In this episode of The Podcast Reporter, we discuss a theme of which I have been hearing more and more with live conversations from older podcasters — that is, those who started podcasting some 15 or 16 years ago (for me, it was more than 15 years ago). And we can tend to call these podcasters the “old guard” or “old timers” or “original podcasters.”
What is interesting is that this theme centers around “the gold old days” when podcasting was much more simple in not only discovery, but also in recording, posting, publishing, promoting, marketing and generating revenue from podcast episodes, podcast shows or podcast courses.
You see, in the early days of podcasting, there were not many tools available — either hardware or software — that made podcasting as easy and simple as it is today. You had to LEARN how to podcast by taking one of the very few available courses online or via audio or video course (you see, YouTube was not even available, as well as the other learning libraries like Udemy.com). Then you had to use the proven system of recording double-ender remote interviews and rely on the quirks of Skype for capturing the audio, and then rely on either free recording editors like audacity or fee-based editors like Adobe Audition.
For today, you have a ton of great hardware resources that allow you not only to capture the audio on both sides of interviews for yourself as a main podcaster and a guest (or guests), but also you have a myriad of software solutions to edit, post and publish (and then promote) your episode and show in the podosphere.
And earlier, you really only had the 800-pound gorilla (known as Apple iTunes) to rely on getting your show listed in New and Noteworthy, as well as getting reviews from listeners that could help you become more popular, as well as subscription and download stats to help you get ranked higher in the world of podcasts. And you see, today, you have not only Apple, but many systems and platforms that support podcasting — especially since now the social media platforms are getting into podcasting.
But if you wanted to become a podcaster then, you had to learn the hard way the details of podcasting from every point of view, every task, every detail and then be able to become versed in these — that is, become a professional podcaster who can then monetize the podcast environment in your business by becoming a podcast consultant or seek to become a pundit who would be recognized in the podosphere and then be asked to speak at podcasting conferences and events. And this led to your being able to promote (or “pimp”) your recently published book, ebook, course or program to audiences in person and in virtual events and replays. Why? Because you were then able to be known as a “podcast pundit” or resource with fame and with possibly generating revenue streams from your podcast (although it was almost impossible for most podcasters to make a full-time living from the revenues of podcasting — and so we had to be part-time entrepreneurs for such success).
So what happened to all the “good old days”?
Well, like all things, history and time have seen the PROGRESS of both the technology and the podosphere in terms of resources, hardware, software, conferences, ideologies, platforms and processes that have transformed podcasting to today’s situations.
I bring up this topic because several of the key podcasters from “the good old days” have expressed their opinions and feelings to me that they are not satisfied with the current status or direction of podcasting, and that perhaps they are tired of what is going on and the rapid pace of change and growth (especially with over 2 million podcast shows now) — so much so that they are considering leaving the podosphere and replace their once-passionate situation of podcasting with something else that will bring self-satisfaction with respect, development and success (whatever that may mean to them, like financial or fame rewards, etc.). In fact, they all mentioned that they do not support “PROGRESS” in podcasting at this time.
So, when a podcaster now starts to see this type of “twilight year” coming to his own environment, what should he contemplate? Should he depart from the podosphere or should he try to find a new niche in which he can rest his energy and his ambition and his passion?
This is an obvious call for a media content creator. For instead of audio podcasting, should he consider video podcastig? Should he consider going into the medium of screencasts and focus on creating helpful courses in video and audio that can assist those who really wish to learn — and perhaps become a regular on electronic learning libraries like Udemy.com? Or should he dedicate himself to writing a book or creating an audiobook about the history of podcasting from his own point of view and experiences (very much like political memoirs)?
For this podcaster, it really doesn’t matter what the arguments and directions for a PIVOT are (using the metaphor from Rise’s book about the Lean Startup Method) — but the important point is that the joy, passion and satisfaction from podcasting must be fulfilled. If not, then it becomes just a series of steps and tasks that one feels must be taken only due to habit — which have now become boring and even become an onerous task that can grow to become hated by the podcasters.
So, for me, the idea of becoming a content creator in a new world of media (regardless of audio or video or blogging or other types) should be paramount. It is of such importance in a rapidly changing world that this should be examined every year in a planning session with yourself, where you review the situation today, as well as your feelings and your future in the podosphere. Then you can create a cost-benefit analysis (where money and financial gain and revenue may not be the main considerations) to see what your real key success factors are for going toward your own personal RETURN ON INVESTMENT in your life.
I know that I, myself, go through this every year (I have since my 11th year in podcasting, when I felt the rapid change during my forced absence due to illness and family deaths). And my end result is that I have felt a renewed sense of PASSION and enjoyment from today’s podcasting — mainly because I have not let myself become a victim of letting habits become my “stale prison” due to any lack of planning and considerations for the podosphere and my relation to it (both then and now and the future).
I wish you the best in your own planning sessions with yourself to reflect and contemplate what value participating as a podcaster in the podosphere means to you now and in the future (or not); and for your strategies in determining what will be best for you in the near future.
Will you pivot or not to a new direction in the area of media? The choice is yours, and I wish you all the luck in the world if you do decide to continue in podcasting.
Thank you for your attention.
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