Your agenda is not my agenda. Sorry, but it's not. We both indeed want to make podcasting—the entirety of podcasting—better. We share that agenda, and there are likely shared agendas between us. We're good and decent people, are we not? And we probably share many agendas with other podcasters as well.
But the agenda you have for your podcast is not the same agenda I have for my podcast. I recognize that, so I try not to push much "how-to" content with hard and fast rules of what you should and should not do. Yes, I've been in the podcasting game for going on 20 years now. But over that time, podcasting has evolved into myriad disparate factions. While there remain a lot of similarities across all of podcasting, from production to publishing, the vagaries unique to each niche are causing differences between those factions to become more and more pronounced.
In case it needs to be stated clearly, my agenda is to keep you listening to (or reading or watching) my content, hoping that you might tell a friend. Maybe even become a supporting member of mine. To achieve those agendas, I have to give you valuable information that you can take back into your podcasting life.
But do I have just the trick so you can create a hard-hitting investigative reporting series that captures the hearts and minds of millions of listeners? No, I've never done that. So I don't advise on how to do that. Nor should you come looking to me for that advice. You shouldn't seek out advice from any other long-time podcaster or even a podcast consultant if they, too, have not done that.
Choose to get advice from people with the same specific agenda as you. Because close enough probably isn't close enough anymore.
Your Agenda Is Not Your Podcast Hosting Company's Agenda
Sorry, but it's not. Sure your podcast's hosting company wants your show to be successful, but they want all of their users' shows to be successful. For the $10–20 you pay them monthly, it doesn't make economic sense for them to give you super specific tips and tricks that are perfect for your show.
Your podcast hosting company's agenda is based on keeping not just you as a client but keeping thousands of other people as clients. And then finding thousands of new people to become clients, all so they can keep their podcast hosting business in business.
So it's natural that the advice-based content they create serves their company's agenda first and foremost. Keep that in mind before you refactor your entire show to fit the most recent advice published by your hosting company. Or maybe a competitive hosting company. Remember that content, as well-written and solid-sounding as it may be, wasn't written specifically for you. That advice may clash with you and your agenda for your podcast.
Your Agenda Is Not A Podcast Listening App's Agenda
Sorry (again), but it's not. Sure, that app wants more people to listen to your show, but only if the end-user listens via their app. They may be great at making a nifty-looking badge. They might make an easy link to your show that looks great when shared on social media. But they want more than anything to get more people using their app. Ideally, switching away from other podcast listening apps to increase their market share.
I know they might showcase a variety of success stories from other podcasters who followed the playbook provided by the app to massive success. But remember that the app's success is mostly about the number of people using their app. Not how many listen to any particular podcast.
Does Anyone's Agenda Align With Yours?
I say none of that to be depressing or to disparage any of the great advice published by reputable consultants, hosting companies, or listening apps. I say that so you know who's on your side. And it's not that those entities are against you. They're not! They just aren't perfectly aligned with you.
Others, however, can be incredibly aligned with the agenda you have for your show because you have actual shared agendas.
Ad representation firms are one example. They, like you (if you sell ads), want your show to get as much ad revenue as possible. Why? Because they take a percentage of that ad revenue! When you do better. They do better. So yes, it's very likely that advice from your ad rep firm—programmatic ads or live host-reads—will closely align with your podcast's (or at least an) agenda.
Another great example is those you've selected to help you keep your podcast running. Your supporting staff—assuming you're paying them, which you totally should be—has a shared agenda with you. When the show they work does well, they keep getting a reward with a paycheck, a bonus, or some other tangible and valuable benefit.
And then there's... well, that's actually about it, really. Entities who not only profit from your show but have vested ownership with all the risks and rewards that come with it. They are likely aligned with your agenda. So listen to them. Listen to others, sure. But listen most closely to those who share your same agenda, podcaster.
I shall be back next week with yet another Podcast Pontifications. Cheers!