I have to admit: there are a few podcasts I just don’t listen to anymore. The format has changed or the show has become inconsistent. One podcast I took off my list because they ran a very annoying segment that went from a couple weeks in the year to 4-5 times a year. It didn’t fit the show and the voices they had were making me cringe. You might change your podcast to get more audience, but you also want to make sure your not loosing listeners/viewers because of what you are doing. On the other hand, you might loose one and gain hundreds.
I wrote about restructuring the podcast so I won’t spend too much time on it. I suggested doing a six week run of a segment. If your audience likes it, they’ll let you know. If your numbers start to drop, you WILL know.
Time is Not on Your Side
Some shows started out as 15 or 20 minutes and crept up and up. When they approach an hour and not increase the content value, it’s time to re-evaluate. – Chuck Tomasi
When I switched my podcast to Geek Smack! I wanted to make sure the show didn’t go past 45 minutes. At the time, the show would hit an hour plus – which I knew was losing audience. I put a plan together which included splitting the show into 3 sections – Tech news, geek news and a feature editorial. That way they could skip to their favorite part. The key (in my case) was to keep the same amount of topics and not linger on about them. Faster pace can help and also kill the audience. It really depends on if you can convey a message across in a shorter amount of time. Internet communities say 20 minute podcasts is a good average target time. I say 30 – just like in TV. The key to that is how you mark your breaks. When I switch from Tech Smack! to Geek Smack! I don’t count the 2 minutes I take with changeover and sponsor. Same thing with Geek Smack! to the Editorial. So even though I go 40 minutes, I account for 36 minutes. Here’s a Tip: Set up a timer on your smartphone or just get a kitchen timer. Do your segment – when the time is up you are done. If there are any stories left to talk about; just tell them to go to your website. They might just do that.
Surveys are good if done at most once-a-year. Don’t run them too long or else your audience might revolt or ignore the survey. Find out what they like and don’t like in one shot so you can make changes accordingly.
Draining the Well
I think sometimes that passion goes away when the rewards, either monetary or just audience engagement aren’t strong enough – Neal Campbell
Interesting thought. You might not have run out of things to say, more to the point you run out of things the audience wants to hear. Especially if you have a Niche podcast. If your show starts to be rhetorical, changing it could be the best bet. If you find someone that has moved away from your podcast, become curious and find out why. It may open your eyes to get things back on track.
What’s the Point?
For me, I’ll turn off a podcast that doesn’t deliver on its premise. If it’s an unfunny comedy podcast, or an uninformative business podcast, I’ll drop it. On interview shows, the guest better be interesting, and the host better not be tossing softballs the whole time, because a dull interview is the *worst*. – Daniel M. Clark
Here’s a Tip: Not all interviews are going to go your way. I have done interviews that didn’t make sense to me on the product they were talking about. When I went back to listen again, I realized I threw “Softball” questions (a question that keeps the interview moving but doesn’t bring out any hard information). If the show is live then there is not much you can do. However, if you recorded for mixdown, a little bit of editing and your question could either be taken out or edited to feel a little more informative. Just as long as the point is not misconstrued.
Wait. I Have to do this EVERY WEEK?
Inconsistent release schedules put me off. I like to know I can get the next episode of the show on a given day each week. Also, as a previous poster said, I can’t forgive mucked up audio levels between different hosts. – Scottiedogg
Maybe not every week but a good schedule does bring people to your site. If they know there is content they will carve out time to show up. However if the content is not there, people might just stop coming over to check. Last month I had a very erratic schedule. I was covering 3 different events within a 4 week period. I didn’t have time to do Geek Smack! So I let viewers know of the hectic schedule and hoped they would come back when I was back. In the meantime I had content from other events. If you don’t do a show simply because you don’t feel like it, people will start to see that and stop coming. If you keep in touch with your audience and let them know why you didn’t have a show they are a little more sympathetic. Just as long as you get back on schedule.
Good Audio or Great Topic
The audio has to be relatively good or the topic good enough that I’m willing to put up with not-so-good audio. –Kevin Bayer
I hear this all the time. The video could be messed up but the audio better be at it’s best. Of course, if the topic is compelling then some people will suffer through the bad to get the goods. If the podcast continues to be bad audio it will eventually drive people away. Podcasts with active audiences will tell you what they hear. Still – just because they don’t say anything doesn’t mean your doing it right. They might just leave instead of interacting. So does that mean you don’t have great content? Maybe you really do – it’ just not their cup of tea. Here’s A Tip: Have software to correct a problem. I just recorded an episode of iPad365. When I moved the recording to my computer for editing, I noticed a present buzz. Luckily it was one I could edit out with effects. The audio wasn’t picture perfect, but it didn’t have that buzz in it.
Too Much Use of Effects in the Podcast
One show I listened to over-used effects like reverb and I don’t know what else. It sounded strange and unnatural and after a while I just couldn’t stand it anymore. Another podcast contained too much giggling. Laughing is one thing, lots of laughing kind of turns me off, but I can’t stand lots of giggling. I’m not 14. – Max Flight
I don’t see too many podcasts do that nowadays. There is a US syndicated radio show where the hosts use laugh tracks over music. They do that to make sure nobody bootlegs the content. If they do, this shows laughter follows. It’s no different than if a DJ talks through a song until the first lyric is sung. It may be annoying but it’s also meant to keep people from recording the song for their libraries. I have recorded podcasts and later found I accidentally turned on the reverb. It’s a feature of the mixer and I do use it for when I play guitar through my rig. I agree with Max – too much of that and I am out.
Same thing goes with room noise. I have done many podcasts where you can hear the room too much. Those were the early shows. Now, everything has some type of attenuation or compression/gate to it. If not through electronics then through digital add-ons. Keeping the sound spot-on is a task, but with the right software and hardware it can be fixed. I recently recorded some one-on-one interviews at VMWorld. We were in a room so I decided to use the camera mic instead of my wireless. The end result did have a little more bounce from the room. With a bit of work it sounded OK. Not the best work but not the worst, either.
The Keys to Podcast Success
- Try, try again.
- Listen to the people for they will tell you what is wrong.
- Listen to yourself – if you don’t feel it’s right, then it might not be.
- Listen to your podcast – If you can’t suffer through it, why would anyone else do it?
- Fix the problems – don’t just shrug your shoulders and move on. You never know when you do that to the million dollar podcast
- Be willing to change – If you are set in your ways your audience could move on.
- Give them a reason to want to come back the next time.
- People will come and go. Some people will come back later when they re-discover. Just keep going.