Is grounding your podcast episodes in time a good idea or should you make evergreen content? That is a difficult question to answer because both have their pros and cons. Join your host for the day, Tom Hazzard as he discusses which the better choice among the two is. If you’re an aspiring podcaster, listen to today’s episode and get ready for a lot of new listeners.
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Is Grounding Your Podcast Episodes In Time The Best Choice?
I want to share with you some thoughts on the subject that we get a lot of questions about sometimes here at Brandcasters and Podetize and that is, “Should I ground my podcast episodes in time? How many references should I make in my podcast to what the date is I’m recording it? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” I want to break down the pros and cons. It’s not that there is a right or wrong answer in this, but there are a lot of things to consider. I’m sure whether it’s a good fit for you and your show, it’s an individual decision each of us has to make for our show.
Does it make sense or does it not? If it does make sense, what can you do to take advantage of that? If it does not make sense, what do you do to try to avoid grounding your podcast in time? That’s what I want to discuss, especially because there’s little news going on in our country. I’m sure there are a lot of podcasters out there that are talking about events and will be and unlocked that always do. Is that appropriate? It doesn’t make sense. I’m going to give you a couple of examples too of shows that do this that ground their topics in time and maybe some examples of why that might not be the best idea.
Podcasts Are For Any Time
First of all, all of us podcasters, some of you are newer podcasters than others. In case, we have some real newbies here, one of the great things about podcasts is people listen to them on their time schedule. It’s not like a radio show where I’m getting on. I’m broadcasting live at a certain time of day on the same day of the week every week or maybe every day of every week. It’s the medium while you can stream it live, especially to social media, if you want to. There are advantages to that. It’s probably a good discussion point for a future episode.
The whole podcast ecosystem is one that you cannot easily stream a live podcast to all the different podcast apps. In fact, most of them are impossible. You can’t do it. There are very few apps that have a very limited reach that very few people take advantage of because you can only go live to a very small subset of people. The whole issue of somebody has to be there at that time and place in order to listen to the episode. It’s very inconvenient for most people.
Podcast listeners overall love the on-demand nature of listening, where they want to, when they want to. It didn’t matter when it was recorded. It’s been published. It’s available to me. I can stream it or download it. I can watch it offline when I’m flying on a plane or I’m driving in a car through the desert and listen to a bunch of episodes.
You Can Talk About The Present
That’s one of my favorite times to listen. I binge a lot of podcast episodes when I’m driving from Southern California to Las Vegas through the desert. It’s like a good three-and-a-half-plus, four-hour drive. I can get through a lot of podcasts in that time. I’m not answering the phone. I’m focusing on learning or being entertained. A lot of podcasts listeners like that. Podcasts themselves and the entire delivery system is optimized for non-live distribution, pre-recorded distribution of content.One of the great things about podcasts is that people listen to them on their own time, unlike a radio show. Click To Tweet
It doesn’t mean that if we’re doing a weekly or a twice a week show that we can’t speak about things that are happening in our news cycle or things that are going on culturally in our country or maybe our local community or state. We certainly can. Many people do. We have a podcast that we produce called The Clip Out.
It is a podcast all about the Peloton, a piece of exercise equipment. If you’re not familiar with that, I know many people are because it’s been all the rage, especially during 2020, when so many people are at home. The Clip Out has been very popular because the Peloton itself is very popular. A lot of people have been buying them to try to stay fit as they’re at home, haven’t been working in an office as much as they used to.
For this episode, their format is they usually interview somebody related to the Peloton community or ecosystem but then toward the end of the episode, they have a 5, 10-minute segment that is events going on in the Peloton community. While they pre-record all those interviews, many weeks in advance, the timelier portion is recorded just in time. It is provided to us at Podetize 48 hours before it publishes. We edit it and add it to the whole episode in the right place as a segment.
There’s a component of the show that’s very timely and is more grounded in time. They want it to be that way. It’s not the whole show but a segment of the show. The listeners appreciate it because there are lots of things that happen and change in the world of Peloton. People who are into this are fanatical. The Peloton users who get on that bike and participate in classes love it. They want to know what’s happening. “What other classes are there I can take on my Peloton?”
I should probably describe it for those of you that don’t know what I mean. It’s an exercise bike but has a screen on it. You can be in live classes participating with other people but you’re in the comfort of your own home. You’re not in a sweaty gym full of people. Gyms are one of the places that are particularly risky with the Coronavirus. It has become a whole lot more popular in 2021 and it was already very popular in 2020.
It makes sense for that community of people who want to listen to, not only have a great general subject topic, guests, learn something new or see a different perspective but also to get a little bit of events in the industry. That’s the plus side for the listener. Listeners often do like podcasts that are grounded in time. I like listening to The Daily. It’s one of them from the New York Times or also Up First from NPR that is a daily podcast.
In the morning, I fix breakfast for the kids, get them ready for school and I listen for 10 or 15 minutes to what are the headlines going on? I can listen over my Alexa. I’m hands-free going around the kitchen doing whatever. I understand what’s happened in the world and I’m off. Not all of us have shows like that. We’re not journalistic organizations, especially a lot of us independent podcasters.
There are still often timely news things we talk about. In fact, on an episode here, I talked about some events when Google all of a sudden eliminated Google play as an app for listening to the podcast in favor of Google Podcasts. We knew this was coming for years but there was an event where it happened. There was also an event where the government filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google. I talked about both of those in one episode. That is a bit grounded in time, even though the episode wouldn’t publish until a week or two or more later after that became news.
The Advantage Of Grounded-In-Time Podcasts
Our advantage of having podcasts grounded in time is it makes a podcast in some ways very real for the listener, especially the listener who’s already subscribed to your show and is getting their downloads. As soon as they can possibly get your show, they’re getting it. In some ways, for people who find your podcasts months or a year from now, a lot of time, when people find a podcast that they like, they’re going to listen to the few episodes. If they like it, they’re going to go back and listen from the beginning.
I would argue that’s still going to happen with a podcast like The Clip Out that has a news component but a whole lot more to offer. Something like The Daily or Up First from NPR, I don’t think people are going to listen to that a week from now, let alone a month or months or a year from now. It’s not going to happen. Some of those podcasts are one and done. If another one has been published that’s newer, you’re probably going to skip and listen to the new one.
The Con Of Grounded In Time Podcasts
This now brings me to one of the cons or difficulties of recording a podcast that is grounded in time. If it’s grounded in events, in order to publish on a regular, consistent basis, you’ve got to do it. If you’re doing a weekly show and you’re doing something that has to do with events, industry news, you’ve got to make sure you do it and you do it not too far in advance when you’re going to publish it. You have a regular schedule. You have to keep a recording.
For most podcasters that we encounter, that’s not ideal for their lifestyle or business planning and executing of their business. They’re podcasting to serve a community and their business but it needs to be one thing to do for their business, not be something that is very demanding of their time. They have to do it very often on a regular basis. They don’t want it to get in the way of their business priorities. Most people like to batch record. “I’m going to sit down on a day and record 3, 4 episodes. I’ll do it in one afternoon, a month or one whole day a month. I’m going to carve out on my calendar and that’s what I’m going to record.”Podcasts that are grounded in time make it a very real experience for the listener. Click To Tweet
Referencing The Bigger Picture
In that case, it’s very hard to do any kind of events or timely news type of information, something that is more grounded in time. There’s nothing wrong with recording episodes that reference something that’s happening in our culture or the news cycle, as long as there’s a bigger picture to the subject you’re talking about that goes beyond the timeliness of that information.
We’re going to talk about a certain kind of business marketing. That’s a subject for the show. You’re going to use a reference that was in the media as an example to talk about but it’s not as much about that event being the main point or the news as it is an example that then you use as a departure point to talk about your subject.
That grounding in time or in our culture, what’s going on in our country or in the world is a good thing to do because it does make the podcast real for people. Even if it’s something they listened to months from now, when you mentioned whatever that event is that’s the departure point, people usually remember that. That’s very familiar to them. Familiarity is very comforting for people. They get into this place in their head where they remember that event. “What are you sharing with me relative to that?” It makes sense.
The cons of grounding your episode topics in time is you can’t get too far ahead. You got to do it more in time and not batch record as much but the advantage for your listeners is know they’re listening to something that’s new and not months old. Sometimes people like that with certain podcasts. In general, one of the other cons of grounding something in time is it might get dated.
Making Evergreen Content
There’s a difference between referencing something in history, using it in a way that will work no matter when someone listens to it or having a very dated episode that’s not going to be timeless. I’ll tell you. One of my earliest podcasts that I ever did on 3D printing is geeky a subject matter as that seems started in 2015. That podcast still gets 10,000 unique plays a month on its oldest episodes.
People find it and let’s do it because a lot of that content was evergreen. I’ll admit, not all of it was because there are companies that created 3D printers that we reviewed and talked about that are out of business years later. It’s not going to help people as much. Maybe we should delete some of those episodes but we haven’t done that, quite honestly. People are still listening to them all.
Most of us, when we’re podcasting, are trying to come up with what we would call evergreen content, something that is going to be as relevant next week, a month from now, a year from now, as it is when you first publish it. That’s ideal but at the same time, that doesn’t mean we want to shy away from being transparent about when we’re recording an episode.
I have another show I’m involved in. It’s not my show but I participate in it. That’s a language and communication show. We’re hoping a lot of people listen to it soon because, among other things, we talk about how you can have safe conversations with people you disagree with. That might be relevant to a few people but we do end up talking about certain events.
It’s more of a departure point. We try not to get too far ahead. When we record to when we publish, we’re about a week and a half, at most two weeks ahead on a regular basis because we don’t want those departure points to seem very old. The reality is even if somebody is going to listen to them six months from now, they’ll probably remember the event reference. The lesson we talk about still applies and applies to many more things. It still is evergreen content.
There are lots of things to think about when you’re creating a new podcast or maybe pivoting the format of your podcast now that you’ve maybe established an audience for a while providing great evergreen content, maybe your industry, your niche. There would be some value in including a segment that’s a little timelier, grounded in time, some event or something like that. There’s nothing wrong with that.
In some ways, events can yield a lot of good search results when people are searching in Google or their podcast app on some of those events. A lot of times, they can attract more people to listen and also attracts people who are searching, didn’t know about your show, give it a try and then might become new listeners. From an SEO perspective and you being found timelier content events, if you structure the titles and the descriptions of the episodes properly can attract new listeners, grow your reach and audience, which all of us podcasting would always love to be helping, reaching more people and impacting more lives.
There are a few things to think about regarding the timeliness of topics, grounding things in time. I thought I would share it with you. I’ve had a few questions about that from customers, especially with a little bit of news going on in our world at the end of 2020. I thought it was maybe a good time to talk about that. Don’t forget. You can find us anywhere on social media @FeedYourBrand. Thanks so much. I’ll be back next time. Until then, signing off.