Debunking the myths of podcasting

In Episode 16 of BE Podcasting we spoke with Rob Walch about some of the myths of podcasting that he sought to debunk during his recent talk, Yes that marketing advice for your podcast is BS at Podcast Movement Conference.

Rob is considered one of the world’s most influential figures in podcasting. He manages the relations of more than 35,000 podcast producers as VP of Podcaster Relations at Libsyn, the largest global podcast hosting platform.

Myth 1: People only listen to NPR or pro-podcasts

Rob is quick to say “That’s not even close to the truth… most podcast listeners are listening to indie podcasters. Even if you went and looked at the top charts, most of the shows listed there are by indie podcasters.”

He went on to provide the stats to support this: “In the US, the top 200 list on August 7th was 56.5 percent indies versus just 22 percent for public media; 14 percent for procasters; and 7.5 percent for big media…. Even the majority of the downloads are also from the indie podcasters.”

What does that mean for you? It means that most listeners are listening to podcasts produced by individuals and brands – it’s not strictly dominated by the NPRs, WBEZs, ABCs and Fairfaxes of this world.

Myth 2: The optimal length of a podcast is 22 minutes

The optimal length of a podcast is a popular discussion topic here at BE Media Production. Rob shared his thoughts, “The other one big myth was the ideal length of an episode is 22 minutes. I hate that. You see these articles written by people that came out a radio and they try to tell you that the ideal length of a podcast is 22 minutes and that has no basis of reality at all. As a matter of fact, when you look at the top charts in iTunes, it’s quite different.”

Rob continued with evidence disputing 22 minutes, “We looked at every episode that was released in January 2017 and measured again at the end of February. Of those episodes that were +100,000 downloads, 84 percent of those shows were 51 minutes or longer. Less than 10 percent were 30 minutes or less. As a matter of fact, there were more shows that were two hours and longer than there were 30 minutes or less in the top that were getting a +100,000 downloads.”

Co-host of BE Podcasting, Chris Ashmore, however, is skeptical about shows which are an hour or more in duration. Downloads don’t actually measure how long people listen. Chris believes that people are not listening to the full length of many podcasts, simply because they’re too long. Furthermore, he insists, people might baulk listening to any part of an episode at all if they discover they’d need to commit an hour or more of their time.

Myth 3: SoundCloud is a viable distribution platform

After well publicised business woes this year, Rob comments, “No it’s not a viable podcast host. You know how they almost went out of business in August (2017) and that it’s just a music business that happens to have this podcast thing on the side. Nobody in their right mind hosts their podcast on Sound Cloud as their primary host. If you do, you best move off because… it’s just not a matter of if they go out of business, it’s a matter of when. I think they’ve got enough money to get them to maybe the end of 2018.”

Here at BE Media Production we see value in including your podcast’s RSS feed on to SoundCloud’s platform due to it’s popularity; however, it should be one many channels to help broaden your distribution strategy.

Contact us to schedule a consultation on how we can improve your podcast distribution strategy.