(Photo by Flickr user Patrick Breitenbach, used under Creative Commons license)
It feels like there are lots and lots of podcasts, and that’s not just a hunch.
By Mark McTamney’s research, there are about 550,000 podcasts available on iTunes. “The number has quadrupled in last four years,” said the founder of podcast discovery startup IsItGood.
For someone looking to create a podcast, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do it. But when looking to stand out, it does mean there are a few things to consider.
-Stay true to your passion.
-Create content that lasts.
-Engage listeners in helping to grow audience. Create a community.
— Technical.ly B'more (@TechnicallyBMR) October 9, 2018
On Tuesday morning, a panel of audio creators and entrepreneurs shared tips and stories on a panel discussion at ETC’s Haven Campus. It was part of Marketing in the Digital Age, a Baltimore Innovation Week event presented by Baltimore-based agency Enradius.
Along with McTamney, the panel included WYPR producer Katie Marquette, Gabriel Pendleton of publishing and monetization startup AudioStaq, Kevin Kristofco of Green Bay Packers–focused podcast TitleTown Sound Off and Megan Isennock, host of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore’s Hey Baltimore.
Here are a closer look at a few lessons on starting a podcast and growing a listener base from the panel:
Find Your Niche
With distribution on platforms like iTunes, there’s potential to reach a wide audience with podcasts. But when it comes to the format, panelists said going narrow can pay dividends. Pendleton started a podcast about video games, and was surprised to find fans at a game developer conference across the country in San Francisco. “We didn’t know that we had these listeners all over,” he said.
Focusing on a particular area also helps identify what you’re truly passionate about, panelists said. Guests can also help with growth. “If you have a guest on the show, you’re also inviting their audience,” Marquette said. At Hey Baltimore, the focus on the city has created a steady stream of guests. “Baltimore is such a collaborative and supportive city,” Isennock said. “The people themselves are the topics and each guest begets the next guest.”
Create content that lasts
Panelists agreed that one of podcasting’s strengths is the authenticity of the stories that come through. “It’s amazing what letting someone tell their story can do,” said Isennock. When it comes to content, it’s also worth thinking about what might have staying power. Podcast episodes can roll out in tight timeframes, but the platforms providing distribution enable content to be discovered long after it’s initially released. Pendleton said he continues to hear from people about an episode that was recorded several years ago. “Podcasts are there forever,” he said.
Audio Quality Matters
While it can be relatively easy to launch a podcast, sound quality can make or break a podcast if it doesn’t provide clear and pleasant listening, panelists said. Isennock said Hey Baltimore benefits from an in-house production team at Downtown Partnership of Baltimore. For those who don’t have access to that, it’s okay to start simple. But reinvesting in new equipment such as condenser microphones and production tools can help with growth.
Engage Your Audience
Once an audience is established, it can become a powerful force. At TitleTown Sound Off, Kristofco said the podcast hosts frequently seek to engage audience members. They ask a Twitter question before recording, and share reviews. “The more we can get our name out there, the better opportunity we have for someone to listen to us,” he said.-30-
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