Francesca is digital editor at Pod Bible and an award-winning podcast producer. She is the founder and lead producer of Tremula Network, the UK’s only podcast network dedicated to unheard stories of adventure and the outdoors
Putting aside the incredible conversations you can have with guests, I know it can sometimes feel lonely running a podcast by yourself. A lot of the hard work – research, editing, writing show notes, creating social posts – is done by you, in your home, between other responsibilities before you send an episode out into the void. But you have one major advantage when it comes to podcasting compared to some other media: aside from a superhero crossover, is there any other entertainment that offers as much collaboration?
This may be a symptom of podcasting still being a relatively niche media. Yes, there are 3-5 million podcasts out there (depending on where you get your stats) but there are more than 21 million podcast listeners in the UK alone. That means that there are already plenty of listeners to go around and – more importantly – plenty more potential listeners who just need to find the right entry-show. So it’s important to see podcasts that are similar to yours not as competition, but as co-conspirators in the drive to get everyone listening to more podcasts.
This is especially true when you’re also working on stories that are underrepresented or ignored. That’s why I started the Tremula Network: a group of podcasts (a niche media) about outdoors/adventure sports (niche recreations) focused on diversity and representation (niche stories). And as a niche within a niche within a niche, it’s nice to be able to share resources, opportunities and successes (and sometimes frustrations!) with others in that area.
But you don’t have to start a Network (proper noun) to create a network (common noun) around your show. So here are my top-five tips for building your own network of podcasters, so that you can grow together.
1. Get social on socials
Start thinking about social media as your network, rather than your marketing tool. Converting social followers into listeners is really difficult (and measuring that conversion is even harder) but community/networking is one of the main reasons people use social media. Rather than seeing your followers as listeners, think about them as the people you can have a good natter to. Give them some follow-ups on previous guests, some news stories relevant to your show, or some recommendations and insights to your own interests. Which leads me onto…
2. Sharing is caring
Share the other podcasts in your niche with your listeners. Seriously, don’t just get stuck on promoting your own show. Sharing the episodes and shows you like gives your listeners valuable information, and is also a great way of introducing yourself to other podcasters with a potential crossover audience. If you’re lucky, those podcasters might repost your recommendation, or even listen to your show.
3. Meet other podcasters
‘Grab a coffee’ with similar podcasters. Once you’ve connected on socials, and had a listen to their show, reach out for an actual chat. As podcasters, we can be good at speaking to people on microphone for a podcast but often less enthusiastic when it comes to reaching out for a chat off-mic. But conversations don’t have to be recorded to have value. I love speaking about podcasting, and even more so when it’s podcasting about a subject I’m also passionate about. It’s a good idea to talk about how you can support each other going forward but even if it’s just one chat, it can really help reignite your passion.
4. Make an event of it
Attend/run events based around your podcast niche. There are some great events and groups you can join to talk about podcasting in general such as RISE & SHINE, Mics Podcast Club, Everybody Collective, Content Is Queen and more. But when you have a niche podcast, it’s important to attend events around that niche as well – for example, I do a lot of work with All The Elements, a group focused on diversity in the outdoors in the UK. And if you’re up for the challenge, perhaps you can start running some meet-ups or events specifically for podcasters in your niche.
5. Form a Network
Make an official Network of shows. Podcast networks come in all shapes and sizes, from those producing shows in-house, to networks that help to monetise members’ shows. This isn’t something to go into lightly as even forming a simple Network structure like Tremula (where shows remain independent) means you are connected – this is why it’s important that all shows really share your values so you can be certain the others wouldn’t say something you disagree with.
And here’s a bonus tip… Try not to get too disheartened if other shows don’t reciprocate your love. There are many reasons why someone might not respond, from capacity to contractual obligations and – yes – they may still see you as competition. But if you keep sharing what you love with authenticity, you will find the shows you want to collaborate with. And, more importantly, they will find you!
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