Imagine you’re waiting for the train or a bus. Maybe you’re even waiting at a red light in your car.
The beauty of any of these is that (even if there’s a delay of a few minutes), they run on a predictable schedule. You know that if you need to be at your destination by 9am, you can catch the 8:06am train at the closest station.
You know that most traffic lights turn at a pattern, making your next green light predictable1.
Point being: schedules are important because they keep the companies running efficiently, and they keep the commuters in the know.
I’ve seen podcasters in the space say that you don’t need to publish your podcast on a set schedule, just as long as you publish.
Just like knowing the train schedule, a set release schedule helps establish expectations between you and your audience.
You want them to know you’re reliable (has a train, bus, or plane ever been delayed for you? Remember how frustrating that feels?).
Publishing the same day, around the same time, helps them see that.
When that happens, your listeners form the habit of listening to your show at a preferred time every week. If they can expect it at 7am every Monday, then they know it’s their “Monday morning commute” podcast, or the show they listen to on leg day at the gym.
It also helps keep you honest. Having a deadline (even one you create) helps you see the finish line stay consistent, preventing podfade.
The “I’ll just publish whenever” mentality makes it easier to push publishing off for other tasks you deem more important.
But What About Burnout?
There is some wisdom in wanting to prevent burnout. If you can’t possibly publish without it affecting you negatively, don’t.
But publishing whenever can still lead to burnout because it means you don’t have a good system in place.
Imagine if busses just drove around town looking for people to pick up? That would be a waste of time and fuel, and it would put unnecessary wear and tear on the vehicles. And people still wouldn’t get picked up when they need to get picked up.
There are better ways to manage burnout than a “publish whenever” mentality.
- Schedule breaks into your show with seasons
- Batch episodes so you routinely stay a few weeks ahead
- Work in some shorter, solo episodes (if you do interviews)
- Consider publishing every other week (if you do weekly)
- Pause the podcast for a bit if you need to
Notice there I said consider publishing every other week.
Consistently and Frequently are not the same thing. You can publish every other week and be consistent. You have a fortnightly2 schedule…just like the trains have a weekday schedule and a less frequent weekend schedule.
A schedule is a promise that you’re reliable — not that you’re a content factory.
So if you’re going to publish, make sure you stick to a schedule. Doing it on seemingly random days and times isn’t good for you and your schedule, and it’s not good for your audience’s expectations.