You met on the Internet. You talked for hours. Everything was new and exciting. The adrenaline was pumping. It was all you could think about. You told everyone on Facebook about it. At first, everyone said you were great together. You know who you are and you know what happened.
You fell in love with podcasting.
But where has the love gone? People stopped caring as much. Your friends change the subject when you talk about it. It could be time to admit what everyone else has been whispering - you need to either seek professional help or break up and move on.
Such is often the state of a podcast in need of transformation. So what are some of the causes? What can be done about it?
PODFADE - THE STRUGGLE IS REAL
A good indication that your show might need a revamp is that YOU are getting bored with it. It happens to the best of us. Remember when you first launched? Things were frantic, editing was tedious, but the reward was opening up iTunes and seeing your hard work come down the pipe. You popped in the headphones and heard yourself - an instant peer among podcasting giants.
One day, and you’re not sure why, you just didn’t listen as often or at all. Recording became a job. Talking about your favorite subject turned into a task. The joy started to fade and it may very well have left for your audience many episodes ago. You’re showing the early signs of Podfade.
PODCAST GROWTH HAS STALLED
Stats are a big deal to podcasters and you know it. Look, don’t tell me you don’t check them regularly. We all do and we all care. While touting huge numbers may not be your modus operandi, we can agree that audience growth matters. Take out the variables of marketing and engagement strategies; when your stats flatline, it’s a red flag. When the numbers start to drop, it’s time to take a hard look at your content. Bottom line is that listeners are leaving and there is a reason.
How much time do you dedicate to listening to podcasts every week? 4 hours? 10 hours? Now, how much time are you willing to carve out to listen to a new, weekly show?
Example: Your colleague just launched a new podcast. You’re stoked. You follow her link, you open it in iTunes and you click subscribe. You are a good person. But wait...the first show is an hour and a half long? Wow! Here’s what this nice lady really asked you to do: Please find 90 minutes this week to listen to me. Thanks!
Um... I can’t speak for you, but I know I don’t have 90 minutes to give, every week. Now, if you offer me a 30 minute show, I’m in. I can take that down over breakfast and decide to commit or not. Once you cross the 45 minute threshold, I start thinking of better things to do.
Truly consider the length of your show when retooling. While you and your guest are awesome, you’re looking at it from the inside. A dinner party with friends can be fun and interesting for hours. Imagine listening to someone else’s dinner party for hours. Ya!
For many, that’s what their podcast has become. A lot of inside baseball, reiteration of prior statements, references to previous shows nobody heard, and frankly, folks who love to hear themselves talk - about themselves.
Keep it pithy, keep it concise, and put a restraint on it. Trust me, people will thank you for it.
REFRESH THE AUDIO BRANDING
One quick and easy way to shake up your show is new audio branding. The intro to your show is the audio equivalent of a book sleeve. Folks are going to look at the cover, pick it up, and try and get a feel for its content. The pacing, energy, and message sets the stage for both the audience and you.
I recommend listening to the intro of your shows ahead of recording. It brings your voice to the right pace, timbre, and feel to match the expectations the audio intro has set for the listener. A quick rescript, some upbeat music, and the right voice actor, can really punch up a stale program.
REWRITE (OR WRITE) THE SHOW CLOCK
Radio folks are familiar with this. In short, a show clock is a way to divide the preset time of your program into segments. Developing a show clock for your podcast can help you see an overview of the program. What’s more, you can refine your segments to keep things punchy and hold listeners’ attention. Here’s an example of a simple show clock we recently developed for a client’s rebrand:
0:00:00 - 0:00:30 PreRoll Clip
0:00:30 - 0:01:00 Audio Branding Intro
0:01:00 - 0:03:00 Host VOX* Intro
0:03:05 - 0:05:00 Section (Listener feedback/questions, tips, hacks, follow up)
0:05:00 - 0:25:00 Guest Interview (can vary in length)
0:25:00 - 0:30:00 Host VOX* Outro
0:30:00 - 0:30:30 PostRoll Clip (teaser for next week)
0:30:30 - 0:31:00 Audio Branding Outro
*VOX stands for vocals in studio settings. This is the host’s(s’) voice.
Breaking a show up into segments and committing to those times frames, gives you some healthy parameters to work within. Also, demonstrates to the listener that you respect every moment they have very graciously given you.
UPGRADE THE EQUIPMENT
Another way to make your show sound fresh, and perhaps better, is to upgrade your equipment. If you’ve been chomping on an ATR-2100 for the past year, but are getting serious about sound, this could be the time to consider recording your show with a more professional microphone. The Shure SM7B or the Heil PR40 are industry standards, and a fancy new Focusrite interface makes a huge difference.
Believe me, as a chronic buyer of shiny objects with blinking lights, restraint is often called for. There is a never-ending sea of toys and tools to spend money on. However, if you’ve decided to take your podcasting to a new level of quality and professionalism, this expense can be justified. If you’re unsure what equipment is right for you, a quick consultation with a pro can steer you in the right direction.
There’s no magic combo here. The best first step is to step back. Take an objective look at your show and consider what might be missing or what might be too much.
If you’re really stuck, then our Podcast TuneUp session can definitely help you move forward with revamping your podcast.
So, do you want to fall in love with your show all over again?