Podcasts aren’t new. I remember browsing through them on my iTunes desktop software, plugging in my iPod nano, and manually synchronizing the newest episodes so I could listen to them on the go. They’re far more convenient and accessible now, thanks to smartphones, Wi-Fi and mobile data, since you can stream them even if you don’t download them ahead of time. There are some great blogging podcasts and entrepreneur podcast that could totally be up your alley.
But we’re finding that more and more online creators are moving into this space and launching podcasts of their own, including dad bloggers, fashion influencers, entertainment YouTubers and more. But why? And should you start one too?
1. Low Barrier to Entry
Part of the reason why some people might not make an attempt at being an “influencer” on a platform like Instagram is that they feel like all the top Instagrammers are taking highly stylized shots with very expensive camera equipment. There is some truth to this.
Indeed, many top accounts are filled with photos taken with expensive cameras with expensive lenses, and not only that, they’re carefully edited and manipulated by people who actually know what they’re doing in Lightroom and PhotoShop.
The barrier to entry can feel astronomically higher on YouTube (but it doesn’t have to be, where production value is at an all-time high. Some top YouTubers use RED cameras that are well into the five figure mark, not to mention all the other equipment they use. It can be expensive (if you let it and you get to that level).
Podcasting is different. Realistically, you can get started with just the microphone that’s already on your smartphone or laptop. But even if you want to step it up a notch, a perfectly awesome microphone like the well-respective Blue Snowball USB microphone can deliver that professional sound for as little as $50. You can edit the audio (and you probably don’t even need to) with free software like Audacity too.
2. Platform Agnostic (Sort Of)
As you know, the Internet is in a constant state of flux. You can never know what tomorrow might bring. That’s why we keep saying that you shouldn’t build your business on rented land. As successful as you might be on YouTube, that website could disappear overnight. Remember when we thought MySpace, Digg and Flickr would be around forever? Things can change quickly.
But, here’s something that’s been very interesting about podcasts. While iTunes may have once been the place to get podcasts, there’s no definitive winner in this space right now. By contrast, if you want to do video, you have to be on YouTube. If you want to reach wide audiences, you need Facebook and Instagram.
But podcasts? They’re available through so many services, so if any one (or three) of them shut down tomorrow, you’ve still got your audience. Better yet, you’re not at the mercy of some algorithm either, at least not yet.
3. Audio Is the New Battleground
Saturation is a real concern. For a while there, it felt like everyone was starting a blog. Again, the barrier to entry was low, especially if you started on a free platform like Blogger. And yes, it’s still true that starting a blog is very accessible. But, you may have also noticed just how competitive the space has become over the years.
By the same accord, it can be harder to get noticed on Twitter or Instagram or YouTube these days too.
And while there are certainly lots of podcasts out there, the level of competition is relatively lower compared to these other potential avenues. Audio has become the new battleground, because top content creators are recognizing the huge opportunities that await them there. Ironically, these are the “new” early days of podcasting and there’s still plenty of pie to go around.
A big part of this is because long-form content — long-form audio, in this case — is really finding an audience. When we’re glued to our smartphone and computer displays (and TVs, for that matter; thank you, Netflix) all day, sometimes we seek a respite that doesn’t involve looking at a screen.
For those increasingly long commutes, for those gym sessions, for those lunch hour strolls around the neighborhood, throwing on a podcast is becoming a popular form of entertainment that can trump top 40 music.
Do you have a podcast? Why or why not?