Formatting for a niche podcast

Formatting for a niche podcast
Audience
Formatting for a niche podcast
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Episode April 28, 2022 00:25:59

Hosted By

Matt Medeiros Stuart Barefoot

Show Notes

“No one ever says that we should stop publishing books.” is the thought that popped into Stuart’s head while he visited a bookstore in today’s episode. 

After returning, he and Matt chat about finding a niche for your podcast. With over 4 million podcasts published at podcastindex.org and 2 million+ in Apple’s directory, you might feel discouraged to make it in this medium. Don’t fret! Learn how you can niche down and persist through the launch phase of your podcast through he advice shared today. 

Learn more about subscription podcasting: https://castos.com/private-podcasting-solutions/

Erik Jones’ newsletter https://www.hurtyourbrain.com/

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Sometimes, I think the way we talk about podcasting is really weird. Maybe it's because the medium is still relatively new, but in many ways it's still a pretty misunderstood industry. To me, nothing illustrates that point better than when people say something like, oh man, there's a podcast about everything now. I mean, that is true. There is a podcast and a mini case podcast, plural on just about everything, but you know what, there's also books on everything. I mean, most books I've read were actually on very specific topics. There's also a lot of movies and TV shows that dynamic got me thinking and I decided to do a little bit of field research. So I hopped in my car and went to my local bookstore and decided to browse a bit. Okay. So I'm sitting out here in the parking lot of McKay's books here in Greensboro, North Carolina, one of my favorite spots. I've I'm here pretty much my whole life. I used to come here and get, uh, nindo games when I was a kid. And now I, then I would go and get like CDs and posters and come here now a lot for books, I guess in any case, uh, we're gonna do a little experiment. We're gonna run inside and see how many different genres of books we can find. I Speaker 0 00:01:22 All right. So, Speaker 3 00:01:25 Ah, Speaker 0 00:01:25 Let's go see what it's all about. Speaker 4 00:01:33 All right. So walking down one aisle There's, uh, outdoor recreation section There's survival. There's a survival handbook surviving the extremes mountain man skills, us army survival, manual Shelters shacks, and Shanty's, Uh, see there's a Autobon animal tracks case one to, you know, attracts and animals, uh, finding your way in the outdoors. That's just one little shelf. Uh, what else do we have here? Wow. Let's see what we have here. A whole book on Harley Davidson. Someone wrote an entire book about Harley Davidson, uh, old glass, European and American. That's just about collectibles. So if you want to, if you're interested in collecting glass, there's, there's a book for that. Let's see here. Wow. They're even getting really granular here, specific games and, and hobbies. Uh, there's an entire book on puzzles. Wow. And then the fundamentals of fluid mechanics. I don't understand what that means, but It's not written for me. And that's fine. Storm Kings. Uh, this is in the oceanography section. All right. So I've just wandered down another, uh, I see here we have biographies. There's one about Harry Truman, a whole book about Harry Truman. There's one about FDR. There's one about Ronald Reagan. There's one about Eleanor and Franklin man. They wrote a lot about, uh, presidents. See if we can find a biography, not about presidents. Let's see here. Uh, James Madison. Nope. Of the president and there's one on Einstein. Speaker 0 00:03:28 Okay. So I encountered thousands of books in one used bookstore alone. Now I've never heard anyone say there's too many books. Everyone's writing books. These days the same as sure for are other mediums. I've never heard anyone say that there are too many movies or TV shows. If you turn on Netflix, you could choose from thousands of options. And that's generally considered a pretty good thing. I don't know exactly why we treat podcasts so differently, but I'm here to champion the idea that with podcasting niches are actually a good thing. And as a podcaster, you should never let anyone tell you otherwise next, Matt and I talk about niches, why they're good and how you can think about formatting your niche podcast. Before we listen in on that conversation, I wanna let you know about a way to create a private subscription based podcast with Casto. You can easily create a private podcast, ask for your membership site online course, or community, and you could integrate it with the tools you already use through our direct integrations, learn more@casto.com. And of course, it's also linked to the show notes, okay. Onto this episode about niches, Speaker 5 00:04:45 I'm redoing my bathroom and we're putting a tile up around the tub and The contractor and the tile supply store has said, they wrote, they wrote down niche on the paper. They said, what set eyes niche do you want? And I said, I have no idea what you're talking about. And it's interchangeable in that world, like niche and niche. <laugh> like a literal niche niche that you put a soap into. I'm like, I don't know, man, whatever, you know, just figure it out. That's nothing. Yeah. But you Speaker 0 00:05:24 Know, there's, you know, there's, there's a podcast on probably bathroom renovations. Speaker 5 00:05:29 This is true. And let Speaker 0 00:05:30 Specifically bathroom renovations, like there's probably all types of home improvement podcasts, but I bet you anything, there's somebody out there and they're like, they've got like one of like, you know, the premier podcasts, bathroom renovations, Speaker 5 00:05:44 I, as, you know, have, it has crossed my mind to start my own after, after the experience that I've gone through with this, uh, with this bathroom renovation. Speaker 0 00:05:54 Okay. But we're, we're being facetious, but in all serious in all seriousness, you know, if you, if you were to, to get onto YouTube, right. You'd find probably a lot of videos on bathroom renovation. That would be extremely helpful. Uh, prior to that, before, before we had the world at our fingertips, people were probably writing books on home improvement and woodworking at all of that. And so I think kind of, of ostensibly, where we're going with this is, I've said before, it's time that we start treating podcasting similar to other mediums, I've never heard anybody say, Hey, there's too many books out there. Oh God, another person writing a book. Oh geez. You know, and I'm gonna, I've got some stats here. So these, this, these stats come to us from a fellow named Eric Jones. So Eric Jones has a newsletter on pie casting called hurt your brain. Speaker 0 00:06:38 And it's kinda all things, all things podcasting. He covers a lot of really good topics. It's worth your time. If, if you want to check it out, but he shared a stat or a chart with some stats. Dale, I haven't cross referenced these. I don't know if they're peer reviewed. So I don't know if they're correct out to the, to the decimal, but I, but I think the, the, I think they're pretty close. And I think the, the overarching narrative here is true. So he, he bro, he's got a little bar graph here. All right. So, uh, on the far left, there's something like, uh, 2.7 million podcasts. That's how, sounds like a lot, 2.7 million. That's a pretty daunting number. So if you're starting a new podcast, there's at least 2.7 million other podcasts out there. Uh, I don't know if you'd be competing against them, but it seems like you could get lost maybe in just this big sea of, of audio. Speaker 0 00:07:35 All right. So then right next to it on the right, we've got 51 million YouTube channels, channels, not videos channels. Next up, we have books and there's 134 million plus books out in circulation, out in the world, 134 million, I guess that dates back to like antiquity. I, I don't know. Uh <laugh> I don't know how far back we're going, but they've been writing stuff down, you know, ever since they could write on little like clay tablets and then five of the final statistic we have is YouTube videos. And there's more than 1 billion YouTube videos. And that doesn't even include actual TV shows produced like professionally films made instructional videos, that type of thing. So I think the point Eric was making, uh, and he said the caption of it was, you know, a friendly reminder there aren't too many podcasts, so that's some good perspective right there. Speaker 0 00:08:35 That would cause we hear those jokes all the time, I think. Right. Oh man, there's a podcast about everything. Yeah. Well I've read books on very specific topics. I've read blog posts on very specific topics. I would attend very specific lectures back when I was in college there's seminars for very niche things within an industry. I, I attend them all the time, particularly related to like, you know, audio, documentaries and podcasting and, and that type of thing. So I, I think like this is meant to be encouraging. I think that someone trying to think of starting a new podcast, right. Because I think some people will think, oh man, would anybody listen to that? And the answer is very likely. Yes. Speaker 5 00:09:15 Yeah. The, I think the numbers that, that he was pulling from probably for his chart is, uh, most likely apple podcast, right? Probably one of the most well known, uh, indexes of podcasts in the world podcast index.org, uh, is another sort of open source index. They list, uh, the number 4,055,691 podcasts in the time of this recording. And the silver lining is because I too have fallen into the, uh, vanity metrics trap, especially when I'm consulting with people here at Casto on, on, should I start a podcast? Uh, how do I find my take vertical, et cetera? It's always like, well, Hey look, there are, you know, 4 million plus podcasts that are out there, but you know, hold the phone. That doesn't mean that they're all, you're all you're competing. Againsts 4 million nor does that mean that all 4 million are active from the same website podcast, index.org, right underneath the total podcast in the index. Speaker 5 00:10:15 They have other in the last three days, 83,000 pod podcasts have been, uh, published and or updated of the 4 million. And across the last 90 days, only 607,000 podcasts have been updated in the index. So your chances are a little bit better. <laugh>, you know, your odds are a little bit it better, right? You you're really only up against what one might guess anywhere between a half a million in a million active podcasts in the world. So yes. Um, you know, the, while the number might seem scary and daunting, I've always told people, it's not about finding that audience and, and, and having that as your worry it's what will you do once the audience arrives? Because inevitably you do it long enough question mark. They will show up, right? If you're, Hey, Stuart, respecting the craft and you're, and you're out there and you're publishing and you're sharpening your show and you're getting better at your marketing and your promotion and better storytelling, cetera, you haven't, you just won't give up on it. The audience will come it's what will you do with the audience once they get there, whether that's one, 10 or a thousand people be ready for somebody to show up Speaker 0 00:11:28 E even that, that what, that 5.4 million, which is significantly more than that, the 2.7 million I, I just quoted, that's still significantly less than the 51 million YouTube channels and the 134 million books. And the more than 1 billion YouTube videos that currently exist. And I think you make a great point, right? Uh, I, I think, you know, the, the, if you're thinking about starting a podcast, I mean, we, we would, obviously, we, we are naturally inclined, I think to say, yes, you should <laugh> and you should, you should sign up with Casto to do it and sign up for our producer led package and, and all that. But, but in all seriousness of, I, I think I would lean towards yes, if you've got a pretty clear idea of what you wanna do Speaker 5 00:12:14 So that I was gonna ask, uh, when you were talking about, you know, doing the podcast with maybe your friends, uh, and maybe you just wanna do this for fun. We use the term hobbyist in your eyes. What comes first? I guess when you sit down blank, canvas, I, I, I wanna start a podcast. Do we think about format first? Do we think about purpose? Do we think about the outcome and the goal? Because I think all of these and, and there's probably more right, but these three things kind of, uh, could shift, uh, everything really. Like if you're like, Hey, the four, I'm gonna sit down and think about this great format, but then I really don't care what hap happens. <laugh> like with the, I have no goal. I, but I'm gonna really think about this format. Well, maybe you maybe don't spin the wheels so much on the format. You start shipping a podcast, or if you're like, Hey, my outcome is to reach 1 million listeners, then your format and your purpose become a lot more important because remember million plus podcasts that we're competing against at least a million updated, every 90 days, things start to shift on the Wei board of, of podcasting. What do he put first? Is, is there one for you that sticks out Speaker 0 00:13:27 Eric Newsom, who, uh, I had on the show a while back, he wrote the book, make noise. He founded the odd company, magnificent noise. He's got a background in public radio and really, really just a ton of great experience. I think he answers it best. He talks about form versus function. And so he actually works backwards from what you were just talking about. So instead of just kind of thinking a lot about like a format and having like a podcast and then figuring out, okay, now, now what do we do with this? He, he, he would recommend, you know, doing some type of research. I don't know exactly what that looks like. You know, you know, you know, if you're listening to this, you know, your industry better than Matt, I know, know your industry. So let's just assume you've identified who a potential audience could be. Speaker 0 00:14:13 Then you start thinking, all right, how do I make a podcast that fits that function? And that's your form. So you first figure out where does my podcast function in this ever expanding world of spoken word media? And then you decide, all right, now I'm gonna make a podcast to fit that. Uh, it's kind of like I heard about a business model once where people were trying to make some type of software and instead of making the software and trying to sell it, they went directly to who they thought their customers would be and asked them what they wanted. And they took surveys and they then made something based off of that and said, oh, so they went back like a year later and said, oh, Hey, by the way, from our conversation <laugh> we went, we, we made that thing. You said you wanted, do you wanna buy it from us? So, yeah, that's kind of a long way of answering your question. And I, and I think that type of work though, I think is what's probably going to distinguish your podcasts from the 4 million or some that are out there and probably at a minimum, at least a few dozen, if not a hundred podcasts within your niche. So Speaker 5 00:15:23 I, I wanna take the creative pressure off of, uh, our listener who might be like me, who is, think gang, oh boy. You know, I, I do wanna achieve something with this podcast. And, and I, I kind of do wanna get recognition in, you know, the podcasting landscape, or I want people to see that I actually respect the craft. And I, and I put a lot of work into this. I'll use myself as an example. So outside of CAOs, I do three podcasts. Uh, I do one that cover. That is your, your typical. And I have no problem. <laugh>, you know, admitting this, but I'm, I'm constantly trying to push the boundaries of myself as an interviewer, but I do the typical interview podcast. It's about WordPress and web technology and people building businesses. So your typical in entrepreneurship interview show, uh, I've been doing it for almost a decade, paid off leaps and bounds in terms of me growing as an individual meeting people, et cetera, et cetera. Speaker 5 00:16:21 I do these other two shows. And this is where I wanna frame these other two shows as what I call utility versus creativity, utility versus. And where do you fall Stewart in thinking about these two? So I have this one show it's called the WP minute. It's a five minute podcast weekly on the WordPress news. To me, it's very utility people tune in to just get the headlines every Wednesday. And I deliver it in five minutes. That's the format, that's the air quotes, the special format right there, right? Like that's my secret sauce because I looked at it and said, who the heck wants to listen to another 30, 45 minutes about WordPress? Cuz there are a lot of podcasts about WordPress. I'm gonna deliver the news every Wednesday in five minutes or less. It's very utility with edge of creativity there. And then I have a local podcast and that to me is also another niche, right? It's, it's a local podcast, largely exploring entrepreneurship, but just in the south coast region of Massachusetts, about an hour south of Boston. And yes, it's a typical interview show, but it's also only focused on this south coast. So to me, that's right in the middle, but what are your thoughts utility versus creativity? Does one need one more than the other to survive? If that even makes sense? Speaker 0 00:17:50 It's a hard question to answer because I think you could argue both sides of it really well. Uh, I I'm, I'm gonna, I'm gonna punt on answering it and I'm gonna, I'm gonna say this. I'm gonna I'm I'm gonna answer it. But first I'm gonna say it's kind of an interesting way to, to frame it, you know, utility versus creativity. Cause let's say where editing photographer for instance is gonna have a much different approach to a photography than someone doing some kind of like abstract and spirit experimentation, right? The same, the same goes with filmmaking, right? West Anderson or Paul Thomas Anderson or Quentin Tarantino is gonna think very much differently about out how to relate to the VI visual and video medium than someone who makes instructional safety videos for, for like a warehouse facility or an industrial company of some type. So I think, I think the best way to answer your question is kind of what we said already, right? Speaker 0 00:18:44 Understanding your understanding your function before you decide your form. So in your case, yes, you kind of hit the nail on the head, right? There's a lot of podcasts about WordPress. A lot of 'em could be very long. So you've decided, right. We just need something very quick, something five minutes that updates everybody on something that's changing all the time. And as a WordPress user, I know it's always changing because I get those emails every about like the new plugins and stuff people have contributed, you know, since 24 hours ago, but the same, the same thing could be said for podcasting, right? Like it is crazy to think that everything that can fall under the umbrella of podcasting, right. That Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen are podcasters. The, the, the guy making a podcast about, uh, you know, video gaming is, is a podcaster. So the, I mean, again, it's just there, there's so many different ways you can relate to, to this audio medium. Speaker 0 00:19:41 I, I don't think there's really a good answer. Uh, I, I think I kind of fall on the other side of that spectrum with my own podcast. I've, I've got one called obscure ball and it's just sort of this free for all. I, I, I work on stories. I'm always working on stories. I put 'em out when I finish, there's no release schedule. There's no consistent format. There's a lot of, there's probably a lot of people who would tell me I'm absolutely crazy for approaching it that way. But the thing is, is I do spend a lot of time communicating directly the audience, it's a small but dedicated audience and they don't care about those things. They actually appreciate the fact that I don't put out episodes every week and there's nothing wrong with putting out episodes every week. I actually think for the most part, people should be doing that. Speaker 0 00:20:25 If this were, if obscure ball were, were a serious commercial endeavor for me, I would've taken the time to really actually nail down a, a process. Uh, for, for me, it's a vanity project. It's a creative outlet. It's, it's a passion project. So I, I should say all that, but it, within that world, I guess that I've created, uh, the people who do listen and actually appreciate the fact that I'll spend months researching a topic, interviewing subjects, that type of thing, uh, writing and rewriting and rewriting and recording and rerecording and all that. So in that case, the, the function is to entertain people who, you know, want to hear a sports story that they may not hear on ESPN, or that they're not gonna hear talked about on, uh, the morning talk radio shows or even the other sports podcasts, uh, something that's gonna go in depth into kind of a interesting subject, a lesser, a lesser known event or figure. Speaker 0 00:21:21 Uh, and so in that case, the form, the form kind of fits that, right? Uh, every story's a little bit different and a slightly different format or a slightly different approach. And if that, if that sort of conflicts with how I formatted another episode, well, so be it. So that's, again, that's kind of a long wayed answer, but I think it's kind of what I think should excite people about, about this medium. It scares some people, but to, to me, it's what makes it real, really great because I don't think there's one way to do it, but I do think, I do think that order of operations matter, I think, I think you need to take time to understand who you want your audience to be, and then make a format that will fit that. And if you do that, you're doing a, you're doing the work that a lot of people within your niche haven't done yet and your, your podcast stand out. Speaker 5 00:22:09 So when we see the number 4 million plus podcasts, it doesn't have to be this insurmountable task for <laugh> for us to be like, God, do I wanna launch into this space? What I'm hearing and what, you know, what I've known? What I, I try to tell people is let's, let's creatively satisfy ourselves first. It's only fair. You know, uh, it's like to tell you on the airplane, airplane's going down. You put your mask on first. <laugh>, you know, it's kind of harsh, uh, examples to put up against podcasting, but some days you're gonna feel it like, gimme the oxygen. So take care of yourself first, creatively. And second, are we satisfying the audience because the audience so long as that expectation is there, whether you're doing like a five minute blurb on the headlines, like my audience, that's what they expect. And that's what they want. Speaker 5 00:22:54 When they click play on this show, they don't wanna all of a sudden hear an hour long interview, be like, no, what am I, what, what happened? I thought I was just getting this five minute news thing. That's what you, that's what you would promised me. And that's what I loved all the time. And just like you probably, if you started sucking the, you had of obscure ball or the research or the writing, and then you did turn it into a weekly show. People say, wait a minute, where's the, you know, where's the craft here? Where's the, where's the, you know, the, the, the great sound design or the, the well written script that I, we were used to hearing now, all of a sudden, it's just Stewart whipping out his iPhone and recording something and just shipping it us every week for the sake of shipping people would change. Speaker 5 00:23:33 And they would say, this is not what we signed up for. So respect ourselves and our creativity first satisfy the audience, you know, and then we can probably lean into any, any niche, niche. Nache <laugh> that, that we want to go after, uh, in the podcasting world. It's, it's really up to you. As the creator, don't be discouraged. Start a podcast, find your niche, find your audience, find what, uh, satisfies you. You could start a podcast right here at castle that's. That's what we hope you have any questions for us. You can always email us. hello@caso.com with any questions. Uh, we have a survey casos.com/survey. Uh, let us know what we can do to improve, uh, the audience podcast. Hopefully we're doing that. We are doing it. Not hopefully Stewart. We are doing it. We're making it so much better than it was when it was just me a mere a few months ago. Speaker 0 00:24:27 We're we're doing it, man. Like, we're smart as heck. We like doing it. So, and, and we're, we're getting better at it every day. So Speaker 5 00:24:34 One day we'll get some kind of podcast. You will. I won't <laugh> and I will happily usher you up on stage and say, go get that lifelong. Uh, what did, what did Evo just win podcast hall of fame. That'll Speaker 0 00:24:47 Be, yeah, man, Evo, Tara podcast, hall of Famer, Speaker 5 00:24:50 Three clips, podcast.com. You can listen to that as well. Thanks for listening to today's episode. All because Stewart walked into a bookstore and he said, my God, there's a lot of books. My God, there's a lot of podcast, but that doesn't have to stop you. Hey, there, listener it's Matt, before you go, I want to offer you the aspiring podcaster to special items. Number one, if you haven't started a podcast yet, or you want to find a better podcast hosting company, start here at casts. Use our coupon code audience 20 that's audience two zero. When you sign up for a new account@casts.com, start a podcast like the one you just heard or about gluten free muffins, whatever it is will help you get your podcast out into the world. Number two, did you know that our academy is free enrolled today for free@academydotcaos.com. Get access to our courses, videos, and templates all for free. Thanks for listening to the audience podcast today. We hope we're helping you become a better podcaster. All that's left for you to do is share this episode on social media. Bye for now.

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