I want to talk numbers with you. And it's some big numbers I'm going to be talking about (surprisingly not my husband's age - even though it's his birthday this month.)
It's been revealed by Podcast Industry Insights courtesy of Daniel J. Lewis. Yes his website is in my favourites... that we've now tipped over the 2 million mark for the number of podcasts available in Apple Podcasts.
Now this number only shows the podcasts that are available in Apple - so bear in mind that doesn't include those podcasts not on Apple. I know that is very obvious but with Spotify signing up exclusives and others choosing not to upload to Apple for all sorts of reasons the total number of podcasts that exist in the world is likely to be different. But not so different that we're not going to pay attention to TWO MILLION PODCASTS!
This HUGE number includes podcasts regularly producing content as well as podcasts that lasted all of one, two, three episodes before podfade hit and they were gone.
If it's available to listen to via Apple it's on the list no matter if the last time an episode was published was today or 2016. Or whenever. I just chose 2016 because I'm listening to podcast series from 2016 right now.
Now, I'll be honest 2 million podcasts doesn't really sound all that impressive compared with YouTube's 37 million channels.
BUT this time last year I was getting excited because we'd just reached a million.
Yes. The number of podcasts has doubled in a year. And not just any year a year of lockdowns, toilet roll shortages and Zoom everything.
Out of these 2 million podcasts only 37 percent are considered active. And here active is defined as any podcast that has published at least one episode in the last 90 days, and “inactive” as any podcast that has not published any episode in that same time.
So there's around 740,000 active podcasts out there.
But as I just said being inactive doesn't mean the podcast is done and dusted and dead. Although it will be an indication of podfade for some.
It could be a planned series, on hold for lockdown or an occasional release!
Where do you fit in to all this?
If you've not got a podcast you might be wondering if you've left it too late to start. Numbers are doubling year on year, bigger and bigger players are entering the field and so many more podcast production companies are springing up left right and centre. It's the cool thing to be audio - just look at Clubhouse! Or rather, just listen to Clubhouse.
Some of these thoughts may well be going through your head
The world and it's wife has a podcast so what's the point in you having one...
Podcasting is for the likes of the big boys and girls, the big studios, the professionals so how will I make a difference?
How will I even get heard in such a fast moving market?
Heck even if you've got a podcast and it's active I bet some of those thoughts have crossed your mind.
And hearing that podcasts are growing and attracting so many people is either exciting you or leaving you feeling a bit scared about you and your podcast.
So let's look at those thoughts one by one.
The world and its wife has a podcast now, what's the point in you having one?
Well. Where do I start with this. I know - right at the beginning. In the planning stage of podcasting I always say you need to build your podcast foundations and understand your podcast.
Part of this is understanding what a successful podcast looks like FOR YOU. And your measure of success is likely to be different to many of the two million podcasts out there.
You might decide to use it as a way to bring people in to your network through interview requests. You might want it be a way of showing off your authority so you might decide success is getting speaking gigs. It might be a way of building up trust and a relationship with your potential clients - so getting people in to your funnel is your measure of success.
Success doesn't have to be all about numbers of downloads and chart positions. In fact are those downloads paying your bills? Probably not, they are just vanity metrics - keep an eye on how your podcast is performing, but don't whatever you do get totally hung up on them.
Your podcast will have a point, will have a purpose if you go back to the beginning and understand what it is you want to achieve with it. When you know what you want to achieve you can take the right steps to achieve it.
And remember to keep your eyes on your podcasting prize and nobody else's - comparison is the thief of joy and all that. Doing this and being consistent will get you there.
One of the most successful podcasts I work on have the smallest audience, but the success measures we planned for it are being hit monthly. And anecdotally the audience is responding to it far better than we ever imagined.
A wise person once told me about an interview they listened to, on a podcast, where the guest said something along the lines of
"Beyonce didn't decide there was no point in being a singer because there are already singers out there. Oprah Winfrey didn't decide there's no point being on TV because there's lots of people on TV already".
Now obviously I'm not saying you're going to be the next Beyonce or Oprah Winfrey but imagine if they'd taken that attitude of "there's other people out there already".
And to your listeners you will be the equivalent of Beyonce, Oprah or whoever else you want to be. You are their rock and roll podcasting hero. So please don't think your voice doesn't a place in the podcast world.
If you've already got a podcast out you'll have listeners. And don't start with "it's only a couple of people..." I've already said about vanity metrics. You are building a relationship with them - carry on. Keep being Oprah and Beyonce.
Podcasting is for the big boys and girls, the professionals and the big studios.
My response to this is, they bloody wish...
The "big boys and girls" have arrived at the Podcast Party a bit late in my opinion. And now they want to take over the decks and play their tunes.
But while they are showing off in the main room, we're going to hang out in the kitchen. The kitchen is where the best conversations happen because you can hear them above the noise, the kitchen is where the most interesting people are and of course it's where the snacks are too. Winner, winner Podcast dinner.
But moving away from the podcast party analogy, podcasting has always had an element of DIY to it. And that element is going nowhere. The democratising nature of podcasting allowing you and anybody else to have a voice is going nowhere. Will something produced by the BBC or Spotify sound a bit slicker than what you're doing, maybe. But I bet they use Zoom, Skype or ropey phone lines to record audio at some point too.
They've got the money to dedicate more to their podcasts, but they don't have you. You have all your knowledge, your personality and your wisdom. That needs sharing - don't leave it to the big boys.
And remember there are so many ways you can make your recordings sound as good as they can - from treating your room, to upgrading your microphone or using different remote recording platforms.
How will I even get heard in such a fast moving market?
Ahhh yes. The fear of competing against so many other podcasts and especially when according to the stats more than 5000 podcasts were added to Apple in the last day. More than 110,000 in the last 30 days.
That's a lot of new noise to be competing against.
But honestly consistency, showing up when you say you will, learning and making improvements as well as being a podcast bore will pay off.
Your podcast superstardom is unlikely to happen overnight. I'm sorry. We all know overnight successes tend to have a fair few years of hard slog behind them.
Podcasting is a bit of a long game too. Teresa Heath-Wareing who has the Marketing That Converts podcast says it took her nine months to see any concrete growth in her podcast audience (I do love her podcast, you should check it out).
Nine months of putting the work in.
You don't expect to make one post on Instagram, one LinkedIn article, one TikTok video or a tutorial on YouTube and that's it - the work is done.
Nope you've got to keep showing up, build that trust and those relationships.
I've mentioned be a podcast bore already, but honestly if you want people to know about your podcast you've got to tell people about your podcast.
You can do this on social media, on LinkedIn, on TikTok and on YouTube. Hand out business cards (when we can see each other again), email your list, go on other podcasts, go on other videos.
Facebook advertising is another way of telling people about your podcast, you could even send a press release or two to your local media or specialist publications.
What would Beyonce and Oprah do... They wouldn't sit at home now not telling everybody about themselves. And yes they have people to do all that I know but humour me.
So my thoughts on podcasting being a fast moving world are you should enjoy slowing down. If you're new to podcasting then take the time while your audience is lower to learn, make mistakes and find your style. Who is podcast you?
Keep up the consistency and keep on improving. You will get there - as you have more episodes your numbers will grow because you've got more for people to listen to.
Over the next few weeks I'm going to be looking at podcast confidence a bit more. Unless you are a cocky so and so getting a bit more confidence is always a winner. I'll be examining what podcast confidence is, imposter syndrome and how you and overcome it as well as learning to love your voice. If there's a podcast fear that you have please let me know and I'll get on it.
I do also have a podcast confidence power hour and it's for you if you're struggling with a part of your podcasting, whether that's kit, tech stuff, your voice, your presentation or as somebody said to me "oh dear lord EVERYTHING" let's banish the podcasting overwhelm!