There is still plenty of opportunity in the podcasting space for new entrants, but you’ll quickly see that the general topics are dominated by big companies that focus only on podcasting or have large content budgets. They have the resources to produce ultra-high quality work in all the areas – content, audio, and post-production. You can’t think you are going to start a podcast on daily news and expect to gain a lot of followers right out of the gate because NPR dominates that space. You need a niche podcast topic.
You need to create your red ocean. More on this later.
The more niche you get, the less competition becomes an issue. The large companies tend to focus on large audiences so they can maximize their ad revenue. Later we will get into monetizing a podcast and you’ll see the ways a podcast can generate revenue, even without a large audience.
We are going to focus on building a podcast in a very niche topic to ensure you have success gaining listeners.
The 4 layers to the podcast you are the topic, sub-niche, niche in the niche, and the delivery.
If you only focused on the topic, you would have a very broad audience that you are trying to appeal to and by trying to appeal to everyone, you may appeal to no one. You would even be making a mistake by only picking a sub-niche. The secret to growing a podcast (or even a blog) is to find your niche within the niche. You can further differentiate by determining how you will deliver the content.
Let’s take a look at some examples and figure out your niche within the niche and your own delivery.
We can use my podcast for an example here. I have always been obsessed with business for as long as I can remember (yay for capitalism) so I knew this was the topic that I wanted to focus on for my podcast. But there are soo many great podcasts focusing on the broad topic of general business, I knew that I didn’t stand much of a chance going up against those folks – not impossible, just not great odds.
So then I looked at how can I differentiate myself from just the general topic of business. I took a step back to think about this and look for things that I was both knowledgeable about and also had some results to back up my words. Now, I don’t think you necessarily have to have the results on the topic to back up your content, but it can certainly help. Often times being an expert just means you are one step ahead of the other person. For me, I realized that within the 6 months prior to deciding to start a podcast, I had launched a successful Kickstarter for The Side Hustle Journal and also started a blog that was generating some passive income while growing an audience – email and chatbot subscribers.
Starting a business seemed like the natural progression when looking at the topic of business but this is still far too broad of a topic to cover.
So, I stepped back again and dug a bit deeper. All of my projects and my interest focused on helping people who were working day jobs, start profitable side hustles in their hours outside of their 9 to 5.
Then it hit me, my niche within the niche for the podcast would be side hustles for people with day jobs.
After I looked around a bit, I noticed there was only one other person really targeting this audience. Although this means that there is plenty of space for another person, I did not want to recreate the same podcast so I focused on altering the last step, Delivery. This would be the way I would differentiate myself.
The other podcast had a Storytelling delivery, so I decided that I really needed to create my own “blue ocean”, so I decided to focus on 1-on-1 interviews as my delivery style.
“In the book, Blue Ocean Strategy, W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne coined the terms ’red ocean’ and ‘blue ocean’ to describe the market universe.
Red oceans are all the industries in existence today – the known market space. In red oceans, industry boundaries are defined and accepted, and the competitive rules of the game are known.
Blue oceans, in contrast, denote all the industries not in existence today – the unknown market space, untainted by competition. In blue oceans, demand is created rather than fought over. There is ample opportunity for growth that is both profitable and rapid.
In blue oceans, competition is irrelevant because the rules of the game are waiting to be set. A blue ocean is an analogy to describe the wider, deeper potential to be found in unexplored market space. A blue ocean is vast, deep, and powerful in terms of profitable growth.” – this was taken from the website here.
Here are some other examples of successful niche podcasts:
You really don’t get much further apart than these two podcasts. Each has a very specific niche and has a delivery that is not like others that may be similar.
The Sleep With Me podcast is a very unique podcast where the guy has a very soothing, calm voice and he just talks about random things from his day. His audience is people who are going to bed so he doesn’t cover any in-depth content. On the surface, it may sound dumb but that may mean you are not his audience, and that’s ok. You shouldn’t try to please everyone. Because he has a very focused niche and a unique delivery, he has grown a huge audience that he was able to monetize and quit his day job.
The Indicator is another podcast with a specific niche. They cover US economics and focus on stories with quantitative subjects. Each episode revolves around a single number (indicator) and it is run by two guests that go back and forth covering the topic. They don’t just each read their part, they have small talk and joke in between which makes the episodes more enjoyable – even if the jokes and small talk are also scripted.
You can use the below chart to help find your niche within a niche and formulate your podcast delivery.