Does anyone listen to podcasts anymore? Does anyone even care?
This past week, I published episode #321 of my weekly audio podcast (Six Pixels of Separation -- The Twist Image Podcast). Each week I have a conversation with someone interesting in the media, marketing, advertising, business book or personal development space. I've been at it since 2006, and I have no idea if anyone listens or cares about it. iTunes will tell me that it's popular (it ranks high on their Management and Marketing chart), but I don't look at my analytics.
I consider the podcast my guilty pleasure. It's a chance to corner someone I like, respect and/or am interested in and ask them anything and everything that I am curious about. Beyond that, it's a bit of a lab for me as well -- a place to experiment with audio content and create the kind of audio you can't typically hear on the radio. The social media by-product is that I freely publish the conversation (unedited) for all to hear, share, comment and connect with.
Podcasting was supposed to be "the next big thing."
Podcasting (both audio and video) came hot on the heels of blogging. It seemed like podcasting could do to radio what blogging was doing to print (namely, creating an entirely new genre with an even more impressive roster of new thinkers). It hasn't happened. Some will blame the fact that it's called "podcasting," while others will claim that it's still not intuitive or easy to find and download the content. Everyone will agree that it hasn't exploded in popularity like blogging has, and that it's even harder to figure out where the money is when it comes to podcasting.
That could all change.
I have no data to back up this thought. There are no statistics to quantify my thinking, but it feels like podcasting is about to turn a corner. There are a handful of podcasts that are acting as a key leading indicator that consumers have an appetite for longer, in-depth and content rich audio programming. In short, everything that you thought the Internet wasn't about in a world of 140 character tweets, Facebook status updates and YouTube viral video sensations. These deep and rich treasure troves of content are also gaining mainstream attention, and it all seems to be drawing more and more energy towards podcasting: a medium that many have already written off.
Five podcasts that could resurrect the medium (in alphabetical order):
It's getting better every day.
Are more people listening? Maybe not. But, with content this strong (and more and more people entering the fray with niche content), perhaps we're about to see the first time - in the history of the Internet - where "build it and they will come" becomes a truism rather than a cautionary tale.
Do you listen to podcasts? Which podcasts have captivated your attention?
Mitch Joel is president of Twist Image -- an award-winning digital marketing agency. HIs first book, Six Pixels of Separation, named after his highly-successful blog and podcast of the same name is a business and marketing bestseller. His next book, CTRL ALT DEL, will be published in Spring 2013.
Follow Mitch Joel on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mitchjoel