If you hang out in any industry long enough, you’re going to notice some trends and some cycles. Things become popular, get too big, become yesterday’s news, and fizzle back out. Sometimes it’s a color, other times it’s a particular product on the market, and other times it’s a big new project that everybody seems to be doing.
Personally, there are a few circles I hang out in; most of them are craft-related (knitting/yarn crafts and, to a lesser extent, sewing) and then there’s the crowd of small business owners. And in all of these circles lately, I’ve been noticing a trend: podcasting.
I love podcasts, I really do! I’m pretty late for jumping on this bandwagon, actually – it was only about a year or two ago that I even realized that podcasting was a thing. Part of this is because I’m not an auditory learner, and never have been; so audio podcasts, while there are many great ones out there, are just not my thing because everything I hear goes in one ear and out the other. Video podcasts, though – that’s something I can get into!
When I first discovered knitting podcasts, I asked my knitterly friends for recommendations, and I got a ton. So, I started watching a TON of podcasts, while I was crafting, or doing mindless tasks for work, or cleaning up around the kitchen. But it got to be overwhelming, keeping up with all those podcasts week after week, because my time to sit in front of a screen and watch something (particularly something that’s just for me, that nobody else in my family wants to watch with me) is limited. So eventually I just sort of let a few of those podcasts drop to the wayside on my viewing queue, and now I just have two or three that I try to keep up with regularly.
So in the knitting industry alone, there are the 2-3 podcasts I watch every week, and then there’s, I don’t know, eleventy-billion more. (Yes, I’m serious, there’s a whole crap-ton of them.) It feels like every week I’m scrolling through my Instagram feed (largely populated with other crafty peeps) and finding a new person I follow is starting a podcast, or someone else I follow is watching a brand-new podcast (or listening to one). And I have to be honest: my initial reaction, inside my brain, is normally this –
“Another one?!? Ugh….”
Insert much eye-rolling here.
I suppose I should tell you that the voice inside my head is a serious Negative Nancy some days, so you shouldn’t pay her any mind. If you’ve just started a podcast, or you’re thinking of starting one, this really isn’t my attempt to dissuade you from that project (I swear!). It’s simply to inform you that you will NOT be alone in this endeavor. I may not have the stats on alllll of the industry niches out there, but if the rest of them are anything like knitting then you’re going to be a little fish in a gigantic ocean for a while.
And that’s okay! As long as you know that, and you’ve got a plan to figure out how to make yourself stand out in the crowd.
So that’s where I come in! Nobody likes a Negative Nancy, especially when she just likes to point out problems and not offer solutions, right? So here I go, with a few tips I’ve gathered from around the Web. Thinking of starting a podcast? Start by answering the questions below.
Should you start a podcast?
Well, that depends! Can you answer YES to most of these questions?
1. Do you have a crapload of stuff to talk about? For your niche, do you have an endless or nearly-endless supply of material to work with? Nobody wants to watch a knitting podcast for the lady who takes a whole month to knit a pair of socks, and that’s all she ever talks about.
2. Do you own the proper equipment? Recording for audio or video, lighting, a good computer and a good Internet connection?
3. Are you a good conversationalist? When you meet someone, do you always have something to talk about? (Think about this, because you’re going to be sitting down in front of a camera and/or microphone, and you’re gonna need to have something to SAY.)
4. Will your podcast be about more than just selling the stuff you’re already selling in other formats?
5. Do you have enough time to commit to making a podcast part of your regular schedule? (Remember, you could put up new episodes every week, every two weeks, or every month. But you should do it regularly, not sporadically, if you want to build an audience.)
6. Do you have something to say, a perspective to offer, or something to show that’s different from what’s already out there?
Now! If you didn’t answer YES to all of those questions, that’s okay! But if you didn’t answer YES to most of them, that might be a problem. Take a little time to think about this, and I’ll be back next time with tips on how to start a podcast, if that’s the way you wanna go.