This week, we're covering something that I talk about a lot:
How do we create excellent, useful content on a consistent basis without killing ourselves?
This is a really big question. Committing to a content calendar is like jumping on a treadmill, promising to start releasing valuable work, week in, week out, without end.
But, there's another way. Here's the question that prompted it:
Why Podcast in Seasons?
I do a lot of work with people on creating their podcast in ‘seasons' or series. It's pretty simple in practice.
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You choose a subtopic within your wider niche, and you create a series of episodes on that subject. If you're an educator, a trainer, you can treat it like a course – teaching that topic over 5, 10 or 15 episodes. If you're an entertainer, you might simple theme your episodes: 10 episodes on ‘Games from our Childhood' or ‘Stories from the world of Heavy Metal'.
Once you've completed that series or season, you take a break for a month or two, before planning and delivering the next. This season based format, with break inbetween, makes the commitment a bit easier to handle. You know you have a break coming. You're not jumping on the treadmill forever!
Seasons Make Planning Easier
Because you're planning a whole series of connected episodes together, the planning process is also much easier. You're planning how to deliver one large subject, and then breaking that down into, say, 10 episodes.
Much easier than planning 10 separate episodes on entirely different subjects!
Seasons Make Recording Quicker
Recording seasons can be much easier than recording a set of disparate episodes. You can batch them really effectively, creating one larger audio course in just a few multi-episode sessions.
Seasons Help You Improve Your Podcast
Another advantage of series podcasting is that you can encourage your listeners to get excited about the start and end of a season, making it a big event.
This means, first, that they feedback on the end of the season, giving you lots of great info about what they liked and didn't like. Next, they tell you what they want to hear on the next one.
Both of results feed into the next season, improving it through that really targeted feedback. You can figure out what formats, what approaches people liked best.
It ensures that the topic is hugely relevant and engaging. You're giving them exactly what they ask for.
Seasons Help You to Build Fanatical Fans
Finally, because your listeners fed into the development of the upcoming season, they're way more invested in it. That means they become much more avid listeners as a result. And we haven't even mentioned the ‘evangelism' effect that comes about when they feel that little bit of ownership over the content. They start to share it like crazy!
Fancy a Season? You Can Start Any Time
Are you tempted to design your podcast as a seasons based show? Or, if you're already podcasting, could you reboot your show?
Take a break now, and then re-start a few weeks later in a season format. It could rejuvinate your content!
UPDATE: Since writing this post, I've put together a full guide to season based podcasting. If you're interested in trying it out, check out the article for the full details.