How much fun is it to plan, record, edit, and then publish an episode of your podcast? OK, maybe you don't love all of those things equally. But chances are because you're a working podcaster, you find most of that an absolute blast. If you didn’t, you’d find some other way to occupy your time.
There was a time, not all that long ago, when that was all a podcaster had to do. Get the show launched. Publish episodes. Let it find its own audience. Rinse. Repeat.
But today, there are literally millions of podcasts, with thousands of publishers investing jaw-dropping sums of money on not only publishing their episodes but also on a slate of marketing and promotional efforts that tend to suck all the oxygen out of the podcast discovery room.
Without access to an amount of capital many small countries would be jealous of, it’s difficult for your podcast to stand out amongst the millions of choices people have when they are on the hunt for something new to listen to. To rise above the din, you need to do the boring things.
Here are five:
1. Better In-App Episode Details (Show Notes)
Astute readers will, after picking their eyes up from the floor that have rolled right out of their heads, recognize this as a common theme of mine. Yes, I talk about this a lot. Yes, it remains one of the biggest areas of neglect in podcasting.
You may think it an oddly Quixotic hill to die on, but I just went through five rounds of revision with a client on their in-app episode details template until we hit on the right one. So I practice what I preach.
People new to the show will appreciate your attention on this boring thing. People more curious about the things you talk about on your podcast will appreciate your attention on this boring thing. Listeners who want to learn more about the people involved in your podcast will appreciate your attention on this boring thing.
2. Find Time To Experiment With New Podcasting Services
If the processes you follow when making a podcast episode haven’t changed much in 10 years (and why should you change things that aren’t broken?), there might be some new and better ways to do things. And you should know of them, because they may make your podcast and life much better.
For example, if you're still using Skype to record interviews with guests or conversations with your co-host…. Uh, really? Yes, it works. But there are many far superior options out there that will save you time, be a better experience for the person on the other end, and result in a much higher quality product.
Tech moves pretty fast in podcasting. Find the time to do boring research and see what tools you should adopt to improve your show.
3. Clean Up Your Podcast Website’s Copy
If you’re not ready for a complete website overhaul like I went through recently, you should at least prioritize some time for a thorough review of all of the text on your website.
Don’t start with your episode detail pages, though those probably could use some attention. Focus on the boring pages you—like everyone else—ignored after you first published them. Your about page, your contact page, your homepage... Carve out some time for the boring task of reading through the text on each of those pages and make sure those pages say exactly what they need to say right now.
Also, check for outdated functionality. For instance, if the copy on a neglected page is still asking people to subscribe to your show on iTunes, that outdated copy needs a refresh.
In all likelihood, your website will be visited by people new to your show, either recent followers, searchers, or those doing their due diligence before following your show. Make sure those neglected pages don’t look like they’ve been abandoned.
4. Review Your Podcast’s Competition
I always hated doing competitive reviews when I worked in an agency, be they for our clients or our own agency. But they still need to be done. Sorry.
It’s exceedingly unlikely that your show is the only show like your show. Did I mention millions of podcasts? Of course you have your own unique angle that sets your show apart, but you at least have very close neighbors. And you need to keep your eye on them. And ears on them.
Listen to their episodes. Follow their social channels. Subscribe to their newsletter. I know that eats into your free time and that you might consider their content boring. It doesn’t matter. You need to know exactly what your competition is doing so that you understand the other choices people have when they want the content you share on your show.
But your thorough competitive review must go beyond your podcast’s genre or category. People judge your podcast against every other podcast they listen to, not just the ones that are similar. Recall earlier when I spoke of the jaw-dropping money other podcasters are spending to make their shows amazing? Yeah, they’re your competition too. What you consider a badge of honor for never having listened to a second of any podcast in the top 10 looks a bit like ignorance to everyone else.
5. Continuing Your Podcaster Education
It bears repeating: the podcasting landscape is changing rapidly, and there’s every indication that the rate of change will continue to increase. So, just like any professional, you need to keep up.
Subscribe to some great podcast newsletters and find the time to read them. Thoroughly! Take podcasting workshops put on by qualified podcasting professionals to quickly augment your skills with new offerings. Attend conferences, either in-person or online, to learn new things, connect with other podcasters, and keep up with the latest happenings.
The skills I developed when I started podcasting in 2004 are simply not adequate in today’s podcasting landscape. I have to constantly work at keeping them current, and you probably need to do that as well.
Pick Three & Report Back
Of those five boring things you can do to help keep your podcast fresh, I’m only asking you to pick three. If two of them sounded incredibly boring or troublesome, throw them out and focus on the other three.
Once selected, I want you to commit to implementing those three in the next 30 days. As of this writing, tomorrow is a new month, so it’s a perfect time. But even if you read this later, I want you to pick three and add them to your calendar. And in 30 days, I want you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how you did.
Even better, I want you to get an accountabilibuddy. Find another podcaster you interface with regularly and share this episode with them, along with your three selections. They, in turn, will select their three things, and you’ll check in with each other frequently over the next 30 days to keep both of you on track.
Does that sound like a good idea? If so, please go to BuyMeACoffee.com/evoterra and slide a virtual coffee my way. That's always nice.
I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.