Podcast Success is a Long Game

Some things take time - podcast success is a long game on Breadfruit Media

Success Takes Time

When it comes to success in podcasting it is a long game – success won’t come overnight. It’s worth noting that success is relative and everyone defines it differently. But generally there’s a podcast success single story that everyone knows which is – thousands of downloads per episode; thousands of highly engaged followers on social media and monetization success via sponsorship/ads, membership/donations or subscriptions etc. 

The hard reality is that audience and revenue growth takes a long time. Overnight success is rarely true and celebrities do not count. 

The truth is podcasting requires patience, persistence, quality content and consistency.  I’m not gonna lie, as an independent podcaster, me writing and you reading that prior sentence is much easier than the day-to-day reality.

Note I said “podcasting requires…” and not “podcasting success requires..”, because having patience, persistence, quality content and consistency still doesn’t guarantee success. 

However, thanks to headlines, some podcasts seem to be really successful. This creates a sense of hope and you start to think… “hmmm that could be me”. 

Yes it is true that some podcasters are able to make a living out of podcasting or even start their own business, but it is also true some podcasters may not see success for years, if at all. That is the fundamental point with podcast success – things aren’t instantaneous – which is why it’s more of a long game than anything else.

Playing the long game

Since it’s a long game, what’s my game plan? 

  1. Go back to the goal, the reason the podcast was created. This reason shouldn’t be anchored in just wishes and riches.  I regularly review this goal to remind me of why I do what I am doing, and who I am doing it for – hint: it’s the audience.  
  2. Build and nurture the right relationships. Being in community with your listener is important, as well as in community with other podcasters, other creators or entrepreneurs. For many independent podcasters, podcasting is a lonely place. Finding and nurturing the right relationships helps sustain playing the long game.  
  3. Be open. I know that success looks different not only to everyone, but even to me and how I initially envisioned success. So while I may have a vision of how I want success to look, I must be open to the different paths or opportunities that I couldn’t have anticipated that can lead to or build on success. 
  4. Time, patience and consistency.  Admittedly, sometimes I get frustrated at how slowly things are going because I just want to fast track the results. When I am experiencing these moments, the best thing for me to do is to chat with some in my support system about how I’m feeling and/or step away and do something fun or relaxing – not related to podcasting. 

I started podcasting over 8 years ago because my blogging audience wanted something from me that I knew was better delivered in a podcast format. I had no idea where it would take me, as long as the audience got the content they wanted. Since then, podcasting has given me opportunities in and outside of podcasting that I couldn’t have envisioned for myself. It has also taught me some very hard but important lessons, including the value of playing a long game.

How have you sustained playing the long game?

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