As of 2020, there are almost one million podcast shows in existence with over 30 million episodes.
That sounds like there’s lots of content to go around, right?
As statistics show, most of these podcasts aren’t getting listens and downloads. It’s the 80/20 rule all over again. Only 20% of podcasts are receiving 80% of the listens. For instance, if your podcast gets 9,000 downloads a month, you are in the top 5% of podcasts in the world!
Why is that?
A big factor could be that most podcasts have only a few episodes. Most podcasters aren’t consistent with their content, which makes them quickly lose listeners. If those podcasts aren’t generating buzz, platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google will be less likely to recommend them.
Podcasting is a slow burn. It can take several months before you even get a consistent number of listeners. This can demotivate almost anyone, and after a few episodes, they will put their podcast on the shelf.
That’s why the consistent ones break through and become successful. Those popular podcasts did not worry about the statistics. More importantly, they did not depend on willpower or motivation to create an episode.
They created a plan and calendar and stuck with it, even when things did not look good. That’s good news for you. The average podcast only has 14 episodes.
You can blow half (read 500,000) of the world’s podcasts out of the water in one year through planning and consistency. Follow these tips, and you’ll start to reap the benefits of podcasting before you know it.
Most podcasters fail because they did not plan out their podcast beforehand. They had a few ideas and was inspired to crank them out. After getting those 5 or 6 episodes out, they ran out of steam.
Don’t make that mistake. Make sure and lay a proper foundation for your podcast, and you’ll be proud of the product. Ask yourself:
Answering these simple questions will take you further than most. You’ll have a clear idea of the work involved, and you can start planning and creating the right strategy to make it happen.
For example, if you decide that you’re creating one episode a week, that’s 52 episodes for the year. Two episodes are 104. If those episodes require guests, that’s at least 52 people you need to connect with who will agree to come on your show.
If you wait every week to decide what you’ll speak about or whom you’ll call on to interview, you’ll easily run out of steam. And those episodes need to air regardless of holidays and family events.
Most podcasters don’t think about the big picture. It’s great to start, but these factors are vital if you want a sustainable show. If you are clear on what you’ll be doing, when, how, and why, you’ll be set for success.
With these tenets in mind, you can now use a calendar or project management tool to plan out your podcast. Notion, Trello, Asana, or Airtable are great project management tools. Decide on what day is best for you to complete your podcast.
This should be separate from the day you publish your podcast.
You want to give yourself time to edit, mix, create show notes, and transcribe, if applicable. So if you decide to drop an episode every Wednesday, you should probably record the episode on Monday. This still gives a small enough gap for urgency but a large enough gap to produce high-quality work.
Create a tab or entry for each week of the year in your Calendar or Project Tool. You can also find an editorial calendar online that will inform you about upcoming holidays or events that you can weave into your content. For instance, you would want to know about Breast Cancer Awareness Month if you have a Health and Wellness podcast. Now, it’s time to fill in your calendar with content episode ideas.
Take some time to think about the topics you’ll be covering on your podcast. For every topic, write down the title and a key point in your project management plan. Each topic goes into the desired week on your planner.
If you’re short on ideas, start using that Editorial Calendar to spark some more ideas. From there, go to social media and create a poll or ask for ideas.
You can contact past clients, friends, read blogs, and even listen to similar podcasts for ideas. Your goal is to fill in your calendar as much as possible. Even if you change your mind on a particular topic in the future, you’ll have other ideas you can record or call on when needed.
Planning also helps you to start the research process in advance. To make things easier, you can have a particular topic in one day. For example, the Earn Your Leisure podcast has Market Mondays, where they talk about the stock market.
If you are interviewing guests, you need to schedule them in advance. Your guests have higher priorities, which grow larger the more successful they become. You should also write a list of guests you would like to have on your show.
Even if those people seem out of reach, behave as if you will interview them in the future, because you probably will!
If you’re interviewing 1 person a week, you should have a list of over 100 persons. You will get some ‘No’s’ after all. Use an appointment scheduling software like Calendly so that your future guests can pick a date that best suits them. From there, you can know well in advance who your guests will be and start researching any information you’ll need to have an amazing interview.
With your episodes planned and your calendar starting to grow with guests, you need to start creating your podcast episodes. If you’ve done the research, I would suggest creating bulk content in the form of multiple episodes. There are a few reasons why this is important:
After launching the first few episodes, you can schedule your content weekly and then use the creating schedule that suits you best.
You may suddenly develop an idea, or there could be a breaking development in your niche. Or you may get the opportunity to interview an A-lister on short notice. Yes, this may mess with your schedule but being a professional podcaster means being flexible and doing some things on the fly.
Running a successful podcast has a lot of moving parts. You only need to focus on a few things when you start: quality content, quality sound, and consistency. But as time goes on, you’ll need to add more steps to grow your brand:
It can all become a bit overwhelming. The question is not how to get it done but rather who can help you do it. Start thinking about a budget so you can hire freelancers to help you manage your podcast. This helps you buy back valuable time, so you’re fresh and ready to push the content forward.
Help can be anything from a Freelance Writer, Virtual Assistant, Sound Engineer, Copywriter, and Social Media Manager. Some tools can help, like audio transcription software, that can automate time-consuming tasks. If you can’t afford to pay for help right now, see if there is any way you can skill swap with someone capable of helping your podcast.
Every quarter, take some time to review your podcast content process. You can decide if your ideas are still relevant or change them based on new information gathered over the months. You can find gaps or bottlenecks while changing out content based on your listener feedback. Reviewing your calendar and process keeps things fresh and keeps you motivated to keep going.
As the saying goes, if you ‘fail to plan, you will plan to fail.’ Starting a podcast is exciting. Maintaining and sustaining your momentum can be challenging. By creating a plan for the year, you’ll have the right mix of structure and creativity. This can help you earn more subscribers and downloads and set you apart from most podcasts.
Being prepared also ensures that you are ready for massive opportunities that inevitably come to prepared persons. Without a doubt, planning is what made my podcast - and many others around the world - more successful. If you need help with creating, managing, and scaling your podcast, connect with me via my email list.