You’re one good idea away from your own tech podcast

podcasting-microphone

In a recent blog post, I argued that podcasting offers technology professionals an opportunity to raise their profiles and advance their careers. There are three main reasons for this:

  • Podcasting is an intimate medium perfectly suited for articulate people to demonstrate their knowledge of a particular topic in conversations and interviews. Podcasters who know their stuff and have polished their presentation skills can easily position themselves as “experts” in a specific field.
  • As a medium, podcasting is in an early growth phase, unlike other digital communications platforms. Today there are more than 1.5 billion websites, more than 500 million blogs, and more than 26 million channels on YouTube. Meanwhile, the total number of podcasts currently available exceeds 750,000.
  • Podcast listenership continues to grow. Roughly one-third of the U.S. population listens to podcasts at least monthly in 2019, nearly three times the monthly listenership in 2013. Slightly more than half (51%) of the U.S. population has listened to at least one podcast.

As I mentioned in the previous post, it doesn’t take a lot of expensive equipment or platform services to launch a podcast. A number of websites offer equipment advice, training, and services to aspiring podcasters. So all you need to do is buy a microphone, sign up with a podcast host, and you’re ready to go, right?

Not exactly. Launching a podcast is one thing. Sustaining one is an entirely different matter. And growing a podcast  audience, another matter still.

For a podcast to endure, you must choose a topic that easily lends itself to dozens and dozens of episodes. Perhaps more importantly, the topic must genuinely excite you. Without that passion, a podcast quickly can turn into an unpleasant chore. From there it’s a short step to “podfading” (ceasing production), which frequently happens by the seventh episode.

Enthusiasm also is helpful when growing an audience, but it’s not enough. To attract and keep listeners, a podcast must offer something of value. That could be advice, education, information, insights, analysis, news, entertainment, or some combination of these — whatever “magic” keeps people coming back and subscribing.

Which brings us to you and your astounding tech knowledge/skills/experience/advice/war stories. Technology is one of the most popular podcasting genres, attracting nearly 59 million listeners (and counting). While many tech podcasts are produced by and for large organizations, including DXC, and thus are relatively slick and professional sounding — the vast majority are produced by regular folks who know about and like to talk about technology.

Honestly, I could list dozens of tech podcasts put out with a small staff and on a shoestring budget. And other people are listening to them, and they’re doing so because they’re getting something from them. That means that the hosts have successfully positioned themselves as thought leaders. Not only that, some are making money through sponsors and patrons.

It helps that these tech podcast hosts likely know quite a bit about their areas of expertise. When you have a lot of knowledge, it just takes some planning and structure to develop viable podcast episode ideas. So if you have knowledge and passion about a tech topic, and can break that knowledge down into episode-length chunks, a podcast might be an excellent way for you to advance your tech career, develop new skills, and have some fun along the way.

I haven’t even gotten to the logistical part of launching a podcast — finding a host, selecting equipment, designing a logo, etc. — and I won’t bother to in this post. The truth is, while all of that is important, it doesn’t matter at all if you don’t have an idea that is sustainable in terms of subject matter and your own level of interest. But having recently launched my own podcast (which, not to brag, recently charted in Denmark) and having planned it for several months, I’ve learned a lot and can offer plenty of practical advice. I will be happy to do just that in a future post, should there be a groundswell of demand.

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