What to do when your podcast hits the tipping point

consistency content creation podcasting Jun 06, 2023

In this age of digital media, podcasting continues to grow and expand in influence.  One of the most common questions I hear from people who are looking to develop their online platforms is, “Should I start a podcast?”  I can’t answer that question for you directly, but I can tell you that podcasting has had a major impact on everything I’m currently doing.

When I first started podcasting, I hoped my initial show would catch on.  It was in the early days of podcasting, and at the time, I was speaking a lot about the subject of leadership.  So I created a podcast that addressed many of the topics I thought would be of benefit to other leaders.

Then I had the idea to start creating podcasts that were more of an expression of my faith.  One of the shows I created at that time was the Chapter-A-Day Audio Bible.  It didn’t gain much traction at first, but over time it built momentum.  I checked the show statistics regularly, and every bump in downloads or new region the show was being listened in encouraged me.

Several years into the process, I realized that I was getting very close to reaching a total of one million downloads.  That was an exciting time, and I still remember the day when that milestone was reached.  As grateful as I was to see that happen, I’m just as grateful for what has taken place since because that moment was a tipping point that led to the exponential growth of everything I was doing online.

The momentum that show experienced had a positive impact on my other shows, my blog, speaking opportunities, and book publishing opportunities.  Reaching a tipping point accelerated the pace of growth of just about everything I was doing in the online space.  Last year, my podcasts exceeded 10 million downloads, and the rate of growth continues to progress.

If you choose to get involved in podcasting, I’m sure you’re going to do so partly because it will give you an outlet to speak about your passion, but I’m also sure that most of us also have platform or business ambitions in the back of our minds as well that we’d like to nurture in cooperation with our show’s growth.  

When your podcast hits a tipping point of growth, I’d like you to make the most of the opportunity, and I have a few suggestions that I hope you’ll consider.

1. Celebrate and analyze your success: Take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate your podcast's growth. Reflect on the factors that contributed to the tipping point being reached. It may sound a little nerdy, but I’d encourage you to analyze your data, download numbers, listener demographics, and overall feedback to gain insights into what's working well for your audience and why they keep listening to your show.

2. Refine your content strategy: With increased growth, it's important to understand what resonates with your audience. Look for patterns in the episodes that gained the most traction and determine what topics, formats, or guests were particularly successful. Use this information to refine your content strategy and focus on producing more of what your audience enjoys.

3. Engage with your audience: As your podcast grows, actively engage with your listeners. Respond to their comments, emails, and social media messages. Consider creating a community around your podcast where fans can connect with each other and with you. This engagement will help you build a loyal audience and keep them excited about your show.  You may also find it to be a powerful form of motivation and accountability.  I find it helpful to picture the faces of people I know who listen to my shows when I’m creating content.

4. Collaborate with guests and other podcasters: Leverage your growing influence to collaborate with influential guests or other podcasters in your niche. Inviting guests who have a following can help expand your reach and attract new listeners. Guest appearances on other podcasts can also introduce your show to new audiences.  As your downloads and podcasting reputation grow, you’ll also probably find it easier to book high-level guests.  They will want to be featured on your show and gain an audience with your listeners.

5. Improve production quality: As your podcast grows, consider investing in better equipment, sound editing, or production assistance. Improving the quality of your podcast will enhance the listening experience for your audience and help you maintain a professional image.  One of the most obvious ways I have done this is to buy better microphones and computer equipment.  The income my shows generate justifies this added expense, but the equipment is also helping me produce higher quality audio.

6. Explore monetization opportunities: If you haven't already, consider exploring monetization options for your podcast. This could include sponsorships, partnerships, crowdfunding, merchandise sales, or a Patreon membership program. Be mindful of maintaining a balance between monetization and maintaining the integrity of your content.

7. Plan for scalability: Prepare for continued growth by implementing systems and processes that can handle increased demands. This may involve streamlining your workflow, delegating tasks, or even considering expansion into other platforms or formats, such as YouTube or live events.  Developing a more streamlined system for episode editing has made it much easier for me to scale what I’m producing.

8. Continuously learn and adapt: The podcasting landscape is constantly developing, so it's crucial to stay up to date with industry trends and best practices. Attend conferences, join podcasting communities, and consume resources to learn from other successful podcasters. Adapt your strategies as needed to stay relevant and continue growing.

Remember that podcasting success is a journey, and hitting a tipping point of growth is just one milestone along the way. Stay dedicated, be consistent, and keep creating valuable content for your audience.  You aren’t going to hit a tipping point in one day.  It takes consistent content creation over the course time without losing enthusiasm to hit the tipping point you’re trying to reach.  But once you reach it, get ready, because your growth can become exponential.

© John Stange

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