Something that we’ve been hearing quite a lot recently is people thinking they need to have a load of recorded podcasts before they launch.

We disagree. You don’t need 20 episodes (or even 10…or 5) episodes recorded before you launch your show.

We’ll be explaining this, and more, in detail on this episode of Podcraft – the show about everything podcasting from launching to monetization and everything in between.

We’d also like to thank Podbean for once again sponsoring this episode. Podbean is a hosting platform that’s been around for years but in recent months have been creating a lot of new tools to help podcasters do what they do best.

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So do you really need 20 episodes to start a podcast? Or maybe the better question is – how many episodes do you need to start a podcast?

The answer? One. One episode makes a podcast. It’s as simple as that.

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One of the biggest reasons we would argue against stacking up and launching with 20 episodes is that it’s an excuse just to procrastinate – which could lead to you never even launching the show at all.

It’s too easy to put things off, but once you actually launch and have that need to post something on a regular basis – that’s when things start to progress.

Not only that, but it’s also unrealistic for most people. You’re talking about undergoing a huge job – with maybe 10 hours of content just to get the show started.

Another major part of podcasting is taking on board feedback. If you record 20 episodes and start putting them out, after the third episode you might get a bit of feedback from a listener – which is something you might want to read out on the show (or adapt future episodes). If all your episodes are already recorded, you can’t do this.

And that’s what creates a great show – when you’re actually adapting to what people want.

When you launch your show you don’t really know how people will react – and if you’ve recorded 20 episodes already then you have no flexibility and no listener engagement.

Likewise if you’re doing an interview show, it’s harder to book guests onto a show that hasn’t yet launched. You can’t link them to previous examples of your podcast which could make them hesitate coming on the show.

Another point to make is someone else could easily launch a show with the same idea as you – while you’re sitting procrastinating with 12 episodes recorded but not launched. All your efforts would be brushed aside because someone else got there first.

In terms of iTunes or Apple Podcast rankings – if this is something that concerns you and you want to see your show in the rankings, then it must be said that where you rank is all to do with the amount of subscribers since your podcast was born.

If you haven’t launched your podcast yet, you aren’t getting any subscribers and everyone else, every day, is getting further ahead of you.

For more information on iTunes rankings, check out our handy article here. 

But… are any the reasons for why you might actually want to have a few podcast episodes pre-recorded?

Well, maybe recording 20 episodes is still a bit too much, but there are some reasons for having a few episodes recorded before your launch.

One example could be related to a new show we’re making called Hostile Worlds – an audio drama/documentary hybrid.

We wanted to do a few episodes in advance because they focus on a particular topic and we’ve set the scene – so it was easier to create the three episodes at once before launching.

If you’re writing an audio drama as you go, and you mention something for example in episode 10, then that’s set in stone and has an effect on future episodes – but if you record these episodes in advance then you’re able to plan the series in a better way.

So if it’s a serialized type content that does have to tie in closely together – with a beginning, middle and end – then it may be worthwhile doing in that case.

If you’re doing just a standard podcast, then it may be a good idea to record around three or four episodes before you launch. It’s not set in stone and up to each person, but it’s a nice number to give new listeners a bit of time to decide whether to subscribe or not.

But remember – if it gets you started and makes you committed then launching with one episode is totally fine.

The act of starting and getting a bit of feedback is so powerful and makes such a difference to your progress.

The fact is iTunes and all the other directories will open the door for you if you have one episode, so if it’s good enough for them then that’s all the more reason to launch.

Hopefully this has given you some encouragement to get your show out there, even if it’s just one episode at a time!

We’d also like to remind you of our premium service – The Podcast Host Academy. This is where we hold a lot of our resources, courses, tips and tricks and live sessions helping people make the most out of their podcast.

It’s a monthly subscription service – and you can find all the details for it here.

Finally on this episode  we spoke a bit about a new short series we’re going to do for next season.

We’re going to be looking into highly produced podcasts, so if you’re interested into documentary podcasting and bringing in multiple elements then this might be something right up your street.

And that’s us for this episode – the last one for this season. We hope to see you back for next season (after at least a two week break)!

Once again we’d like to thank Podbean for sponsoring this episode of Podcraft!