Let's ask the big question: Is podcasting worth all the time and effort you need to put into it?
It’s actually really important to ask – and answer – that question for yourself before we go any further.
Whether you’re starting a podcast for the first time, or you’ve been producing for a while, self-doubt will always be around. The more your podcast, and indeed, the podcasting world, grows, the more ammunition that self-doubt has to throw at you.
Avoiding impostor syndrome takes work. You might feel like you’re spending time and money playing a game without a level field. So, is podcasting worth it? This is a question worth asking, and it’s important that you answer it in detail. Over the next few sections, we’ll be focusing on helping you to find these answers for yourself, but, for now, let’s look at them briefly.
1. Who Cares About Your Podcast?
When you find yourself thinking “what’s the point?” or “Does anyone actually care about this?”, don’t ignore it; stop, and answer the question.
Who cares apart from you? To be honest, sometimes, we really don’t care, it can all seem a bit (or a lot) too much. But the person who really cares about your podcast is your podcast avatar, also known as your ideal listener.
Your ideal listener is the person who needs your podcast the most and can’t find it anywhere else. You need to work out exactly who this person is, when they listen, what they do when they listen, and what your podcast does for them. This can help to tell you things like how long your episodes should be, what will be the best format for your podcast, and where and how to promote new episodes.
2. Why Will People Listen?
Columbia University Law professor Tim Wu wrote a book called The Attention Merchants, all about who profits from, and engineers, grabbing and holding your attention.
In a 2018 interview with Vox, Wu said, “I’ve been very interested in…feats of concentration that people used to perform all the time — [such as] writing a book in six weeks or a computer program in a few days… I do think it’s become considerably harder in our environment to enter important and deep states of focus and concentration, because we surround ourselves with technology, whose business model is to distract us…. Our computers are ostensibly productivity-enhancing machines, but they also are loaded with platforms whose business model is to consume as much of your time as possible with ads and noise and distraction.”
Not only is it hard to produce a podcast (because you’re competing with distractions), but also, it’s hard to get anyone to pay attention to your podcast, because they’re distracted too.
Your job is to make it worth people’s while to listen to your podcast. All the work we do at the beginning of the Academy – figuring out your avatar, what format your podcast will take, what your topic is going to be, and how you’ll deliver your episodes – all of those things are what will help you to let go of this concern.
3. Why Are You Doing This?
This is the kind of question my mum would ask when she caught me cutting my dolls’ hair at age four.
It doesn’t mean, “stop it.”
Every podcaster should know why they’re producing a podcast. Once they know the answer, they can take steps to get there.
Once you know why, that reason helps you with every aspect of your podcast workflow. There are so many really good reasons that podcasting is worth it.
4. Don’t Try To Keep Up With The Joneses
There’s a joke in podcasting circles about the podcaster who finally made money from his podcast, by selling all of his podcasting equipment.
Podcasting can be expensive. And the more money you spend, the more pressure you put on yourself to succeed. It’s a trap.
I’m all about spending the minimum to get a good job done and taking a minimum amount of time to do everything. Easy is the best! (within reason!)
It’s easier to feel like your podcasting is worth it if you don’t have a big chunk of credit card debt hanging over you.
Podcasting Is Worth It If You Keep It Simple
Think of podcasting as a communication tool, just like sending a letter or chatting to a friend. You have interests, skills and talents. There are topics and stories worth sharing. People, out in the world, who you have never met, can benefit from your podcast.
Life is short. Share your story. Join the Speak Up Podcasting Academy today or speak to us about setting up your channels for you.