I hear this excuse a lot in podcasting. Whether it's to defend or oppose, some podcasters seem to think that everything a successful podcaster does is directly contributing to their success, and nothing is costing them P.R.O.F.I.T. (popularity, relationships, opportunities, fun, income, or tangibles).

It usually sounds like this: “XYZ does / doesn't do this thing and it's not hurting their podcast!” (Where “XYZ” is usually Joe Rogan or some other highly popular, highly successful podcaster.)

While that might seem logical, it's based on several assumptions and it can't actually be tested or validated.

Unless we have a parallel universe for split-testing (like in Amazon's The Peripheral), or unless we have a time machine, or unless we can interview every person everywhere with an honest and 100% response rate, or unless we are omniscient like God, we can't really know what is negatively affecting a successful podcast.

Maybe his or her audience would be bigger if they did or didn't do that thing. Maybe their sponsorship or licensing payments would have been more significant if they did or didn't do that thing.

If that thing actually is negatively affecting their show, you can't actually know! Can you monitor a parallel universe where the only difference is that podcasting thing? Can you travel back in time to have him or her do or not do that thing and then remeasure the results from the present? Can you interview every person everywhere in the world to collect data on whether that thing is affecting that person's relationship with that podcast? Are you God?

(In case you're wondering, the answer to all of these questions is “no.”)

So instead of assuming successful podcasters are infallible, which is what this excuse is essentially doing, I suggest approaching every idea with critical thinking and a focus on your audience.

Even if something does contribute to someone else's success, it doesn't mean it will give you the same success. Think about how many “on fire” podcasts there have been that interviewed entrepreneurs. How many of those podcasters got anywhere near the success John Lee Dumas has? How many of those podcasts are even still active?

There will always be outliers, too. Marc Maron's show contains excessive profanity—that doesn't mean yours should! Dan Carlin's Hardcore History publishes inconsistently—that doesn't mean you should be inconsistent! No Agenda releases two 3-hour-or-longer episodes every week with multiple, long donation segments—that doesn't mean you should do the same! Plenty of highly popular podcasts focus on controversial moral and political issues from any side you can imagine—that doesn't mean you should include a tangent about them in your podcast! And on and on.

Some of these podcasters found success despite some of the things they're doing or not doing, not because of those things.

The key to successful podcasting is what works for you, your show, and your audience.

And just like real love, I think your podcasting focus should be on serving your ideal audience more than serving yourself or anyone else.

Engage your audience and grow your podcast!

Do you ever feel like your podcast is stuck? Like you're pouring your heart into your podcast but it seems like no one is listening?

Try Podgagement to help you engage your audience and grow your podcast!

Get speakable pages to simplify engaging with your audience, accept voicemail feedback (with automatic transcripts), track your ratings and reviews from nearly 200 places, and more!

Ask your questions or share your feedback

  • Comment on the show notes
  • Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221
  • Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome)

Follow The Audacity to Podcast


This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship. I may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jeremy Slate
Jeremy Slate
3 years ago

No Agenda is the best podcast in the universe.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Enter your name and email address below to learn “7 Ways to Get More Podcast Reviews” FREE!

Almost there!


See what Apple Podcasts and other popular podcast apps search with the Podcast SEO Cheat Sheet!

This form collects information we will use to send you podcasting-related updates with tips, offers, and news. We will not share or sell your personal information. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Almost there!


Before you go! Don’t miss this FREE checklist, “20 things you should do before recording every podcast episode”!

This form collects information we will use to send you podcasting-related updates with tips, offers, and news. We will not share or sell your personal information. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Almost there!