Yesterday I started an online group discussion about podcasting. I started the discussion on a whim, and slowly people joined. People I really didn’t know at all or at least not very well. Two hours later, we were still going strong.
And not once did we talk about podcast monetization, growth hacks, or launch strategies.
Yet we still had a deeply engaging conversation, with different podcasters sharing their thoughts, ideas, and experiences. It’s not often I say that online group conversations attended by strangers are awesome, but this one was. Even those who weren’t chiming in with their voices were engaged, as a couple of them sent me direct messages after the “live” conversation had ended.
How did we pull that off?
People Are Hungry For More Than Staples
Podcast monetization, growth hacks to scale-up an audience quickly, and podcast launch strategies that get a new show live as fast as possible are the default topics podcasters engage with other podcasters about. That’s not surprising: There’s a huge amount of demand on those topics, largely thanks to the continued growth podcasting is seeing and will likely keep seeing for years to come.
But there’s also a lot of pre-existing supply of content to fulfill that demand. And baring the content that gets quickly dated, none of the supply is actually consumed by the demand.
So why do we podcasters feel the need to keep increasing the supply? Competing in a market where there’s more than enough supply to meet the demand means that the race isn’t to build the best content—it’s a race to build the most-optimized content.
The algorithm may equate “most-optimized” to “best”. But when the market is saturated, humans often disagree.
You can choose a different path. You can choose to create conversations about podcasting that have nothing to do with monetization, growth, or launch strategies. You can, instead, talk about more meaningful, important, and long-lasting aspects of podcasting. Aspects of podcasting, oddly enough, that keep you podcasting.
When you decide to dive into community conversations, share your stories. If you’ve the choice between giving practical-but-obvious advice or relating an anecdote that’s personal to you, choose the latter. When the topic is about process, let your answer be about your process instead of a genericized process you think anyone could use. When the topic gets technical, let your answers convey as much about the fun you’re having with your podcast as they give the answer.
Inspiring Fellow Podcasters With Your Stories
Podcasters new and old are inspired by others. People posting questions to online groups, rooms, and threads aren’t immune from humankind’s basic need to be inspired. At the risk of someone misinterpreting my words, I honestly think that content that inspires is every bit as important as content that informs.
(No, that is not my tacit permission for you to make the podcast equivalent of an inspirational quote-filled Instagram account. Gross.)
Podcasting is awash with how-to, how-to, how-to, content. So the next time you head to a Facebook group about podcasting, join a podcast-specific Clubhouse room, comment on a Reddit thread, or chime in on a Discord server; think about why you podcast.
When you’re in a busy group discussion, resist the temptation to chime in when others are already covering how-to-monetize, how-to-launch, and how-to-grow tactics. Few people are going to remember one more voice saying the equivalent of “yeah, I agree!”, so there’s little chance of leaving a lasting impression.
A better option might be to start your own conversations in those groups, much like I did on a whim yesterday. You too can start a brand new conversation, room, thread, or whatever that’s focused on an underserved podcasting topic. An underserved podcasting topic that doesn’t often get brought up in that community. An underserved podcasting topic where you have specific experience. An underserved podcasting topic where you can let your personal stories act as an example for others to follow.
You’ll be surprised how much richer and more fulfilling those interactions will be. Even if that conversation you sparked doesn’t attract hundreds or thousands. Quality over quantity, you know?
How To Choose An Underserved Podcasting Topic
So, yeah, that all sounds great in theory. But how do you know what to talk about? It’s easy to talk growth, monetization, and launch. And yes, if that's your thing, do your thing. But for podcasters who do not podcast about podcasting, you may need some help selecting topics that avoid the near-insatiable demand for that content.
I'm probably not the right person to help you figure that out. But your peers might be. The other podcasters you are connected with. Or perhaps a group of your listeners who are really engaged in your podcast. Ask them what they love about your show and wish other podcasters knew about.
Forward this article to them so they can better understand the problem with the supply-glut. Once they get it, they’ll probably come back with some aspects about you and your podcasting ability you’ve forgotten about. Share it!
And if you love this idea and are already thinking of new ways you can engage with other podcasters and wannabe podcasters in online forums, please consider going to BuyMeACoffee.com/evoterra and sliding a virtual coffee my way. That's always nice.
I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.