Indies: Do You Have A Clear Goal In Mind?

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(By Tim O’Brien) For just about every podcaster, when you click on the submit button to send your podcast to the world, chances are your goal is to get the most numbers of downloads and listens as possible. Right?

But it’s at that point where one podcaster’s goal may differ from another. One important question is, are they the right kinds of downloads? And further, what are you really trying to achieve with your podcast?

To be sure, very few indie podcasters have a realistic expectation of selling meaningful advertising to generate enough revenue to quit your day job. Regardless, we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t want people to listen, hopefully a lot of people.

So, whether you want to make a business out of your podcast, or you want your podcast to help your business, there is much to be said for having a solid plan, and the right metrics to know how you are doing against that plan.

Some of these issues may have resurfaced for you when you heard that NPR announced that Remote Audio Data (RAD) is now going to roll out. Podcast Business Journal described it as a “game-changer for podcast measurement,” that is if the big podcast channels get behind it.

What makes RAD different is that not only does it capture the number of downloads and listens, but it also captures data after a podcast is downloaded. More data means more insights on exactly how your listeners are incorporating your podcast into their lives.

With more granular data, you can make the most basic of decisions. Is my podcast the right length? Which topics and guests are connecting with my listeners, and which ones are not? What did I do differently when my numbers spiked?

And then on the listener side, who is listening and why?

While RAD may not have all of the answers to these questions and more, it is certainly a step well beyond that singular number of downloads.

In the end, no matter what your genre, and whether your podcast is a hobby or a way to brand yourself or your business, the more data you have, the more informed will be your decisions on the podcast, and at the very least that means the opportunity to produce a better podcast.

For many, the podcast came before any real strategic thinking may have taken place. It’s something you wanted to do, maybe needed to do, so you did it. And now you’re wondering if it’s working.

If that’s you, it’s never too late to sit down and really think through your objectives, strategies, you over-arching message, and what you want to accomplish through your podcast.

With this in mind, it’s worth following new developments as RAD starts to take shape. No matter what kind of podcaster you are, more information is a good thing.

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.