When to Release Your Podcast
05.28.18 | Podcasting Basics | By: Jon Street
Over the last several weeks we have taken some time to compile a series of resources aimed at helping podcasters or want-to-be-podcasters just like you, get the tools they need to know how to get the ball rolling on podcasting. We’ve covered a lot so far. We’ve considered Why you should even consider podcasting. We looked at Who the types of people are that should podcast. Then we tackled What you should podcast about, Where you should record your podcasts, finally even addressing How to best record them. We’re trying to get down to the nitty-gritty basics of podcasting. And if you’ve been tracking through this series with us then I want to quickly stop & say thank you! I really hope our goal of helping you navigate the waters has been achieved. As much as I love to sit down & hash out interesting content like this for my own enjoyment, if it’s not helping people like you get what you need, then honestly it’s kind of pointless. We want to see you thrive in podcasting by addressing the basics you’ll need to know as you start out. And it seems at this point there isn’t a whole lot left to say about the basics other than discussing the When. Reviewing when to podcast will be the final piece of this puzzle that will hopefully put you on a trajectory to future podcasting success. So as we dig in here, let’s get our bearings on where we will be going.
Why When Matters
By discussing the when we intend to cover some things, yet not cover some others. I don’t intend to tell you what time to set your alarm to for recording your episodes. Honestly that wouldn’t be much use & it would just be a waste of your time. You’re a big kid. You can probably figure out when is best for your own schedule. If you have that family dinner on Tuesday night, plan accordingly. But there is some advice that can be offered regarding releasing your content. This is where I want to focus our discussion. When you will release your episodes has to be thought through before anyone can ever have the chance to press play & enjoy it. Ideally by this point you’ve already done all the hard work. You’ve considered. You’ve brainstormed. You’ve decided. You’ve bought equipment & even made your first recording. What you need help with now is knowing the best time to let others start to hear it. Countless people ask questions around this topic. Honestly, probably every podcaster has. Perhaps you’ve been there yourself or are there now. Maybe you will be in the days ahead. We all know the questions. When is the best time to release your episodes? What day is best? How many episodes do I release with? These are all great questions worth considering. Let’s discuss.
Creating a Plan
As we roll up our sleeves I want to touch briefly on the idea of preparing for the release of your podcast. While we we will deal with the nuances of which day, how many & how frequently here in a moment, I want to look at the release from the big picture perspective. Once you have an episode, or in some cases, a handful of episodes, under your belt, you will need to release them. Fair enough. We’ve mentioned that. But I want to encourage you to be thoughtful, intentional & knowledgeable about what you want to do before you do it. Don’t just “decide” to release your podcast…put some thought into it. Before you pull the curtain back for the big reveal, figure out the best way to make it worthy of a standing ovation. Or maybe at least a positive review. For you to get the results you want when you release, I think you need to give your project a little loving TLC. Do you have a launch date in mind? How many episodes will you release with? Will you have a trailer or teaser? How frequently will you be releasing? The urge here is for you to actually develop a plan, don’t just “let it happen”. We’ve all seen good intentions that have gone by the wayside due to a lack of preparation. Before you roll out your content for others to feast on, come up with a game plan on what the rollout will actually look like. Set a goal for yourself & work backwards to know what needs done between now & then.
Go Easy on Yourself
We’ve heard the desperate cries from more than one podcaster asking us to just get their episodes done so they can stick with their release schedule. “I just launched!” “I need to get this out!” “My release day is tomorrow & I’m still not ready!” We’ve navigated these waters with many-a-podcaster & are more than happy to do what we can to help you succeed! But why not give yourself a little breathing room with some extra planning? In the end you will thank yourself if you carve out the time for a little thoughtful preparation. What’s this look like? Planning ahead of time to have a handful of completed episodes done in advance is a strategy many of our clients have had great success with. That saves you from having to feel the pressure of the process immediately after release day. Now maybe that doesn’t fit your theme, style or even your personality. That’s ok. It’s not a golden rule. But if your content can still be heard, relevant & impactful a month from now, why not take the additional time to plan ahead? Take the time to record a few extra episodes on the front end & give yourself a chance to watch it all unfold. There’s nothing worse than having to come off of the excitement of the rollout just because you have to get back to work to stay on schedule. One thing to help you in that aim is to consider adding in a buffer week when you launch.
Whetting the Whistle
I want to ask you important question. How much have you thought about your first episode? Seriously. I know you have great stuff you want others to hear. I know your episodes are just so juicy that people will find it unbearable to get through the off-days until you release more content for them to devour. But honestly, how much time & attention has been given to the first exposure others will have to your new venture? This is something you need to think through carefully. It’s the old adage about first impressions being everything. Make sure your first episode is an accurate depiction of what your listeners can expect. If you’re new at podcasting you will improve & refine things over time. That’s to be expected. But there’s nothing worse than tuning in to a podcast to hear something that isn’t all that interesting or impressive. Be thoughtful about what your listener’s first exposure to the podcast will be. Is it engaging? Motivating? Will it make then interested in coming back? Does it accurately describe what they can expect in episodes 2-200? You want to gain long-time, faithful listeners. Help them know what you’re asking them to sign up for! Something our clients have had great success with rolling out a teaser or trailer episode as their first episode. This is exactly what it sounds like. Like the advertisement for a movie or show, it’s a sampling of what the listener can expect in the weeks to come. It’s designed to build anticipation. Though typically much shorter than a full-length episode, many podcasters put a lot of time & attention into this because it builds the hype to the listeners. Often they will have cinematic elements aimed at wowing the listener & pique their interest to tune in next week. Not sure what to do with yours? Call us. We’ve gotten pretty good at it.
Choosing “The Day”
I know. I know. You’ve muddled your way through this article just to get here. In reality you may have just scrolled down the page to this heading because this is all that matters to you. Trust me, I know the game. The question of release day is the age-old podcasting question tracing its roots back to the beginning of podcast-dom. Are you ready? Well I’ll be honest right from the outset & say there is no definitively clear answer. To my knowledge, not much effective or even thorough research has been done on what day or even time of day is best to release your episodes. The research I’ve seen shows that the variance in the numbers is actually pretty inconsequential. While some podcasters have offered their feedback on the topic & others have even shared about their experiences in tracking the analytics, it’s all somewhat subjective. That being said, their findings are worth digesting. I know it seems to be the million dollar question, but the reality seems to be that there’s no clear answer. You look disappointed. I’m sorry! I know you were looking for that hidden treasure that would set your podcast apart from all others. It just seems not to be a real thing. Think about it. You’re releasing a medium that is consumable & accessible 24/7/365. This is not live, broadcast tv that is only aired once (so you better have that VHS recorder set up!). Your listeners will listen whenever is most convenient for them. Not only that, but you will gain listeners as time progresses, not all up front. And since you will build a following as time goes on it’s hard to know what is best for your audience when you don’t really have one yet. Now to be clear, once you develop a listenership & can begin to track your analytics, you may better be able to decide what time or day is best to gain ongoing traction for new listeners & retaining your current ones. Maybe your audience dials in more when you release early in the morning when they’re on their way to work. This might be true for the life coach podcaster who seeks to inspire their listeners to start out their day right. But I would guess that a large majority of thriller & mystery themed podcasts are consumed at night. I mean, who wants to sit on the edge of their seat before their first cup of coffee is even down? The point is, discover what is best for your listeners as time goes on & adapt accordingly if you feel you need to. But if the numbers mean anything, it probably won’t matter much unless your content is time-sensitive or intended on covering breaking news.
Unlocking the Key
Now once you’ve created the plan, the key is to try & actually stick with it as much as possible. Life happens. Plans change. Interviews get pushed back & rescheduled. Technical errors pop up. It’s inevitable. I get it. But having a concrete plan or goal helps you to get back on track if & when you do get off of it. The main theme here I want to drive home for you is one simple thing: consistency. Consistency in the key. More important than anything else is this little idea of consistency. It seems so simple yet we often have a hard time with it. But it it’s power & importance cannot be overlooked. Even if your consistency isn’t as frequent as you may want or like, content that is reliably released & well made (even if less frequent) will be better received & more excitedly consumed than podcasts that are posted more regularly but are haphazard. If you want to do a weekly podcast but aren’t quite sure you can do it well, start with every-other week. Do that consistently for a period, then once you get your bearings, increase your frequency. It’s always better to have fewer well-thought out episodes than more “wait, what did I just listen to?” kinds of episodes. It’s always easier to increase the frequency than taper it off. Undersell & overdeliver if you have to. Especially if you’re just settling in to podcasting, the need for establishing consistency will be critical for you because as you become more comfortable & develop good, consistent patterns, you will be better able to figure out how to improve & spend the time & attention where it’s needed because you’ve gotten a good feel for what it takes to do it successfully. But another point before we dock the ship.
Understanding the Process
One final thing I will offer is a little insight into the actual process of posting. Once you have everything ready to go, there is still a little behind-the-scenes work to be done. Once you’ve recorded & the post-production process is completed, the finalized audio still has to reach the listeners. How this all works is pretty simple. Your podcast will have to have a hosting site set up. This is very simply where your episodes will be uploaded & “live”. While there are many, some common hosting platforms are Libsyn, Audioboom & Podbean. All have pros & cons that can be discussed elsewhere. Whatever you choose, once the hosting is setup, an RSS feed is created which is simply the method used to distribute your content to a large number of people. But to reach the people is an accessible & user-friendly way, this RSS feed needs to be told where to go. This is where directories like iTunes, Stitcher, GoogePlay, TuneIn, even Spotify, come into play. These are the places your listeners will go to hear to your content. But beyond explaining the basics, I want to help you understand that setting all of this up is a little more involved than just a click of a button. All of these directories have an approval process & they work independently of each other. While the information might be sent to each of them simultaneously, they may not all be approved at the same time. This is something you’ll need to understand if you’re thinking of that big, looming launch date. The date you keep telling everyone about & asking people to set their countdowns for. Since it’s not a process automated to happen at the drop of a hat, the reality is you may have to set up the directories before you intend to even launch to make sure your release date is actually realistic. Is there still some fogginess about this? Not a problem. Our team deals with this regularly. Let us know what we can answer for you to make sure you’re listeners can actually hear what you’re promoting when you say it’ll be available.
Make Sure it’s Ready
The final piece of the podcast rollout pie (yum) is making sure you have everything you need to establish the hosting. In order to set up the hosting you have to have: the podcast title & description, a finalized audio file with intro music (if desired), your podcast artwork as well as the title & description of your first episode. Not really sure what all that entails? Great news! We help with that. We have packages & a la carte services designed to give you everything you’ll need have things ready for your launch.
Whew. We did it! We tackled the basics! I know this has been a rollercoaster full of ups & downs. But thanks for tagging along for the ride. I know I’ve given you a lot to think about not only here but throughout the series. But I want to be practical. So if I could boil it down to 3 simple takeaways, here they are. First, you can do it. People just like you launch successful podcasts every day. You are not an exception. Secondly, a little planning goes a long way. If you can take just a few minutes, days or even a week to plan out the idea in your head, the chances of your success are much greater. Lastly, you’re not alone. We are here for you! Seriously. We want to make sure you have everything you need to do what you are excited about doing. For you it’s a passion, for us, it’s our expertise. Let’s come together & make a wonderful thing happen! Looking for more support? Don’t forget to check out our recent post on marketing your podcast for more insight on how to get the best traction for your podcast. And stay tuned! There is plenty more related content coming in the days ahead! Happy podcasting!
More from this series:
- Podcasting Basics: Overview
- Podcasting Basics: Why Podcast?
- Podcasting Basics: Who Should Podcast
- Podcasting Basics: What to Podcast About
- Podcasting Basics: Where to Record a Podcast
By: Jon Street
As the Production Coordinator at Resonate Recordings, Jon leads the production team & ensures that all our podcasters have everything needed to release consistent high-quality episodes. Jon & his family are from West Palm Beach, Florida & now live in Simpsonville, KY.