Gareth Cliff's Tips For Starting Your Own Podcast
Well-known South African DJ Gareth Cliff left radio a few years ago to start his own podcasting company, CliffCentral. The company celebrated its third birthday in May of 2017, and has shown steady growth, both in terms of content and listeners. CliffCentral has definitely shown that there is a South African market for this new medium.
How easy is it to start a podcast if you don’t have a large team/company behind you?
Anyone can start a podcast. You don’t need staff, a studio or expensive equipment. The hard part is delivering quality content and being consistent.
What advice do you have for people looking to start a podcast? What are some of the dos and dont's?
What can you do that nobody else can, or what can you do better than anyone else? That would be the start of the content plan for the podcast. Also, be prepared to grow the audience slowly. Building a solid listenership takes time. It isn’t something that happens quickly.
More and more companies (like Dell and McAfee) are launching branded podcasts. What do you think of this as a content marketing strategy?
We think it’s terrific, as long as it’s relevant and interesting. Take a listen to what Gimlet Creative are doing for Microsoft and Virgin Atlantic. They’re not ads, they’re great to listen to. AutoCentral on CliffCentral is our motoring show, hosted by the guys from AutoTrader — and it’s really good, because they are so passionate about cars. T-Systems also host their own podcast during which they interview ‘disrupters’ in the industry.
What does the local landscape look like? How is the local popularity of podcasting growing? Do you need to aim your content at an international audience?
Local service providers have told us that podcasting in South Africa doubled from 2014 to 2016 and keeps growing incrementally. In the US, podcasting has increased by 70% year on year for the last three years. That makes it the fastest growing medium of all. Our audiences are local and international. They choose us, we don’t target them.
What is it about podcasting that you think sets it apart from other channels/mediums? What are its strengths, and what are its weaknesses?
Podcasting is replacing long-form journalism. People don’t have time to read reams of stuff. You can listen to a podcast while you’re driving, cooking or training. Also, mainstream media try to be everything to everyone. As Dion Chang recently told me in an interview, individuality is the way of the future — and niched content will become much more sought after than bland content crafted to appeal to the masses.
What are some of the challenges of doing a regular podcast that people don't tend to think of starting out?
Keeping content fresh, unique and relevant. That sounds easy, but it’s hard to consistently up your game and keep delivering. Listening to podcasts is an active choice — people don’t stumble upon them like you stumble upon a music radio show. That means the audience are discerning; they understand all the choices they have.