The Biggest Reason Most Podcasts Fail and How to Avoid It Like the Plague

It’s October 2023 as these words hit the canvas and, without question, podcasting has become one of the most popular (if not the most popular depending on who you talk to) forms of media on the planet.

Everyone from the most famous celebrities to your next door neighbor either listen to podcasts, have a podcast of their own, or have turned to podcasts to gain insight on a particular subject.

Podcasts provide creators with a legitimate platform for connection, communication, and collaboration. Brands across the globe leverage podcasts to build trust with their audience, establish authority in their niche, network with like-minded professionals, and amplify their company’s visibility and credibility.

Yep, everyone’s starting a podcast, right?

Well…the answer to that is seemingly ‘yes.’ But the issue isn’t starting a podcast. It’s staying committed to said podcast once it’s launched where most people drop the ball and punt it 60 yards downfield.

There are a number of reasons why most podcasts fail, but before we explore those more closely, let’s take a look at a few stats about podcasting that may blow your mind.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

To the untrained eye, it may seem like podcasts have hit a saturation point. But in reality, the number of podcasts available for consumption isn’t even a drop in the ocean compared to the number of YouTube channels and blogs available on the web today.

And when you consider the following stat, you’ll realize podcasting isn’t even close to a saturation point:

According to Neal Schaffer, there are over 2.5 million podcasts listed on Apple Podcasts as of October 2023. Of those podcasts, only 450,000 are active, meaning they haven’t produced new content in the last 90 days. That’s over 2 MILLION listed podcasts that aren’t bringing new content to life.

You can do your own research if you like, but depending on what website you land on, you’ll see varying statistics that read something to the tune of:

  • 90% of podcasts don’t get past Episode 3

  • Many podcasts don’t get beyond the first 7-10 episodes on average

  • There are tons of podcasts listed that only have 1-2 episodes

Regardless of what info you uncover, it all amounts to the same thing: too many people bail on podcasting WAY too soon.

So Why Do Most Podcasts Fail?

Why do so many aspiring podcasters, whether they’re doing it for “fun” or leveraging it as a brand-building initiative, walk away from their podcast after just a few episodes?

As I said before, there are a number of reasons. Here are a few of the chart toppers:

They Have Unrealistic Expectations

At some point, someone must’ve said “podcasting is easy!” because so many people get into thinking the whole world will show up to listen the moment Episode 1 goes live.

Not the case.

Podcasting is a long game and requires a commitment to building quality content on a consistent basis. You have to approach building a podcast like starting a business – you need a purpose, you need a strategy, and you need to appreciate every element the podcast medium can bring to you and your brand.

Everyone would love the Joe Rogan pay day he got from Spotify, right? Of course…but that pay day didn’t come overnight. Rogan built his reputation in comedy, on television, and through his podcast over a couple DECADES, not a couple minutes, hours, or episode releases.

Unrealistic expectations can derail a new podcast before it even leaves the station.

They Have No Purpose or Strategy

To start a podcast, all you need is an Internet connection.

But to grow a podcast and have it play an active role in your brand, you need to understand your purpose – why you’re cultivating the content, who it serves, what value it can bring to your industry, how it will bring credibility to what you do – and have a strategy that will guide you every step of the way.

Does an architect construct a building without a blueprint? No.

Do they start to build before the foundation is set? No.

Too many podcasters abandon their show because they start without a long-term plan of action or a clearly-defined purpose. Chef does not recommend.

No Understanding of the Work Involved

Podcasting is rewarding, impactful, effective, and fun. The benefits the podcast medium delivers can put your brand on an entirely new course.

But it’s not easy. As I said before, podcasting requires a commitment.

Plus, if you’re trying to do everything yourself, there’s a bunch of new skills to learn – including but not limited to recording, hosting, editing, creating clips, writing show notes, promoting, and acquiring guests.

That’s a lot. And chances are, you’re busy on a daily basis managing other aspects of your operations that trying to shoehorn podcasting into the mix simply isn’t feasible…

…and because of this, everything unravels after a few episodes.

How to Avoid This & What To Do Instead

As someone who’s gained experience working in various roles in the podcast space, the fact that so many great people with a powerful message to bring to the world walk away from what could be a successful podcast before experiencing any significant breakthroughs is disappointing and, to be blunt, frustrating.

I know with the proper mindset and an actionable, thought-out strategy, brands of all shapes, sizes, and missions can leverage podcasting as a key pillar in their brand-building initiatives.

It comes down to building a podcast wisely.

That may sound incredibly simple and somewhat trite, but it’s the truth.

This became my focus at Bombtrack Media.

I asked myself one fundamental question when it comes to busy professionals and podcasting:

These people are not full-time podcasters…why would they ever take on a full-time podcaster’s workload?

To me, of all the reasons professionals who aspire to start a successful podcast fail, trying to assume the workload and production schedule of a full-time podcaster is the biggest.

Even if you record several episodes in advance, it’s still a major strain to try to produce new content on a weekly basis.

If you have the time, it’s a different story.

But ask yourself: do you?

When you factor in everything you’re doing to grow your brand while maintaining balance with your family and social life, the answer is most likely ‘no.’

But that doesn’t mean you can’t leverage the podcast medium to grow your brand, make meaningful connections with current and potential customers, and establish yourself as the go-to resource in your industry.

It simply means you need to podcast smarter, not harder.

  • Instead of focusing on creating weekly podcast content, build a podcast in season format with each episode of the season focused on a specific area of your industry or niche

  • Instead of trying to create a new episode every week, record each season in a few sessions and release each episode in a block (or all at once like Netflix does with their programs)

  • This gives you a resource that serves your brand 24/7/365. New customers will discover you and gain trust in your guidance before ever picking up the phone, existing customers will continue to build a connection, thus elevating them to brand advocate level, and your visibility and authority in your niche will grow with each episode you produce…and you’ll only need to dedicate a fraction of your time to make this happen

  • In addition to having the podcast content, you can clip your audio and video recordings into short-form media for social media, advertisements, educational videos, and more, thus leveraging your content for all it’s worth

As a busy professional, this is hands down the best way to leverage podcasting and have it work for you.

Instead of a podcast demanding too much of your time, it seamlessly becomes a key component of your brand AND puts you on the right side of those nasty statistics I shared earlier.

You’re not a full-time podcaster. Why take on a full-time podcaster’s workload? Start podcasting smarter, not harder today!

Building engaging, explosive podcast seasons for your brand is what I specialize in at Bombtrack Media and I’d love to help you do things right. Click here to get the full scoop and please feel free to contact me directly or set up a free consultation.


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