How Not to Quit Podcasting: What to Know to Easily Avoid Pod Fading
Have you stopped releasing new content on your podcast for some reason? In this episode, learn about pod fading and how to avoid it. Tom and Tracy Hazzard dive into the marketing rollercoaster and how it can be overwhelming for anyone, especially if your marketing is podcasting. Get to know the statistics and logic behind pod fading and what you should know before deciding to call it quits. Tracy and Tom share why most people stop podcasting after a number of episodes and why you might just be three feet from gold and don’t know it. Podcasting is a great opportunity; you can still be seen, heard, and found.
We want to share with you some new stats, new information we’ve gotten about podcasts and talk in particular about pod fading.
If you’ve never heard it before, this is a term where you quit podcasting. You stopped podcasting but your podcast is still listed on iTunes or listed in any directory, so the feed is live.
Some people might think of it as a hiatus, but that can gain momentum and become an extended hiatus.
It might have happened to us. You think, “I’m going to retool my show and then I’ll take a few months off.” The next thing you know, the few months are six months and then it’s a year and you haven’t posted any new episodes. This happens to a lot of people because you know. You guys are in the midst of it. You know that podcasting is a lot of work. There are a lot of interviews. I think I did four calls already. When you’re through and you’re doing that constant interviewing or constant recording or doing all of those things, it can get overwhelming. You get busy and as we call it, the marketing rollercoaster. You get busy and you’re servicing your clients. You forget to market again. If your marketing is podcasting, you forget the podcasts and you forget the power of it. The thing is that your podcast is out there, so you feel like at least it’s got a certain level of exposure for me, so I’m good, but it can have an actual bottom-line effect. We want to help you avoid pod fading.
I do want to address the fact that it is okay. A podcast can have an end in terms of publishing episodes. I’m going to use our first podcast as an example. Our first podcast was in a subject area of 3D printing. We did over 550 episodes and our focus in business and life change. Now we took a hiatus at one point because our daughter got married a couple of years ago and that consumed a lot of our time for a couple of months. We took a couple of months’ hiatus, but we came back. We let our audience know what was going on and we came back. Eventually, after 550 episodes and our priorities shifted, we have not continued that podcast. We’ve left it on iTunes because there’s a lot of great evergreen content there that people still work at. We ended up not continuing that podcast, but we leave it up on iTunes so that other people who would like to experience that can experience it. Pod fading can happen, but we don’t want to see it happening before you get through 50 or 100 episodes.
I give this talk all the time when I’m giving speeches out there about podcasting and the industry and all of those things. I will ask the audience. I’ll pull the audience and say, “How many of you are podcasters? How many of you have reached eleven episodes and how many of you quit? How many of you got to 23 episodes and then quit? There are always hands up and they are all like, “How did you know that number?” It’s the statistical average. The real reason for it is simply that it’s usually a couple of months into podcasting. You’ve given it for two months and you didn’t get immediate feedback. When you’re doing multiple episodes a week, it hits you at 23. When you’re doing one episode a week, it hits you at about eleven because you’ve launched a couple of episodes as most people do.
Looking at that, you hit a couple of months in and you didn’t get audience feedback right away. You didn’t get feedback that you were doing well. One of the first things that I want to point out about that is you’re looking in the wrong place. If you’re looking at your podcast statistics or your measurement is, I didn’t make it to New and Noteworthy, then you’re looking in the absolute wrong place to see if there’s an audience there. You need to be looking at your website’s statistics. If you’re looking at your website statistics, you see growth for your marketing as it is. That’s why we like to put on our platform the website and the plays or the downloads and in the same place, so that you can see early on that there is a growth happening here and I need to give it some more time. I need to be seen by Google.
Two months for some people who start a brand-new website, you’re coming out of the Google sandbox, you’re being seen, found and served up in the Google algorithm. You may not have been there before. That’s where we want to catch people at the earliest stage and say, “If you’re pod fading, it may be too soon.” You were 3 feet from gold. You’re at that term, for those of you out there who know that. You were close to tipping the point of getting some feedback and that would have made it worthwhile for you. If that’s the case for you and you’re feeling that, set in an evaluation time, put a call in, get on these coaching calls, ask us questions. This is a good time for us to keep your momentum going because there are indicators that you’re doing things right. Many people have no support system out there. That’s why they quit at 11 and 23.
If you get past that threshold of 25 episodes, chances are you’re going to continue for a long time. Statistically, that’s the way it is. We have some new numbers. There is a new study that came out and there’s an article on Amplify Media. There’s new data and it’s according to one of the other podcast hosts out there. It says that the number of total podcasts in the world has ticked up over 700,000, about 706,000. Approximately about 2,000 new podcasts are started every week. What they’re saying is of those 706,000 podcasts in the world all-time like from the beginning of podcasting to now, so going back many years ago to now. That’s 706,000 podcasts but only less than 20% are active according to this study.
That’s 18% specifically, so less than 20%. That’s astounding because I’ve been using the number because we didn’t have an accurate term. It was from about a few years ago, so it was a little bit older. I had been using the term about 300,000 active podcasts.
According to this study, that was even generous. You have to look deep into what’s behind this study and there are different studies. You may believe this one, you may trust it or you may think, “It could be a piece of information,” but there may be other points of data that they’re not looking at. I think that’s all possible. We should approach it with a degree of skepticism. However, it’s a good gauge and it shows you. Let’s take for easy math, 20% of 700,000 would be 140,000 podcasts. Even if that’s low and it’s 200,000 or 250,000 podcasts, that number, I would much rather be competing in a pool of 250,000 competitors to be seen, heard and found than strictly not podcasting and trying to get my website out of the more than 1.5 billion websites on the internet to be fighting for attention. That’s a much smaller pool to be swimming in.
For all the videos out there on YouTube, there are a billion watched every single day. That has nothing to do with how many channels. There are 80 million channels on YouTube. Thinking about those numbers, this is a playing field. This is a pond. It’s another option.
Doesn’t it indicate that there are still a lot of opportunities? It is still not too late for many of you podcasters that are starting out or maybe new. Some of you may still be setting up your podcast, but that’s okay. Don’t be discouraged. The great news is listenership is increasing in podcasting. It is not too late to be getting into this and you can be seen, heard and found. It’s a wonderful time to be podcasting. It’s better than ever and the future continues to look bright.Podcasting is a playing field, it is a pond. Click To Tweet
One of the things that I want to point out the numbers, so the numbers can lie. This could be errant in that because we as a host, based on our activity rate, we’d have over a 95% activity rate. Our podcasters don’t quit. We have a few archive shows. That’s because our podcasters have the support of production, which is one reason. It’s the intensity of how much work goes into it. If you started a podcast yourself and you’re under the do-it-yourself model, that’s where we see pod fading happening faster than we do in those that have production services because you’re not burdened with all of the processing and all of the things. It doesn’t feel as much of an interruption and you can keep going.
That’s one of the things that we find. The host that put out this report has a lot of do-it-yourselfers. They also point out in the report that the Anchor platform did the entire industry a disservice because they put out this low-cost, cheap hosting, practically free. There was a no-cost one but there were some that were slightly paid. You get your stats at $10 or less and they put this out there. They got a bunch of people who joined and then didn’t have the wherewithal to set themselves up to get started properly. It flooded the numbers and the statistics with barely launched podcasts, and that was problematic. That was a disservice that happened to the industry.
If we look at other hosts, we see that problem again and again. If someone goes in and puts into the low-cost paying, usually $20 or less is what we see across the other hosting platforms. If you pay $20 or less, there’s a higher percentage of pod fading than those that pay $29 or more if you’re up at that rate. The real issue is that it has to do with commitment level. It has to do with how much value this is for your business and what you’re looking for from it. It has a different purpose for it. Their numbers might be artificially low because they are that type of host. That’s something to keep us aware. I don’t always look at numbers. I always like to look and compare them, but I also look at my numbers. I know I couldn’t possibly post our Podetize numbers because it would give people an erroneous idea about how rosy a scenario that might be industry-wide.
Those of you that are brandcasting with Podetize services, the reality is you have that support. You recognize the value. You’re spending some money to save time and get the most out of your podcasts and you’re getting the value of return out of it. Why would you stop? Your chances of stopping would be less unless you sold your business or something.
Seeing those web and the web stats and your podcast stats at the same time are showing that you’re providing value to your business. That is helpful to a lot of people. That’s why my number one thing if you’re listening to this on the podcast side of things and you’re not in our coaching group, which is where we are airing this first. If you’re in that, I want you to take a look at a couple of things on your numbers and on what’s going on in your overall before you say, “I’m going to call it to quit.” The first thing is I want you to take a look at your website growth. Have you grown in that month or two months that you’ve been podcasting? Have you seen it have residual value? You may have to use Google Analytics or one of those services like SEMrush or any of those things out there. Go ahead and check it.
I want to mention something about that. What we’re finding is the podcast that gets to 25 episodes and gets there quickly, hopefully as quickly as possible. That’s where it tips and you start to see a lot of more unique visitors to your website every month. You start getting a lot more keyword rankings. It’s the keyword rankings on your website from the podcast related blogs that drive the unique visitors to your site. Twenty-five episode is a critical point. You can’t expect to see it after half-a-dozen episodes.
Give it some time but take a look at that. If you are not blogging your podcast, if you are not even creating, we talk here all the time about full-scale blogs. Even if you’re not doing that, even if you’re only posting the leading paragraph, the opening description and a player on it, you’re creating pages on your site on a consistent basis. You should see a little residual from that. If you have not done that, think about taking back. If you’ve only got eleven episodes, coming back and seeing what putting a transcript in, what putting these blogs and seeing how you can power through while you get through and get to your 25 episodes and see if you’re improving your site. That’s something that you can take action on right away. You don’t have to create new content to make that happen. You can utilize the content you’ve already created and given that boost and see what’s going on there.
The second thing that I want you to try and do is to make more concerted action on your show, asking people to participate, asking them for feedback, asking them for input and giving them a place that’s safe for them. They don’t have to give you their email address. They don’t have to go deeper yet. Maybe it’s, “Message me on Facebook,” or “Send me an Instagram post,” or “Hashtag this.” Whatever it might be, you want to make sure that you’re asking for feedback if you haven’t asked for it yet. It’s not just in your outro, but asking for specific input like, “Send me your questions. Give me ideas for topics. I want to make this show useful to you. I hear that you’re listening. I can see the listens out there. Talk to me about this because I want to make this more valuable for you.” Remember, it’s in it for your audience. Now’s the time to ask that and you’d be surprised. The thing for us when we started our 3D printing podcast, we started it with these questions. We made them up because we knew we didn’t have a feedback mechanism. We didn’t have a big Facebook group.
We didn’t even have an audience when we started.
We didn’t know and so we said, “Here are the top 12 or 20 questions on 3D printing. Let’s ask them as if it was somebody who asked us this.” It was asking Tracy anything and we would answer the question. We would do it like this because we were training the audience. We would say, “William from New York or Brooklyn says this and he asked this,” and then we’d answer it. William was a good friend of ours. We could use his name and he didn’t mind. Our friends and family thought it was funny and they were checking out our podcast anyways. They get a little shout out and it was fun and quirky.
We did something like this episode that was on the humidity factor in a filament. It was technical like, did humidity affect the product? We said, “Let’s pick a humid place because we don’t live in a humid place. Let’s pick our friend, Amy, from New Orleans,” and we did that. It came this way of training the audience that if you ask a question, we’re going to answer you back and quickly on. Probably within the first dozen episodes that we did, we got feedback from someone in Brazil, someone in Chicago, someone in South Africa. We got feedback from them saying, “We got a question.” They would send us a question. Some would do it over the website and some would do it on social media, but all of a sudden, we were training them to do it that way.Listenership is increasing in podcasting. It is not too late to be getting into this. You can be seen, heard, and, of course, found. Click To Tweet
If that’s the case, if you’ve not done that yet, try doing that. I think that’s the next thing that you want to tackle. The third thing to combat pod fading is to get yourself some support. If you’ve got a support group rooting you on, giving you new ideas, whether it’s a podcast mastermind or it’s on coaching calls that we offer to every single one of our clients. It doesn’t matter how little or how much they spend with us, we have these coaching calls so that you can talk to each other and you can talk to us so that we can keep you motivated. When you’re out there saying to people, “I’m doing this,” you’re more likely to keep doing it. Give yourself that back support. Give yourself the support behind the scenes of people who are rooting you on and want you to succeed.
Take advantage of the support you have here from us. I want to give a shout out to Art Costello of Shower Epiphanies because he has achieved quite something with his show. His podcast was featured while it was charting on all of iTunes. When you go into iTunes, your show might be listed in business, management, and marketing or self-help or some of these categories. Each of those categories has its chart of the top 200 podcasts, but then there is going into podcast top episodes and top shows overall. His show was number 180 out of the top 200 on Tuesday. These charts change every day with more shows that are published. He was there for that day number 180. It was quite an achievement. When I looked at his podcast play statistics, he’s had quite a surgeon plays in June. What we saw is there was a correlation between the number of plays he was getting and the fact that he hit that high on the charts. I screenshot it and I sent it to him because that’s something you want to capture.
You want to save that if that happens to you. Some of us don’t pay attention to that. We don’t check it every day because I’m not obsessive about where my show is ranking. If somebody messaged you and let you know, the first thing you want to do is take a screenshot of it.
His show was up in the same screenshot with shows from NPR, the New York Times, and certain TV personalities. Marc Maron, WTF, was on the same screenshot. There are two dozen shows you could capture in a screenshot in the charts and seeing all the numbers. That’s a big deal and I’m excited about Art. Congratulations on that.
When this happens to you, analyze it too. Start to see where that search happened, it might have been you gave a speech at a great event. You remember to shout out your podcast and the audience subscribed. One of the things that I’ve gotten accustomed to doing is making sure that at some point in the talk, I make everybody pull their phones out, which is a dangerous thing to do. Make sure you do it at the right point in your talk. I have everybody pull out their phone and subscribe and add value to them that way. Another thing that I’ve done is I’ve taken the show that I did or the event that I did and take in that talk and turn it into a podcast episode. If they wanted to get a recording of it, the only way they could do it is by subscribing to the show. There are lots of things you can do to start to drive the audience back because a lot of times I find people forget to mention their show when they’re on stage.
Something like this could happen because maybe you have a guest on your show that has a large following on social media and they shared it with their audience. A lot of those people then learn about your show and they start to listen. There are many things. It could be an influencer or somebody sharing it. Many things could cause your show to all of a sudden get a lot more exposure.
A couple of things that I’ve seen from the interviews that I’ve been doing on Center of Influence, Paul Vogelzang, The Not Old Better Show. He got picked up by AARP The Magazine as being a podcast to listen to. I had an interview with someone I put into a list in 2015. It was one of the early articles that I wrote for Inc. Magazine, Innovation Crush with Chris Denson. Chris is still podcasting and doing incredibly well. His show has taken off. He got picked up by things like Microsoft and other companies listing it in podcasts that you might want to check out for corporations and other things like that. That’s helped him.
Looking at those things, that may be a PR strategy for you. Maybe you’d like to be in more traditional media, to be polite. Things with actual pages and books. You are getting an opportunity to be a part of that. They’re still looking for podcasts lists. They still have those doors looking for the opportunity there because for instance in the AARP, it’s highly read by their audience. Their audience is retirees and they have time to read. If your show is appropriate to that, why not serve that up to them as an option and send them a story. Send them a list of a bunch of shows including yours.
Those are some ways that you can get picked up by large groups. Another couple that I’ve heard that has happened is because they got picked up by the Autism Speaks or American Cancer Society because the usefulness of the tips that they were giving in their show was helpful to the families that that community services. Those can be ways as well. Do not forget about those organizations. Tapping into them can draw and give you this shot into your listens and when that happens because you’ve gotten this boost. Look at what happened to Art. He gets on the shortlist to the top 200.
It’s a lot more exposure and that can help your show regardless of what your goal is for your show. If it’s to serve others and help people, you’re reaching more people. If it’s to help market and grow your brand or your business, that’s going to help do that too. No matter how you slice it, that’s good.
We have a housekeeping note that we want to let you know about for our clients here. If you have a website change, a host change like you move from GoDaddy to somebody else or you move from somebody else to GoDaddy, you need to let us know because there are some configuration and some issues and you can have an outage on your show.
You’re going to have a real problem. We’ve had this happen with two different clients who they thought, “I’m moving my podcast. I’m changing from one host to another.” Maybe it’s to save a little money on your annual contract with them or maybe it’s because there are some new features that you wanted to have for your website. Maybe it’s more support like 24/7 dial-in support. Whatever that reason is, it doesn’t matter. If you move your website, you’ve got to make sure that the company that moves it is doing it properly. We’ve had it happen where they move their website, blogs, and all the pages of their site, but they didn’t move all the images in the image library, then suddenly they have all these broken images, broken links, and images not showing up.
That’s a terrible situation because you thought, “I’m not changing the website. I’m moving it from one host to another.” That’s a big problem. The other thing that we have also learned in this process is that even if you’re going from one WordPress website to another and everything is exported and re-imported, one of the things that you lose in those images are called alt tags. Think of them as keywords for images. That helps those images come up in Google searches when you do an image search versus the whole web search. What we’ve seen unfortunately are a lot of problems caused to people who pay this company to move their entire site and then only discover after the fact that their service doesn’t pay attention to these details.
In order to then get everything restored to the way it was, you’re going to have to pay a whole lot more money. We’ve seen one of these companies propose charging their customer, “We said moving your site was going to be this much, but if you want that done, we don’t do that. We’re going to have to charge you a lot more money.” I don’t think it was an intentional bait and switch to charge more money, to be honest. That’s not what I’m trying to say here. It’s that the end result was a lot more headache, a lot more time on the part of the host or the owner of the website in resolving and figuring this out and more money spent at the end of the day and nobody wants to have to do that.
It makes you look unprofessional in the meantime while you’ve got all these broken links and all these other things while you’re trying to resolve the problem. Please let us know ahead of time if you’re planning a move like that. We can give you some best practices. Hello@Podetize.com is the best way for you to get that information. If that’s happening to you, message through there. I know this was a little different. We had to switch it up because of our bootcamp. If you know someone who wants to start a podcast, we are running an all-day bootcamp, helping them get their show done. They still have to do it all themselves, but we’re helping them with all the information.It's a wonderful time to be podcasting. It's better than ever, and the future continues to look bright. Click To Tweet
Maybe they’re researching and want to understand what it takes to start a podcast, that might be another good reason to. The URL for that if you want to share it with anybody is Podetize.com/bootcamp. If anybody that you know might be interested in attending bootcamp or even if they sign up and they cannot attend, they at least have access to the recordings. They can watch it on their time.
If you send somebody through there, don’t forget to send us a message and let us know that that’s who you sent into the Bootcamp because if they sign up with us, you get the credit for it.
That’s it. Thanks, everybody. I hope this was helpful for you and we’ll talk to you next time.