I see this question in different places. My show is getting X amount of downloads is that good?
When I did some research and looked at all the content I consume they all did one of the following:
If you can combine two or more of those in a way that stirs people's emotions, you are on to something.
When you are in a corporate setting, if you check the HR handbook I'm sure there is a paragraph about sharing payroll knowledge. Why? Because it breeds resentment. The same is true for podcasting. I had a client once that was overjoyed that they were getting 150 downloads per episode. Then another podcaster in a Facebook group announced that they had just gone of over 100,000 downloads. They were instantly defeated and wanted to quit.
As a guitar player growing up, I could hold my own. Then one day I saw a new guitarist in concert named Yngwie Malmsteen. He is amazing, and no matter how much I practice I feel I'll never be that good. Did I still love playing guitar? Yes. Did I still love playing in front of people? Yes. That is why I kept playing the guitar. I also had to keep in mind that Yngwie has been practicing much longer than I had, and had years of experience.
You may be listening to someone with prior experience, a prior following, and even if they started after you did, they will have a larger audience. Don't focus on them, focus on servicing your audience.
If someone says they have 150 downloads of a podcast about pigmy ponies, that's a great number (depending on how many people are into Pigmy Ponies). If someone had 150 downloads per episode and they were doing a weight loss show (in a country where 70% of us need to lose weight) that might be seen as under-performing.
Try to never use the word “only,” as in “I only have 200 downloads per episode.” My background is in education and a big class was 20 people so 200 downloads per episode is 10 classrooms. That was a full hallway (and then some) in the building where I use to teach.
In a world of TV, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, YouTube, Am/FM, Xbox and more they CHOSE to listen to you. If they don't want to listen there is nothing stopping them from deleting your show.