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3 Key Factors That You Have to Focus on if You Want to Make it in Podcasting

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How are you doing in podcasting as a guest, host, or both?

With over an 85% failure rate in podcasting on either side of the microphone, the question rings in our minds: “What does it really take to make it in podcasting?” In this blog post, podcasting industry expert Alex Sanfilippo dives into 3 key insights that he learned while speaking to over 2,100 podcasters about what it takes to succeed as a guest or a host. Whether you’re a host or guest, these insights will provide valuable guidance as you navigate the ever-changing landscape of podcasting!


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The 3 Things You Need To Succeed In Podcasting

After talking to about a thousand podcast hosts and countless guests over the past three years who have quit podcasting, I have gained valuable insight into why they quit.

Interestingly, the reasons for their decisions were largely similar.

These included a lack of tangible results, high-stress levels, and the time-consuming nature of podcasting.

For a long time, I focused on helping podcasters avoid these pitfalls. But eventually, I recognized the need to change my approach.  I decided to reach out to 100 podcasters who were doing a really good job podcasting.

With a staggering 90% failure rate, the world of podcasting is a tough and competitive one. However, these individuals have proven to be exceptions to this rule – deciding to commit to podcasting for the long haul and have seen great success as a result.

They fall into what I call the “actively established podcast” category. So I set out to explore the reasons why such individuals commit to podcasting for the long term and achieve sustained success.

I will share some of the things I discovered—specifically, 3 out of the ten key factors that successful podcast guests and hosts attribute to their achievements.

These were ranked number 10, 2, and 1, respectively.

Want to take your podcast hosting to the next level? In the end, I’ll give you completely free access to my $800+ course titled The Actively Established Podcast Formula. You’ll find all ten factors explained in detail. Why? Because my vision has always been and continues to be helping independent podcasters be heard in the world.

#10 Accountability 

why you need Accountability partners in podcasting

In my poll of 100 successful podcasters, accountability was cited as one of the top 10 reasons for their success. If you have listened to me or read my content before, you have probably heard me say,

Accountability and community are essential for success in podcasting.

When you find the right community, you can enlist people who can hold you accountable and with whom you can collaborate. Joint ventures and introductions to other podcasters and guests in your niche can help you thrive and reach your goals.

If you do not participate, you are missing out on a great opportunity. Now you may be saying, “Alex, should I not focus more on monetization?”

Well, the best monetization opportunities often come from your community!

In my own life, accountability has been a key factor in my success. I take it seriously and have people hold me accountable in 13 areas of my life, including podcasting. To stay motivated, I even pay my accountability partners if I deviate from my goals.

While you don’t have to do that, setting public goals and enlisting accountability from your community can help you succeed.

For example, committing to releasing 52 episodes in the next 12 months or being a guest on two podcasts each month can be powerful goals to share with your community.

This is a proven path to success in podcasting.

#2 Self Care

self-care for podcasters. Taking care of themselves and not getting dragged down by the hecticness of podcasting 

After speaking with over a hundred podcasters, I was surprised to find that self-care was the second most important factor in their success.

It’s easy to understand why – podcasting can be stressful. Hosting requires a lot of effort, from setting up equipment to editing episodes. Guests, on the other hand, may feel drained from having to constantly appear as an expert on a particular topic.

But here’s the thing:  Nobody is in a hospital saying, “We need more podcasts for this guy. He’s not going to make it unless we get him more podcasts.”

At our company, PodMatch, we understand that while podcasting can be fulfilling, it’s not a matter of life and death. We’ve developed a culture of calm, where we do our best to serve our members without sacrificing our own well-being.

Of course, we take our work seriously and aim to deliver excellent service every day. But we don’t wake up at three in the morning to respond to non-urgent requests.

It’s important to keep perspective and not let podcasting take over our lives. Even if our work is purpose-driven and has the potential to change the world, we shouldn’t put the weight of the world on our shoulders.

Related: Strategies for beating podcast burnout

Instead, we should treat podcasting like a hobby we enjoy and run it like a business. While there may be exceptions, we shouldn’t feel obligated to do things like accept a three a.m. interview.

We need to take care of ourselves and maintain a healthy balance between podcasting and life.

Remember, one well-recorded episode a week is much better than risking burnout because a certain podcaster you look up to said you have to do 3 or 4 a week.

#1 Self Discipline

Disciplined podcaster releasing episodes consistently.

74 of the top 100 podcasts that I polled said the same thing: that self-discipline is the number one key to success in podcasting.

This means being persistent and committed to consistent episode releases. You might say, “Well, I am a guest. I do not publish episodes.” But here’s the thing: If you consistently appear on podcasts, then there will be episodes to be published on a regular basis.

Consistency is like a funnel that works differently for hosts and guests, but it’s equally important for both.

Again, going back to self-care, what can you truly commit to?

This is so important. It’s crucial for podcasters to commit to their goals and prioritize consistency over outcome-based goals. Instead of focusing on achieving a certain number of downloads, commit to releasing one episode per week for a year. Be married to the process, not the result.

All successful podcasters I interviewed found that consistency is the key to winning. The journey may start slow, but consistency is what elevates it to success.

It’s not luck or hitting the jackpot; it’s the discipline to consistently release quality content.

Struggling with releasing episodes consistently? This post will be a big help!

Success is the result of the consistency and commitment that podcasters bring to their craft.

So, if you want to be a phenomenal podcaster or podcast, guest, have the self-discipline to be committed to consistent episode releases. This will ultimately determine your long-term success.

Final Thoughts + Free Access

Through extensive polling, I’ve identified three major factors that significantly contribute to success. 

As promised, here’s the link to the free course: podmatch.com/224

I highly recommend checking it out.

But beyond those factors, I want to leave you with some words of encouragement and wisdom. As individuals, we have the power to make a difference in someone’s life. Instead of focusing on the idea of changing the world, focus on serving just one person.

If you consistently serve and impact that one person, eventually, your efforts will ripple outward and impact others.

As creative beings, it’s important that we continue to hone our craft and create. It’s also important to have a community and accountability to help us stay on track. Additionally, self-care and self-discipline are crucial for success. If we stay faithful to the process, we will eventually see the results we desire.

So keep pushing forward, knowing that your efforts will change someone’s life.

About Alex Sanfilippo

Alex Sanfilippo is the host of Podcasting Made Simple, and the founder of PodMatch.com, a software company specifically focused on creating solutions that serve independent podcast hosts and guests.