As podcasting continues to grow in popularity, more platforms want in on the action. The latest is the popular short-form video app TikTok.
Podnews reports that TikTok has “recently registered a trademark for TikTok Music which includes the provision for podcast content,” Along with the fact that podcast host Audiomeans noticed TikTok is scraping their feeds. Back in March, we reported discovered that TikTok had a job listing for “Podcast Content Operation.”
So as yet another platform gets in on the podcast action, we’re forced to wonder: how does this help TikTok? And more importantly, how does it help podcasters?
TikTok: The Latest Social Media App to Entry the Fray
The move by TikTok follows other popular social media and content services, like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook (even if Facebook’s attempt was short-lived). In a way, it makes sense. The desire for feature parity is a tale as old as social networks themselves.
After Snapchat came out, Facebook and Instagram successfully implemented similar temporary video features. Twitter and LinkedIn tried but were less successful.
How This Helps TikTok
You might be thinking, “TikTok is a video platform. How can they benefit from podcasting?”
People have short attention spans. TikTok might know this better than any other social platform. Their move into audio-only content could show a deeper understanding of that. Audio doesn’t require one’s full attention like video does.
That said, video podcasting is increasingly popular. Many podcasts are video first, secondarily releasing the audio in a podcast feed.
This allows them to have clips and shorter videos to share across social media. TikTok has likely noticed this trend and decided to lean into it.
But ultimately, the reason is simple. All social networks want the same thing: our undivided attention. If they can get all the content we could ever want to consume in one place, they have us.
If I scroll through short videos on TikTok, see one linked to a podcast, and can listen to that podcast inside of TikTok, it’s a huge win for them.
What This Means for Podcasters Moving Forward
That’s what’s in it for TikTok. What’s in it for podcasters? Discovery.
TikTok is one of, if not the, best social network for discovering new content. The videos they recommend to people are finely tuned by a very smart algorithm (perhaps a little too smart). As an elder millennial who’s used to seeing content only from the people I chose to follow, TikTok scared and confused me.
I couldn’t quite figure out how to see the content I wanted to see, but they somehow kept surfacing content that kept me fully engaged. I just got suspicious that they knew way too much about me, and was suspect about how they’d use the data.
However, that data is exactly why TikTok is the best-positioned social network for surfacing new content because discovery is always how the platform worked. As Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter try to make their timelines more TikTok-like, they face backlash from users who want to see a reverse-chronological list of posts from the people they follow.
As podcasters, discovery is one of the hardest aspects of our job. There isn’t a “YouTube for podcasts” that does a great job of surfacing hyper-targeted episodes or shows for folks…especially with less popular shows.
Consider the recommendations in Apple Podcasts for my relatively new show, Make Money Podcasting:
I doubt any of those shows have trouble finding listeners.
Podchaser does offer lesser-known podcasts under their “Similar” tab for the same show:
…but Podchaser isn’t a listening app.
With TikTok, we could see something YouTube-Esq, where, while you listen to an episode, similar episodes are automatically queued up.
What You Should do Today
If you’re a podcaster thinking, “that’s great, but what should I do now,” the answer is probably not too much. There is convincing evidence that TikTok will have a podcast feature, but no official announcement yet.
My recommendation is to make sure your podcast has a valid RSS feed and is in every other podcast directory. If you haven’t started doing some video content, experiment! I recommend creating audiograms or other short videos to tease your full episodes. Make sure to end with a strong call to action to, “catch the whole episode at,” at then the episode’s webpage.
And definitely keep an eye on the space. I’m personally not a TikTok user, but if it’s as simple as submitting an RSS feed for inclusion in a music or podcast app, I’ll be first in line.