Don't get me wrong: Audio format, the quality of content and the immersive experience of audio is amazing.
BUT, everything around it seems to be broken!
A service just to host your audio files? Really ? and they cost money based on how many downloads you get.
On one hand, they want to make you money by promising you dynamic ads. The dynamic ads make sense when you have enough audience but that would already mean paying more for the hosting. Ironic and not beneficial to the podcaster.
Apple is the incumbent here. They try to create guidelines to regulate the content. Many of my podcaster friends will tell you how arbitrary those guidelines can be.
But, if you are not on Apple, then you practically don't exist.
There are few upcoming directories like podcastindex.org but there is a while before they become a challenger.
But what is the true purpose of a directory and does it make sense for one company to control it?
An average podcast has 141 downloads in a 30 day period.
3500 downloads in a 30 day period already puts you in the top 10%. Goes to show you the long tail that is in the podcasting world.
Also goes to show you why very few podcasters make (any) money. Because most of them rely on download numbers to get paid ads rather than finding their niche audience and creating monetization sources around it. This is atleast changing for the better in recent times.
Everything categorized as podcasts:
Podcast is a very broad term. There are a wide range of content types, formats and intentions that constitute todays' podcasts.
From business creating podcasts for branding, to news snippets/ news commentary, freelancers doing audio content marketing, to friends getting together and having a laugh: all of them are podcasts!
It's important to keep in mind that all these groups have a different reason to create a podcast and need different kinds of tools/service in their podcasting journey.
How to fix it?
There is no magic recipe here and if one were to design podcasting from ground up today, it would probably follow a different path.
But keeping in mind the following could help:
1. Keep producing high quality content! Your listeners come to you firstly for the content.
2. You do not need tens of thousands of listeners. Rather, you probably will not get that many listeners. Acknowledge that and align your podcasting goals accordingly.
3. Consolidation of services: Hosting, a directory, a paid membership platform: They can be consolidated keeping in mind that on average a podcast will get around a few thousands listeners.
4. Focus on user engagement and retention: With so much content that is out there, as a podcaster you should focus on keeping your users engaged. The conversation with your listeners should not end just because the 45 min episode stream is completed.
5. Listeners to Paid subscribers: If the content quality is high and you find the right audience for it (remember you need/get just a few thousand), they will pay you for your content. Focus on that and find a service that allows you to do that seamlessly.
What else do you feel a podcaster should start doing to 'fix' the system?
To see how we at speakhub are tackling this challenge, head over to speakhub for creators
And if you are looking to join the challenge, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Listening & Podcasting :)