Do you recognize the five early signs of podfading?
When you started your show you did so because you were passionate about your subject. If you are like most indie podcasters this is true.
But sometimes people start a show for the wrong reasons.
Sometimes a would be podcaster jumps into the space due to promises of instant fame and fortune.
There are people teaching courses on how to get rich with a podcast.
Podcasters that create their show with the intent to monetize right away are in for a surprise.
Most of the time it takes years to get any traction.
The exception are those who already have a large platform. They already have an existing audience. Or they are part of a professional broadcasting organization.
For the rest of us it takes hard work and a lot of time to build up a large audience. To keep motivated to produce a consistent quality podcast you need to love the topic. People will feel it in your voice and your energy level as you deliver your message.
Podfading is when you stop podcasting without a formal ending of your show.
From wiktionary – podfading
How do you prevent podfading?
You either need to have passion for your topic or passion for the process. And if you have both, so much the better.
Passion for your topic:
If you love your topic you are more likely to:
- Do the research
- Enjoy recording and podcast editing
- Spend time promoting the show
- Engage with the audience
If you love the art of podcasting itself then even if you don’t love the topic you will enjoy making the show.
The top five signs of podfading
- Lack of interest in the topic
- Show episode publish dates are inconsistent
- Quality of the Show is deteriorating
- Show prep is evaporating
- Start to procrastinate when you need to work on show.
Lack of interest in the topic:
You started your show because you were passionate about the topic.
When you spoke with people you would always end up on the topic of your show. Your friends were becoming annoyed with you because that is all you wanted to talk about.
What happened to that passion and enthusiasm?
Sometimes we lose interest in topics over time. If that happens your podcast listeners will notice and the quality will suffer.
It is a bad sign if you notice that you are talking about your topic less than before. You no longer direct conversations onto your show topic. You don’t feel excited to find new sources for your show.
Show episodes are being published less consistently.
Podcasting takes a tremendous amount of work.
It takes time to prepare episodes.
- Gather source material
- Organize content
- Book guests
- Record and Edit Audio
- Process and Publish episodes
- Write the show notes
- Promote episodes
- Engage with the Audience
All this work is a little lighter with PASSION but it starts to get a little heavy as the passion fades.
So the show starts publishing less consistently. Instead of every Tuesday, it might not get published some weeks until Saturday. And then you miss a week…
The show quality declines
You start to feel guilty for not putting the show out on time. So you get it published but don’t spend as much time editing and writing show notes. The quality of the show starts to decline further.
You find yourself recording shows without doing adequate prep. You decide that you will “wing it” and your listeners can tell. You start to lose subscribers.
You dread doing the show each week and it feels like a burden.
Show prep is evaporating
To produce a good quality and engaging show you need to prepare well before pressing the record button.
If your show is weekly then at some point during the week you need to compile information and come up with ideas.
I like to use the OneNote web clipper to capture articles and links that I can refer to while planning out an episode. I also like the Trello web clipper to bring links into a Trello card.
Then I can start to write an outline or script to work with while presenting the show. The more prepared you are the better the show will be and you have less editing in post production.
If you find that recording time is upon you and you haven’t prepared for the show then you know the show is podfading.
You start to procrastinate when you need to work on the show
If you know you need to work on your show but find that you are procrastinating then this is a serious warning sign. Podfade Alert!
You have a lot of work that has to get done each week (for a weekly show).
- Complile ideas and sources
- Organize content
- Fact Check and verification
- Book Guests if needed
- Write outline or script
Podcasts produced by networks like Gimlet, NPR or Wondery have a whole team of people to do all this work. It isn’t uncommon for a show to have 20 or 30 people working on it.
So for an independent podcaster to have to ALL these tasks alone can be tough. And most podcasters are hobbyists which means they spend most of their day working at a job.
All this podcasting work happens in their spare time.
And this is the reason why so many podcasts don’t make it past episode 7.
RIP (Rest in Podfade)
So if you start to notice any of these early warning signs what can you do?
- Rekindle the passion you had for the topic
- Outsource some of the work
- Find a co-host to do half the work
- Reduce the publishing frequency to give you more time to do the work
- Podcast in Seasons (take long breaks during the year)
- Buy more podcast gear! (another form of podcrastination)
There are a lot of reasons why podcasters podfade.
You don’t have to be one of them if you understand that podcasting isn’t easy. If you are willing to do the work and don’t have unrealistic expectations you may avoid the podfade zone.