10 Reasons You Shouldn’t Start a Podcast

And 11 reasons you should

Photo by C D-X on Unsplash

I get a lot of emails that start like this: “I have an idea for a podcast.” Usually this person wants me to explain the business of podcasting or confirm that their idea is viable. There are great online resources to answer the first question; you can answer the latter by actually recording something and playing it for people. But before you start googling or downloading audio editing software, be sure you know your WHY, as Simon Sinek says. Below I’ve categorized the best and worst motivations I’ve heard.

You shouldn’t start a podcast…

  1. Because you’ve been meaning to interview all your relatives, à la StoryCorps
  2. Because your boss says that after starting the weekly newsletter and ramping up on TikTok, the podcast should be next on your to-do list
  3. Because people have always told you you’re a really good listener
  4. Because people have always told you you’re really good at explaining things
  5. Because people always told you that you have a really nice voice
  6. Because your roommate in college now has a podcast, so it can’t be that hard
  7. Because you are looking for new ways to make “content” that expands your “personal brand”
  8. Because you think you’ll make a lot of money
  9. Because you love This American Life
  10. Because you love Terry Gross

Consider starting a podcast…

  1. Because your topic is incredibly niche and there’s no other podcast about it
  2. Because you are really good at committing to producing something on a regular basis and sticking to it
  3. Because you thought you had a good idea and you actually made an episode and it’s true. It really is a good idea.
  4. Because you love troubleshooting why an audio file won’t download/ upload/ play/ record/ etc.
  5. Because you’ve made a podcast before and know how taxing it is, but you think you’re ready to give it another try
  6. Because you will feel immense satisfaction producing something, even if your mother is the only one who listens to it
  7. Because you want to learn how to edit audio
  8. Because you want to learn how to prepare for conversations and interviews
  9. Because you want to get better at having conversations and interviewing people
  10. Because you are partnering with professional podcast makers who will share the load
  11. Because you have an extra 10–15 hours in your week to devote to a time-intensive project

What other reasons have you had or heard? Please add to either list in the comments section.

Journalist, mom, Swiss-Persian New Yorker. Host of @NPR’s @TEDRadioHour + @ZigZagPod. Author of Bored+Brilliant. Media Entrepreneur-ish. ManoushZ.com/newsletter

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