Observations On The Podcast Hype

Every January new year predictions are published. For marketers, entrepreneurs and bloggers podcasting has been high up on the list of things to invest in. Why is that and should you start a podcast?

Ease of access for listeners

Do you remember the first wave of Podcasts 10-15 years ago? You had to install an app to subscribe to Podcast RSS feeds, sync an mp3 to your mobile and could finally play the podcast. As a creator, uploading an mp3 and embedding it in a blog post was the norm.

Things have changed. There are a few big platforms that make it easy for you to subscribe and follow your favorites.

Take for example the Techmeme Ride Home podcast. You can subscribe to it on

And that’s just the well-known aggregators and apps. The app stores are full of apps to help you organize your favorite podcasts.

The rise of Voice-enabled apps and devices

With smart speakers being broadly adopted many of us have a podcast player one spoken phrase away. Tuning in to a podcast on a smartphone, in your car or at home, in a hotel room got way easier thanks to voice-enabled devices and Bluetooth casting.

There are many How-To guides out that help you to get your audio published on Alexa (“flash briefings”) or Google Home. Alexa is’nt good for playing podcasts by default. 3rd party apps help you to fix that and services like SpeechKit make it easy for publishers to go beyond a simple Alexa Skill (that only reads headlines).

Lower production costs and time

Recording a podcast got way less techy over the years. Audio recorded on your smartphone is often good enough for a podcast. Interviews recorded via phone or online call can easily turn into podcasts. Anchor, an app that pioneered that area, was recently bought by Spotify. It’s one of many apps that podcasters can use to create and publish podcasts.

Example of a Anchor podcast embedded in a tweet
Example of a Anchor podcast embedded in a tweet

Listeners don’t get more time!

While all things involved creating and listening to podcast got better, your audience does not get more time to listen to it!

People listen to podcasts while

  • commuting
  • working out
  • household work
  • making dinner

That is a real-time constraint. Let’s assume that most people into podcasts already subscribed a few, it will get harder for new podcasts to build subscribers.

People can squeeze in a bit more audio in their life: Tech to speed up podcasts got better and many people listen to podcasts at 2x speed playback speed.

Should you start a podcast?

So it got easier to create and listen to podcasts. Should you start one? The short answer is: Maybe Not! You are jumping on the bandwagon too late. It’s hard to “make the charts” on Google’s Podcast app, Apple iTunes, or Spotify. You are a few years behind in building your audience.

Yes, start a podcast, if you

  • have compelling stories to tell
  • Can turn an existing audience from other channels into listeners
  • Have all the resources at hand to start a multi-year long adventure

You want to start a podcast anyway!

You can poll your audience on social media, your website or newsletter to get a feeling if there is enough interest in a podcast. Or create a prototype of your podcast, and ask your audience for feedback.

Podcasts are a super interesting format for businesses of all kinds to share their stories. Just be careful if you think it’s gonna be easy to build listeners. If you are already having a hard time to get your blogs out, keep your social media accounts updated and send a newsletter once in a while you may just explore the world of podcasts as a listener.

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