If You Can’t Find It, Create It

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(By Tim O’Brien) One of my favorite podcasts is a podcast about podcasts, which is called Podcasts We Listen To.  As a podcast listener, I discovered many new podcasts thanks to host and producer Jeremy Collins’ efforts. But as a new podcaster, I also have found that the insights shared from other podcasters were extremely helpful as I launched my own.

There is a question Jeremy often asks a lot of his guests, which is, “Why did you start your own podcast?”

The answers vary by guest, but I’ve noticed there is one common thread in those responses that was true in my case as well when I launched the Shaping Opinion podcast.  Many of the guests say that they had a particular kind of podcast they were looking for, and they couldn’t find it, that served as a tipping point for them to create the podcast they sought.

In short, if you can’t find it, create it.

This may not guarantee that you will have a large audience for your subject matter, but it will increase the likelihood that you will better enjoy the process and stay energized about your own podcast in a sustainable way.

Anyone who produces a podcast knows it can take a lot of time and work to keep producing episodes. If you’re not really into the subject to the subject of the things you talk about, it will be much easier to put your podcast on the back burner. But if you are as excited about what your podcast is about as you hope your listeners will be, you have a much greater chance to helping your podcast find its audience.

That said, it can be a mistake to assume that just because you were looking for this sort of podcast, there are thousands or hundreds of thousands of others looking for the same thing.

As we develop our podcast concepts into episodes and then as our podcasts evolve, we also need to be mindful of the balance between creating something for ourselves and creating for others.

Veteran podcasters have told me how important it is to listen to your listener, and that is perhaps the best advice I’ve received. Once you land on the podcast you’d like to hear, in order to grow and build an audience it is important to pay attention to the feedback you get from those who listen to your show and want to see it succeed.

What are your listeners telling you about your podcast? What kinds of questions are they asking? Are there seeds of ideas for how to improve your podcast in those questions or comments?

Each one of these questions points to an opportunity to take what you have started to another level.

But before any of this, one of the best indicators that you may have a good podcast idea is if you look for it and can’t find it anywhere else.

Tim O’Brien is the producer and host of the Shaping Opinion podcast and the founder of the Pittsburgh-based communications consultancy O’Brien Communications.  He can be reached at 412.854.8845 or timobrien@timobrienpr.com.