Why open rates, keywords and Twitter are the past — and podcasting has a great future
It's time to stop clinging to the publishing wisdom of the past. And the decline in new podcasts is not the bad news it looks on the surface.
What you need to give up in 2023
This morning I published a long-gestating piece about four things I really needed to get off my chest. Or, more accurately, the four things I think publishers and journalists need to realign their thinking about, but that's not as attractive a headline, is it?
The things I think you need to change your approach to are:
- Newsletter open rates
- Keywords for SEO
Yes, I expect some of those will be controversial. I look forward to hearing why you think I'm wrong… 😇
What's going on with podcasting?
After years of boom times, the number of podcasts being created is dropping rapidly. Why?
Esther had some thoughts in this morning's Media Roundup newsletter:
I don't know to what extent this is amateurs realising growing and sustaining podcast audiences is quite a challenge - after all, if you were going to launch a podcast, lockdown was the time to do it. Certainly I haven't noticed much of a slowdown in publishers launching new shows.
Having been around long enough to have seen both the first and the second podcast boom, and now the first and second blogging boom (the second being the blog/newsletter hybrid approach), I'm not at all surprised that this is happening. It always does.
It's gold rush behaviour: technology opens up a field, some of the early movers do very well out of it, and so lots of other people follow in their footsteps. As the field gets more crowded, fewer people succeed, and the incentive to keep trying decreases. People drop away, and the rate of new publication creation drops as well.
The real surprise is how long it's taken for us to pass the peak — given how much harder podcasting is than blogging, newsletter writing or even YouTubing. The fact we've had such a sustained boom is a really good sign that we'll have a healthy podcast ecosystem for a long time to come.
It's also worth noting that what we refer to as “podcasting” is actually just a slice of a rapidly broadening field of online audio — with live audio being the real growth area right now, as this piece from the tail end of last year pointed out:
(That's a level of clickbait headlining I can't quite bring myself to match…)
- 🤐 Interesting piece from Paul Bradshaw about how companies try to shut down investigations.
- 👩🏽💻 A new news aggregator app called Informed has some high-profile titles on board. It will succeed or fail not on the romantic desire to save quality journalism, as one of the founders is quoted as saying, but on their strategy for getting readers to (a) install the app and (b) open it once they have. The second is exponentially harder than the first.
- 📉 Good spot from Charles Arthur, which I missed yesterday: the fall in traffic to publishers from Twitter is largely down to the death of Twitter Moments.
- Jacob Donnelly expects a slow down in mergers and acquisitions, as current profit becomes more important than future revenue in the markets.
A tweet to think on
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