Is There Anybody Out There? – Podcast listeners

What if nobody is listening? It’s a fear all podcasters have… There will be no podcast listeners! That their voice will not be heard. And that no one will care. Often this becomes an excuse to not even start the ball rolling…

“But no-one will listen,” is one of the top three reasons people give me for not making a podcast.

My reply to this is always the same: “But if you don’t make it – nobody CAN listen.”

Often the doubts are so powerful that the conversation doesn’t end there:

“But WHO will want to listen to it?”

I can guarantee that as long as you put the word out there are at least a couple of people that will gladly be your first podcast listeners –

You first podcast listeners will be friends, family, lovers and colleagues. The supportive ones anyway.

Now you may only be able to count them on one hand, but its infinitely better than zero. And

If you are yet to launch your podcast, chances are, this is where you are starting from – zero. And from here, as Tracy Chapman said, you’ve got nothing to lose. (Those who are already podding, read on).

And actually, I think that’s pretty great. I mean, imagine your boss telling you that you have to address everyone at the conference today because somebody is sick. So you have to stand up in front of a thousand people, most of whom you don’t know, and give a presentation without any time to practice or prepare. Wouldn’t you prefer to at least have a couple of days notice so you can try out a few different things.

Like with most things in life, expecting instant success may lead to disappointment.

If you’re already releasing your own show, you will already know this. Not everyone will get massive podcast audiences. Fewer still will get large figures on their first show.

“But If nobody listens, it’s not worth it.”

They are still clinging on to their fear of failure, but let’s be honest – we don’t want to invest our time and energy only for nobody to listen to a word we say. Yet I can promise you that you are already doing something very similar, and putting stuff out there without actually knowing how many people are really engaging with what you do. And for most people, that comes in the form of social media.

You can quickly find out how many followers you have on twitter, or retweets you get, or likes you got on your latest instagram post. And we like it when we get lots of Facebook thumbs or insta-hearts. But how many people read everything you put out? You can see those who like it etc, but how many people simply read without engaging? How many times do you post something that you think is hilarious or powerful and hardly anybody comments or shares? Even if you have a thousand friends or followers there is no guarantee that any or all of them will even read what you post. But that doesn’t stop you from doing it, so why is podcasting any different?

I’m writing this from Amsterdam while touring with the band Katalina Kicks (http://www.katalinakicks.com). I am following them for an episode of a new podcast we are making. And It dawned on me that they get a lot more information about their audience than we ever do on a podcast. And that feedback is instant. Not only can you actually see how many people have turned up to see you, you can see how many are enjoying it.

It’s not unusual  for a band to drive several hours to play a gig for just a handful of people and then drive home again. I ask Jase, the drummer, about his experience, and if the slog is worth it even if they don’t sell out a gig.

“If we can connect with just one person who’s never heard us before then it’s been worth it. Because they will spread the word for you.

And its the same here – one  listener at a time.

To finish I will answer the question I posed in the title –  Is There Anybody Out There?

The answer is undoubtedly yes, and there are millions of them. You’ve just got to start with a handful. And the rest will find you.

Now you know the podcast listeners will come…

Are you an aspiring podcaster? Here are some more awesome blogs:

Thinking of podcasting? Check out this video telling you why 2017 is the year to start!