I recently had an odd call with a prospective client, and it was all due to a disconnect between their expectations and the expectations of our team. Now, that’s not terribly unusual. People in business just getting into podcasting have all sorts of incorrect assumptions and faulty perceptions about podcasting. My approach is to bust those myths and correct those notions early in the discussion, as no one wants their time wasted.
But this call was different. Within minutes, the client shifted from trying to figure out if our firm was the right firm to help them with their podcast to the client asking us to convince them of why their business should even have a podcast.
Not that I’m afraid of the “should we podcast?” question. I just wasn’t quite prepared for the question, as this client came from not one but two referrals from other clients of ours.
So I answered, and I don’t think they were expecting the answer I gave, which was this: Maybe you shouldn’t.
No, Not Everyone Should Have A Podcast
Even though there are nearly four million podcasts available, we have room for more. And yes, I think anyone who wants to have a podcast should have a podcast. Or at least try it on for size and see if it’s for them.
But the reality is that podcasting is not for everyone.
I think we podcasters need to be more honest and upfront with that reality during our conversations with people who express an interest in podcasting.
When a business, perhaps a business you work for, asks you about podcasting, they may think all they need to do is spend a few minutes recording conversations with a few clients or prospects and just shove it out the door.
But you and I both know there’s more to it than that. Most of the 4 million podcasts are some variation of that, some published by well-meaning companies. We know that those low-effort shows are lucky to get a few dozen downloads each episode and actual listeners that can be counted on a single hand.
That business, perhaps the business you work for, is going to be disappointed with those results, and the show will fade away. And probably wonder why you weren’t more forthcoming.
You probably have creative friends in your life—visual artists, musicians, poets, actors, comedians, writers, etc—who you think could make great podcasters. After all, they’re so great at their primary creativity, they’d be a natural in the podcasting space, if only they had a little encouragement.
Not so fast. While I wholeheartedly agree that we need more deeply creative people making podcasts, it needs to be a good fit for them. As you and I know, making a podcast is in and of itself a creative endeavor. Any encouragement you give them should be tempered with a healthy dose of reality and honesty. Your creative friend will need to learn new skills. They’re likely going to have to stretch their current creative skills to fit into a podcast. And all of that takes time and energy away from being creative with their primary creative outlet. Don’t let them discover that on their own.
If you too like to surround yourself with smart people, the topic of podcasting is going to come up, and one or more of the smart people in your life is going to look like a great podcasting prospect. There’s a huge demand for knowledge-based podcasts as is evident by the number of charting shows that fit that mold.
But making a podcast isn’t the same as putting together a keynote presentation. It’s vastly different from writing research papers. And though similar, it’s quite different from doing interviews for radio, TV, or even other podcasts. For all their expertise, most subject matter experts aren't subject matter experts in podcasting. We make it look easy, but we know it’s not easy. And many of those experts are going to struggle to master this new discipline.
Be Honest About Podcasting’s Realities
The next time your employer, co-worker, creative friend, or that super smart person in your life and you are in a conversation about podcasting, be every bit as honest as you are encouraging.
Nothing sours a working relationship or friendship like missed expectations.
And speaking of setting proper expectations, this was the penultimate episode of Season 3 of Podcast Pontifications. One more will come out tomorrow, and then I’m on break for a few weeks. Season 4 will launch in July of 2021.
In the meantime, make sure you’re subscribed to Podcast Pontifications In Your Inbox. I’ll be trying out some new concepts during the break, and PPIYI subscribers will be amongst the first to know.
I’ll also update those who’ve been kind enough to buy me a virtual coffee on BuyMeACoffee.com/evoterra. So feel free to do that as well.
I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.