In podcasting there are three entities: the listeners, the creators, and the industry. In many cases the industry is either not focused on the well-being of the creators at all (Podcast Players and Podcast Listing Platforms, for example, are all about the listener), or have a split focus between well-being of the listener and the creator (hosting providers suffer with this). Very few industry players are showing up specifically for the creator.
And there's a fourth entity I haven't mentioned yet: advertisers. This entity is served primarily by the data collectors and brokers. If you're Nielsen or Pew or Edison, you're pretty impartial, but remember who the Infinite Dial is marketed to; it's not the independent creator, it's for those who are trying to figure out how to generate greater revenues using these insights. I should add that it's important to really think about how the framing of information effects how people think about it.
As an example, and I talk about this in the episode, 53% of Americans now listen to podcasts. That's true, but they only listen monthly, not weekly. And when those survey participants answer yes to the question, "Do you listen to podcasts?" it's very likely that they are not talking about Indie Podcasts - why? Because the top 200 most popular podcasts on any mainstream chart are 95+% professional studio productions or big brands.
Take a look for yourself:
The only indies on this list, aren't really indies any more. Lore was indie, but it's not any more, so was Barstool Sports. The others that are labeled "Independent" aren't really. I mean Mike Rowe? Sure, he's launched it himself and so is technically independent, but is he an indie podcaster? No, of course not. Smartless is also labeled "independent", but it is hosted by three Hollywood A-Listers.
So while Edison is impartial, the people who use their data to sell strategies or concepts are not. They might say,
"Indies have a chance! I mean look at the Top 50 chart! 10% of it is indie! So use [our service] just like they did, to find success, just like them!"
That kind of stuff isn't impartial - I'd go so far as to call it dishonest and malicious.
The truth is you don't have much of a chance as a truly independent podcaster...
Unless you've got the following:
- Drive and ambition.
- A reasonable budget for paid ads.
- Good content and a willingness to purchase what equipment you need to produce good quality, because good content isn't enough any more.
- A guide who has done it before, and done it more than once.
Having one successful podcast does not make someone an expert. In order to be an expert, someone needs a system that has been proven to replicate that success - if they don't, they just got lucky.
I'm one of those people, but I'm not the only one. We're a rare breed, but we exist and you've got to look for us. I'm out in the open making noise, but most of us are like how I was a few years ago: implementers and engineers who have their head down and are doing the work and who don't view themselves as thought-leaders or experts. They don't market themselves, they just do the work. But we've all got one thing in common, we show up to help when asked. These are the people you're looking for.
Jeff, AKA Podcast Father, is one of those people. Jeff doesn't market himself as a guru, but he's got a lifetime of experience in marketing and brand development, and he's been involved in hundreds of successful projects in those years. Jeff is the kind of guy you want to trust, because he really is an expert. You can also choose to trust me (here's why).
Look for the people who are working in the are you need advice in. Do not trust people who are not working in that space or whom do not have demonstrable, repeatable success in that space. Check their LinkedIn, ask for references, do your due diligence and cut through the marketing bullshit - see them for what they are... and if they check-out, great, you can trust them. If they don't, though... avoid them.
Hope you enjoy the episode. Take care.
Podcasting Sucks is a property of Tanner Campbell Consulting, LLC. Other properties under the Tanner Campbell Consulting brand include Retold Myths and Tales, Practical Stoicism, The Guthtaigh Studio, and the Pysma Learning Platform.