It’s easy to be motivated when you start something — losing weight, running a half marathon, learning a new language — even when it’s hard. The fact that you’re making your life better in some way drives you. But as time goes on, that initial motivation fades – especially if you’re not seeing the gains (or losses) you’d like.
The same thing can be said of podcasting. Getting started and launching is the fun part. But as time goes on, figuring out what to record next, plus all the effort for producing, publishing, and promoting, can be challenging. And not seeing the downloads you want can be brutal.
That’s why 75% of podcasts that become inactive have a name: podfade. Luckily, your podcast doesn’t have to be like that.
How to Fight Podfade
Podfade can happen for a lot of reasons. Perhaps you’re not seeing the downloads you thought you’d see when you started. Maybe you get busy, or you get sick and miss a couple of weeks – then fall behind on all of your work.
Or maybe you just straight-up run out of episode ideas. Luckily, there are a few ways you can fight podfade and continue to produce a podcast that you can enjoy!
As someone who publishes 3 weekly podcasts, I know it can be tough sometimes. The benefits of podcasting are many, but so are the hurdles. Let’s look at some and how to overcome them.
Define your purpose from the start
Having a clear direction by defining why you’re starting the show, what you want your listeners to gain, and what you want to achieve will make planning the content easier. You will generate episode ideas faster, schedule the right guests, and repurpose your content appropriately.
Finding your focus is vital for many aspects of your show, from idea to execution. Doing this planning early on will make the grind of production more manageable.
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Batch your content
Before you launch, you should have 10-12 episodes ready to publish. That gives you three months (or more if you post less than weekly) lead time to see how current episodes do and come up with the next batch of content. You can even use feedback you get from listeners (you have a clear CTA, right?).
If publishing ten episodes sounds daunting to you, remember to start slow and have shorter episodes focusing on what you know or having focused interviews. Having a batch of “easy” episodes that are timeless also means you have some podcast “savings” for when you don’t have something to publish!
Create a Schedule that Works for You
You also don’t need to publish weekly.
When I first started How I Built It, I intended to publish 3/4 weeks per month at most. I went to weekly episodes when I started booking more interviews than I thought I would; plus, I got sponsors. Those things made it feasible for me to do a weekly show.
On the other hand, I recently took my YouTube channel weekly to fortnightly. Once per week turned out to be too much for me, and I wasn’t putting out the kind of quality videos I wanted to put out.
When working on your schedule, figure out what you can comfortably publish. Some of my favorite shows publish monthly, which is perfectly fine for them.
Put a (workable) process in place
Something else that makes producing a podcast is having an actual process, with checklists for everything from coming up with ideas to promoting. Laying out the whole process also allows simplifying where you can.
The simpler, the better, especially starting. You can always add later. But if the very idea of recording an episode is daunting to you, it’s a lot easier to scrap the project and submit to podfade.
Having a process also allows you to see what you need to work on and where you can get some help.
Outsource what you can
And that’s the next piece of advice: outsource what you can. I know that if you’re not making money, it’s harder to spend money, but hiring an editor or even a VA to do some of the tasks can be a HUGE time saver.
I knew early on that editing would be the biggest hurdle to publishing. After spending too much time editing episode 3 of How I Built It, I hired an editor and never looked back. Now I pay around $40-50 for something that took me 2 hours or more. That’s time I can spend promoting, booking guests, recording more episodes, or finding sponsors.
Automating is a low-cost way to take things off your plate if you don’t want to hire anyone. And the less you have on your plate, the more time you have to create content.
Don’t Pay Attention to Downloads
It’s easy to think you’ll launch a podcast and start to see money coming in with sponsors and memberships. Or that your downloads will skyrocket. But the truth is podcasting takes time, work, and consistency. Podcasts that don’t make it to 8 episodes never had a shot at growing.
Downloads can be the most demoralizing stat for new podcasters; I say ignore them. Publish helpful content consistently, and the audience will come. But if you’re regularly checking, it’s easy to think, “all of this work for ten measly downloads.”
Just remember: you’re also building your content library, trust, and expertise.
If you come in thinking you’ll put the work in for six months and see how it’s going, how you can improve, and what you can change, you’re sure to see tangible results (and maybe even some income). And that’s my last piece of advice for you.
Mix up the types of content you put out. If a guest cancels, do a solo show. If you don’t feel like writing a script, bring a guest to chat. Try a short-form episode or read a blog post as a podcast episode.
Especially early on, your show is your sandbox. It keeps the show fresh and the ideas flowing. Experiment and see what resonates.
You Can Do It!
Just like anything worth doing, podcasting takes work. But as someone who’s launched multiple podcasts over nearly a decade, I’m here to tell you: you can do it. Put in the work, create the proper process, and you can keep podcasting for fun and money.