As podcasters, we get pretty twisted up by numbers we're told are important to podcasting and to our podcasts.
Download numbers. The number of listeners we have. The number of followers we have on our social media properties. The number of people who watched our Clubhouse, Twitter Space, Wisdom room, Green room, or whatever the latest popular flavor of social drop-in audio is.
The number of people who support your show via Buy Me A Coffee or Patreon. The number of people signed up to receive your newsletter. The number of Satoshis streamed or the number of other payments that you receive from your listeners. The number of advertisers or sponsors you have.
The number of episodes you've produced. The number of episodes you should produce. The number of people who podcast who look like you. The number of people who listen to podcasts who look like you. The number of other podcasts that cover the same topic you cover on your podcast.
Yes. Podcasting clearly is a numbers game.
And that's just a sampling of the numbers we use to measure success. Sometimes the overall success of podcasting and sometimes the overall success of our own podcasts.
We've collectively agreed that the overall success of podcasting, your podcast, and my podcast is all determined by numbers like those.
The truth is that some of those numbers may be important to podcasting overall. Some of those numbers may be important to you and how you judge the success of your podcast.
But many of those numbers—if not most of those numbers—are not at all important to how you judge the success of your podcast.
A handful of these numbers may be important to judging the overall success of podcasting. But most are not. And for many of them, you have very little ability to change the numbers.
Yet still, we get twisted up by these numbers when we look at podcasting or our podcasts. And for most, we shouldn't. Not only do we have little if any control over some, but we also don't have any direct evidence of the accuracy and validity of those numbers.
Some we do. When you count up the funds received from listeners of your show who bought you a virtual coffee, or you see the monthly revenue from your premium subscriptions, you can trust those numbers. If someone sends you something of value, it's easy to count.
But everything else—and I actually do mean everything else that I mentioned— is suspect. The numbers you see on a screen are just that; numbers. Just a series of digits provided by a service that you (and I) have no other choice than to trust as correct.
Not that I'm saying those numbers provided are purposely incorrect. I think, by and large, the numbers provided to you and me by these services are directionally correct.
I just don't think that they matter. At least, they don't matter nearly as much to the actual success of our podcast in reality as they do in our heads.
Some of the numbers we track are very important. Not just to you and your podcast, but to all podcasting. And many of the numbers I mentioned are dependent on one another. These things are true.
But if you find yourself getting twisted up in these numbers, my advice is to figure out which numbers actually matter to you, which numbers directly relate to the success of your podcasting efforts. It's highly unlikely the answer is "all.” It's highly unlikely the answer is "most.” So choose wisely.
And then, once you know which numbers do matter, pay as little attention to the other numbers as you possibly can. You'll be a much happier podcast or for it.
I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.