Podcasting Doesn't Have a Discoverability Problem

— 3 minute read

Looking at how messed up our world has become thanks to the algorithms at Youtube, Google, and Facebook - maybe podcasting doesn’t need machine learning and algorithms to help with discovery.

What person gets to the end of a podcast episode and then freezes. Terrified. What do they do now? What should I listen to?

They do what we have been doing since podcasting started. Ask a friend what they've been listening to. Maybe post on social media asking for recommendations. Why do we need to accelerate that listening experience so badly?

I don't think it's a bad thing for people to have to do a bit of work to get into podcast listening. In my mind, that desire to figure it out will make podcasting stick as a viable medium for them.

It was so much harder to find and then consistently listen to a podcast back when it started. But we jumped through the hoops to do it because the conversations were so worth it.

Show Me The Money! permalink

It's almost always a business like Luminary who wants to push the idea that podcast discovery is broken and *they* are going to fix it with their app. Completely crapping on all the development done by folks like Pocket Casts or Overcast.

“You know, think about it, when you watch a show from Netflix and you get addicted to it, you stay up late at night. We’re competing with sleep, on the margin. And so, it’s a very large pool of time.”

Netflix CEO Reed Hasting, The Guardian

Behind the banging gong of "more money is needed in podcasting so we can tell better stories" are money hungry investors who think they need bigger boats to hold all their money.

We thought discoverability would help blogging. It didn't. It just turned every blogger into a machine feeding headline generator. We're just finally starting to recover from that discoverability fix.

Helping People Get Into Podcasting permalink

If you really think podcast discoverability is a problem, then here's how you can help it without selling your soul:

  • 📝 Write a blog post of podcasts you've enjoyed with links to the podcast's website - not just Apple Podcasts. Silo'ing podcasts inside Apple isn't the answer. Share the post with your social network.
  • 🦉 Tweet about episodes of a show you like. Podcasters like to think that a review wherever you get podcasts helps - but it really doesn't. Social sharing (not for the algorithms on social but for the human part of social) is what really helps a podcast gain listeners.
  • 👩‍🏫 Show a friend or family member how to subscribe and listen to a podcast. Don't just show them podcasts you enjoy - think about what they might enjoy. You know them better than the machines do (hopefully?)
  • 🍻 Cheer on your favourite podcaster(s) however they're asking you to. Some might do a Patreon for financial support. Some might ask for responses on Twitter or Instagram. Others might do a live stream - show up. Support. Cheer them on.
  • 👷🏽‍♀️ Join (or start) a community for listeners of a show you really dig. This is some next level stuff but if you really dig a show - try starting a mailing list or group for others that also enjoy the show.

What am I missing? I'd love to know your thoughts on podcasting. Reply below, on Twitter, or join Castaways.Club - a community for podcasters.