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The Podcraft™ Podcast

How Many Episodes Do I Need To Launch a Podcast? Podcraft S7E10

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What happens if you don’t launch with 3, 5, or 10 episodes? Will your podcast be doomed before it starts?


Matthew: Great question that’s came in from Mary on the website. How many episodes do I need launch a podcast? One. Is that us done now? End of the episode?

Colin: Done and finished.

Matthew: Yeah. It’s true isn’t it?

Colin: Yeah, absolutely.

Matthew: There’s a lot of different information out there about this sort of thing. You only need one podcast and that’s you up and running.

Colin: One episode. Don’t mix up the terminology.

Matthew: One episode.

Colin: We might as well clarify that actually, just in case there’s any quite early stage podcasters listening. When we talk about a podcast, we’re talking about the whole series aren’t we? We’re talking about an entire podcast which could be one episode, it could be 50 episodes. One episode is actually just that one listen. A lot of people mix that up as well.

You can launch. You can submit to iTunes as long as you have one episode live in your podcast feed, in your RSS feed. What’s the advantage of doing it with just one then?

Matthew: Because you’re up and running. That’s you in the game. With every week that passes that you don’t launch your podcast, there are people out there, your competitors if you like, who are putting out content, they’re getting downloads, they’re climbing those iTunes rankings and the longer you hold back, the further you fall behind. Even if you’ve got 10 amazing episodes recorded, they’re not out there so you need to be getting them out there basically. That’s why I’m quite a big proponent of just getting it done, getting it launched.

Colin: Just getting something out there.

Matthew: There obviously are benefits from going with the likes of three episodes as well aren’t there?

Colin: The other benefit I would say of one episode is that as soon as you’ve got one out there, like you say, that’s you started at least but it’s motivation. You’ve got one live and suddenly, if you think that it’s going to take you two weeks to create another episode then that’s quite a big gap so it motivates you to get on and just start creating the next one. There’s no procrastination.

Launching with three. The first thing that always comes up when you talk about launching with three is the fact that if somebody subscribes to your show then if there’s three episodes there, then if they like the first one, they’re more likely to listen to the second one and the third one straight away. That is what starts to build engagement. They spend more time with you and therefore, they’re more likely to become fans of your show straight away, subscribe and keep listening next time. They’re more likely to just become addicted almost to your content. What else is there do you think about going with three episodes? I say three but it doesn’t have to be three. I just mean multiple episodes.

Matthew: If people are spending a bit more time with you like you say, they’ve just got a chance to settle in with you don’t they? If you just listen to one episode of someone, might be a decent episode, there’s always a chance that you might just if it’s a 10 minute episode, just move on.

Colin: And forget about it. Never listen to it again. I think actually, the bigger question, this is probably one that suits you really well because you’ve helped a tonne of people launch shows particularly. Launching with three. We’re talking about having three live when you launch but actually, is that all you’re going to have ready?

Matthew: Well if you’re doing something like an interview show I suppose it might be a good idea but again, I’m wary of using this as a procrastination thing. Doing some interviews in the lead up to it. Again there’s so many pitfalls with this. You start doing interviews, you start putting them away, you end up with this massive bank of recordings. Another thing as well is, is your podcast evergreen or is it time sensitive because a lot of people if they’re doing time sensitive stuff, don’t have the opportunity to be getting stuff in the bank. As soon as they’re putting out content, maybe it’s a sports show or a politics show or a news show.

Colin: It needs to be really up-to-date.

Matthew: There’s no point in recording stuff for like three months ago because if you’re not putting that out there, it’s gone.

Colin: I think the vast majority of people can benefit from having a few episodes queued up at least. Gives them a bit of a buffer. More likely to stay regular I would have said so yeah, it’s a good idea. What do we aim for? We tend to think about three live and maybe three or four in the bank so it gives you up to a month buffer.

Matthew: Yeah, and again I think, sounds like I’ve got no consistency here but, a benefit of doing three is that you’ve got the experience of recording three podcasts. You probably know more that it is for you. it’s something that you want to do. Literally, if you’re entire podcasting experience is recording a 10 minute episode, you’re still very inexperienced. Maybe it will be halfway through episode two that you realise that you hate it but you’ve already signed up, you’ve already launched the podcast, you’ve told everyone about it. There’s that as well. I guess there’s no right or wrong answer is there?

Colin: When it comes down to it what we’re saying is don’t procrastinate. If creating three is going to make you hold back for ages on launching then don’t bother. Just put one out and see what happens. If creating three and not having another three ready is going to make you procrastinate again then just create the three and get it ready and then actually just try and keep up beyond that. Whatever helps you get your show out quicker is better. Any last thoughts on that?

Matthew: Just the whole New and Noteworthy thing as well. Don’t obsess over that, getting featured on iTunes and that. That’s all great.

Colin: It’s a wee boost but not much.

Matthew: Exactly but don’t make that the crux of your podcast launch. When you’re doing a podcast it’s a long term thing. It’s like getting a dog. It not just for Christmas. The real benefits that you’ll get from your podcast are going to come after nine months, 18 months, five years. It’s a slow burn and you’ve got to put the work in and work hard at it. You’re not just going to throw two or three episodes out there, start getting thousands of downloads and make loads of money and retire. That’s just not going to happen so I suppose be realistic as well. Know that you’re going in to this as a long term project.

Colin: That’s one of the reasons people procrastinate a bit over having five episodes ready and five in the bank, because they want to make sure they take full advantage of that first eight weeks. I’ve seen people putting things off for six months or even a year because it’s quite a big bit of work to get all of those episodes ready, to feel like if you don’t take advantage of that first eight weeks, I say eight weeks because that’s what’s known as the new and noteworthy period. People thinking if they don’t take full advantage of that then they’re podcast is scuppered but it’s nonsense because we’ve had lots of evidence in the past which has shown that it doesn’t make that much of a difference. Even if you’re on the front page of the entire iTunes store, we’ve not seen it increasing downloads that much. Don’t worry about that stuff. Just get an episode out there, try and keep to a regular period and that’s about as best you can do.

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