The eternal debate of podcast quality vs. frequency – Answered
Every podcaster is faced with the critical question of balancing the quality vs quantity as they try to launch and later, as they establish themselves. While everyone unanimously believes that sound quality in podcasting is absolutely essential to have, producing high quality podcasts single handedly, with little to no experience in sound engineering, can be daunting for several people and a very time consuming process. In the ever growing competitive world of podcasting, posed with the numerous advertising challenges, the easiest option that most podcasters default to is – increase the podcast frequency and output. Some of the strategies podcasters adopt to increase output include producing more number of episodes and releasing more often, instead of improving the quality in the hopes of increasing the listener counts. Same way, they may also be tempted to post their podcasts on every possible website on the Internet. Sooner or later, it boils down to the following single question: what is really important: increasing your episode listens or creating a brand following?
You can increase your episode listenings using smart marketing tricks, or even buying listens! But brand building is what makes your audience come back to your podcast again and again and listen to all the different episodes and content you have to present. In this article, we discuss about WHY building that brand and putting out quality content should be your primary focus.
Before we begin thinking about podcasting in particular, thinking about selection process of any consumable product would help. One may argue how customers value any product. Customers basically want the highest quality products at the lowest possible prices. When there are options to choose from, one always looks for an optimum; they may start from bottom up, that is a product at the cheapest price, and they would then tell themselves, that the quality is not good enough – and they would continue to go up in the hierarchy until a product of their choice is met, that is in their budget, and is worthy of its price, and gives them quality enough to solve a problem. Some people may follow the top-down approach. They would judge a product with its quality, and if it is out of their budget, they would reduce the quality and settle with something affordable.
Podcasts have a major difference. No one is paying a podcaster any money to listen to them in the first place, unless they are someone highly accomplished; so money is already off the table. All a podcaster has is someone’s few minutes in which the audience might get an idea or a story from the podcast that may or may not be worthy of their time. On the top of this, whether or not a podcast is worthy of their time or not, they cannot find this out without listening to the podcast. So there is a lot of audience’s time at stake when they want to listen to a podcast.
If this is true, then all you would get as a podcaster is one chance from your audiences. Make one mistake, and they are already not interested in your channel. Clearly, either they will shut off your channel and move on to another channel, or they would listen to it just one time, and may never come back to your channel for months. Perhaps, even with a few tiny mistakes in your podcast, you still left them wondering with one crucial idea or a thought to which they can hold on to; you have already used up your last chance. Whether they would come back to listen to your podcast is totally dependent on their mood, their precious time, and whether you have continually demonstrated improvements.
Compare your podcasts with TED talks:
In the same amount of time an audience can spend, they can listen to a TED talk from a professor at MIT, who may tell them something that may help them in their day to day life, or lets them be aware of crucial and innovative ideas in the field I they are working in. So if this is all available for free, then why should the audience care about a Podcast made by someone whom they have no trust in, and who has not shown any outstanding quality – to date.
From these arguments, it is very clear, that to be a successful podcaster, you have to demonstrate outstanding quality at a low enough budget, and stick to the outstanding quality forever. As you get more practice you may acquire more skills and you may be able to do the same job faster. However, trying to produce more podcasts, at the price of reducing the quality of the podcasts themselves will get you nowhere.
As new and aspiring podcasters ourselves, we warn you of these caveats, but podcasters must not be discouraged at all. As harsh as this discussion may sound, in terms of improvement in the quality, we also inspire you that the magic does not lie in throwing more money at the problem.
There are several things working to your advantage already. First of all, podcasting can be done in a little studio with close to zero cost, and you are already in competition with a full-fledged radio channel which may have heavy equipment, and full support from editing staff. However, because the barriers to entry in the world of podcasting are minimal, you must create those barriers yourself. The two biggest barriers a podcaster can create is on the lead time, and on the quality of his content.
Curious on how you can increase the quality of your podcast? The next blog post will answer your question. If you want to be notified when this article comes out, please subscribe to the REPodcast newsletter by following this link.