If you are subscribed to the Headliner weekly Newsletter (which, if you aren’t, “hear’s” your chance: subscribe “hear”), then you may have seen a note from us asking for your participation in a survey. If you were a participant, THANK YOU! We got some amazing insights and feedback from podcasters across the world, and we wanted to share our findings. In this blog post, we will be doing just that. We are diving into the story behind the mic and exploring what it means to be a podcaster while also showing what all goes into podcasting – from prep to podcast promotion and more, we’ve got the data!
So, why the survey?
As you probably know, podcasting is a very involved process. It entails so much more than just sitting down and talking into a mic. Podcasting truly is an art form!
At Headliner, we like to break podcasting down into three distinct phases or buckets: creating, editing, and promotion. These phases come together and create what we call the “Podcasting Process.”
For the most part, Headliner has lived purely in the promotional space. We have several products designed to help share podcasts on almost any platform (we have yet to crack skywriting); however, we are starting to edge more and more into the editing space.
To date, Headliner has helped over 1.3 million podcasters (and counting) worldwide during different phases of the podcasting process. We are a small company, like really small, there are only 14 of us(!), dedicated to helping podcasters everywhere go from audio to audience. But what does that really mean – go from audio to audience?
To us, going from audio to audience means growth, getting out there, and sharing your craft with the world. We accomplish this by making an easy-to-use, friendly toolkit designed to streamline and simplify the Podcasting Process. By doing this, we help save podcasters valuable time and help lighten the load.
We talk to thousands of podcasters every month, and one thing we have noticed is that podcasters are often wondering how what they are doing compares with other podcasters. We also hear time and time again that podcasters like podcasting (shocking, we know), and want to keep doing it, but they also want to grow their reach, but, either they don’t know how or simply don’t have enough time. Basically, podcasting is fun and enjoyable, but podcast promotion – not so much.
Our conversations with podcasters inspired us to do this survey! That way, we could share our findings with the entire podcasting community and show that no one is alone. Podcasting is hard, it is time-consuming, but, hey, we all love it!
Quick Stats Snapshot
We had a lot of really cool findings and write-ins to the survey. To get us started, we wanted to lay out some of the basics and hit on the “who” of our respondents. “Hear” are just some quickie facts we wanted to callout before really getting into the data:
- We received over 190+ complete responses.
- Podcasters ranged from newbies (less than 1 year of podcasting) to seasoned vets who have been podcasting for 10+ years.
- 93% of respondents reported engaging with their audience.
- 47% of respondents reported audience feedback shaped their podcast.
- The average podcaster (according to our results) spends an average of 13.94 hours per episode and enjoys the entire podcasting process (prep to promotion) 7.48 out of 10.
Headliners 😉 (aka key findings)
Like we said, we did this survey because we wanted to better understand what goes into a podcast while also looking to understand what excites people the most during the podcasting process. We wanted to look at podcasting from a holistic standpoint!
This survey was designed with the purpose of bridging podcasters’ sentiment and investment. To do this, we broke everything down to a “per episode” level, measuring time spent and enjoyment at each phase of the podcasting process. So, what did we learn?
To start – we aggregated averages by age of the podcast. We looked at time spent, measured in hours, and enjoyment received. Enjoyment was measured on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being a “LOVE IT” sentiment and 1 being a not my fav type sentiment.
We further segmented our analysis into different “age” buckets. Podcasts were broken up by age of podcast.
We even came up with a fun analogy for the different “age groups.” Ranging from newbies to vets – we followed a similar breakout to how you would label different age human age groups! Why? Our Marketing Team thought it was fun. So, “hear’s” a quick breakdown for future reference:
- <1 year = newbie
- 1-3 years = kiddo
- 4-6 years = pre-teen
- 7-9 years = middle-aged
- +10 years = vet
The fun and not so fun
“Enjoyment” was measured on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the “nope, don’t like it” and 10 being “LOVE IT.” Across the board, “Enjoyment” was skewed very positively, with an average “Enjoyment” at 7.13 out of 10.
At phase, enjoyment levels varied:
- Creation: This phase scored the highest at an 8.46 (out of 10). That’s pretty good! Across the board, podcasters enjoyed their time prepping and recording their podcast.
- Editing: Editing was a little more a mixed bag in terms of enjoyment. Editing received an average score of 6.01. There were groups who LOVED editing, some that REALLY didn’t like it – but, most were pretty “meh” about editing.
- Promotion: Now, this was by far the least enjoyable phase scoring a 5.52 on the enjoyment scale. Our kiddos “hear” seemed to break the trend a little, enjoying promotion a little more than editing.
Tick Tock – not TikTok
Next, we measured time. We wanted to see how podcasters were spending their time and how allocations broke up among the three different phases.
“Hear” we can see there is an interesting distribution in time spent across the different age groups. Time spent follows a similar trend as Enjoyment. There is almost a bimodal distribution popping up, with our vets and kiddos spending the most amount of time in the podcasting process (same as Enjoyment, for what it’s worth). Let’s break it down:
- Creating: This bucket took the largest amount of time, accounting for 54%of total time per episode.
- Editing: Coming in second, editing! Editing accounts for 27% of time spent.
- Promotion: Podcast promotion came in last with 19% of time spent per episode. One thing we found really interesting is that our vets (podcasting for +10 years) spent the most time promoting, and our middle-aged podcasts (7-9 years) spent the least time promoting. Digging a little deeper, we see that as middle-aged podcasts mature, they spend more and more time in the promotion phase – that year 9 must be a formative one!
Time and Engagement – a Cool Correlation
Next, we wanted to compare the two to see if there is any correlation between Time Spent and Enjoyment. And, from our analysis, we believe there is!
“Hear’s” what stuck out:
- Overall: The more amount of time podcasters spent doing a task, the more they seemed to enjoy it! Creation definitely took up the most time, and it certainly had the highest enjoyment reported. On the flip side, Podcast Promotion received the least attention and the least love. Again, Editing seemed to be fairly love-hate, with a positive correlation popping up between time spent and enjoyment received.
- Vets: Our veteran podcasters spent the most time and received the most enjoyment. They’ve been around and at it for a while and truly enjoy what they do – so cheers to them for not only sticking with it but for enjoying the ride!
- Middle-aged: Middle-aged podcasts had the lowest overall averages. They spend the least amount of time podcasting and reported the lowest overall enjoyment. Why? Editing and promotion.
Editing: Mixed Emotions
Editing was more of a mixed bag. Some podcasters REALLY liked it, some REALLY didn’t, and most were “meh” about it.
- Time vs. Enjoyment: Podcasters who spent more time editing reported higher enjoyment levels. There were some notable outliers who dedicated over 10 hours per episode to editing – one podcaster even reported spending 47 hours on their most recent episode! Their investment is driven by their genuine love for the editing process, as they scored enjoyment as a 10/10.
- YouTube and Social Media: Podcasters who expanded their reach by sharing their content on platforms like YouTube and social media tended to spend more time editing, reflecting the unique challenges they face with video content. Again, these podcasters also reported spending both more time, 6.4 hours on average, and receiving higher amounts of enjoyment.
While most (44.9%) podcasters spent 1-3 hours editing each episode, matching the “it’s okay” sentiment – we certainly had a handful of podcasters on opposite ends of the spectrum who really built on that love-hate relationship with editing.
Podcast promotion definitely received the least amount of love in our survey. 48.7% of podcasters said they spend 1 hour or less promoting their podcast. Similar to editing, we saw a correlation between time spent and Enjoyment (low time = low enjoyment).
Enjoyment Promoting and Enjoyment Editing look pretty similar in distribution, following the same trend of “love-hate.” However, we can see a negative shift of nearly 1 point towards a “nope, don’t like it” attitude.
There is a very tight distribution of Enjoyment during the “Creation” step, with all podcasters reporting enjoying “Creating” their podcast at least an 8.29. It also had the highest average score at 8.50, indicating that this is the most enjoyable part of the podcasting process.
“Editing,” however, had the most considerable variance of 1.23 points with an average score of 6.01. “Editing” was bimodal, with newbies and vets reporting enjoying this process the most and our “middle-aged” group enjoying editing the least.
Much the same can be said for “Promotion;” however, the average sentiment was more pessimistic, with an average score of 5.52. Again, newbies and vets seemed to enjoy the podcast promotion part the most, with “middle-aged” podcasts scoring it the lowest at 4.61 out of 10.
Aside from overall sentiment, most podcasters follow a pattern. They enjoy the “Creation” step the most, followed by editing, and then enjoy promotion the least. However, our “pre-teen” podcasts (4-6 years) were a little, well, different. Pre-teen podcasts still enjoyed “Creation” the most, but they enjoyed Editing the least – not promotion. When digging into the why, we again see a direct correlation with time spent for this group. The pre-teen podcasts spent 25% more time (4.61 hours on average) than other group. So, true to the human world, our pre-teens are following the beat of their own drum!
- “Creation” consistently emerged as the most enjoyable phase, with all podcasters rating it highly.
- “Editing” displayed the greatest variability, with some podcasters LOVING it while others, well, hate is a strong word – but, they really didn’t like it.
- “Promotion” consistently scored lower in enjoyment, with middle-aged podcasts reporting the lowest levels of enjoyment and our vets reporting the highest levels of enjoyment.
We also had a number of write-ins!
In our survey, we left a spot for people to elaborate more on their answers regarding each step of the podcasting process. We received the most write-ins speaking to the podcast promotion step.
8 podcasters wrote to us saying they feel they need to invest more time into podcast promotion. There was also a strong attitude of “we do what we can” among the write-ins. We think this comment summed it up the best:
“That is my problem I don’t devote time to it and I know it needs it but creating the promo content frazzles me.“
We also asked a very pointed question: “Has audience feedback changed or shaped your podcast content?”
This question was followed by an open-ended, “If yes, how” type of question. 57 podcasters reported that audience/listener feedback has shaped their content – from questions to ask guests, to re-brands, to even introducing an entirely new podcast as a spin-off! Overall, respondents reported that listening to feedback helps them shape and improve their podcasts and recommend it.
And then, this comment just made us smile:
“I use the live stream, it is unedited, and that is why it is honest and raw. I do add subtitles to the video on YouTube and rewrite the description and your software makes all this possible. I love your software.“
(We love you too!💜)
Sharing is caring (and so is asking)
After a few years of talking to and helping podcasters – we knew you were curious, but it also sparked some curiosity in us.
We wanted to do this survey to offer podcasters a platform to talk about their podcasting process in a collaborative space. Our survey was designed to hear your stories and experiences, not just collect data.
If you participated in the survey, thank you! Regardless, we hope you found this information to be helpful and have some better insight as to how other podcasters are doing the thing – podcasting.
If you would like an additional opportunity to share your thoughts about the podcasting process or just want to talk shop with us – would love to hear from you! Please, write us “hear.”
Thanks again and happy podcasting from the team at Headliner!