Here’s what I’ve come to learn about why podcasts die. Podcasts get started when understandably bright-eyed podcasters have high hopes of having fun and/or making a name for themselves and/or making money recording podcast episodes. Did I get it about right for you, personally?
You picture yourself on the mic, either talking with guests, with friends as cohosts, or going it alone, in order to reach out to, and connect with, a specific audience.
And then podcasting gets hard.
It gets hard (or maybe you should read this as “it will get hard”) because:
- Planning for your next episode requires more work than you thought, or
- Booking guests can be more challenging than you expected, or
- There’s an increasing amount of stress to get an episode out the day before you need to get an episode out to continue calling yourself a weekly podcast, or
- Generating a larger audience is tough, or
- Landing a sponsor to actually start making money for your podcast is a huge grind
The stats are actually pretty rough about podcasts, too. Let’s take a look at a few. As of November/December 2018:
- 45.9% of the podcasts in Apple Podcasts had produced just one episode — Daniel J. Lewis
- 50% of all podcasts have 14 or fewer episodes* — Daniel J. Lewis
- An astounding 58% of free podcast host Anchor’s podcasts were inactive — Daniel J. Lewis
*Update: This may not be 100% factually true, as it’s based on data pulled from the Apple Podcasts API and a podcaster may elect to only show the latest 10 episodes in their feed. But do a casual search through Anchor (or even Apple Podcasts in general, for that matter), and you’ll be stunned at the percentage of podcasts that start then stop at the 3-5 episode mark.
It’s really important to come to grips with all of this. If you’re running your podcast as a hobby or a side project, and can’t see down the line what could possibly derail or frustrate you, you’re less likely to avoid it when it does happen.
You'll never want to manage your podcast any other way
Good systems can prevent podfade
Podfade is the word that’s been coined for podcasts slowly, quietly dying. This happens to a lot of podcasters, but it doesn’t have to happen to you.
Good habits and good systems can help prevent this. Here are four great articles to help you develop your own gameplan:
- How to Avoid Podcast Burnout
- The Theory of Cumulative Stress
- 9 Ways to Prevent Burnout
- 4 Habits to Change Your Life by Avoiding Burnout
- Do Things You Can Sustain
Developing routines — habits built around simple systems — is the #1 key to avoiding podfade. More importantly it’s the #1 way to avoid stress.
Make your podcasting tasks simple, bite-sized, and reward yourself when you stay on top of things.
Amateurs have a goal. Professionals have a process.Shane Parrish
If you want a new habit to stick, or to turn a singular achievement (like launching a podcast) into a next-level achievement (reaching 10,000 downloads/episode, landing a sponsor, etc.), it takes next-level thinking.
The risks of your podcast dying increase if you don’t have a system.