One of my favorite things about the end of the year is the predictions that come out about what is to come in the new year. Some are just for fun and others are more business-related and give actionable and practical tips we can apply as we head into the new year.
Podcasting Trends & What Happened in 2023
In 2023, we saw a shift in podcasting, not just in the way that people consume them, but also in the way podcasters are having to shift and adjust to meet the demands of the rise of AI.
A lot of this can feel overwhelming. Take what you need from this information and leave the rest. You can look through our 2024 predictions at the bottom for the key things to remember as we head into another year of podcasting. I have also included action items for each of the predictions to help you be successful with each one.
The Rise in AI Podcast Tools
We saw a rise in AI tools that can help support podcasters in getting their podcasts out into the world.
Here are some of the AI podcast tools we are using and loving:
- Riverside.FM – now has an AI tool to help create video clips of your podcast conversation so you can easily share videos on social media. Think reels, TikTok videos, YouTube Shorts and more. We’ll talk more about that below.
- Otter.AI – We love using Otter AI for our transcripts. I also use it during meetings with clients and the team to help me stay on task. It offers action items from the conversation (*chefs kiss*), timestamps with a detailed summary, and an AI assistant you can ask to write an overview of the conversation and pull fun quotes. Those last two features are great for podcasters.
- Izotope RX – This is a high-quality audio editing software that we use to fix many of the common mistakes our clients make with their audio. This tool allows us to take our clients’ podcasts to the next level without having to have to learn audio engineering at our local community college. The tool is expensive but has been a fantastic investment for our team, which is processing over 3000 minutes of audio every month.
- Auphonic – This tool has a new AI feature that’s currently in beta to remove “uh” and “um” from audio. We’ve found that this tool actually sounds better than the removal we’ve tried with the popular tool, Descript. We also use Auphonic to help equalize the audio at the end of our podcast production process.
See our episodes on Podcasting and AI
While a lot of these AI tools for podcasters are really incredible, there is this idea that AI could take the job of podcasters. We all remember Joe Rogan’s AI Experience podcast episode from April when he created an ENTIRE episode using ChatGPT.
As cool (or downright weird) as that might be, it was certainly a cause for concern for many podcasters who wish to keep the medium human-centered.
Add in that Apple launched AI-generated books early this year to combat Amazon’s place in the market, and then Amazon announced in October that they would test out virtual voice-narrated books, which would impact the spoken word market in a big way. As an avid member of the reading community, I’ve heard endlessly about how frustrating this is for both readers and narrators alike.
The Fall (and Shift) of Podcast Listening Apps
In 2023 we also saw the fall of Stitcher, a podcast-listening app that had been around since I started listening to podcasts back in 2015.
This was a big surprise, especially because they’d just been acquired in 2020 by SiriusXM for $325 million. But the numbers weren’t adding up for SiriusXM to continue.
Google made some big changes this year that will continue into next year. The first came in February when they no longer showed playable podcasts (in carousel form) directly in search results. This impacted the Google Podcast manager, meaning we could no longer see what terms people were searching for when our podcast episodes showed up. It was a great tool for myself and our clients and helped us get clarity around SEO best practices.
Two other announcements came out in September from Google when they said that YouTube Music is creating a centralized podcast destination, and they will sunset Google Podcasts in 2024. It will be interesting to see how this pans out over the next 12-18 months. This isn’t part of our predictions, but I do predict that YouTube Music will not be able to keep up and will shift away in the next 18 months from what they think they can do with YouTube Music.
Regular Podcast Listening is Back on the Rise
In 2020 and 2021, we predictably saw the number of monthly podcast listeners rise collectively (Edison), only for it to fall in 2022. It’s estimated that those numbers have gone back up. This is great news as people are starting to find a balance and more people are becoming aware of what a podcast is.
I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen the “There’s a Podcast About That” Allstate commercial. It’s brought even more awareness to the medium which is exciting for people who are creating and producing them.
Our 2023 Predictions
Our predictions for 2023 were fun. It was my first year creating something about where I saw the industry going. While I think many of these will continue to be important, there’s something to build on here.
- SEO will be more important than ever
- Video will not be the future of podcasting
- Content standards are going to be set high
- The importance of following the data
- Listeners (people) over downloads (numbers)
2024 Podcast Predictions:
Evergreen Content will Reign Supreme
Listeners want to be able to binge through your episodes easily. When you mention timely things, it can feel frustrating for listeners, especially if those trends and topics no longer apply. If the content is timely, it’s important that you specify that and showcase where they can look for up-to-date information (more recent podcast episodes, your newsletter, etc.).
Creating evergreen content makes it easier for business owners to sell their stuff on the podcast because the message is consistent and the action is clear. You can also use dynamic content to monetize your show with your most current offerings.
Take Action – Plan your next 8 podcast episodes with evergreen content in mind.
Video is the Future of Podcast Marketing
You might have to read that one again. Last year, we said that video was not the future of podcasting, and I still believe that to be true for most podcast creators.
While I don’t think that video podcasts are the future since the majority of podcast listeners still listen in their vehicles or while doing household tasks, I do think that we are seeing a shift in how podcasters can market their podcasts. We will have to be a little savvier in how we market our shows if we want to stand out from the crowd of other people vying for attention on social media.
Take Action – Find a way to automate your marketing more so that you can easily create video social content. Some tools I love right now are Riverside FM, Headliner, and Munch AI.
Bold and Thought Provoking Content Wins
We talked about the rise of AI at the top of this blog post and how it will continue to impact the audio medium. How can we stand out if AI content and voice are also in our space?
Be bold in your content. Stop playing it safe.
Push away people that don’t want or need your message. Create connections with the people who do. Share unique stories and push the boundaries in your conversations. No more fluffy content.
The only way you can make lasting change with your content is to create something that will actually change someone’s life. Playing it safe isn’t going to do that.
Take action – In your next solo episode, I want you to get vulnerable and real with your audience in a way you never have before.
Information is Abundant. Be Selective.
There will continue to be a lot of changes in podcasting in 2024. It’s clear as day to anyone in the space. Companies are picking up and dropping stuff left and right.
With that in mind, who do you look to for information? Are you feeling overwhelmed and unsure? Did someone tell you, based on a single interaction, that you won’t be a successful podcaster?
How do you know which changes to the industry you should join and which you shouldn’t? It can be a lot! This is where a podcast strategist can support you. When I’m creating a strategy for someone, I take into account their goals, industry, and capacity. Then I talk through what will actually work for them instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.
Take action – Decide on 2-3 sources of podcast information that you will follow in 2024 for your updates and how they might impact you.
Listeners (People) Over Downloads (Numbers)
This one stays the same because I think it will continue to be important as we head into another year of podcasting. It’s easy to look at the number of downloads as just that– numbers.
What if we imagined them as actual people, though? Think about the number of people who listened to your podcast. Now imagine that number of people in a room, listening to you speak.
How does that feel? Does it make you want to show up differently? Remember, there are human beings behind those downloads and they are choosing to take time out of their day to intentionally listen to you.
Take Action: Connect (or reconnect) with one listener in your DMs this week.
Podcasting has changed a lot this year and will continue as we see the rise and fall of more tools. It’s important that we keep a few things in mind as we head into 2024:
- Think about your audience when you are creating content.
- Focus on your goals when deciding on what actions to take.
- Be consistent and persistent.
- Don’t forget to download the free workbook
Want to read more predictions we are following?
Startup Marketing Predictions for 2024 (Firebrand)
Visionary Execs at Whole Foods, Slack, Google, Amazon and More Share Their 2024 Predictions (Entrepreneur)
Will Social Media Marketing Look Different in 2024? My Big Predictions (OnlineDrea)