Why Do So Many Podcasts Fail?

DID YOU KNOW: The average podcaster produces just SEVEN podcast episodes before quitting? Or that 90% of podcasts created won’t make it passed their first three months?

Those are crazy numbers.

As this feature goes live, there are over a million active podcasts and counting. But there are also thousands and thousands of inactive podcasts – some with maybe one episode to their credit, others with a small handful of releases, and others with zero uploaded shows. Many podcasts get launched, then immediately flatline.

Today, we are going to discuss why.

There are a number of reasons a podcast may fail. For starters, a podcast gets launched with no real direction. Or, a podcast may go live and those behind it don’t truly understand the work that’s involved in making their show grow and succeed. Or, the podcaster may run out of content on the subject they choose to podcast about.

For brands, other initiatives may take a higher priority, causing their podcast to take a backseat before being abandoned altogether. This holds true for individuals who start podcasts as well.

If a podcast is treated as a hobby, then that’s what it’ll be: a hobby. A hobby is always fun to go back to when time is available. But when other items in life and in business take priority, a hobby slides further down the to-do list and, eventually, can fade away.

When I was in my early teens, I was a big sports card collector. In fact, my first “small business” was selling my sports cards at trade shows and to friends. As I got older, my interests changed, and card collecting/selling slowly, but surely, became a thing of my past.

All that said, the biggest reason podcasts fail is this: they get launched without a plan.

Like any content initiative (social media ads, blog series, video campaigns, etc.), a podcast needs to be approached with a strategy. If you were investing money in a series of ads for your brand, you would expect a return on that investment. Those ads would need to have a purpose, such as raising brand awareness or driving traffic to a landing page or website.

Your podcast is no different.

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All of the critical items related to your podcast need to be plotted out before you ever turn on a microphone. If you start firing aimlessly with no target for where you want your show to go, you’ll never be able to maximize its value.

The first step in the process is deciding that a podcast is the right content strategy for you and committing to the initiative. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to answer some questions and develop a plan that will help you launch your podcast the right way. There’s no timetable for this. The important thing is to not rush and take the initial steps methodically.

Laying a foundation on which to build your podcast cannot be overlooked. This will help as you grow your audience and expand upon your content with each episode you release.

Here are a few of the important questions you want to ask yourself as you develop your podcast plan:

  • What do I want to accomplish by starting a podcast?
  • How much time can I commit to my podcast each week?
  • What is the name of my podcast?
  • How often will I publish new episodes of my podcast?
  • What is the length of my episodes?
  • What is the subject matter of my podcast?
  • Will I have guests and how will I recruit them?
  • How will I launch my podcast?
  • How will I market my podcast?
  • What can I do to truly make my podcast stand out among the podcasts in my niche/industry?
  • What kind of equipment do I need to invest in?

There is a lot to consider. BUT, if you put it all down on paper and determine how each phase will develop, you’ll have a better idea of where your podcast can go. It’s much better to know these things on the front end instead of trying to figure them out as you go.

If you’ve decided you want to launch a podcast, you’ve made a great choice! Now, it’s time to go to work and plan it out. Don’t let your podcast become another statistic and stumble at the starting line.

Lay the foundation. Then, build the skyscraper.


If you need some assistance getting started, I designed a Podcast Primer that you can pick up for free.

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I covered this topic on Episode 5 of Pod Theory. Listen below and subscribe wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts!

 

 

 

 

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