To Podcast or Not to Podcast?

November 4, 2019

To Podcast or Not to Podcast?

November 4, 2019

Is launching a podcast worth it? Group Gordon’s Carla Pisarro weighs in.

In 2019, podcasts are everywhere you look (or listen). While the term “podcast” has been around since 2004—a mashup of “iPod” and “broadcasts”—podcasts have exploded in mainstream popularity in the last two years. Most Americans now report that they listen to podcasts at least once in a while, and 23% tune in a few times a week. End-of-year best-of lists now rank the year’s best podcasts, right up there with movies, TV shows, albums, and books. The most successful podcasters—like the team behind political podcast empire Crooked Media—are parlaying their popularity into massive fan followings and sold-out in-person events across the country. “What podcasts are you listening to?” is gaining on “What are you reading?” and “What’s your sign?” as a getting-to-know you question.

Podcasts are an exciting and appealing new communications tool—an opportunity for brands and personalities to communicate directly with their supporters. And their low barrier to entry means anyone can create and launch a podcast on a free platform like Soundcloud. But is the podcast the app of 2019, with legions of creators launching new ones that then stagnate without followers? If you’re thinking about launching a podcast, here’s what you should consider before joining the fray.

Do you have a unique angle?  

What distinct story or voice are you looking to convey? Will your podcast be comedic, serious, or informational in nature – and can you carry off the right tone? If you’ll have guests, will you be able to secure the ones you want? If you can’t sketch out your concept comprehensively at the outset, it’s not the right time to launch a podcast.

Do you have the capacity to podcast regularly?  

Podcasts require an investment of time, energy, and resources. If you want to build up followers, you need to commit to creating new episodes on a regular schedule. Do you have the discipline to produce and create episodes on a weekly, bimonthly, or monthly cycle? If you’re hoping to bring guests onto your show, do you have the bandwidth for pitching and securing new guests? If you don’t have the time yourself to produce the podcast you want, you may need to commit budget to enlisting a professional producer.

What’s your marketing plan?

The veritable glut of new podcasts means that even celebrity podcasters should expect to compete for listeners.

Have a plan—and budget—for marketing your podcast when you launch. An integrated marketing plan should include email blasts, social media marketing, and earned media promotion. Your podcast will almost certainly take a little time to catch on and find followers. But, if it’s not drawing listeners after a few episodes, honestly assess both your content and marketing, soliciting feedback from objective listeners. Use those learnings strategically to adjust your approach.

So are podcasts worth the investment? They can be, if you plan ahead thoughtfully. They can be a compelling—and fun—component of your communications.