Podcasting with a Blue Ocean Strategy
Part of the process of starting a new podcast is the planning stage. Before you launch your show you have to choose your topic, your show format, define your goals for the show and determine how your going to record it.
During the planning stage of your podcast you will make some important decisions that will impact your potential for success. Using the concept of a Blue Ocean Strategy will increase your odds of success.
A Blue Ocean Strategy is a business strategy that separates you from the competition while simultaneously lowering your cost of entering the market.
Blue Ocean Strategy is a book published in 2005 and written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
A Blue Ocean Strategy clearly differentiates you from others in your space. By selecting a market within a market that does not yet exist you can own that category.
Cirque du Soleil
In their book the authors use the ultra successful Cirque du Soleil as an example of a Blue Ocean Strategy.
There have been circus acts since the dawn of time. But Cirque du Soleil came along and carved a niche for themselves within the circus niche. They combined dance with circus performing and created a new type of circus. They could charge the same price (or more) without the need to transport and care for exotic animals. The Cirque Du Soleil is extremely popular and is less costly to produce.
By creating something new within an existing niche they have become the de facto show in the new genre.
At the same time they created a lower cost of entry model which allows them to do more performances at a lower cost.
They own the niche because they invented it.
A Podcasting Blue Ocean
As a podcaster do you want to start a podcast in an crowded niche and sound the same as all the other shows in the category? If you could find a way to stand out from the competition would you do it? Of course you would!
But how do you do that?
John Lee Dumas created an entrepreneur interview show that has had tremendous success. There were many successful entrepreneur interview shows in the iTunes directory already. Many of them interviewed the same A-List people and asked the same old questions. Some of them were successful because of the host’s personality and passion.
How did John Lee Dumas launch such a successful show in an already crowded niche?
John Lee Dumas set himself apart from the crowd by doing something completely different. John created an entrepreneur interview show that was released seven days a week. This was the first show in the niche to have a 7 day a week format. In addition, he used a template style show where he asked his guests the same questions in each episode. By clearly differentiating his show John Lee Dumas was one step closer to preparing to ignite ;).
He has good branding with a memorable show name. He uses the theme ‘on fire’ within his show almost ad naseum but it works. Are you ready to ignite? … prepare to ignite?!… Fire nation… The Fire Path… Webinars On Fire. You get the idea.
But this wouldn’t be a blue ocean strategy (by definition) without the simultaneous pursuit of decreased costs of entry. John Lee Dumas had top tier advisers tell him not to go with the 7 day a week format. They told him he would burn out and that it was too much work. Scheduling an interview every day would be a nightmare, he was told. But John, whether he knew it or not at the time, had a Blue Ocean Strategy for Entrepreneur On Fire.
He decided to do all his interviews for the week in one day. By batch producing the podcasts it gives him the rest of the week to focus on marketing, creating new products and some breathing room for other activities. He used technology to make what seems like a monumental task much more manageable. For example, he used Schedule Once to eliminate the hassle of having to schedule so many interviews. He recorded a months worth of interviews prior to launch to ensure that he had a buffer of episodes on hand. And by asking the same questions to every guest it eliminated the need to do extensive research on a guest prior to the interview.
He created a new niche and launched his podcast with systems and procedures in place that minimized costs and streamlined production. John Lee Dumas executed a perfect Podcast Blue Ocean Strategy.
Don’t be a copy cat
His success spawned a ton of copy cat shows that started releasing 7 days a week. They copied the way he spoke, his format and even his “on fire” name. Soon there was everything “on fire” in iTunes or derivatives of the ‘on fire’ theme. But just like would be competitors to the Circ Du Soleil, they can’t compete because the first to market owns the niche.
John Lee Dumas owns the 7 day a week entrepreneur interview show niche.
George Costanza, in the show Seinfield struggled in his career and personal life until one day he decided to do “the opposite”. When confronted with a decision he would do the opposite of what his intuition told him. And it worked… all of sudden he became successful by doing the opposite of what he would have done.
Does your intuition tell you that you can be successful in your target niche by copying the existing successful podcasts? If so, maybe you should do the opposite too!
Maybe you can find a way to reinvent the niche. This is easier said than done of course. But it is worth the extra work.
So how do you create a Blue Ocean strategy for your Podcast?
You have to do an analysis of the current active shows in your niche. Find out what they have in common? Is there one show that stands out from the crowd? What is different about that show?
Is there a way that you can enter the same niche with a new idea or a twist to the genre that will allow you to dominate? I don’t mean to dominate the existing niche but rather to create a new niche within the niche.
Is there a way that you can enter the niche in a way that reduces your costs in time and money? Can you produce more content for less effort? Is there technology, systems or processes, outsourcing or other strategies you can implement that will give you an advantage?
By thinking this through prior to launching your show you will have a better chance at making the competition irrelevant because you will be operating in your own niche variation.
Do you have a Blue Ocean Strategy for your podcast?