We all hit bumps in the road. You wouldn’t be human if there weren’t times you just wanted to throw your hands up in the air and question “why?” Why go through all this work to not get the results you want?
Any big-time podcaster will tell you that success didn’t come for them overnight. They had to pay their dues. They kept chipping away at the imperfections in their show and refined their approach over time until they discovered what worked for them, and their audience.
If you’re feeling stuck or discouraged, maybe your podcast just needs a little TLC. Maybe this is a chance for you to take a step back, refocus, and try some different approaches? You might just find that secret sauce that can take your show to another level next year.
Here are 9 strategies to help you level-up your podcast and refocus your efforts.
Create a consistent content schedule
Chances are when you started your podcast you were pretty gung-ho, excited to tell all your friends and followers about your new project. You hit record, created something fun, got some positive feedback and that was enough fuel to keep you going for a time. What happened after that?
You see, consistency is key. If you’re not sticking to a regular content schedule and doing new episodes regularly, then you’re missing out on the opportunity to keep your show top of mind for your audience.
You need to determine how many episodes you want to do per month, then create a calendar, and stick to it! It’s easy! (You can create a free calendar in Google Docs that should suffice.) Determine when you want to release the episode and give yourself some time to tease it on your social channels to create some buzz around it.
Creating a consistent content calendar will also help you to be able to plan guests further out, see opportune times to feature exclusive content, and sets the expectation for your listeners to know when new content is going to be available.
You want your listeners to know that they can rely on you. The best way to build loyalty and trust is to set yourself up with some sort of roadmap to follow.
Make sure your audio is stellar
One of the telltale signs of a podcast newbie is the lack of attention to detail in their show, specifically when it comes to the audio quality. You don’t have to go invest in a high-end production studio, but you do want to make sure you’re using a good podcast mic, and your recording space is free of distraction and noise.
There’s nothing more off-putting for a listener when they hear papers rustling in the background, dishes clanking, other people talking, or the occasional cell phone going off. Make sure you communicate with your guests prior to the interview to shut off their computer notifications, find a quiet spot, and treat this like a real interview, because, guess what–it is!
Check out other podcasters who are rocking it
The next time you listen to your favorite podcast, take a moment and listen…
What are they doing that makes you so eager to not want to miss their next episode? Take notes and then compare that to what you’re doing. Maybe you like the flow of their show or the way they open or close, the host’s delivery, or the type of questioning they ask their guests.
There’s a good reason why their show has become so popular. Put your investigative hat on and do a little research. Then use your findings to brainstorm what kind of changes you can do to make your show more attractive to a larger audience.
Read your reviews, especially the bad ones
We love to be praised and hate to be criticized, but sometimes a little negative feedback is just what we need to grow and get better.
If you’ve been fortunate to get some listeners to provide comments or reviews on your show, this could be a great way to see what resonated with them, and what fell short.
If your number of reviews are on the thin side, you could also send out a survey via your social network or through your email list to ask for feedback and find out what show ideas or guests your listeners would find interesting and what changes you can implement to make your podcast more listenable. You want honest feedback!
Survey companies like Survey Monkey offer a free version that allows you up to a certain number of questions and respondents. Or you could use Google Forms which provides unlimited surveys and questions that simply populate into a spreadsheet you manage.
The takeaway here is to leverage your existing audience so they can tell you what’s working and help you highlight areas that could be improved or expanded upon.
Add some diversity into the mix
People find new podcasts just like they find new shows on Netflix or Hulu and when they find something that resonates with them, they’ll become listeners. This might be a great opportunity to attract new listeners by diversifying your guests and covering topics that could appeal to a more select group of listeners.
Podcasting is the perfect medium to have a diverse range of voices from all walks of life, and a vehicle to have important conversations, so take advantage of that.
Find what makes your curious
Maybe you always wanted to learn how to play the guitar or be a better chef? Chances are if it was something that sparked a bit of interest in your soul, you made time to pursue it. Use that same approach for your podcast.
Flip the switch on in your brain and start thinking about the things that you want to know more about. Chances are there are other people out there that want to know about it too. Then start coming up with content ideas that align with your show’s brand. Do a brain dump. Put all your ideas down and then take a look at the ones that stand out to you and generate a positive response, then dig a little deeper.
This allows you to create some much-needed space for new ideas and inspiration.
Make sure you’re not boring
Any creative will tell you that they spend countless hours going back and refining their work. A musician won’t release a song until they feel like they’ve got it perfect, making sure every note is played perfectly, every vocal on pitch and in-line with the vision they had for the song.
Go back and listen to your podcast. Do a self-audit on your performance and see if there’s anything you can do differently or better. How engaging are you? If you were a brand new listener who stumbled across your show, would it be enough to keep you hooked?
Doing a little self-assessment of your strengths and weaknesses could prove to be invaluable in helping you iron out those trouble spots.
Set new goals
Maybe when you started your podcast you had big lofty, aspirations, like a million downloads. Then when you started seeing the actual numbers it took some of the wind out of your sails. Here’s the thing…this isn’t Twitter or YouTube where it’s easy to see numbers in the thousands and people are clicking on small content snippets that only take a few seconds to minutes of their time.
You’re creating long-form content that requires a commitment from the listener. It’s the size of your potential audience that matters. How many people are out there that are interested in the topics you’re covering? Let’s focus on these numbers, not the number of downloads.
If you had a podcast that had an audience size of 20 people and you were getting 17 downloads, you’d be killing it.
Make sure to keep things in perspective. You’re not Joe Rogan and you shouldn’t be trying to compete with him, so set some new goals and realistic expectations about what you’re trying to achieve.
Relax and enjoy the journey
When it all comes down to it, you started a podcast because you had something to say and wanted to share your voice, and that’s exactly what you’re doing! Forget the stats, the numbers, or the pressure of trying to be the best and just enjoy the journey you’re on.
Focus on creating content that moves people, helps them solve a problem, creates community and relationships, and just have fun with it. Your passion and enthusiasm will shine through and your listeners will take notice and sure enough, you’ll start to see the results you want.