If you’ve just released a new podcast and feel a little burnt-out and overwhelmed, you’re not alone.
There are over 2 million podcasts on Apple Podcasts alone and only a little over 20% are active, which means they’ve released an episode in the last 90 days. Hence, most podcasts have technically podfaded.
Here’s what that means:
What is podfade?
Before we dive into ways to maintain motivation and avoid podfade – let’s first discuss, what exactly is podfade?
Podfade is when a new podcast produces a few episodes and then gradually starts releasing fewer and fewer until they stop entirely. Essentially, the podcast stops existing because the podcaster is unable to keep up with producing shows and it fades into podcasting oblivion.
There can be many reasons for this – everything from the creator losing interest or motivation, realizing their idea doesn’t have legs, or underestimating the amount of work it takes to not only produce a show but do so consistently.
Let’s dive into five practical tips (plus one bonus one!) that will allow you to continue creating your show and avoid podfade.
1. Proper scheduling
It’s important to manage your expectations and be clear about the amount of time it will take to consistently create quality and engaging episodes. Developing a realistic publishing schedule is step one. You have to be honest with yourself about how often you can release a show.
Although a weekly show is great, it is not necessary. Several successful podcasts publish monthly or fortnightly episodes. Most podcasts actually come out on a bi-weekly basis with 40% being published every 8 to 14 days and when it comes to branded podcasts, weekly is the most popular with 36% of brands using this cadence.
What is most important is to ensure consistency, so your listeners and fans know what to expect. And apart from your fan base, you will appreciate knowing clearly what you’re working towards.
2. Sufficient content
One of the biggest reasons shows experience podfade is because they run out of fresh ideas. Coming up with consistent content can take a creative toll so it is important to set yourself up for success from the get-go.
Before you launch your show, brainstorm as many ideas as possible. A great benchmark is coming up with 52 strong themes for episodes because that covers you for a year’s worth of content. And if 52 sounds overwhelming, even coming up with 25 means that you will have enough content once you get started and the creative juices start flowing.
Once you have your pool of content ideas ready, create a content calendar that outlines when each episode will be published. This proactive approach will help you stay on track and avoid procrastination. A content calendar ensures you always have fresh, engaging content in the pipeline, reducing the risk of burnout and podfade.
One important thing to remember when developing content ideas is to ensure that your podcast topic is not too broad. If the theme is too broad, it not only makes focused ideas harder, but it can mean that your followers might not get as much value out of it. At the same time, don’t be too narrow with your subject matter because you want to have some creative flexibility.
3. Prepare, prepare, prepare
Before you begin your podcasting journey, make sure you learn all the ins and outs of what it takes to create a successful show. It’s also key that (at least on a basic level) you understand how to use your recording and editing software.
Opt for a reliable microphone, headphones, and an audio interface to ensure clear and crisp audio. Moreover, consider the acoustics of your recording space and utilize soundproofing materials to reduce background noise and distractions.
In terms of recording software, there are numerous options available, each with varying features and capabilities. Research and test different software to find the one that best suits your needs. Look for user-friendly interfaces, multi-track recording support, and compatibility with your operating system.
Once the recording is complete, the next step is editing your podcast. Understanding audio editing techniques will enable you to remove background noise, awkward pauses, and any mistakes in the recording. Familiarize yourself with the editing software's tools, such as cutting, fading, and adding effects, to enhance the overall quality of your podcast.
When you intimately understand your podcasting tools and resources, it not only allows you to maximize your audio quality and be efficient but also avoid you (and your team!) from getting overwhelmed by the task at hand.
The more you know, the higher the chances of success!
4. Batch recordings
Recording a few podcast episodes before your scheduled publishing dates not only reduces your workload and ensures you are not stressed with a tight publishing schedule. There’s a bit of a dance required when batching recordings – you want enough canned content to be able to release consistently but you also want to ensure that your content is not outdated when it is released.
Obviously, this is only possible with podcasts that are not news-based or about current events. But for most other shows, getting ahead of schedule allows you to avoid content stress and burnout that can lead to podfade.
To cope with this, we suggest setting realistic goals that consider your capacity. Batch recording too many episodes at once might lead to a drop in quality or a lack of adaptability. Instead, aim for a balance that allows you to consistently release content without sacrificing its value and relevance.
5. Strategize show planning
An important question to ask yourself when creating a podcast is: “What will make listeners tune in and consume your show?”
Active, dedicated viewers, of course, will motivate you to keep creating. Consider implementing the following strategies to increase the effectiveness and engagement level of your podcast:
- Publish your show in seasons: Publishing the podcast in seasons gives the creators sufficient time to plan, create, and schedule the episodes. Seasons also allow for natural breaks – for both the host and the listeners.
- Timestamps: If used in show notes, timestamps allow the audience to navigate the podcast and go straight to the sections that interest them. Timestamps enable your audience to not only stay engaged but it can lead to higher subscribership. And we all know that when we see our fanbase growing, it adds motivation to keep producing the show.
- Transcripts: Add transcripts to the podcast episodes to enable the audience to read and listen to the show, increasing accessibility and reach. This allows search engines to index episodes properly, resulting in enhanced search visibility and better search engine rankings.
- Interactive segments: Foster engagement by including interactive segments and formats like Q&A sessions, listener-submitted stories or questions, polls, and contests. Interactivity makes listeners feel involved and invested in the show. Plus, it provides you and your team with some versatile content to repurpose.
- Audience surveys and feedback: Regularly gather feedback from your listeners through surveys or direct interaction. Understand their preferences, what they like, and areas for improvement. Use this information to refine your content and cater to their interests. After all, your audience knows best.
6. Bonus tip: Take (creative) breaks
Most listeners will understand if you need to take a break, as long as you keep them informed about why you won't be releasing new episodes for a while, and stay honest with them (most will appreciate the vulnerability).
Until you decide how to move forward with your show, you can continue to post smaller pieces of content on social media, so you maintain the connection with your audience you've worked hard to develop. Plus taking a break allows you to come back with fresher ideas and renewed passion and motivation to keep delivering your best work.
You know yourself best. Be patient with yourself and what you have the capacity for.
Don’t be another victim of podfade
By understanding the common challenges that lead to podfade and taking proactive steps to counter them, one can build resilience and create a show that stands the test of time.
Remember to set realistic goals, embrace consistency, diversify content, and take breaks if you need them. Occasional dips in motivation are natural, but with determination and dedication, you can overcome them and continue producing engaging and meaningful content.