September 17, 2020

Comparing Big Podcasts

Read the reason why new podcast host get discourage. Learn how to avoid the same problem.

Comparing Big Podcasts

The average podcast has ~6 episodes in their RSS feed. People listen to popular podcasts and get discouraged with their own podcast. They get discouraged because they are comparing their podcast to the popular podcast. They do not see the same results. In this chapter, I will go over why they should not be comparing their podcast to big podcasts.

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Multiple People Work on it

When a podcast is starting out, the host may do everything themselves. As the podcast becomes more popular, the host may hire someone to handle the technical side. The host works on the content.

An example of this dynamic is Bill Burr and the Monday Morning Podcast, Bill started his podcast in 2007. In 2007 Bill used a service that allowed him to call a phone number and record his podcast on his phone. Now Bill has a man named Andrew to upload the podcast, read fan emails, create videos for YouTube. Hiring Andrew gives Bill the ability to focus his energy on content. Increasing the quality of the podcast because there is one person for each side of the podcast. Odds are a new host who is working by themselves and has to focus on every aspect of the podcast. New hosts should keep in mind that older podcasts have multiple people working on them. Even if listeners never see or hear those people.

Bigger Budgets

After several years of podcasting, a company decided to sponsor Bill’s podcast. The sponsorship allowed Bill to invest more money into his podcast. Using the sponsorship money to buy higher quality equipment. The new equipment increased the sound quality of Bill’s podcast. Which may have attracted more people to become a listener of his podcast.

Some are starting a podcast that may not have the same budget as a sponsored podcast. But a new podcast can have the same quality of content or better as a sponsored podcast.

Pre-Existing Audience

Most big podcasts have celebrity hosts, people that already have an audience. For example, Bill has been doing standup since 1992. He can grow his podcast by promoting the podcast at his comedy shows.

Not everyone has an existing audience that they can promote their new podcast to. A new podcast with an unknown host will take time to grow an audience. Building an audience may take years. If a host puts in the time and work people will hear their podcast.

Experience Performing

Many successful early hosts Burr, Fitzsimmons, and Diaz, for example, are comedians. They have experience performing. Podcasting is a type of performance.

If a new host has little experience performing, they will need to take time to sound confident on the mic. Not sounding confident on the mic might make people stop listening to the podcast. It may take time to get the first few listeners. By recording more episodes, a host will gain confidence.

Big Network

Years of podcasting and building an audience is an advantage. A podcast with many episodes has many loyal listeners. The loyal listeners will help to share much of the podcast’s content. The listeners share the podcast’s content with people that have similar interests. Making the listener’s sharing more impactful.

A new host needs to rely on their current network for shares and listens. Growing passed an existing network can be difficult. Creating unique connections with their listeners, a host can grow their audience.


For new hosts, it is most important for them to put their heads down and create content. Remember that podcasting isn’t a winner take all market, people can listen to many podcasts. A host will continue to get better with more episodes. Then their podcast will get so big that they will be on the other side of this chapter.


This post is an excerpt from the Open Podcast Community book. The book is available for purchase here.