By Sogi Chukwuanu
So, you’ve just launched a podcast. Like every “realistic” podcaster, you’ve set your expectations pretty low – maybe a hundred downloads in the first two weeks. But after a few episodes, the downloads seem meagre, even compared to your low expectations.
Eventually, after a series of disappointing numbers, you lose your spirit and stop publishing content entirely.
This, dear reader, is podfade, and you’ve just joined the 75 per cent of podcasts that have fallen victim to this phenomenon.
In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at what podfade is and how to revive your podcast after an extended break.
What does podfade mean?
Put simply, podfading is when a show gradually or suddenly stops releasing new episodes and eventually fades into oblivion. Surprisingly, it’s more common than most people realise. According to Buzzsprout, in 2019, roughly 27,000 podcasts stopped releasing new episodes.
So, what happens if you do hit a dry spell and experience this phenomenon? How do you break free?
The first step to overcoming podfade is to prevent it from the start. Here are a few tips to help you do this:
Create a workable schedule
One of the most common causes of podfade is underestimating the sheer amount of time and level of commitment required to plan and produce a single podcast episode. Depending on your level of experience, it may take you hours or even more than a day to flesh out an outline for your podcast episode.
That’s why it’s so important to choose and stick with a publishing schedule that works for you. Most people choose to release new episodes weekly, but bear in mind that there’s no cardinal rule that states you need to follow this schedule.
You could choose to publish every two weeks or even longer. The key is to remain consistent and show up for your audience when you say you will.
Choose a sustainable format
When choosing a format for your podcast, it’s important to start with one you’re confident that you can sustain long-term. Some people start off as excellent solo podcasters, only to burn out halfway through the season. On the other hand, finding a new guest to interview every week might eventually feel overwhelming if you don’t have an extensive network.
This is why it could be particularly helpful to switch up your format every now and then. For instance, you could host solo episodes every other week and bring on a guest in between.
At the end of the day, what matters is that your chosen format is sustainable and not overly demanding for you.
P.S: If you’d like some help with choosing the right format, check out our blog, 5 Formats For Planning A Successful And Effective Business Podcast.
Pre-record some episodes
One of the best ways to avoid podfade is by preparing for a dry spell ahead of time. There will certainly be periods when your creative juices stop flowing and all your ideas feel as exciting as watching paint dry.
To adequately prepare for these scenarios, pre-record about three to five episodes before your big launch. This creates a backlog of content to keep the ball rolling through the dry spell and give you sufficient time to think up new, exciting ideas.
How to revive a podcast after an extended break
What happens if, despite these preventative measures, you still experience podfade? As mentioned earlier, even the most seasoned podcasters can still fall off the grid. What matters is how well you’re able to dust yourself off and get back in the game.
Here are a few ideas to help you regain momentum after an extended break:
1. Check in with your listeners
In many cases, it can take a while for your audience to get back in the groove with you, especially if you’ve not been publishing any kind of content during your break. So, it’s advisable to break the ice by reaching out and checking in with them.
Let them know that you’re rekindling your podcast, and use the opportunity to ask them about anything they’re struggling with or need help with. Not only will this make them feel like valuable members of your community, but it can also birth some new ideas and help you point your podcast in the right direction.
Remember that the longer your break was, the more likely it is that your audience will have forgotten what your podcast was about. As part of the “checking in” session, give them a reminder/refresher of the show’s themes and why it’s valuable for them.
2. Do a retrospective analysis
As the popular quote goes, “It’s insanity to do the same thing over and over and expect different results.”
Moving forward without reviewing the past means that the same problems you experienced before will likely pop up again. So, if you’d like to overcome podfade AND ensure your podcast doesn’t fall off the grid again, it’s important to take a step back and critically analyse what went wrong the last time.
What areas did you struggle with? What areas did you find seamless? What do you think caused the dry spell?
If the podfade was caused by a personal crisis or emergency, it could be hard to predict that in the future. However, you CAN build a bank of content and put strategies in place to ensure that the show still goes on without you.
In the same vein, if you stopped releasing content because you felt discouraged (probably because of low numbers), it might be worth reviewing your expectations and setting smaller, short-term goals. Building a large and loyal audience takes time, so it will be a while before you start seeing those numbers pop off the charts.
You might also want to review your content strategy, as sometimes, honing in on a new niche or exploring different topics might be particularly helpful.
3. Woo your audience with valuable content
Again, if you want your audience to get back in the groove with you, you need to prove that you’re offering them something valuable – probably even better than the last time.
This means putting out valuable content that will solve their problems and heighten curiosity around your new project. Think about how you can put yourself out there in the lead-up to your podcast re-launch. Even appearing on another expert’s podcast is a great start – and an opportunity for you to talk about your podcast with an even wider audience, too.
Bear in mind that you may not regain all of your old, loyal listeners but this can be an opportunity to gain some new ones instead.
What if you do need a break?
There will be times when you need to take a hiatus to avoid complete burnout. And that’s completely okay. In this case, keep your listeners in the loop as to why you won’t be releasing new episodes for a while.
You can also maintain the connection by releasing other bits of content on social media or re-releasing some episodes from your archives as a refresher.
Hopefully, this blog has provided you with some useful tips to overcome your dry spell and revive your podcast.
Are you considering getting your content creation back on the road? Book a free Clarity Call today to find out how our team of experts can help.