Podcasts: it’s become a topic that can spark a lively conversation with just about anyone you know (or don’t!). Whether you’re searching for a podcast that covers sports, entertainment, true crime, literature, politics, or just about anything in between, you can undoubtedly find at least a handful of shows that capture your curiosity. From celebrity-hosted podcasts to those started by everyday people, the selection of successful podcasts is large and diverse.
With more than a million different podcasts – and counting – available for our listening pleasure, it’s no surprise that podcasting has become a hugely popular trend in media. But what exactly is it that’s given podcasts such as staying power, and how do you start a podcast that can compete in such a dynamic industry? We’re taking a closer look at how podcasting evolved as media’s hottest trend that certainly seems like it’s here to stay.
Why is Podcasting so Popular?
Although many people assume that podcasting is a “new” trend, it’s actually one that’s enjoying something of a revitalization. In the mid-2000s, podcasts looked significantly different than the ones we have today, but they were maintaining a solid existence. But then, burgeoning social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter came onto the scene, and podcast took somewhat of a backseat to these new media giants.
However, it didn’t take long for podcasting to make a major comeback – and now, many of us can’t imagine going through our daily routine without tuning into our favorites. But you may be wondering, why is podcasting such a hot trend? Well, there may be a couple of factors at play:
- The widespread accessibility of smartphones – and smartphone apps – have made podcasts easier to enjoy than ever. Now, you can get the podcast of your choice virtually delivered to your listening queue, and all you have to do is click and listen. Before smartphones, you had to connect your device (like an iPod, for example) to your computer to download new episodes every time they were released. Today, being connected to popular podcasts requires next to no effort.
- The meteoric rise of podcast listening platforms, including Apple’s Podcasts app, Spotify, Stitcher, and others. Not only can listeners get instant access to podcasts, but up and coming podcasters and professionals alike can easily publish their work. As of spring 2020, there are more than 30 million podcast episodes living in the digital world, so it’s no wonder that everyone can find something they’re interested in. And with a growing number of people able to participate in podcasting, it’s pushed the genre to an exciting new level of popularity.
Together, these two factors have supplied both the device and the channel to support the explosive growth of podcasting. Recording and listening to podcasts are more efficient than anyone could have imagined a decade ago, and distribution literally places millions of podcasts in the palm of your hand.
Tips for Launching a Successful Podcast
If you’re looking to jump into the growing field of podcasting, how can you make sure you get off to a good start? About 68 million people in the United States listen to podcasts on a weekly basis, so there’s certainly an opportunity to get your content on plenty of playlists.
According to an experienced entrepreneur and successful podcaster Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income, marketing your podcast comes down to what he refers to as the “Exposure Cycle:”
- Discoverability. In order to gain exposure, your podcast first needs to be discovered. In order to achieve that, there’s some behind-the-scenes work you’ll need to do:
- Use carefully-selected keywords when creating your podcast title, description, and metadata. This will help search engines find your podcast. Also, you can optimize your podcast on iTunes for SEO purposes.
- Design a professional podcast cover that appeals to new and existing listeners alike.
- Work towards getting your show rated and ranked on iTunes top lists.
- Stickability. “Stickability” refers to how long your viewers will be sticking with your content, and a podcast is an excellent opportunity to get them to stay awhile. For example, if you have a blog that discusses your local sports scene, users may spend a few minutes reading a specific post. On the other hand, a podcast episode on the same topic can keep them engaged for up to an hour or so – that is, if you know the right approach:
- Invest in simple but effective equipment to produce high-quality sound.
- Skip the fluff and keep your discussions relevant.
- Offer valuable, interesting content that offers your listeners worthwhile takeaways.
- Back your podcast up with social proof, such as your number of downloads and subscribers.
- Shareability. If your listeners can’t figure out how to share your podcast with friends and family, then you’re missing a major opportunity for exposure. Whether you have a website, blog, or social media accounts set up for your podcast, make sure they incorporate easy-to-use sharing options. For example, your podcast website could have social sharing buttons placed within easy view of online users. Some other tips:
- Offer show notes to listeners
- Build in a call to action for every episode
- Make sure you add your podcasts to well-known directories, such as Stitcher
Jumpstart Your Podcasting Career with an Education from the Media Schools
At the Media Schools located in Colorado, Ohio, Illinois, and Miami, we offer a diverse range of media-focused programs and degrees to help you get started in the industry. From learning about the newest podcast trends to developing the skills you need to become a podcaster; you’ll dive right into a hands-on experience with the latest in the world of media. There’s no doubt that the media industry is ever-evolving, so why not arm yourself with a wealth of knowledge to gain a competitive edge?
Learn more about how to become a professional podcaster, as well as what the latest podcasting trends mean for your future, by applying to join the Media Schools today.
*Image: By fizkes