One of the most important steps toward taking a podcast to the next level is also one of the most commonly skipped steps. There may be many reasons for this, from not wanting to confront limitations, to the fact that there are so many different types of podcasts and podcasters, so there isn’t one standard. But if I had to guess, I’d say the leading one is that this step is not so simple or easy.
If you want to take your podcast to the next level, make it better. Make it sound better, structure it better, ask better questions, get better guests, do everything better. Make it more fun, interesting, educational, more meaningful or valuable to your listener.
As I said, this is easier said than done, but there is a way. Before you do any of it, however, the most important thing is to recognize your strengths and areas of improvement, and your podcast’s strengths and areas of improvement.
The one thing you shouldn’t do is assume your podcast is already the best it can be and as good as it will be, and then expect advertisers and sponsors to start lining up. Or, to expect a few social media tricks to turn that small audience into a big one.
The truth is, not all podcasts are meant to be massive blockbuster podcasts. And the biggest podcasts didn’t get there by emphasizing monetization or audience growth from the start, particularly at the expense of quality. And by “quality” we’re talking about how it’s defined by your targeted avatar or audience.
What’s that? You don’t know who your targeted audience is? We need to talk.
The Joe Rogan Story
Not long ago, I listened to Joe Rogan tell the story of how his podcast became what it has become. He never expected it to grow and he’s baffled by it, to some extent, even now. But that’s not to say he didn’t worry about quality or have a strategy. The thing is that for him that process came naturally.
Keep in mind, he was in the entertainment business long before he launched his podcast in December 2009.
His inadvertent strategy was to be an early adapter to podcasting. Very few people had their own podcasts in 2009, let alone comedians. He saw it as a way to add to what he was already doing, and to give a voice to his fellow comedians and people in his world. As his career success expanded, so did his circle, and so did his quality of guests. This led to audience growth.
The longer he produced and released podcast episodes, the better he got at it. And the more he worked at it.
The Joe Rogan of 2009 was a far different podcaster an interviewer than the Joe Rogan of 2022. It’s not that he’s a different person. He’s the same person. But he’s a better podcaster.
If there is a lesson to be learned it’s that if you want to take your podcast to the next level, focus on making you and your podcast better.
You’re not in this alone. If you want to talk, I may be able to help. I’ve been conducting media training for decades. I’ve helped others with their podcasts, and I have now released over 230 episodes of my own Shaping Opinion podcast every week since 2018. The process for improvement is just that – a process. If this is something you’d like to talk about, I’m all ears. I love to talk about podcasting. Just get in touch.
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Tim O’Brien started his career as a TV and radio producer. Since then, he’s become a nationally recognized communications advisor who’s worked with clients of all sizes. He has conducted media training for CEOs and a range of spokespersons for decades. Since 2018, he’s produced well over 200 weekly episodes of his award-winning Shaping Opinion Podcast. And he has helped podcasters take their podcasts to the Next Level.