The not-so-secret platform that digital creators love: podcasting
Three prominent digital creators share why they made podcasting a priority and how it’s different than any other platform.
One day, you’re setting up camera angles and playing with video editing software, and the next, you’re sitting in your living room, talking into a microphone, or even making a video podcast. This is becoming a familiar scenario for more digital creators who are adding podcasting to their portfolios.
How do you go from succeeding on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter to throwing a new medium like long-form audio into the mix? There’s a reason for podcasting’s magnetic pull: it provides the creative freedom, the space, and the captive audience to make your voice heard.
That’s why three prominent digital creators—Cammie Scott, Lovelyti, and Jeremy Cohen—decided to take on podcasting as a new creative endeavor. They shared with us their unique experiences with podcasting and how it’s different than other formats.
Podcasts give more freedom to experiment
The flexible length of podcasts allows for experimentation and deep exploration of topics, ideas, and interview subjects. Podcast listeners are along for the ride—however long that may be. If your style is more concise, your episodes don’t have to be Homeric in scope, either. That’s part of the beauty of podcasts: you can design them for what works best for you and your audience.
All you need to record a podcast is a mic—including the one on your phone!—and the ability to edit audio. With this kind of low-maintenance setup and overhead, you can experiment without needing a huge budget. That includes being able to host a diverse variety of guests in person or even remotely. With each guest, you can try a different conversation or interview style, and each guest brings their own unique perspective and contributions to the table.
Jeremy Cohen, host of “Ask (Not) Me Anything!,” is a professional photographer who took on podcasting as a new medium to share his perspective in a fresh way. “I usually tell stories visually through photos and videos. On this podcast, I tell them with my voice,” he explains.
He’s able to take parts of his photography process and apply them to podcasting, translating his skills to create a new art form. “When I photograph people, I like to do a bit of research to have a general understanding of their interests and background. The same work goes into having a guest on the podcast. It’s actually a lot similar to portrait photography, without taking any actual photos now that I think of it.”
Cammie Scott hosts the “Uneducated” podcast, which she uses as a space to learn about subjects unfamiliar to her. By tuning into her episodes, her audience can also absorb this knowledge.
Prior to podcasting, Scott built a large following on social media by sharing her life experiences “to give representation to queer, femme women because I didn’t see people like me in traditional media.” She started her podcast as a platform to highlight other people and topics that also lack representation.
“I would say I am a bit more open on the podcast. As much as I share on my other channels, there is something about just sitting and chatting that makes me feel more comfortable to open up and expand on topics,” says Scott.
She encourages other creators to embrace flexibility with podcasting and to not get stuck on having it all figured out on day one. “Just like other social media platforms, your podcast will constantly evolve. Don’t stress about having the perfect layout or concept before starting. I promise you it will change many times as you do more episodes,” says Scott.
Lovelyti is a popular influencer with close to one million subscribers and views ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions per video on YouTube. She also has a background in talk radio and is the host of “Tea Time UNFILTERED.” With her podcast, she can be more candid and direct with her audience compared to other platforms.
“I’m more free and uncensored. We need to have open and honest dialogue about things affecting people without having to walk on eggshells or speak in a coded language.”
Podcasts foster a strong audience relationship
Digital creators who are used to instant feedback and engagement on traditional social media platforms may be hesitant about the one-sided impression podcasts can give. However, these creators find they can connect with their audience in deeper, richer ways.
There are several opportunities to connect with your audience within episodes themselves, whether that’s by answering listener emails, responding to Q&A submissions, or interacting with them in real-time with live Spotify Greenroom sessions.
The whole premise of Cohen’s show is combining guests with audience participation. “I knew I wanted to interview interesting people but needed to do it with a twist. So that’s how I came up with the idea to crowdsource most of the questions for my guests from my Instagram Stories ‘questions’ feature.” This gives his listeners the incentive to participate so they can hear the answer to their question on the podcast with a shoutout to their Instagram profile.
In Scott’s experience, people have more benevolent intentions in the podcast community. “I believe the podcast has created a more positive environment. It can be easy to share negative thoughts and opinions on other social platforms, but the podcast has set a precedent for open and respectful conversations, which is a refreshing change from social media.”
Podcasting is a hands-free experience listeners can take with them on a walk, a drive, or while doing the dishes, which means they’re not in a hurry to race through an episode. They’re prepared— even eager —to go on nuanced deep-dives with podcast hosts. “My audience loves the fact that I can have a more open and honest conversation with them on my podcast. I would say my podcast audience is a bit more mature, and they like to hear more in-depth topics and conversations,” says Lovelyti.
Digital creators who get into podcasting add to their skillset, extend their reach, and diversify their content. Cohen enjoys the distinct ways this new medium enhances his career. “It’s grown me as an artist as well as allowed me to network with a variety of interesting people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.”
With her podcast, Scott has broadened her perspective and her reach. “The podcast felt like an opportunity to make my social media presence about more than just myself and my own opinions and experiences.” She adds, “Overall, I would say it has elevated my personal brand and helped me to move into a different area of content that I was struggling to find my footing in on other social platforms.”
Podcasts also provide more content that creators can amplify and repurpose on other channels. Scott promotes “Uneducated” on her personal social media accounts and discusses the themes from episodes on those channels, as well. Lovelyti also leverages her other channels to promote her podcast. “I post clips of my podcast on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, etc. I always utilize my social media platforms to help push my podcast.”
And even within podcasting, creators can expand past an audio-only experience. Scott recommends having a video component of the podcast, which she credits as being “extremely beneficial in reaching new people.” Some podcasters livestream their recording sessions or post clips on other channels. Alternatively, with Video Podcasts on Spotify, you can record entire episodes as videos and let followers choose if they want to watch or just listen.
Go all in with podcasts
The advice from these seasoned digital creators is don’t hesitate if you’re thinking about starting a podcast. You don’t need very much to get started, just some minimal equipment and a subject you either know a lot about or have a hunger for learning about.
Once you get going, keep it natural and authentic to your personality and interests. “I would say just be yourself and have fun with it. Talk about what you like; it will come off a lot more genuine,” says Lovelyti.
When you’re starting a podcast from scratch, no matter how big your following is on other platforms, it’s about the creative journey. For Cohen, having one more outlet to express himself is rewarding on its own. “It’s okay if you’re worried about not getting a lot of listeners; it feels good to put your art out in the world regardless.