Should You Start a Podcast?

The average podcast episode is listened to 27 times, according to Buzzsprout. This may sound small at first, but the number of podcast listeners continues to grow every day.

According to The Infinite Dial, 78% of people in the U.S. are familiar with the term "podcasting," and 28% of Americans listen to at least one podcast episode every week.

So, what are some of the ways writers can use a podcast? Are they best for marketing a book, interviewing topic experts, pitching yourself to existing podcasts, growing your personal brand?

Let's take a look at what some writers are doing with podcasts.

woman with headphones
Imagine gaining a new audience, or growing your existing audience, with a podcast.

How Writers Are Using Podcasts

Christine "Ink" Whitmarsh has produced more than 700 episodes of her podcast, Your Daily Writing Habit, where she shares tips to help authors finish their books. "My podcast originates as an Amazon Alexa Flash Briefing Skill and is then distributed via countless podcast channels," says Whitmarsh. "The call to action at the end of each episode directs listeners to my Facebook group, which has proven to be profitable since once listeners are there, many have gone on to join my monthly subscription program, contract me for services, buy my books, etc."

Whitmarsh says that in her opinion, podcasts are an immensely valuable tool for writers and bloggers to stay in front of their readers with a consistent brand presence. "I would specifically recommend the route that I've taken with Alexa flash briefing skill podcast," she says. "It encourages a brief, daily broadcast, maximum consistency, and creating a constant conversation with one's audience."

Amy Zellmer runs a podcast called Faces of TBI where she discusses topics related to brain injury, in an effort to help survivors and caregivers find resources. She has approximately 5,000 downloads per month, and has had a podcast sponsor for the past five years.

"Having a podcast is a great way to help keep your readers engaged," says Zellmer. "A podcast lends credibility, especially if you have guest experts, and is another way for listeners to find your book. It's a win-win situation."

Veronica Kirin has set up corresponding podcasts for both of her books. "The first podcast, Stories of Elders, was launched in 2016 to share the stories I was gathering in my research on the high-tech revolution," says Kirin.

"My current podcast, Stories of COVID, features the interviews I'm gathering for my upcoming book by the same name." Kirin suggests all authors have a supplemental podcasts to accompany their books.

Carlo Pietro Sanfilippo says that when he wrote his book, he wrote it through the lens of his life and experiences. However, since he started his podcast, It's the Journey, the format has allowed him to gain more information and insights into his existing audience and build a new audience that's interested in the same subject matter. "My podcast is helping me create content continuously, and providing me research and ideas for my next projects," says Sanfilippo.

"Having a podcast is a great way to help keep your readers engaged."

Penny Sansevieri says that podcasts are great for authors, whether they’re thinking of pitching themselves to podcasts, learning or researching something, or hosting one themselves. Her own podcast, Book Marketing Tips & Author Success, attracts 200 to 300 listeners per show and focuses on the marketing and publicizing of books.

"If hosting a podcast, be super clear about what your commitment is, meaning, are you doing a show a week, or once a month?" says Sansevieri. "Just like with blogging, consistency will help to drive listeners and fans of your podcast."

If done right, Sansevieri says that podcasting is a great tool to promote yourself or your book. "You’re in someone’s ear, so it’s really personal," she says. "It’s a great way to let fans know about your work, or to spread your topic via podcast interviews.

"My podcast is helping me create content continuously, and providing me research and ideas for my next projects."

Author and entrepreneur Megan Brame started her podcast because she felt it was easier to connect with her followers with her voice than through text.

"I felt that a lot of my tone didn't translate in a blog post as well as it does through audio, so I stopped blogging and started focusing on podcasting," she says. "I've also used tools that convert my old blog posts into audio via AI, so I'm able to repurpose content that I thought was valuable and move it to a new medium."

On Brame's sponsored podcast, Stop Sucking at Business, she and her guests talk about small businesses, entrepreneurship, marketing, and how to balance personal life and business, attracting 500 listeners per month.

"I think podcasts are as valuable as any medium for delivering content, but in my opinion, it matters more where your audience goes and how they use the platform," says Brame. "If your ideal demographic loves blogs and doesn't listen to podcasts, or only listens to podcasts about a completely separate topic than what you discuss, then it's not worth your time or effort to shoehorn a podcast into your content schedule. Be where your ideal customer is and connect with them there!"

Interested in learning more about podcasting? Already podcasting yourself? Let us know in the comments!