Podcasting has shifted from being a once emerging market to one of the industry’s major media platforms.
Everyone from lifestyle gurus, comedians, and even movie stars hosts their own shows in either video or audio only formats.
We are now even starting to see podcasting moving into the multi-million dollar streaming industry, with popular podcasters like Russel Brand (Under The Skin), and Joe Rogan (The Joe Rogan Experience) signing lucrative contracts with established companies (also see, ‘How Much do Podcasters Make‘).
But why exactly are podcasts so insanely popular, and what benefits do they have to the hosts?
The Benefits Of Podcasting
When it comes to podcasting, there are several benefits, both for the producer and the consumer.
One of the major podcast benefits to the producer is a sense of complete creative freedom seldom seen in other forms of modern media.
This makes podcasting a popular choice for comedians and creatives, who can put across their chosen content without interjection from managers, agents, or movie studio officials looking to redirect the focus of a particular project.
This sense of ownership and control of one’s own creativity has come part and parcel with the advent of the internet, wherein the playing field has been leveled to some extent.
This creative freedom affords celebrities and internet users alike the same opportunities to communicate, create, and produce their own content or podcast feed.
Interaction With Fans
Celebrities and internet personalities enjoy the medium of podcasting because it allows them to interact more closely with their fanbases.
While in the past they might have had to rely on fanmail, a blog post, or a public encounter to gauge a response to their work, now they can engage with their followers in a way that is cheaper, safe, and, in a sense, more honest.
This is good for both the fans and the producers, as it allows fans to feel a personal connection to their idols.
Having their own podcast also enables podcast producers to start authentic relationship building efforts with their supporters and prospective customers.
Coming up with their own content, such as video podcasts, breaks down the veil of Hollywood (or whatever industry they are a part of), which can sometimes feel like a boundary between fiction and reality.
Much of the money made by podcasters come in the form of sponsorships and paid advertisements, wherein the podcast host will take time during their podcast to talk about a particular product or company, often reading a script provided by the company in question.
This is good for fans (despite the tedium), as it allows podcasts to remain free to view, and it is good for celebrities because the company sponsoring the podcast episode can choose who they want to work with, which avoids conflicts of ethics, image, and creative conflicts.
If the business relationship in question doesn’t work out, or if there are creative differences with the direction of the podcast, then the host can simply break off the deal (and vice versa), and move onto other sponsors.
Depending on the podcaster in question, they might also sell merchandise to their fans – such as t-shirts, hats, mugs, etc. – to make extra revenue, and to give their fanbase a memento to celebrate their podcast listening experience.
This is commonly done by comedians, who can sell their merch on the road, or via their podcast.
Establishing A Brand
Another incentive to start podcasting, particularly for up and coming comedians, actors, internet influencers, or creatives, is that podcasting can be a great way to establish a brand and build a fanbase (also see, ‘How To Get Into Podcasting‘).
In the past – or at least before the advent of the internet, establishing a fanbase or following would have been impossible without actively working in the industry in question.
Podcast episodes, whether audio content or video content, have made it simpler for those with the desire and drive to establish a following, and advertise not only themselves, but also the skill set they possess to the podcasting world.
Podcasting and on demand listening also allow existing celebrities and creatives to create and reinforce a level of authenticity that might otherwise have been lost behind the veneer of Hollywood etc.
This is because they can interact honestly, and without a script, thus giving fans an authentic podcasting experience, seeing the real person behind the act.
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Are There Any Downsides?
Of course, everything has its downsides, and podcasting is no different. While the benefits definitely outweigh any problems, there are certain things that budding podcasters need to be aware of (also see, ‘Podcasting Pros and Cons‘).
One thing that doesn’t get talked about by podcasters is the amount of effort and time that podcasting requires (also see, ‘How Much Does It Cost To Start A Podcast?‘).
Even a straightforward business podcast or a video podcast requires some production resources, particularly in the early years when the podcaster might not have the funds to employ producers and staff.
Depending on the frequency of your podcasts, this could be a weekly task and one that takes several days to perfect and edit each week.
The Saturated Market
Unfortunately, getting a podcast off the ground can be difficult, particularly as the industry becomes saturated.
While already famous people will have little problem attracting viewers, unknown creatives might struggle to be heard (also see, ‘How to Start A Podcast With No Audience‘).
This can be daunting and demoralizing at first, but with practice, hard work, and solid ideas, it is possible to break through.
Unfortunately, without industry money behind you, establishing your own streams of revenue can be tricky – particularly as an up and comer.
This is the price of creative and financial freedom, and podcasters can find themselves working harder than other celebrities just to live.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about podcasting, and the advantages therein.
It’s certainly true that podcasts have taken the world by storm, taking all the benefits of radio, and putting podcast listeners in control of what they want to listen to, and when.
While it can be tricky to get established, it has never been easier to reach new podcast audiences, and deliver your particular skills to the world.
So, if you are looking to showcase what you have got to offer, then why not consider podcasting?