Here’s a quick list of common podcast-related fuck ups. Don’t do these things and increase your chances of success.
Assuming you’ll be bigger than Rogan:
If we’re talking height, you probably have a shot. If we’re talking downloads, you’ve got your work cut
The reality is, of the half million active podcasts, only the top 5% receive a thousand or more downloads per week. And while some creators luck out, for the vast majority, success is incremental.
So, what does this mean for your new podcast? It means don’t get caught up on the size of your audience—at least in the initial phases. Instead, focus on the elements you can control—like publishing regularly, getting feedback from your audience, and improving week-on-week.
This industry rewards consistency and patience, more than anything else. So set realistic goals and stick
Overcooking your podcast:
The most common path to failure in podcasting is failure to execute.
Think through your concept, great idea. Develop a strong brand, excellent. Map out your content, good thinking. But please, for fuck’s sake, don’t forget to do.
Maybe your idea has legs. Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe your format is great. Maybe it sucks. And sometimes the only way you’ll find out is to send it out into the world.
You can always iterate. But without feedback you’ll never fully understand what works and what doesn’t. And regardless of how ugly you start; you’ll improve every week.
The best way to avoid getting stuck in the planning cycle is to set yourself a firm launch deadline. Write a date down on your calendar, map your steps, and work towards publishing your first episode.
There’s a power in putting something out into the world. And, no, I’m not talking about manifesting, or some other woo-woo bullshit—I’m talking about momentum.
Sounding like crap:
Along with branding, sound quality is one of the few, non-content related indicators of quality. And while it alone won’t grow your audience, it’s one less reason for people to stop listening.
Fortunately, it’s also one of the easiest elements to correct. Here are some ways to improve sound quality:
You don’t have to break the bank here—but you also shouldn’t record on a potato. For a few hundred dollars, you can pick up a decent set of headphones and a solid microphone.
Here’s a quick article where we recommend setups at each budget level.
Don’t record in a subway tunnel.
At a bare minimum, find somewhere quiet. Bonus points if the room has some padding to reduce reverb.
And if you’re shooting video, choose a space that looks good and get your lighting sorted, and don’t forget to press record. Find our more on our video podcasting editing services here.
Adding intros and outros, removing redundancies and boring shit, mixing, sound design etc. Doing a half-decent edit on your podcast can really elevate your output.
If you’re budget conscious, or enjoy getting your hands dirty, you can learn to do this yourself. Read our quick guide to editing podcasts.
Or, if you’d rather invest more time in developing your content, you can consider outsourcing your editing to a company like us. Learn more about our podcast editing service.
Iteration is an absolute necessity if you want to improve.
However, there are, quite literally, thousands of ways to approach podcasting. And when starting out, you will be exposed to new information, techniques, and ideas constantly. If you try to adopt all of them at once, you will drive yourself insane—and confuse the shit out of your listeners in the process.
So, to prevent a trip to the asylum, we recommend developing a system that works for you, sticking to it for at least a few episodes, and only making updates that will improve your output significantly.
Give yourself a chance to find rhythm.
Giving Up Too Early
Most noobie podcasters throw in the towel way too early—typically for two reasons.
They’re either not seeing the results they expected, and/or they are exerting way too much time and energy producing the podcast.
To avoid bowing out prematurely, we recommend our clients do the following:
- Set achievable goals—commit to publishing 10 episodes, for example. It’s manageable, you have full control of the outcome, and you’ll get enough reps to sort out the kinks and develop some momentum
- Get help where you need it—if there’s something you really struggle with, delegate it. Bring on a partner who’s strong where you’re weak—or outsource part of the process. Spend most of your time focused on what you’re good at—because ultimately, that’s what’s going to drive your success.
Mostly, remember, this shit takes time—give yourself and your concept a chance to succeed before pulling the pin.
- Don’t set unreasonable expectations
- Don’t forget to actually make something
- Don’t sound horrible
- Don’t get distracted
- Don’t give up too early