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How to combat the dreaded podfade

When a podcaster ghosts their show, it’s called podfading. Many new and inspiring podcasters underestimate podcasting workload, and even seasoned podcasters can find themselves burning out. If you let yourself slip too far down the production spiral, you’ll lose interest, passion, and drive for your podcast. Over time, you stop putting out shows without notice to your audience. That’s it; you fizzle out and fade into obscurity. 

According to a 2018 interview in Amplifi Media with the CEO of Blubrry, Todd Cochrane, it happens more often than you can imagine. Of the 540,000 podcasts out at the time, only 25% had released a new episode the previous year – meaning nearly 75% of podcasts in 2018 were not in production. 

You may be wondering how many hosts decide to throw in the towel and how you can avoid the same fate. Suppose you know ahead of time what you’re getting into. In that case, you can be prepared mentally, financially, and be realistic with your time management and production schedules. We’ve put together our top tips for new podcasters to avoid podfading.

Why do shows podfade

Most of us know what it’s like to be ghosted by someone. It’s not a great feeling. As an audience member, it’s not a particularly great feeling when one of the podcast shows we enjoy disappears out of nowhere, either. We know there’s a ton of reasons for ending a show without notice, and we’re not trying to incite a guilt trip or make anyone feel bad about it. We get it – life is what happens when you’re busy making plans! We agree with Andrew McGivern’s common reasons for why hosts podfade:

  • Can’t afford it monetarily or timewise
  • No longer interested in the subject or topic 
  • Co-Host leaves
  • Major life event
  • Procrastination or can’t get it together
  • Hobby (not an enterprise)
  • Content doesn’t have legs

Tips for new podcasters to prevent podfade from the start

Practice before you go live

People let their shows podfade because they don’t realize how difficult it is from the onset. Starting a podcast is relatively easy as far as turning on a mic and hitting the record button; we can all agree on that. Keeping it alive is a whole different animal. 

Make sure you know what you’re in for by practicing before you go live. No rule says you record one episode and turn around and upload to make it live right away! 

Take as many weeks or months and record as many episodes as you need to iron out your presentation skills. Get a feel for how long it takes to record, edit, produce, market, promote, share, and upload. That way, you can gauge just how much work goes into one episode. You will gain realistic and achievable expectations moving forward to keep you motivated.

Choose Your Content Wisely

Make sure your subject or topic has enough content to go the distance. If you are passionate about your subject, you will be sure to have enough to talk about. Compelling stories and the honest sharing of ideas will help attract an audience to share this podcast journey with you. 

You don’t need to be an expert. Still, you need to be genuinely curious, ask the right questions and uncover inspiring information your audience will find equally fascinating. Podfading happens because creators run out of ideas and content. 

Coming up with new content is extraordinarily taxing. Suppose you can’t quickly brainstorm show ideas for your subject or topic or story idea initially. In that case, we have news for you: it doesn’t get more comfortable when you’re seven episodes deep! If you can’t pop out a ton of show ideas right here and now, that may be the first clue you need to shift or pivot your concept at the planning stages. 

And, you may have noticed, you’re going to be spending much time around this topic, so it behooves you to be passionate about the subject for your peace of mind!

Keep your setup simple

Ideally, your setup should be easy to work with, without breaking the bank. There is equipment available that will fit any budget. There’s always that delicate tradeoff between what you can afford and what you’re willing to compromise. Even if you’re starting in a walk-in closet, make sure it’s comfortable, functional, and optimal at your budget level! 

Batch record episodes

Pre-record as many episodes as you can ahead of time to act as a buffer, so you’re not trying to get everything done week to week. If something comes up, you have some wiggle room in your schedule to throw in a pre-recorded episode. This will also tremendously come in handy to combat burnout or any dry spells in content creation gaps. Or sometimes you need a break or vacation!

Be strategic with seasons

Not every show releases an episode weekly or biweekly or monthly in perpetuity. If you’re releasing your show in seasons, you can break in between planning and recording new episodes. Your listeners expect that your show has a start and an end – it’s not considered podfade. Your format could be to explore a topic or subject in-depth for one season, bring it to a close, regroup, and then come back for another season with a new topic. Your audience is engaged, remains engaged, is excited about the returning new season, and continues to grow.

Avoid editing burnout

We think quality editing is at the top of the list because we highly value what goes into our ears here at Podcast Taxi! But, it shouldn’t have to take up a lot of your time with all of the new software out there today. It is possible to edit well without getting overwhelmed by the process. 

Shameless plug: If you have the budget, outsourcing your show’s editing to podcast producers is also an option – talk to one of Podcast Taxi’s team members about how easy it is to work with our production crew!

Set audience expectations

Be transparent with your audience and set the expectations from the start. If you plan to put out a show weekly, stick to your schedule. If you plan to be a 12-episode season from the jump, let them know that’s coming down the pipeline. 

It’s OK if you don’t know and you’re just testing, just let your audience know. No one likes to be jerked around, so be upfront and honest. Everyone appreciates clarity around the situation they’ve signed up for – people rarely enjoy having a rug pulled out from under them, and nobody likes to be ghosted!

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