When you’re launching a new podcast, it’s only natural to feel a bit vulnerable. Is your idea as interesting as you think it is? Will people subscribe? Will anyone even listen to your podcast, or will you just be talking to yourself in an empty room?
A media research company called Coleman Insights has just launched a new service, Pod Predictor, that lets podcasters remove some of that guesswork. The idea is that you can pay to pre-test podcast concepts with a listener panel before you spill your guts to the world.
To see services like this break into the podcast world is a positive sign – it shows how much podcasting is now in the mainstream. The company behind Pod Predictor obviously feels there will be enough demand (and budget) out there to sustain it.
But in practice, do we need services like this in podcasting? Let’s take a look at what Pod Predictor offers, as well as how you can test the water with your podcast concept without paying a penny.
What is Pod Predictor?
Pod Predictor is a podcast concept-testing service that allows podcasters to test show ideas with panels of podcast listeners before launching. The website states the service is for both individual podcasters and networks. But at $975 per concept, we doubt they’ll get many indies on their books.
Here’s how it works: First, you provide a very short podcast elevator pitch (just a title and a 1-2 sentence description). Your pitch is then shown to a testing panel of 1,000 podcast listeners aged 18-64 from the US and Canada. Each listener on the panel rates your idea on a scale of 1-5 and indicates whether they’d listen to the podcast, based on your description.
You’re then given the overall results of the test as well as a demographic breakdown of how the panel responded by gender, age, ethnicity, geography and category interest to see if there are any trends worth paying attention to.
The Limitations of Podcast-Testing Services
Paying for a testing service like this might make sense to some people (particularly those who don’t have much time and some cash to burn). But there’s no way of guaranteeing the panel will bring you reliable results. There are three main factors at play here:
A Good Idea is Just That… An Idea
A solid podcast concept is essential, but this won’t guarantee success. There’s a whole mix of different factors that combine to make a show ‘good’. You could be talking about the most exciting topic imaginable, but if you’re delivering it in a way that sounds like you’re reading a microwave instruction manual, you won’t get anyone hooked. And that’s before we get to the equipment and recording environment considerations.
Purpose & Passion Matter
It’s much more important (and practical) to focus on making a podcast about something you’re genuinely passionate about, not what ‘sells’.
Studies have shown that having purpose and drive behind your podcast is what gives it longevity.
Podcasts Can Be Ultra-Niche
We also know that a podcast doesn’t need to resonate with mainstream audiences to be considered ‘successful’ either. If your demographic is super niche, it will probably tank during testing like this.
How popular do you think the Chameleon Breeder Podcast would’ve been with this small panel? One thousand people might not fancy your content, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a hit with your target market.
And for many brands, a narrow podcast niche is even more attractive than a broad audience, so your specialist podcast could be just as (if not more) lucrative.
How to ‘Test’ Your Podcast Concept for Free
So what if you don’t have $975 to burn but would like to test the water with your next podcast idea? Here are a few solid options.
Your first stop would be to research what podcasts already exist on the topic. For this, you can use a cool free tool from Rephonic. Simply key in a few shows in your niche, and you’ll see the podcasts listeners also enjoy. Do you notice any gaps related to that topic that no one else is covering yet?
Next up, use the free Alitu Showplanner. Here, you answer a few simple questions and automatically generate a pitch, name ideas, and your ideal listener profile.
There’s also a lot to be said for trusting your gut. Part of Pod Predictor’s service is apparently to help podcasters “reach the right audience” by working out who that audience is. But in reality, if you care enough about your podcast topic, you’ll already have a good idea about who your audience is – because you’re one of them.
Ultimately, there’s no surefire way to guarantee podcast success – only educated guesses. Some educated guesses cost more than others, too.
Preparation, planning, and research can go a long way towards building the foundations of a successful podcast, but be wary of spending too much time or money before you hit record. How you feel after that first episode is the true litmus test of whether a show’s going to fly or not. And no panel of listeners can give you that data, no matter how much you pay them!
Originally posted on July 26, 2023 @ 12:25 am