There’s never been a better time to be an audio creator. Here’s how podcasters can take advantage of this moment.
As invite-only (and currently iOS-only) social audio app Clubhouse has risen to prominence in recent months, a question has been asked across articles and social media. Will Clubhouse replace podcasts? The answer, of course, is no. Clubhouse and podcasts are two distinct entities. While they certainly overlap in terms of their audio focus, they both contain their share of differences.
Podcasts, especially now, in the age of smart scripting and skilled editing, are often more planned and focused than Clubhouse conversations. There’s a road map in place before the podcast recording begins, and at least an outline of a beginning, middle, and end for each episode. On Clubhouse, meanwhile, it’s not uncommon for rooms (where hosts and listeners virtually gather) to go on for hours, and veer into all sorts of topics and tangents. Listening to an interview with your favorite celebrity on WTF is a different experience than listening to them in a Clubhouse room. Additionally, Clubhouse rooms are interactive in a way that podcasts aren’t. Listeners in a room can virtually raise their hand and submit a question to the room’s hosts. Podcasts are pre-recorded, and any listener interaction generally happens in the form of pre-submitted questions. So while there are similarities to podcasts and Clubhouse, they’re not the same thing.
That said, podcasters should absolutely be looking at Clubhouse as part of their social strategy, for reasons listed below. While Clubhouse won’t replace podcasts, it can certainly help them grow.
Finding Guests And Collaborators
One of the best elements of Clubhouse is there are rooms for seemingly every topic. Not only that, there are user-organized Clubs within Clubhouse that focus on a specific topic, whether that’s filmmaking, entrepreneurship, travel, sports, etc. (Think the Groups feature on Facebook.) Between rooms and Clubs, these are great places to find the type of people you want to feature on your podcast, or connect with for collaboration. The fact that everything is so organized makes the process of finding new guests and collaborators you weren’t previously aware of, or previously had no way to contact, even easier.
For me, I’ve been looking up travel and hospitality professionals using Clubhouse, as I prepare to relaunch my travel podcast series, Key Learnings, this coming summer.
Increasing Your Audience
Clubhouse is a perfect forum for helping new listeners learn about your podcast. At a certain point, you’re preaching to the choir by promoting your own podcast to your existing social network. They’ve seen your posts about your show, and they’re either listening or they’re not. But by joining Clubhouse rooms connected to your topic (Host a travel podcast? Participate in a travel room on Clubhouse!), you’re able to find new potential listeners who are interested in that topic, but don’t yet know about your show. Even better, you can speak about your show out loud, in your own voice. That humanizes your pitch, and may better persuade new listeners to check out your podcast.
Learning How To Improve Your Podcast
It’s no surprise that podcasters and podcast industry professionals love Clubhouse. It is, after all, an audio platform built around talk. So of course there are rooms dedicated to all sorts of podcasting topics. From building your audience to better remote recording methods and everything in between, the right Clubhouse room can offer insights into production, hosting, and countless other podcasting topics. Even better, it’s a great way to connect with audio professionals, and potentially move those relationships to email or LinkedIn for future collaboration. For new and seasoned podcasters alike, there’s likely something to be learned from the podcast-focused rooms on Clubhouse.
Podcast-centered rooms range from conversations led by marketers and entrepreneurs who have their own podcasts, to rooms led by large scale companies like iHeartRadio. Users to follow include Steve Wilson (@StephenWilson, Chief Strategy Officer at QCODE), Espree Devora (@espree, Founding Member of Audio Collective), Jake Shapiro (@jacob, Creator Partnerships at Apple Podcasts), and Zack Kahn (@kahn, PR for Podcasts at Apple).
And podcast-focused Clubs to join include CLUBPOD, AUDIO PHILES, and Podcasters Class, all of which are exactly what they sound like.
Establishing Your Expertise
Hosting a room on Clubhouse is a great way to establish your expertise in connection with your podcast’s focus. Even better if you include other speakers from that area of focus, as well. So if you host a sports podcast, consider inviting other sports podcasters or broadcasters, journalists, players, coaches, etc. Suddenly you’re part of a conversation among other experts in your industry. And while you don’t want to go overboard with the self-promotion, it doesn’t hurt to mention to anyone in the room that for more conversations like the one you’re hosting, they can check out your show on all podcasting platforms.
Clubhouse Hosts Should Be Podcasting
Finally, for Clubhouse hosts who aren’t podcasting yet, what’s stopping you? You’re already hosting audio content. Podcasts are often a shorter and more focused version of a Clubhouse conversation with fewer voices, and there’s no reason not to publish through both platforms. A podcast can help your Clubhouse following, just like a Clubhouse strategy can direct listeners to your podcast. This may be the best time ever for audio creators. There’s no reason not to use all the tools at our disposal.
Jaime Black has been podcasting since 2005, and has worked in the creative industries for over two decades. He is the host and founder of Dynasty Podcasts, the first ever and longest-running music podcast in Chicago’s history, and teaches a Podcasting 101 workshop. He also teaches in the Business & Entrepreneurship department Columbia College Chicago, in addition to developing his own creative industry courses at www.dynastyacademy.com.