You love podcasting.
You love the idea of getting on a mic, whether it’s going solo, telling a narrative story, podcasting with friends, or interviewing experts you’ve discovered to get important or informative or entertaining stories into the world.
But there’s a tidal wave of new podcasts entering the space, and it’s increasingly tough for listeners to keep up — especially if you don’t have a major marketing plan, with budget money, to get the word out.
And among that tidal wave of new podcasts entering the space, we have…
Professional communicators are joining the fray: TV and film celebrities, professional broadcasters, media companies with their army of journalists, business leaders with powerful name recognition, and even politicians.
These celebrity podcasters may not even be all that enjoyable to listen to in podcast format. But they’ve got 1.4 million people — or whatever number — ready to instantly download and follow.
This will lead to their shows being routinely highlighted on roundup lists of “Podcasts You Should Listen To” by traditional media outlets. Which will lead to even more people rushing to those podcasts.
It means there’s a need for all serious, independent podcast producers to honestly critique their shows and, maybe, build a better podcast.
It means there’s a need (and a great opportunity) for more serious, independent podcast producers to innovate and push the envelope on how ‘podcast’ is defined.
It means there’s a great opportunity for you and me to produce single-episode shows or series on subjects that are important to a hyper-focused audience. To be a voice for some specific subdivision in society.
Building a better podcast by learning from and interacting with other podcasters who are serious about the craft is a great way to stay sharp.
So let’s talk about the best place for this kind of innovation and interaction.
I’m a member of 23 Facebook Groups on podcasting. How about you?
There are approximately 20,000 members in the largest Facebook group dedicated to podcasters. Fifteen thousand in each of the next two largest groups.
With that tidal wave of new podcasters comes chaos in these groups.
The same questions are asked over and over as few members use the search features to find the answers they’re looking for.
Once you’re past the earliest stages of producing your podcast, you don’t really want to sift through these questions any longer to get to the weightier matters with building a better podcast.
But where do you go for that?
There’s no structure to Facebook Group conversations.
Untrained, self-dubbed experts shepherd new podcasters with bad advice.
Group members who don’t know or care about the group rules drop their links and videos before getting marked as spam eventually.
There’s no ability to follow specific people who share good ideas.
There’s no ability to see a curated, group-approved list of key resources.
Despite all the buzz about Facebook’s other ongoing issues (#DeleteFacebook, anyone?), and despite these terrible limitations with Facebook Groups, I know many podcasters who are only maintaining their Facebook account to participate in these chaotic forums. Yours truly included.
Successful communities require three things:
Members of successful communities aren’t all alike in every way, but they share generally similar goals for their projects.
In our case, first and foremost that means producing a great show that brings something new to the world. It may not attract millions in downloads, but it has a message that matters for an audience that wants or needs to hear it.
The community’s content doesn’t by itself intimidate or bore people, though it may challenge people to rethink their opinions.
In our case, that means ideas, recommendations, and questions that primarily focus on next-level podcast development: story-finding, storytelling, communications, audience growth, and yes, we’ll still talk monetization.
Group members set aside differences and respect one another’s opinions, even when they disagree on the ‘means to the end.’
In our case, that means doing our best to recommend and invite podcasters into the group who share that ethic, and putting a spotlight on members and even specific posts that reflect the culture of the group.
Given the criteria for successful communities that we hope to foster with Build a Better Podcast, we realize there are a few potential ways to approach things here:
Build a Better Podcast checks three of the four boxes above. (We’re just about done with Facebook…)
You will have a focused, professional peer group of serious podcasters with an organized platform for collaborating and learning from one another.
Your show will get better in terms of concept, audio quality, and overall production. Your network of serious, hardworking podcasters will expand.
You will be able to avoid the distractions of questions and comments that beset brand new podcasters.
Here’s what will make it a great alternative to the chaos of Reddit and Facebook Groups:
Members must be invited in
Members must have already produced episodes
Members will have profiles
Members can be followed
Members can privately message each other in real time
Members don’t sell to each other
‘Most Helpful’ members are automatically featured
Topics/Conversations are structured and organized
Content can be filtered based on post date
Content that is ‘trending’ is automatically featured
Curated resources will be features that are professional and vetted
You’re personally invited to be in the first wave of serious podcasters to join Build a Better Podcast, so your membership is 100% free.
From here, it will only grow slowly, total membership may be capped, and future members may even be charged for access.
No new app to download or install. Outstanding content and conversations. Talented peers.