Most podcasters do not approach their work as a professional, and it is the single thing that is currently missing from the space.
“Please,Please for the Love of God Do Not Start a Podcast,” writes Ryan Holiday, citing Jordan Harbinger founder of the Art of Charm podcast, about why most entrepreneurs should be swayed from not starting a podcast. Based on the supporting data, Harbinger has a very valid point. Podcasts are an excellent marketing tool that can help businesses reach many new customers that otherwise would have no clue they exist, but most of them are doing it wrong and for the wrong reasons. They are looking to serve themselves rather than an audience desperate to learn.
Harbinger and Holiday are 100 percent correct that the current climate in podcasting is not only unsustainable but hurts the credibility of those that are very successful in the space. Podcasters are all using the same email format to approach guests, and not even taking the time to learn who they are interviewing, rather just looking for the next big guest to pump their numbers. This is not only a sign of a problem in podcasting, but a wider problem in the world of internet marketing.
In 2007, Tim Ferriss published the Four Hour Work Week, the bible for most in the internet marketing world. Ferriss opened my eyes to the huge amount of wasted energy just to claim we are being productive, and the value of systems in business. However, in a world of digital entrepreneurs looking to make money for doing pretty much nothing, Tim’s point is missed. It’s about creating the highest level of efficiency in your business so that you can not only make more money but also live more life.
John Lee Dumas, founder of Entrepreneur on Fire podcast, created a very successful model in which he only spends one to two days a month creating content and has hired a team to publish his podcast with very little effort from himself. John is then free to spend the rest of his time working on creative projects like his recent book, the Freedom Journal and his training program called Podcaster’s Paradise. Too many in the space are trying to be John, rather than taking his very successful strategies and infusing their unique own self and creativity into their podcast.
Many in the digital world treat the podcast as the ultimate freedom business tool. They’re working eight hours a month, getting a large number of listeners, then bringing on advertisers and starting a coaching program. Which brings me to the thing that most podcasters are missing and that is professionalism. It’s about having the viewpoint of a journalist, connecting with an audience and treating well accomplished guests with the respect they deserve. As a podcaster, I have learned what a little bit of professionalism will do for connecting with guests but also in creating opportunities sheerly for treating people like people and not just the next big score.
Most podcasters will never make the gold rush money that they expect when they start, but there is an ability to create a valuable network and promote their business if they learn to act like a professional. There is a great need for basic journalism and public relations skills for podcasters, and even a bit of a need for journalistic integrity. A podcast may be new media, but until podcasters learn to treat their job more like traditional media, then there really is no need for new podcasters to enter the space. A podcast can be the single greatest marketing tool that a company can ever undertake, but doing it without professionalism can hurt more than help.