With a seemingly endless amount of podcasts available, should would-be podcasters, or even established podcasters, be concerned that the market for their particular show is oversaturated?
The podcasting community has definitely grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade. Whether that’s because most of us were stuck indoors and low-key panicking for a couple of years, or because listening to podcasts makes us feel more connected to one another, it seems as if there’s a podcast that covers nearly every topic under the sun.
No matter how many podcasts fill your favorite podcasting platform, there are plenty of reasons not to get discouraged by the prospect of an oversaturated market.
ONCE UPON A TIME…
For a deep dive into the history of storytelling, 19th-century writer Georges Polti theorizes that there are only 36 dramatic situations from which all stories are derived. While that initially seems brain-bendingly implausible, he’s right when stories are broken down to their essential elements. We’ve told versions of the same stories for centuries and somehow, we are still entertained or engaged.
Take, for instance, movies set in high school. Think of your top three favorites. Are they telling the exact same story because they’re all set in a high school?
Thinking in even broader terms. Consider your top three favorite comedy podcasts. Do those three shows make you laugh at the exact same things? In some cases – yes, they may both cover the topics of the day. But you laughed at both shows in different ways, even if they covered the same topic.
Your take on a story or a topic is what makes it interesting.
Whether you’re considering a narrative podcast, a show about robots, or a show that already has 50 podcasts in the same category, you can set your show apart by considering your listening audience.
Your grandma might not want to listen to your show about cryptocurrency, but your hip, retired uncle who drives a Tesla could be your No. 1 Patreon subscriber. They might be around the same age, but they sure have different interests. Is there a crypto podcast that’s not specifically geared to tech bros? Cool, older uncles with money to burn, and time to listen to podcasts, could be your untapped market.
Getting hyper-specific about your show’s intended audience, especially in a saturated genre, is key to identifying what sets your show apart from all the others.
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
Much like the stories we tell, we’ve recycled how we tell those stories for centuries. From theater to the traveling circus, to radio, to movies, to television, to YouTube, to TikTok, podcasting – and beyond – the content can vary, but the act of sharing stories continues.
For instance, just because people have told stories of the women’s suffrage movement, doesn’t stop it from being a topic of interest. How can you tell one of these well-known stories in a new and unique way? Maybe you want to revive the feeling of an old-timey radio hour, or you want to interview women who were alive when that happened. The interest in this topic is there. What people are interested in is your unique take on the material.
LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING
Another element to consider is that although the podcasting market does look oversaturated in just about every category, most podcasts flame out quickly. One study concludes that 56% of podcasts have less than 10 published episodes, and of the approximately 2.2 million podcasts available, 44% of those only have three published episodes. Just in raw numbers, if you want to be in it for the long run, the odds are in your favor.
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION?
If one of the goals on your upcoming resolutions list is to start a podcast, don’t let thoughts of an oversaturated market get you down. There’s no one out there like you and no one else who can share the content you want to share.
When you’re ready, reach out to the rad folks at Blubrry to help get you started on firm footing for a successful, unique and long-running podcast.
Written by: Tara Jean O’Brien
Tara Jean O’Brien has been a writer, actor, improviser, podcaster, and stand-up for nearly 800 years. When not producing, editing, and hosting her podcast, Single Vs. Married, or co-hosting, Cinema Craptaculus Presents: B-sides, she also writers on Medium and recently found a floor safe hidden in her coat closet.