Choosing the right time to release your podcast is an important step in the launch process. How many episodes should you publish when you launch? What day of the week or hour of the week is best to publish? These questions are crucial for new podcasters planning to launch a new show and for seasoned podcasters looking to optimize their posting schedule.
In this blog we’ll spend the first half discussing the best day and time for scheduling your podcast, and why developing a consistent schedule for your show is important to growing a loyal audience. In the second half we’ll show you how to reverse engineer the steps to launching a new podcast. So let’s dive in.
Why Your Publishing Schedule Matters
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.
- What is the best day and time to publish?
- How many episodes do I launch with?
- What will my regular posting schedule be?
These are all great questions worth considering. Let’s discuss.
What is the Best Day and Time to Schedule a Podcast?
Research from Megaphone reveals that most podcasters publish the most new episodes on Wednesday, Tuesday, and Thursday (in that order) between 2AM and 5AM, with 5AM gaining the max amount of downloads.
At Resonate, we help podcasters schedule and distribute podcasts every day. Our team defaults to publishing new episodes for 5AM EST on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. There are several benefits to scheduling out your content early in the morning in the middle of the week.
Puts You at the Top of Your Subscribers Feed
Releasing your episode first thing in the morning greatly increases the likelihood that your episode will appear in the top of your subscribers feed on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, etc. It’s best to get your podcast live on the platforms first thing so that they will be available for other marketing campaigns, like sharing a link on social media or including the show in an email newsletter.
Leaves Buffer Time for Podcast Directories to Refresh Your Feed
Podcast directories pull content from an RSS feeds by running periodical “refreshes” and pulling content from the feeds. This means that there is often a lag time between when you schedule an episode to go live and when it actually is available on an app like Apple Podcasts. This has frustrated and confused many of our clients. That’s another huge reason that we recommend launching your episode at 5AM – it gives some great buffer time for the directories to run a refresh and make sure your content is live before 7 or 8AM when many listeners may be excited to tune in for some early morning infotainment.
Works Across Multiple Timezones
If you are podcasting in North America, posting new episodes at 5AMEST is excellent because it ensures your content will be available first thing in the morning across both the East and West coasts. Consider studying what time zone your listeners are tuning in from to further optimize when you release new episodes.
Caveat: You Should Listen to Your Specific Audience Data
While we generally recommend that you post new episodes at 5AM between Tuesday and Thursday based on the data from Megaphone’s research and the general trend in podcasting, we have to be honest and let you know that your mileage may vary. Just because this trend is generally accepted does not mean it will instantly boost your shows performance.
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.
Other podcasters have offered their feedback on the topic & some have even shared about their experiences in tracking the analytics, but it’s all somewhat subjective. Don’t be afraid to experiment for yourself and study your podcast analytics to learn what’s best for your audience.
Why a Consistent Publishing Schedule is Crucial to Growth
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.
How to Plan a Podcast Launch
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.
Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself
- What is our target launch date?
- How many episodes will we launch with?
- Will you have a trailer or teaser episode?
- How frequently will you be publishing new episodes?
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.
Create Buffer Room in Your Launch Schedule
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.
We recommend adding in a buffer week when you launch.
Launch with a Trailer Episode
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.
A podcast trailer 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. You can learn more about podcast trailers in our video on “What is a Podcast Trailer.”
How Podcast Distribution Works: Understanding RSS Feeds and Directories
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”. There are dozens of hosting platforms, but we built Resonate Hosting so you can manage distribution from the same platform you trust for all your podcast production needs. But whatever platform you choose, once the hosting is set up, 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 Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, and TuneIn 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 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 your listeners can actually hear what you’re promoting when you say it’ll be available.
What You Need to Launch a Podcast
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
- Title & description of your trailer or 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 need to launch a podcast.
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.
- You can do it
- A little planning goes a long way
- You are not alone
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.