May 8, 2013
As a podcast host, I'm coming up against something that's beginning to aggravate me. I'm working hard on regularly producing my podcast, The Broad Experience, which happens to be about a huge topic-du-jour, women in the workplace. It's a combination of storytelling and interviews and I launched the show a year ago while I was on CUNY's entrepreneurial journalism program. I had no idea then that Anne-Marie Slaughter and Sheryl Sandberg would soon send the conversation about women and work into the stratosphere. But so they have.
Yet I'm not getting a big enough slice of their audience.
Despite gaining listeners and subscribers to my newsletter, receiving notes from individuals (including a couple of men) saying how much they like the show, and having the show regularly broadcast on Miami's public radio station and the Women's International News Gathering Service, download numbers could be much higher than they are. So what's going on?
I think there are a few possibilities.
- I'm producing a lousy product. But unusually for me, with my typically female lack of confidence, I don't believe that. You, of course, are welcome to judge for yourself. If you're male, I wonder if you'll be interested anyway, which brings me to
- The fact that the majority of people who download podcasts are men. Some statistics put the numbers at just over half, but one recent number I saw, and it's killing me that I can't recall the source, stated that more than 70% of podcast listeners were male. Which puts me in a tricky position, because I realize my show's subject matter appeals mostly to women. I can tell by talking to a lot of women at networking events that they don't 'do' audio. It's just not on their radar. Either they do not consider themselves 'technical enough' to handle downloading a podcast, or they just never listen to the radio/audio of any kind, and are not about to start.
- Not enough people - even women - are actually interested in this topic of women and work and success to want to bother downloading a show on this, or maybe they think it'll be boring (it won't). But again, I'm skeptical that this is true. If they are happy to read reams about this stuff, why not listen, especially when my shows are generally short, at about 15-20 minutes? I think it's a problem of reach and scale. I have some incredibly loyal, engaged listeners. I just need more of them.
To market the show I tweet regularly, although any social media expert would say not enough, post each new show to Facebook, post lots of other stuff to Twitter and Facebook (much of it not my own, as I can't bear talking myself up the entire time I'm online), write a column on women's careers for Metro, write on the topic of women and work for Canadian magazine Women of Influence, go to networking events, speak at the occasional event or panel, and possibly some other things I'm forgetting in my current fog of jet-lag. What I think I need to do is get back on public radio as much as possible, reporting on women and work topics. And of course I could launch a Kickstarter campaign, something several people have suggested I do. I am considering it. What's holding me back is the planning (these campaigns require much thought before launch) and the thought of me sustaining myself through 30 days of interminable selling to friends, family and strangers, with various rounds of hope, despondency, etc. Not to mention what I would offer as rewards to backers...
What am I missing here? What am I not doing to drive downloads that I could be?