true at all that my readers/listeners are only important if it results in a sale. I started blogging 4 years ago as a way to teach what I had learned in order to help others be successful at creating niche websites.
In reality, I care so much, that I was basically saying I didn’t have the time needed to produce an awesome podcast…I want to provide high value, and I’m grappling what I can provide with limited time.
Ah…drat! Just when I discovered you (through the Empire Flippers Podcast mention of you) here you go and cancel YOUR PODCAST. Sigh….
Don’t worry, I haven’t cancelled the podcast…definitely reconsidering…after seeing so many amazing people that DID find me through my podcast.
Glad to hear that Spencer, I’ve been anxiously waiting for another episode. This is a great conversation as I was absolutely convinced for my bigger niche I was targetting that a podcast was absolutely necessary. Maybe not. I’m no Pat Flynn.
I got here after networking with Emilio, but sounds like your earnings from Long Tail Pro, so definitely a Podcast is only viable depending on your business model. I personally combine solo and interviews in my podcast so that the solo ones also become audio blogs like IBM. Cheers
Just wanted to say I had your podcast recommended to me by a real life friend, since this I have suggested it to three other people who have found it very very useful. I think you used your pod cast to great effect.
Wow, very cool!
I agree that a podcast may not be for everyone. I think if someone doesn’t succeed with a podcast isn’t because of the platform. It is the result of lack of promotion, quality, etc.
I think podcasts are here to say just like blogs are here to stay. Of course, there will be the few that succeed and the many that give up before they do.
Does that make podcasting a wasted effort?
I agree to your advice and thank you as well for giving me a reason to suggest my friend not to continue on using podcast (although it still makes money).
Thanks for your sharing.
I was a faithful reader of your blog