5 ways to future-proof your podcast

No time like the present to think about the future


Photo by Tomasz Frankowski on Unsplash

The podcast landscape is changing faster than ever. But the podcasting game is a long one — it takes time to get your sound juuuust right, it takes time to build an audience, it takes time to get to the point where you can make money. That’s why so many podcasts eventually podfade.

Urban Dictionary defines Podfading as, “When a podcast begins putting out episodes more and more sporadically and at greater intervals. Typically begins with only one episode missed, but if a podcast isn’t careful, it can compound, sometimes as severe as one podcast every other month. Podfade often leads to podcast death.”

Ouch. Luckily, there are podcasters like you are in it for the long-haul. Are you ready for the road ahead? Here are 5 ways to adapt and future-proof your podcast.

1. Fight the fade, or not

An analysis of all podcasts out there found that 75% of podcasts are no longer in production. More podcasters will stop putting out content due to lack of routine, not planning ahead, or managing expectations. Don’t fall victim — understand how much time is needed, decide on a sustainable schedule, and map out topics well in advance. What ultimately keeps most podcasters going? The fans and the passion for the content they’re sharing. Have a higher calling that will keep you going day in and day out.

Sometimes podfade can be intentional. Limited run series like Bear Brook and Dr. Death or the adoption of seasons has increasingly grown in popularity. These models let creators be creative, delight their audiences, while also being able to hit “refresh” when needed.

2. Stiff competition

As star power and big-budget production infiltrate a traditionally bootstrap industry, it’s helping bring awareness of podcasts to the masses. Still, with 5.5M podcast episodes added in 2018 alone, competition for ears is more fierce than ever.

Until the podcast discovery problem is solved, word of mouth and personal recommendations will remain crucial tools for getting your show heard. There are multiple ways to blend distribution, cross-promotion, and social to construct a solid marketing strategy. Put a priority on activities that generate buzz, build community, and turn fans into evangelists. Create FOMO, make your listeners feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves.

3. Onwards and upwards

Success can come in many forms and during different stages of your podcasting career. Are you ready to evolve once your hard work starts paying off? So you don’t miss a beat, a workflow is key to getting and staying organized. Map out the entire process, from pre-production research to post-release promotion, finding ways to use automation and templates to increase productivity, minimize mistakes, and save time. Whether your team is growing, you decide to put out more content, or your downloads start to grow like crazy — you’ll be more than prepared for it.

4. Stay on the cutting edge

We don’t have a crystal ball, but we can predict more industry shakeups are yet to come. New apps will be released, Google Podcasts will add more capabilities, a groundbreaking show will disrupt a genre, and audience habits will keep changing too. Staying on top of best practices and ensuring your show is distributed on the right platforms is a must. Signup for a few industry newsletters to digest the headlines from the comfort of your home or get out to podcast events to keep up on emerging trends and tech.

5. Ride the brand wave

The podcast advertiser landscape is changing too. More brand advertisers (think more Clorox than Casper) want in thanks to ad-insertion tech and new measurement standards are letting them experiment more in the space. The good news? New advertising dollars in the industry means more opportunity for monetized podcasts. The challenge? Bringing these brands into the fold to preserve the listener environment. As bigger advertisers get on board, ask yourself how you want your show to sound. Your ad reads will need to adapt so they still sound natural in-content.

The future looks bright, don’t stop now! 

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