What to do if your podcast is failing.

Today I'm talking about what to do if your podcast bombs.

Hopefully you won't need this, but actually it's useful to think about the stuff I'm going to talk about because we can all (and I include myself) benefit from taking time to reflect on our podcast.

Go Back To The Beginning

One of the first things I do when I work with clients on their podcast is ask them what success looks like for them. Why are they doing this podcast? Because if you don't know what success measures you're going for, then how will you know and understand if what you are doing is a success or a failure?

If you're looking at your podcast now and you think it's failing you need to know how it is failing so we can then understand why it is failing.

What you define as success with your podcast is entirely up to you. There are no rules - it's not like a game of football where success is simply scoring more goals than the opposition.

Success for your podcast can come under all sorts of banners. You could decide that success is measured in the number of downloads per episode, week, month, quarter etc. It could be the number of countries where your podcast is listened to. Perhaps you want to use your podcast as part of your sales funnel so a marker of success is the number of sales you can directly attribute to the podcast (this can be tricky to measure accurately.) Maybe your podcast is your way of approaching people you want to start networking with. So you use the cover of a podcast interview request to get on their radar. Or maybe your podcast is for you to be consistent in your content production and repurposing.

My point is if you've defined success as producing one episode a week and using the content in other social media, but you've decided your podcast is a failure because it's not number 1 in the Apple Charts then you are wrong. And you are in danger of putting yourself off podcasting.

So the first thing to do is decide if your podcast is in fact failing or if you've had your head turned by a different success measure than you originally set out with.

Next it's worth re-visiting your why and asking yourself if it's the right why and if your measure of success is correct. Without getting too deeply philosophical, nothing in this life is permanent so it could well be time to adjust why you are doing your podcast. If you are doing it for the downloads, maybe focus on getting clients from your podcast instead. And yes that does mean you still need an audience but be picky about your audience. Not just anybody who'll listen.

I really recommend looking again at what you are doing and going through some of those early foundation building processes if you are struggling to get your head around your podcast. You can hear me talk about podcast planning in episode 31 and you can also get your hands on the first chapter of my podcast planning toolkit for free here. The first chapter is all about your podcast foundations.

Going back to the beginning really helps re-establish those foundations and makes sure your podcast works for you - for what you want it to do an to make sure it is the success you want it to be. Not the success your mate, your partner, your brother, your sister (you get the drift) want it to be.

Are you self sabotaging your podcast?

There's a few questions you've got to answer about your behaviour with your podcast.

Firstly, are you being consistent? I say this a lot I know but consistency is important. Showing up when you say you will show up not only builds up that trust between you and the audience, but it helps cement you in to their lives. It makes you part of their habits. I spoke about this a lot in last week's episode so I won't bang on about it too much, but being a part of somebody's habit is a key way of building up that relationship. But if you are regularly late publishing your podcast or you regularly skip a week or two then you will be replaced. Harsh but true.

So if you are not delivering when you're promising to deliver your podcast may well start to fail. This is easily fixed by actually being consistent. And if you need to rejig your week or need to batch record to do that - then have a look at doing that.

And talking about delivering what you've promised - does your podcast actually offer any value to the listener? I know podcasts are free content, but the deal you are striking with the audience is their time for your message. If your message doesn't give them an equal or higher value than they rate their time then they won't buy in to what you are doing. You won't build that relationship or that authority.

Remember you are talking to and with your audience - and only one person. It's a one to one conversation because the vast majority of people are on their own when they listen to podcasts. So keep that intimacy in mind.

Who is your focus on for your podcast? Are you focussing on the problems you can solve for your audience being engaging, telling stories or is it all about you. Telling the listener how great you are and banging on all about you. Selling at them?

Can you guess which one is going to get a better response? Yes. It's not all about you. And if it is, go back to the planning and put yourself in your audience's shoes. What is going on in their head at the moment? Where are their problems? How can you solve them? That's what your content needs to be about.

If you've been listening for a while, you'll know my favourite joke. I'm going to tell it to you again because that's also kind of the point. How do you know somebody has a podcast? Don't worry they'll tell you first. Ha ha ha.

If you're not telling people about your podcast how do you expect them to know it exists? If you're not making it easy for people to find it or listen to it how do you expect them find it and listen to it.

Tell everybody you have a podcast. Link to it. Repeat. And again. And again. And again.

Unfortunately you can't just record your podcast, put it out there and think the work is done. It's not. It doesn't matter how much value you are delivering, how brilliantly targeted your content is, if people don't know it's there they're unlikely to just stumble upon it like magic.

Ultimately if your podcast is failing, it's not hitting your defined success targets (which are realistic targets by the way...) do you need to assess how committed to your podcast you are? I know that sounds negative, but right now we've been through a lot. 2021 has thrown a fair whack at us. Parents who are home schooling their children again are naturally going to have more on their plate and it's ok to put things like your podcast on the back burner. But I don't want you to keep it on the back burner for too long.

So here's the plan - I want you to pick a date. Any date, just pick a date. Put it in your diary to block out the morning because on that date you are planning your next 10 episodes. I want them sketched out and dates for them to go out.

Then pick a date to record the first batch of 5. Put that date in your diary. Depending on your level of outsourcing you will also need to find time to edit, do the show notes and social media for each episode. I aim for at least 4 social media posts per episode. I should do more.

Guess what you're going to do next? Yes you are going to pick a date to and repeat the process for the next 5 episodes.

The dates you put in your diary are non-negotiable by the way. I really want you to commit to your podcast and give it a mini re-launch. I suspect 8th March is the new 4th January this year.

And if you need a helping hand getting your next 10 podcast episodes planned then you can grab my podcast planning toolkit - think of it as my podcast brain in a download with a masterclass too. I even wear make up in the video - still have a face for podcasts...

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