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Reason #1 Your Podcast Isn’t Growing: The Joe Rogan Argument

How Pods Grow
May. 6 2024

There are several reasons your podcast may not be growing. In this series, we’re going to cover the most common reasons, and what you can do if one applies to you.

The first reason may seem counterintuitive. When many people are thinking about starting a podcast, they think that the way to grow a podcast is to make sure it appeals to the largest group possible.

They decide that their podcast will include topics X, Y, and Z, and also sometimes A, B, and C. They’ll bring on guests that also talk about a wide range of topics.

The thinking goes, if we discuss a wide variety of topics, everyone is sure to be interested in ‘some’ of the things we discuss. So why wouldn’t everyone want to listen?

The problem is, people aren’t going to stick around listening to you talk about A, B, C, X, and Y, when all they’re really interested in is Z. Instead of everyone listening to your podcast, nobody will listen to your podcast. Except maybe your close friends and family, but they’ll listen no matter what you talk about.

And that’s completely fine for podcasters who don’t care about growth. But if you’re reading this article, I have a feeling that’s not you.

The primary objection to this argument is that many of the most popular podcasts in the world talk about a wide variety of topics. “Look at Joe Rogan, he talks about everything.”


The difference between you (and me) and Joe Rogan is that he already has an enormous audience of people who want to listen to what he has to say. Joe Rogan has earned the ability to talk about whatever he wants to talk about, and knows that people are going to listen. In other words, people are listening because it’s Joe Rogan, not necessarily because of the topics he’s discussing.

Until millions of people want to listen to you and me talk about any topic we choose, we need to take a different approach.

Instead of covering everything A-Z, your podcast should only be about X. And if X can be narrowed down further, you may even want your podcast to be about a subset of X.

There’s a reason my podcast is about how podcasters can grow their audience, and not about marketing in general, or even how all content creators can grow their audience. While the latter two options would apply to a larger audience, focusing only on podcasters helps me ensure everything I talk about is relevant and top of mind to my audience. By narrowing my focus, I can actually grow faster.

This doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck talking about one niche topic forever. Many podcasts started with a narrower focus and expanded over time as their audience grew. Just look at The Diary of a CEO. Now that his show is very popular, Steven Bartlett regularly interviews guests and discusses topics ranging from dating to marriage to addiction to weight loss, and pretty much everything in between.

Of course, there are outliers. Some podcasters have managed to build a large audience while talking about everything under the sun. But they are the exception, not the rule. 

When it comes to podcasts, it isn’t just a cliche; the riches really are in the niches.

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