How many listeners do you think you need to call your podcast successful?
1000? 10,000? 1,000,000?
What if I told you that actually, 124 is the magic number?
That’s according to Seth Godin’s latest podcast which you can listen to here.
Comparison is Evil
There are over 700,000 podcasts available at the time of writing and the average person listens to 7 of them a week.
This years Infinite Dial Report says 90 million American people listen to podcasts monthly. That’s around one third of the population. They aren’t spreading their love around equally though.
Take podcasting phenomenon Serial for example. The shows Wikipedia page say that the first two seasons had amassed over 340 million downloads up to September 2018. That’s just a little bit more than the average.
The question I have for you though is whether that makes Serial more successful than your podcast that has 124 listens per episode?
What is success?
My podcast, It’s All Cobblers To Me, is all about the football team I support, Northampton Town. The Cobblers are in tier 4 of the English professional leagues. They dream of playing the big boys of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea. Instead we settle for games against the likes of Forest Green Rovers, Exeter City and Macclesfield Town.
My podcast is aimed at other supporters of Northampton. I have to be realistic about my potential reach. The average attendance for a home game at Northampton is around 5,000 people. Every one of those 5,000 people are potential listeners to my podcast. Not all of them do listen of course and there will be numerous reasons for that.
Around 450 people do however.
That’s almost 10% of the amount of people who watched our last game against Plymouth Argyle on Saturday. To me 10% is huge but this number isn’t what I say makes my podcast a success.
We’ve been releasing episodes for almost 1 year now and in that time we have become part of the media circus. The local paper and BBC radio station have covered the football club on a daily basis for many years. My podcast has embedded itself alongside these more established outlets and I have been asked on occasion to appear on them myself.
The football club has also recognised us. They actually halted their own, in house, podcast a couple of weeks after we launched. In August the club asked us to host a Q&A session between the manager of the team and the fans.
All of this success has come from being a part of our community. I post links to new episodes in existing Facebook groups and include the same hashtags that the club uses on Twitter. Along with my co-presenters, I use the podcast’s social media accounts to join in with conversations online. Sometimes I will even reply to my own tweets as the podcast.
This has led to more people becoming aware of the podcast. It doesn’t mean that everyone who is aware of us listens though. This doesn’t matter though. Not everyone reads the local paper or listens to the local BBC radio station. That is why I try to put out more content than just the one podcast episode a week. (You can read more about that - here)
Download Numbers Aren’t Everything
What I want you to take away from this is that listener numbers aren’t the be all and end all.
The podcast has 235 followers on Facebook and 594 on Twitter. Again, these numbers don’t mean success. What does is that people within our community know about the podcast. They interact with us. They treat us as one of them.
My audience figures have increased because of this and of course I’m pleased by that. It’s just not the biggest thing to me.
So whether you’re just starting out or have an established podcast, don’t worry about your listening figures.
If you have 124 or more, congratulations!