Something is missing: Why help for existing podcasters needs rethinking

Setting up a podcast isn’t easy… but the truth is that the hard work starts after you have launched.

We all start with a listenership of zero and have to build from there.

For some, with an existing fanbase or audience, that’s a quicker process.

But whatever the scenario, for a while now, I’ve thought that the general set-up for existing podcasters who need some help isn’t quite right.

Let’s go back a few steps. If you are starting a podcast, you have a plethora of assistance. From blogs and help articles, to bespoke services and a lot in between.

But once you’re up and running, it isn’t the same.

I’m in quite a few Facebook groups dedicated to podcasting, and probably the most frequently posted question is some sort of variation on how to grow a show. That reality of the hard work starting once you have launched really hits home.

There are people who offer their help, of course, and there are also brilliant platforms like Captivate which actively provide resources to help their podcasters to grow.

This type of help tends to focus on how to market and promote your show, to find more listeners.

Something is missing

What is it? What’s the piece that is still missing?

Well the problem is – what if you’re working hard to put your show in front of potential listeners… but they don’t like what they hear?

Here’s my take – the layer of help that’s missing is something more personalised and centred around content.

I spent months reflecting on this and chatting to colleagues and my own clients within the podcasting industry.

What’s become clear is that podcasters aren’t getting effective feedback on their content.

There are reviews, of course – but they tend to either be very positive, or very negative – rather than genuinely constructive.

And then there are people like me who offer feedback in the way of what I call ‘airchecks’ – listening to some of your show and discussing the positives, the areas which could be better, and setting some action points.

That system is based on the years I spent in radio management, doing those sort of sessions with presenters. It’s a tried and tested format and it does work.

Yet still, there’s an issue. You see, I’m a middle-aged white male, and that’s all I can be. My feedback is great if I’m your target listener, but most for podcasts, I’m probably not.

Sure, any of us can try to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and try to listen from their perspective, but ‘try’ is the best we can do.

You need feedback from the actual people you are aiming your show at.

So what’s the solution? Well you could reach out to your existing listeners to get their feedback – a listener questionnaire or similar. The problem there is that these are the people you’ve already converted – so again it’s likely to be generally positive. Knowing what you’re doing right is useful, of course. It’s great for self confidence, but not for spotting where the holes are. You need the other side too, you need to know why someone in your target audience would choose NOT to listen.

How do you find that?

You don’t – you let us do it for you. For a while now, I’ve been working on assembling what I’m calling a Podcast Listening Group. It’s essentially a pool of people from all walks of life who are on standby to listen and give feedback to episodes. As my background is in radio, many of these people are broadcasters I have met along the way, with decades of professional experience. But many are just ordinary people, ready and waiting to cast their eye (ear) over your podcast.


This is all linked to Sound Media’s new ‘Growth’ package.

It starts by us working together to identify your listener avatar – who you’re aiming your show at. You might not have identified this before, or have some confusion over it.

Once we have cracked that bit, I delve into the listening group to find the people who best match your avatar, then get them to listen to your episodes and provide constructive feedback.

Then we use that to put together your own personalised growth plan.

It’s unique and it’s bold, but that’s the sort of solution this problem demanded.

‘Growth’ is now open to all podcasters but particularly those with clear ambitions.

And we’re still looking for people to join the Podcast Listening Group too.

For details on either, just get in touch