In this social media age, there is no shortage of competition vying for our attention. And in the world of podcasting, gaining and keeping your attention is tantamount to acquiring listeners. But in the world of American-Christian podcasting, popularity is king! Never mind if you can’t address issues from a systematic, balanced, and biblically consistent perspective. As long as you cater your podcast to whatever your listeners want, then you can expect some measure of success.
But, if you didn’t know already, you can’t just expect great success without a price. The masses don’t just lavish you with popularity and credibility points. You have to earn them! To help with this, here are the 9 ways you can almost guarantee a successful Christian podcast in our celebrity-driven American Christianity.
- Make sure you record with a library in the background if your podcast is on video. Who cares if you’ve never read them, or plan to. Just as long as it looks like you are studious, people will most likely think that what you say is well thought out. Along with this, quote as many authors and popular preachers as you can. Preferably the ones that will resonate with your target audience. No one has to know what you really understand about these famous figures and their doctrines. Just as long as they help you gain hearers, who cares?
- Make sure to that you get endorsement from a bigger platform or podcaster. Let’s face it. Others are just more successful than you are. And that’s okay. Just as long as listeners think you’re just as important when you get that shout out, Facebook like, or comment from another big name podcaster, then you’re gravy. Just don’t criticize or publicly disagree with your endorser too soon. You have to wait for a large enough following before you cut the umbilical cord. Just fake it till you make it and you’ll do fine.
- Take plenty of selfies with important preachers. Nothing says “I’m connected” like snapping a photo with your listener’s favorite preacher. Sure, you were “blessed” by meeting them. But maintaining the perception of credibility and importance is more of a blessing. Because the more your listeners see you with popular figures, the more credibility they’ll give to you.
- Discuss and debate all the controversial topics. No one cares when you’re just teaching through the bible, or discussing eternally weighty topics in a way that is systematic, consistent, and comprehensive. That requires too much thought! Get to the good stuff! Most people want controversy, not Christianity. So give them what they want, and you’ll be viral in no time flat.
- Only post social media updates that will get you the premium amount of likes and shares. After all, this isn’t about God’s glory and biblical truth. It is a popularity and perception. If you’re not the controversial type, go the opposite direction and learn what people will most likely agree with, and amicably post that. And, once again, refrain from standing against the zeitgeist too soon until you have a large enough platform. Then you can say almost anything you want without much accountability. That’s how you know you’re successful.
- Misrepresent and marginalize other podcasters or groups. So what if you aren’t being fair and accurate. There are plenty of followers who feed off ambiguity and lack of clarity. They can’t get enough of it really. As long as you share the opinions of your target audience, being theologically balanced, systematically biblical, and thoroughly consistent with your responses is not necessary. And be sure to fan the flames by writing vaping posts and indirect comments addressing your frustrations without mentioning names. That way, you don’t have to resolve any issues like you would in a personal conversation or phone call. Finally, I would recommend publishing some material about how those who disagree with you are fundamentalists, detractors, sycophants, haters, etc. Labels like these can really help.
- Brag about how well your podcast is doing. Listen, people need to think you’re actually worth listening to. Tell them how many views you’re getting. Make sure they know how many likes/subscribers you have received on your page in the short amount of time you’ve been podcasting. It really doesn’t matter if the algorithm doesn’t account for those who are actually listening, watching, and sharing your podcast. And, once again, it’s no big deal if the content you put out isn’t actually consistently biblical and well thought out. It’s about the numbers! Who needs to trust God’s sovereignty? Am I right?
- Attach yourself to a popular group/organization. We all identify spiritually, doctrinally, and socially with many different groups. Choose wisely which group you want to be a part of though. This can make or break your popularity. Remember, loyalty and trust is not what’s necessary here. You just need to hang out long enough to gain listeners. And like point #2, if there are any strong disagreements, don’t publicly confess your contrary convictions against the group until you are more popular. By then, if you’re famous enough, you may lose some listeners, but it’s not that big of a deal. It’s just a minimal price to pay.
- Never converse privately with anyone who has beef with you publicly. Conversation is too cliché. No one wants to know that you were able to diffuse a conflict in a Christ like manner. They just want to know that you can win a debate! If you can’t own your opponent in a chat room or video response, regardless of how complex the discussion is, then you can’t expect to have a podcast where people will listen to you. It’s that simple! So get to hacking. And don’t let anyone make you look bad.
I pray that as you read through these points, you sensed the sarcasm. It has been a long standing concern of mine that the Christian podcasting community in America has sacrificed systematic, consistent, and biblically balanced truth on the altar of popularity, public opinion, celebrity Christianity, and self-interest. And because many feel as though their voice must be heard, now that they have an accessible platform, they are more prone to impatient and inflammatory venting than demonstrating patient, well thought out responses to issues related to life and godliness in our culture and local churches.
Reader, if you have a podcast or platform of some kind, or you are thinking about starting your own, may you tremble before God at this tremendous responsibility. And heed the warning of James 3:1 as you seek to glorify God in our digitally saturated age.
-Until we go home