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It seems like there are more and more people producing podcasts and other content. Has the market reached saturation? Are there too many podcasts? And is it too late for you start a podcast and grow an audience?

Highlights, Takeaways & Quick Wins:
  • Podcasting regularly is a lot of work.
  • We all have stories to share—think about every hurdle or obstacle you’ve ever overcome.
  • Your story can become a template to help someone else, if you share it.
  • Take the time to pull out your story, record it, and put it out into the world for people to find.
  • Don’t measure success by downloads or popularity.
  • Your biggest obstacle isn’t other podcasters, it’s you.
  • You have to be willing to dedicate time every week to make something you can be proud of.
  • If you want to stand out, don’t do what the average podcaster does.
Show Notes
  • 02:11 Are there too many podcasts already? No. There are a lot of podcasts, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more. As of June 2015, a researcher calculated that there are just over 200,000 podcasts in the iTunes directory. You can host a podcast without putting it in iTunes and then there are other smaller podcasts hosts, but iTunes is the main player. That’s a lot of podcasts, right? No, not really. Only 40% of those podcasts are still active. Know why? Yeah you do. You know as well as I do that podcasting regularly is a lot of work.
  • 03:36 Here’s what the researcher found: Between June 2005 and June 2015, a typical podcast ran for six months and 12 episodes, at two episodes per month, before going inactive. So the number of podcasts that are still active as of mid 2015 was around 60,000. Half of those podcasts were about Christianity, Music, or Comedy. Even if you wanted to do a podcast about Christianity, Music, or Comedy, there’s still a big opportunity, but if you’re in a different topic, there’s a huge opportunity to grow an audience and connect with people.

You Have a Unique Story

  • 04:27 Here’s why I don’t think there are too many podcasts: everyone has a unique story. There isn’t anyone who has your exact story, but there are many people who can relate to your story or elements of your story. I was listening to a recent episode of the Good Life podcast yesterday, where the host was interviewing two guys who call themselves The Minimalists (they have a fantastic podcast, check it out).
  • 05:12 In the episode, a question came up about debt; whether or not there’s such a thing as “good” debt. One of the minimalist guys said something that was really interesting; he said that regardless of the situation, there is probably someone out there who has achieved a goal similar to what you want without taking on any debt. He called this a template. He said that you should look and find someone who has a template that you can use to reach your goals. See how they did it, take that, and run with it.
  • 05:49 I started thinking about this idea of templates in a broader sense. Chances are, you’ve been inspired to try to achieve something by seeing someone else who has achieved a similar goal, whether that’s growing a business, making a living by playing in a band, or even losing 20 pounds. So you saw someone else’s template and used those ideas to reach a goal. I believe that we all have templates to share. You could replace the word “template” with “story”.

We all have stories to share.

Think about every hurdle or obstacle you’ve ever overcome.

  • 06:35 Maybe you grew up poor and had to overcome that obstacle. Maybe your parents didn’t have money to put you through college. How do you find a good job? You had to teach yourself. Maybe you were stuck in a job that paid extremely well but was soul-crushing and stressful, and you had to take a leap of faith to transition into a job that was more fulfilling but paid less. Maybe you went from $100,000 a year to $40,000 a year. That’s a scary drop. Maybe you overcame drug and alcohol addiction and had to fight to get your life back on a path that you were happy with.

Your story can become a template to help someone else, if you share it.

  • 07:18 You can help someone else, and that person is out there looking for the solution that you have in your mind. You just have to be brave enough and committed enough to take the time to pull out your story, record it, and put it out into the world for people to find.

Don’t Measure Success by Downloads or Popularity

    • 07:43 Most people quit after 12 episode or 6 months because they aren’t seeing instant results. They forgot that there are other benefits to podcasting:
      • You will learn how to be more comfortable speaking.
      • You can become a better writer (if you actually write.)
      • You can meet and talk to some amazing people.
      • You can develop authority in your field.
      • You’ll learn a ton about yourself if you push through the obstacles.

Your biggest obstacle isn’t other podcasters, it’s you.

  • 09:31 Saturation was something I worried about when I was thinking about starting this podcast. There are already at least a half-dozen podcasts about podcasting. Did the world really need another one? Who am I to do a podcast about podcasting? I’ve been helping people make podcasts for a couple of years, but I’m sure there are audio engineers, podcasters, and radio people out there who have been doing this stuff for decades. Who’s going to care about me?
  • 09:10 I didn’t let it stop me and I had some great encouragement from the seanwes team and the seanwes Community. I knew that if I could share what I’ve learned and help a couple of people along the way, it would be worth it. A year later, the success of the show has exceeded my expectations. I’ve even been featured on the home page on the iTunes store several times, which is crazy to me.
  • 09:42 Things aren’t going to happen for your show overnight. There are hurdles that you have to get over, including learning how to record audio that sounds good, how to edit your show, how to promote it, and how to keep showing up even when life gets busy. I know how much work it is to produce a podcast. Some days (most days, actually) it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day.

You have to be willing to dedicate time every week to make something you can be proud of.

  • 10:10 It means saying no to other things. It means giving up other opportunities. But I believe that the experience you gain is worth it. I believe setting aside a few hours every week to share your story in a compelling way is valuable, both to you and the world. Remember that if you don’t yet know how to share your story in a interesting way, you’re going to go through the journey of learning how to do that, and that’s a valuable skill that will pay off for your entire life.

How to Stand Out

  • 10:53 If you want to stand out, you have to be above-average. You have to be exceptional. You have to make a podcast in a way that people see as not the norm. So let’s look at 7 things that average podcasters do:
    • Average podcasters show up without a real plan or outline for their episode.
    • Average podcasters are focused on themselves and what they’ll get out of it instead of thinking about what their audience will get out of it.
    • Average podcasters ask, “How can I spend the least amount of money on gear?” instead of asking, “How do I get the best sound possible?”
    • Average podcasters don’t spend the time to edit and polish their show because they say they want that “live feel” when really, they don’t want to take an hour or two (or pay someone) to edit their show and make the experience better for their audience.
    • Average podcasters show up when they feel like it, because, “Life happens, man.” Podcasting should be fun, right?
    • Average podcasters keep asking, “When will I get more listeners?” because all they really care about is making some money by selling ads.
    • Average podcasters quit after 6 months because they aren’t thinking about where they’ll be in 6 years if they keep showing up.

You want to stand out?

Don’t do what the average podcaster does.

Additional Reading: