Recently on Twitter, I asked a series of questions about podcasting, the challenges, and what would make it easier. The conclusion I came to based on the answers was consistency is the biggest pitfall for podcasters (or would-be podcasters).
As someone who puts out 3 weekly shows, I totally get that. Podcasting can be a grind, which is why 75% of shows don’t make it past 7 episodes. So this week, I decided to put together some of my best tips to avoid the dreaded podfade and be consistent.
- How to Create Content Consistently – Joe Casabona
- Podcasting Consistently: How to Prevent Podfade
- Finding Your Podcast’s Focus
- On Coming Up with Content Ideas – Joe Casabona
- Create Consistent Content, Make Money, and Get Sales | Creator Crew
- Who is the Pro iPhone for, and Other Creator Tools – How I Built It
Define Your Podcast
First is something we talked about back in episode 1: define your podcast. Your purpose, your format, and even your schedule. Remember you don’t need to publish weekly starting off. And you can always experiment with your format…so pick 1-2 that you think you’ll be able to do well.
Batch your content
If you’re pre-launch, have 10-12 episodes ready to publish. That gives you three months (or more if you post less than weekly) of content in the tank, allowing you to get ahead of your show before it even starts.
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!
Post-launch, It’s important to set aside time on your calendar dedicated to content if, like me, you’re producing 4-5 weekly pieces. Even for news-based shows, you can get ahead by having a few timeless episodes – something in the cards for my WordPress podcast, WP Review. I’m in the process of pre-recording more solo episodes that don’t rely so much on current events.
Of course, it can be hard to get motivated to produce one, let alone multiple pieces of content in a single shot. That’s why idea capture is so important.
Capture Every Idea You Have
You can’t create content if you don’t know what to create. That’s why I’ve put processes in place to capture every idea I have, no matter what I’m doing.
I recommend keeping a notebook handy, or a note on your phone at the ready. I have a shortcut so that I can quickly capture ideas via text or speech.
That doesn’t mean you need to use all of them; it just means that you have a pool of ideas for when you’re ready to batch, or struggling to figure out what to write. Some of those ideas are bound to be low-hanging fruit!
Note: I’ve actually improved my process and created a “Dashboard” note, which Creator Crew members get a tour of. Become a member for less than $5/mo.
Look for Inspriation Everywhere
Similarly, look for inspiration everywhere. I’ve told stories about baby clothes, plumbers, and Rita’s Italian Ice, relating them back to understanding customers and being a business owner.
Drawing those lines is a skill you can learn. It starts with recording the experiences.
If you’re really struggling to come up with something, you could repurpose previous content. This could be something you originally wrote for a newsletter, Twitter thread, or even an older post that could use refreshing.
I used to fall victim to the mindset that I already wrote it, so people will find it. But they (probably) won’t…or at the very least, you will know what content is already doing well, and the good but forgotten content.
Taking something and making updates for new perspectives, or for a new micro-segment, could give you a great jumping-off point to kickstart those creative juices.
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.
Block Time on Your Calendar
The final step, when you have the other pieces in place, is to make sure you have time to create the content. I have times (Monday and Thursday mornings) that are dedicated to my own content creation.
Getting it on your calendar and treating it like any other project allows you to get in the right mindset. Knowing Mondays are content days means I go into my office knowing what I’m working on.
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.
And remember…Not every piece of content you create needs to be your magnum opus. As long as you share what you’re doing and offer 1 actionable tip, or share a good story with your audience, your content is a win.