This is a guest post by Rachel Smith – Marketing Coordinator at Captivate, a podcast hosting, analytics and marketing platform.
We talk all the time about starting podcasts, but rarely do we address the other side of the coin: quitting them.
People quit podcasting all the time, for loads of different reasons. Quitting because of a lack of time, lack of resources or simply life getting in the way are all things we see every day running a podcast hosting platform.
The thing is, podcasting, like anything, is a commitment that takes time to work at. You have a job, friends, pets, kids… all things that (rightly) also need your time.
Maybe running a podcast isn’t top of your priorities right now. Maybe you only ever intended to create a limited series, or maybe it just isn’t as fun as you thought it would be.
Things change. It’s ok.
No one wants to see you quit, and you’re not any less of a podcaster for hanging up your headphones one last time. But no one wants to see you fail, either, and that’s why it’s important to consider your motivations for quitting your podcast in the first place.
Aside from material reasons like illness, family and… global pandemics, we see a lot of podcasters throw in the towel before they should because they’re discouraged. This looks like:
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- “I’m not seeing enough growth”
- “No one is listening”
- “I haven’t moved past 10 downloads per episode”
- “It’s not going anywhere”
These are all legitimate reasons to feel fed up with your podcast. But it doesn’t mean you’re failing at podcasting, and it definitely doesn’t mean you need to quit. As I mentioned before, podcasting is a commitment, and it is hard, especially when you’re doing it by yourself!
The good news is that many of the reasons for giving up come to 3 core challenges faced by every indie podcaster – and they can be overcome.
In this article, I’m going to talk you through the 3 main reasons why you’re thinking about quitting your podcast, and exactly what you can do to fix them.
1. Great Expectations
You have lofty goals for your podcast. You’ve seen success stories all over social media and soon you’ll be one, too. Now you’re a few months in and you’re not seeing the success you thought you would.
People expect a lot from podcasting – more than they would any other hobby. I can’t blame them: when you think of successful podcasts, you’re more likely to think of Serial or My Favorite Murder than you are of all the other brilliant indie podcasts there are.
The problem is, you wouldn’t pick up a guitar and expect to be Santana overnight. Many indie podcasters hold themselves to such high standards and then are disappointed when things don’t pan out.
Here’s the thing: you’re not NPR; you don’t have a huge team of producers, marketers and content executives to help you. You probably won’t have a huge platform to bring in those first listeners. You do it all yourself!
What you do have is a genuine interest and love for your podcast topic. You do have the motivation and ideas to produce entertaining, original and authentic content. You might already have a few solid fans who can’t do without your new episodes every week.
Here’s how to channel your great expectations into productive, sustainable podcast growth:
- Focus on creating small, achievable goals – Don’t set wild targets like ‘1000 subscribers by Christmas’.
- Set yourself targets for uploads, not downloads – Focus on producing quality content, consistently. Start bringing on guests to expand your reach. This is what will bring you the most satisfaction, and what listeners will come for time and time again.
- Spend time with fans and get feedback – ‘Only’ 10 listeners is still 10 people who love what you have to say. Engage with them, ask them what they’d like to hear about and act on their feedback. Building good relationships is the best way to get your podcast shared, discovered and talked about.
Extra help: Podcast Tips: 7 Strategies to Build a Successful Show that Thrives (The Podcast Host), Why You Shouldn’t Quit Podcasting (The Podcast Accelerator)
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2. Not Doing Enough
Between working full time, raising a family or working on other projects, you’ve no time to put into marketing and promoting your podcast, let alone engaging with fans. You’re disappointed with your stats and people aren’t finding your content. You feel frustrated that you can’t find time to put the work in, even if you want to.
This is by far the most common reason for quitting that we see. Podcasting takes time: between thinking of ideas to recording them, then editing and publishing, it can be quite a long process!
But it doesn’t have to be, and you don’t need to stress yourself out with publishing a new episode every single week or editing to the nth degree. Remember, podcasting is supposed to be fun!
There are lots of practical things you can do to save time or make time, from better planning to recording your content in batches. Here are my best recommendations:
- Change your publishing schedule or format – If you’re struggling to keep up with making your podcast, consider changing how you record and when you publish.
For example, our podcast, The Podcast Accelerator, runs for max 5 minutes each Monday and Friday. It’s straightforward, not scripted, and we record in batches to cut down on time. This works for our listeners because we make the show for people like you, actually, who might not have the time to upskill themselves in podcasting but still want to. It also works for us, because, like everyone, we’re busy people.
- Use automation tools to speed up your podcasting process – Timesaving apps are everywhere. You can use tools like Zapier to automate large parts of your podcasting process, from managing your calendar and processing audio to publishing episodes and social media posts.
Recommended reading: How Do I Find Time to Podcast? (The Podcast Host), 10 Zapier Templates to Speed Up Your Podcasting Workflow (Captivate)
3. Doing Too Much
You want to create the best podcast you can. You do everything for your show, from admin and recording to production and marketing. Now you’re months down the line and are starting to run out of both ideas and energy.
Burnout, podfade, whatever you like to call it: doing too much can easily do damage to both you and your podcast!
Working too hard on your podcast comes from a good place. You want to make your show a success, and you want it to be found and enjoyed. At the same time, it’s easy to get discouraged when the results don’t match up to the effort you’re putting in.
If you feel like this, it’s time to work smarter, not harder. There are lots of ways you can save your sanity and cut down on your podcasting efforts without having to sacrifice your show altogether:
- Go on hiatus – If you’re burnt out and need a break, don’t just disappear. Podcasts thrive on reliability, consistency and routine. Failure to properly communicate with your listeners risks losing them altogether and you’ll have to fight to win them back.
- Share the load – If you’re really struggling to manage your podcast but don’t want to give it up, you can also bring on a co-host, a virtual assistant or a friend to help you run it.
- Change up your format – Changing the format, style or schedule of your podcast is a great – and more permanent – way to lighten the load when you’re spread thin. Who said podcasts have to come out every week, anyway?! If going down to every two weeks or even every month means you enjoy running your podcast again, your listeners will thank you for it (just tell them about it first!)
Over the course of this article I’ve given you some practical advice and guidance to help you make the best decision on the future of your podcast.
There are lots of reasons why people quit podcasting. Whatever yours might be, you should never feel like a failure because you’ve decided to shut up shop – but you should consider carefully if you’re doing it for the right reasons.
At the end of the day, people start podcasting because they are passionate about their subject or community. Podcasting is still the best medium to connect with like-minded folks around the globe who love something as much as you do. That will never change, and if you do decide to quit, you can always start again.
Captivate will always be ready to welcome you back! Captivate has been designed and built from day one by podcasters to give independent podcast creators the time, freedom and flexibility to do what they do best: experiment, explore and expand their audio influence.
Our platform delivers a raft of unique growth and marketing features, including advanced, IAB certified analytics, built-in calls to action, useful integrations and an industry-first podcast marketing suite to help podcasters to grow a loyal, engaged audience. You can try Captivate out for free, zero obligation, for 7 days now.