Podcasters – Don’t fear the competition understand them.
I used to find it interesting when a programme controller would frown upon me mentioning the competition. “Don’t mention the competitors ever Kevin”. “Oh, Ok boss…”
Why, I thought – what are you afraid of? Are you scared that they might switch over?
I felt as if my boss didn’t have enough confidence in her own product and more over thought that the competitors were better. That’s not a good place to be.
Happily I worked for another programmer who said “mention them, why not, they exist” I once said on air that we were like a BBC Radio 2, but local. I doubt listeners suddenly switched over to hear what they were doing. In fact I had listeners text in to the studio to say they agreed.
My view is you listen to your competitor and understand what they do and why they do it. Do you copy it though? Not really, not if you don’t understand why they do it in the first place.
Never just copy an idea or format. Simply understand what works and why they are doing it. I was listening to an episode of the Business Internet Mastery podcast the other day. Jason Van Orden was telling a story about the ‘send money now’ scam.
This happened in the US and the UK. It’s an advert placed in the newspaper or magazine, which said ‘earn money now’. Find out how I do it by sending £5 or $5 dollars and I’ll tell you how. You send your money and receive a booklet that essentially says do as I do.
What you don’t know is that the person is collating all of your details and creating mail-out databases. The business isn’t the collection of $5, but more so how much the mail list is sold for.
I recently heard very similar ideas to mine shared on someone else’s podcast. Hey some of my content probably sounds similar to other radio consultants. That’s because we all work in a similar sphere perhaps? What they don’t have though is the personal experience I’ve had.
My own secret sauce if you like.
I’ve heard so many rip offs of other people’s ideas and formats, and its not limited to podcast or radio.
The greatest form of flattery is to understand why great content is made and what makes it work – why is it being done that way. Not just copying it as is. I’m not saying you shouldn’t copy an idea, but you should really understand it if you were going to do so.
Actually, instead of being worried about the competition, join in and offer something different. That’s what TLR 107.2fm, a station I worked for in Thanet (Kent, U.K), did. They understood the competition and made their listeners know why they were different in how they delivered their content. At the same time they poked fun at the big competitor station the their area.
I say to podcasters – don’t fear your competition encourage them. Understand what makes you different from your nearest competitor? and go for it!