Common Mistakes Podcasters Make Within their First 5 Years

Norma Jean Belenky, Head of Events Podbean, Indonesia

The podcast journey has its own pitfalls and successes. Starting out is exciting, but challenges like PodFade undoubtedly arise for newbies. Thus, it is important to strategize for the long term.

The first common mistake is the lack of a clear niche. A podcast should avoid appealing to a broad audience. Instead, create an audience avatar that envisions not just who is listening to your podcast, but aspects about them. Moreover, identifying your goals. Downloads are an important metric, but some podcasts are better used as a lead generator, a way to monetise other platforms, or to create a new subscription model.

Secondly, ignoring audio quality. Edit to enhance clarity and consistency, as consistency not only relies on sound quality, but also in format and sound signature. “Your audience comes to expect a certain format, your job is to deliver,” Norma Jean Belenky shared that sound signatures will incite a pavlovian response in your listeners.

Third, an inconsistent release schedule. A factor is the format of your show. Narrative podcasts may take hours of sound design and post-production. Adjust your upload times accordingly – “Think about the labor that goes into your show,” she said. 

Fourth, overlooking SEO and metadata. Besides keywords in show notes and titles, including tags in description and utilizing transcripts to increase searchability, accessibility, and inclusivity for those differently abled. A podcast can be optimized for discoverability with bite-sized snippets on social media or key takeaways for those with short attention spans.

Fifth, avoiding networking opportunities. For new podcasters who are nervous or shy, Norma Jean said, “”There is no podcast that is too small… If you don’t reach out now, when will you reach out?” Don’t be afraid to ask for a collab, interview swap or feed drop. Virtual and in-person events like conferences and podcast clubs will open doors to meet with other podcasts in your niche. 

Sixth, lack of promotion. Short-form videos are ideal for the younger generation whereas email newsletters feel more intimate. Moving on, mini launches for upcoming episodes can help generate word of mouth. It is also crucial to pinpoint what value your podcast offers; Can you provide connections such as meetup opportunities? Can you offer discounts for merchandise, subscriptions, or advertising collaborations? This goes hand-in-hand with neglecting engagement. Frequent response to social media comments is how you avoid treating your podcast as a “one way street.” 

Lastly, building a podcast network. Learn to cross-collaborate and promote with your network to launch new properties via feed drops or trailers. With modern software, it is easy to manage all properties from the same account. Work on developing relationships with agencies to produce targeted campaigns that may occur over the entire podcast. This provides further value to your audience and sells campaigns across multiple shows, sessions and catalogs of content.

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