It feels like it wasn’t that long ago that podcasting was a pretty niche medium.
Just a few years ago, anyone who listened to podcasts and could recommend their favorite shows seemed to be tuned into an almost secret subculture of pod lovers. Creating a podcast of your own was basically unheard of, unless you worked for a major media company.
Clearly, times have changed — and those changes have been great for the podcasting biz. Podcasts have become part of the mainstream. According to 2020 statistics from Podcast Insights, there are more than 1,500,000 podcasts and over 34 million podcast episodes out there in the world!
As people have become more aware of the shows that are available out there, they’ve found their way to shows about whatever interests them from news to sports to pop culture. Whether we like it or not, listening to podcasts regularly no longer makes you hip and cultured… because the secret is out. People know how great podcasts are.
Yes, this means it’s a lot easier to find someone to chat about your fave podcast with these days, but it also means that now is a great time to consider starting a podcast of your own.
A lot of people these days wonder if there are too many podcasts — I hear you on that common concern, but the answer is: No! If you have something to share and an audience to serve, there’s a place for you in the podcasting world.
Here’s why now is a great time to start a podcast.
1. More people are tuning in
If, like me, you feel like the whole world is suddenly in on the podcasting thing, you’re not imagining it. There are numbers to back up our theory!
According to the 2020 Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research, “the share of time spent listening to spoken word audio in the U.S. has increased 30% in the last six years, and eight percent in the last year.” Spoken word listening — including podcasts and audiobooks — now accounts for 26% of all listening for teenagers and adults in the U.S. Music listening, on the other hand, has seen a decline.
So what does this tell you about why now is a great time to start podcasting? Well, it says that there’s a real demand for this kind of media! Per the report, people have been drawn to spoken word listening in recent years because of mobile technology and its ability to support multitasking. And let’s get real — people are catching on to the high-quality content available to them in this format.
Launching a podcast of your own is really just giving the people what they want: more spoken word listening.
2. Technology and tools make it easier than ever to create your own show
Two and a half years ago, I launched my show with absolutely zero experience with podcasting or audio production. (I mean it, though — I actually had zero experience.) If I can figure out how to host, produce, edit and promote a show, I know you can too.
It all comes down to the resources that are available to us now! Technology is totally on our side. There are many microphones available for less than $200 — and some much less — that will make your audio sound crisp and clear. Tools like SquadCast make it possible to record podcast interviews remotely and still sound like a dream. And social media gives you the power to spread the word about your show to countless people from the palm of your hand. When you really think about it, the fact that we have access to all of this is pretty unbelievable.
Don’t waste these tools! If you have an idea for a podcast in mind, you now have the resources to bring that idea to life. Why not go for it?
3. Listening to podcasts is easier than ever too!
The tools necessary to create a podcast have become more accessible in recent years — and so have the tools necessary to listen to them.
Once again, we have technology to thank. According to the Spoken Word Audio Report, 30% of all listening on a smartphone is to podcasts and audiobooks. And since smartphones have become more or less universal at this point, pretty much anyone can listen to a pod no matter where they are.
And then there’s the proliferation of listening platforms. In addition to accessing podcasts via each show’s website, listeners can tune in on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, Amazon Music and more. Everyone can find a platform they love on that list.
4. You can use podcasts to connect with audiences you might not be able to reach in other ways
The podcasting world is so diverse and segmented that it creates space for basically everyone. No matter your specific interest, you’re bound to find a show that celebrates it. The same goes for podcasters seeking listeners!
If you’re passionate about a subject or niche and you’re not sure how to find an audience for content about that subject or niche, podcasting might just be your answer. Consumers with niche interests may have grown accustomed to not seeing those interests highlighted in other forms of media, but chances are that they’re regularly searching for content that will address whatever it is they love. (Aren’t we all guilty of falling down a search rabbit hole? Yeah — been there.)
Plus, aren’t we all seeking more connection?
“In 2020, we are stressed out, isolated, and in many cases, alone — physically, yes, but for many, emotionally as well … let’s make connection the goal. Connection with the listener, but also connecting listeners to each other. This means finding ways to interact with and engage the audience beyond just talking at them,” suggests Tom Webster, senior vice president of Edison Research.
Once you find your audience, you have the power to develop a community around the subjects you cover on your show. From there, your listener base is bound to grow even further.
5. It’s a really fun DIY project
Take it from someone who knows — starting your own podcast is a lot of fun. Even the roadblocks I’ve run into in the process of building my show have ultimately felt like fun, since they’ve taught me how to overcome a challenge and made me feel super accomplished in the process.
Even more experienced podcasters like Veronica and Steve from Pod Sound School make sure that fun remains the focus of making their show. “That’s sort of what we think the key ingredient is — fun,” Steve said on an episode of Between 2 Mics. “We feel like if you’re having fun, then you’re going to make really good content.”
If you’re looking for a new DIY project to sink your teeth into, becoming a podcaster might just be the perfect solution. There’s an awesome community of podcasters out there waiting to help you turn it into a good time.
So you’ve decided to start a podcast. Awesome! If you’d like to use SquadCast to record awesome remote podcast interviews, you can take advantage of a 7-day free trial here.
Alli Hoff Kosik is a writer, editor, content manager and podcast editor based in Philadelphia, PA. She is the host and producer of The SSR Podcast. Alli is pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Temple University. This content was produced collaboratively with PodReacher.