Can A Podcast Have an Erratic Schedule? HECK YEAH!

If you read any podcast book out there, one thing they’ve told you time and time again is to keep to a schedule. Even YouTube suggests episodic material should be on a scheduled release. But I am here to say that is not necessary. You might be able to have an unscheduled podcast and still have the audience.

To do this, I am going to help you condition your audience to expect the podcast that doesn’t happen on a regular interval. Keep in mind you still have to do a show at least once every 14-21 days.

Not all Shows Can Follow this Awkward Format

I’ll put it out there – even though I am going to show you a way to do this, not all shows can. Most news shows will do better if they keep to a release day and time. If you are a TV episodic podcast such as Scandal or Grey’s Anatomy, you probably need to keep to a regular schedule – at least during the season.

Other shows – such as interviews shows, reviews, and more could possibly if they don’t have a new episode by Wednesday morning.

You may lose some audience if there is no regular schedule. Some people might complain, too. If the content is useful enough for them, they’ll come back and they will understand.

If the Content is Good…

Ray Ortega

Ray Ortega

Ray Ortega does a hangout podcast called the Podcasters’ Roundtable. He live streams the event with other podcasters and a guest, then turns it into a RSS feed podcast when done. His schedule is so erratic that he could call out the next episode for 4 hours from now.

He gets people to join and he gets podcast traffic from it.

I asked Ray if he finds success in this pattern. He replied:

I think about this often. I think that I have a unique approach that is suited to the content and actually does very well despite itself. In other words, best practices would say to produce a podcast on a regular schedule, one hour, once a week for example, especially for a show that is recorded live.
However, because the goal of my show is to include the entire podcasting community, having a flexible schedule allows me to be more inclusive of a global audience. Having different days and times means more people have a chance to participate. So in my particular situation I think it’s an advantage and the numbers show this.

The end result for Podcasters’ Roundtable is a show where over 70 people watch live and thousands catch when the show is mixed down. All with no set schedule.

Communication is Key in Erratic Podcasting

Giving Direction

Giving Direction

The best way a show can bring their own schedule is if they have a direct line to let the audience know of new episodes. Communication is a vital part to this. Having a rich email list, a community with lots of followers, Twitter following or another way to get a hold of your audience is the best way to bring them back.

Every year I go to CES – Consumer Electronics Show. I made sure I had my contact list I can email so people would know my plans. The videos go up between January and March, then things could be dormant for 8-9 months. These videos also get attention via communication services.

Email is Still the King of Communication


Facebook pages might not get back to your audience. Twitter had a recent insurgence because of the World Cup but the service still only reaches 3% of the US. Then again, if they are not on at that point in time, your tweets could go unread. Email is a medium all business professionals have and read on a daily basis.

According to BizJournals on Email Marketing, some companies have pulled back in favor to Facebook marketing. I am not sure why – unless these businesses have grossly outdated email lists. Still, this is a major advantage for any smaller business.

This BizJournals article also mentions the effectiveness of an email campaign. Jared Polin of Froknowsphoto.com also knows the power of email.

Should You Advertise?

Oh heck yeah! If you watch TV or listen to radio shows, you know they advertise for each other all the time. Creating a 15 second ad “This Podcast Returns on {date}. Go to {website} for more information,” not only lets your listeners know, but might also create a buzz for new consumers.

A $10-$20 Facebook campaign focused around your podcast genre will give you a 14 day promotion window. If you record video, create a couple YouTube promos. You can always take those videos down when your show plays.

Give them Other Content

If I have a reason to go, I will put the website in my regular viewing schedule. If the podcast is not the reason anymore, maybe to read some blog posts or something else. If you start doing some blogging on your site, you have more content to promote in an email.

Running a contest could help keep people coming to the website. Use a program like RaffleCopter to have the fans come back and enter for the daily entry.

Give them Direction, They Will Follow

Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins

Think of it this way: if Tony Robbins was to put out a podcast on an erratic schedule, he would most likely get thousands of listeners to each episode. Of course I mention Tony Robbins because he is a motivational speaker. He knows how to give direction. His fans follow him and will pick up on anything new he does.

You might not have thousands of people watching for your next move. There is no reason why you shouldn’t.

When It’s Time to Podcast

When you do get ready for the next episode, think of this: Going to|am doing |have done attitude. When you chose your time to podcast, you send out a commuication you are going to do it. When you are ready to podcast you communicate you are doing it. When its all done and posted, you communicate you have done the show.

Most podcasters send out tweets and Facebook posts after the fact. Some of those posts are automatic. But the podcaster that preps their audience to a new episode will bring anticipation and knowledge of a finished product by the next day.

Can Your Podcast have an Erratic Schedule? Heck Yes!

Can Your Podcast have an Erratic Schedule? Heck Yes!

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  • kkliman

    I think there is a huge opportunity in being able to turn on and publish whenever. also taking advantage of that by going live to air adds to it. an app like instaradio lets you do that