Can you breathe life back into one of your podfaded or inactive shows? Better yet, can you use your podfaded or inactive show as a power source for a different podcast?
I don’t like to use myself as a representative sample of…well, anything. But in this case, I don’t think I’m all that different from many long-time podcasters. I have several podfaded shows in various hosting accounts that I’m just not doing anything with.
You too, perhaps? Unlimited hosting accounts, free accounts…and monthly fees that are low enough to fade into the background of our conscious yet not high enough to make us take action when (if) we see the charge on our credit card next month.
But that show (or shows, in my case) is still “live.” Some or all of the audio files, none of which you’ve touched for years, perhaps, are still available from the podcast hosting provider. And the RSS feed is still valid and connected to myriad directories. And even though they haven't been served an episode in a long time, some devices are still following or are subscribed to that feed. In my experience, I’ve found that a significant number of people don’t bother to unfollow or unsubscribe from a podcast that stops publishing new episodes. Maybe most?
Why Should You Un-fade A Podfaded Show?
At least part of why we podcasters don’t remove podfaded shows is because we think there’s a chance, albeit a slim one, that we might start producing episodes for that show again. It’s not podfaded; it’s on hiatus! Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves.
But maybe it’s time to end that hiatus? Maybe, with a little shift in focus and a few tweaks, we could get back to a regular production schedule. Perhaps our time constraints have been relaxed. Or perhaps a new co-host has expressed an interest.
Or, as teased previously, maybe you could use that podfaded show as a power source to drive traffic to another podcast?
Testing The Effort Required
Perhaps I’ve piqued your interest in the power source idea. Or perhaps you’re looking at one (or more) of your podfaded shows and are wondering…is it worth it? Because really, that’s what stops most podcasters from reactivating or doing something with their podfaded show. Doing nothing takes zero energy. Doing something takes greater than zero energy.
The answer to the question lies in one of the most elusive metrics in all of podcasting: how many people are following/subscribe-to this feed?
Yes, you can get some data from the big players. Spotify will tell you how many followers your show has. Google Podcasts will show you total subscribers. Apple Podcasts used to show you something similar, but who knows what they’re doing with their back end.
Regardless, those numbers don’t tell the whole picture. First, most require you to have claimed or connected your show to those services to get that data. So if your podfaded show is really, really old, you may not have that history. Also, they don’t capture the long tail of the dozens or more alternate podcast apps people used to subscribe to your now podfaded show. In this case, that long tail is important.
But there’s a way to get even better data: drop an episode.
No, don’t go produce a brand new episode of a show you haven’t touched since the housing bubble popped. That’s not required. But you can record a quick “tap, tap tap… is this thing on?” episode. Or you could spend even less energy dropping a promo for another one of your shows if you have one of those at the ready.
It really doesn’t matter what you drop because the only thing you’ll be counting is downloads, and only for the first handful of days. And yes, I do realize I’ve historically lambasted tracking downloads. My opinions there haven’t changed, but downloads are exactly what you want to track for this test.
All you're doing with this test is finding out how many devices are connected that automatically download episodes or how many of your followers will play the episode when it shows up in their listening app.
Powering Old Or Powering New
If the number of downloads to that dropped episode looks attractive to you—whether it's dozens, or hundreds, or thousands—then it’s worth the effort to do something. Maybe relaunch, sure.
Or maybe redirect those subscribers to a different podcast, instantly increasing the size of the listening audience. That’s power!
Putting a 301 redirect in place is extremely simple in most podcast hosting companies. It’s oftentimes simply a field on a form to fill out, and they take care of the rest. And once that redirect is in place, 99.999% of the subscribers to that faded, inactive show will be subscribed to the new show. Instant additive audience!
But a couple of caveats before you rush to implement this plan:
Make sure there’s a fit
I'm not redirecting subscribers of my defunct to travel/comedy podcast over to Podcast Pontifications, regardless of the size of that audience. I try to bring a little humor to this show, but the audiences are totally different. So don’t do that.
Tests, like elections, have consequences
Performing the test of dropping an episode will cause at least some existing subscribers/followers to unfollow/unsubscribe. They will have completely forgotten about the show, and when they see an episode drop, they’ll be reminded to delete it. Just like you, remember to unsubscribe from many retailers’ emails when they gear up for Black Friday.
Nothing to be done about that, and it’s OK. 100% of that audience is untapped right now, so keeping any fraction of that is greater than zero. So don’t sweat it. Most will stick around and at least listen to a few episodes of the new show. Or they’ll enjoy the re-launch of an old favorite of theirs. Or, if the number is big enough, maybe it’s enticing to another podcaster who wants to buy the audience of that neglected show.
Ask your podcasting friends if they have any podfaded shows hanging out in their hosting company account. I bet they do. Share this episode with them to help explain the concept of finding out the power of those podfaded shows. Maybe there’s collectively a big enough audience for you to combine and then collaborate on a new project?
And if you like this idea, head to BuyMeACoffee.com/evoterra and slide of virtual coffee my way.
Next week is May of 2021, which means I’ve only a month of shows before Season 3 comes to an end. I’ll take about a six-week break and come back in mid-July with Season 4 of Podcast Pontifications. Woot!
Prior to that, I’ll be reaching out to everyone who has graciously bought me a virtual coffee over the years and present some opportunities for you to get involved with the next season of Podcast Pontifications. So keep your eye out for that in the coming days.
Enjoy the rest of your Thursday. No episodes from me on Friday, so also enjoy your weekend. I shall be back on Monday with yet another Podcast Pontifications.
Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra. He’s on a mission to make podcasting better. Allie Press proofed the copy, corrected the transcript, and edited the video. Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.