Creating a backup plan for your podcast

5 ways to keep your podcast on schedule

One of the keys to growing your podcasting audience is publishing your podcast on a set schedule. Having a schedule will help you persevere to grow your podcast even when your enthusiasm starts to wane, and your listeners will start to look to you for consistent new content.

If you look at some of the top podcasters in iTunes, and you’ll see that most of them publish on a set schedule: This American Life publishes a new episode each Monday, Smart Passive Income launches a new episode every Wednesday, and if you’re really ambitious you can publish an episode every Monday and Thursday like WTF with Marc Maron.

If your podcast is inconsistent, then your subscribers might looking for another podcast on the same topic. This is one of the reasons Copyblogger recently named inconsistency as one of the top reasons why good podcasts fail to get noticed.

So what happens if you get sick or an unexpected event keeps you from your regular podcast schedule? Have you planned ahead for what to do when you and your family want to go on a vacation or take some time off for the holidays?

Here are some tips to help you create a backup plan so your podcast can still publish on a consistent schedule, even if you’re tied up:

1. Start your podcast with a test run

If you’re new to podcasting you might not have a clear idea of whats involved in preparing for and producing a single episode. So it’s a great idea to start your podcast with a test run to get a feel for how much time it will take to launch a single episode.

Since you should already be launching with three episodes, record 3–4 episodes and see how long they take to produce on average. That way you have a good idea of the time commitment required before you commit to a set schedule.

2. Save an evergreen episode in the bank

Since you can’t schedule an unforeseen complication, try to always have at least one evergreen episode ready to publish. Evergreen content is content that isn’t related to a current topic, so it’s appropriate no matter when you publish it.

An episode about the history of the Great Depression is evergreen, an episode reviewing the latest Avenger’s film is not.

3. Develop a relationship with a guest host

When Fresh Air’s Terry Gross takes a vacation, she often has a guest host, like TV critic David Bianculli, step in for an episode or two. This can be a great way to deliver new content if you don’t have a backup episode and don’t want to air a re-run.

Guest podcasters could be people you have had on the show before, or people whose podcasts you have appeared on yourself. Ask friends and colleagues if you can count on them in a pinch to fill in for you. Offer to fill in as a last-minute host on their podcasts as well.

This can also be a great way for you both to cross-promote your shows.

4. The greatest hits

If your show has been around for a while, start to compile some of your favorite moments into a Greatest Hits episode. It’s a great way to showcase some of your podcast’s best moments, and remember some of your favorite guests.

You can start this episode right away so that it’s ready to go whenever you need it. You can also poke a bit of fun at yourself for doing a best of show, like in the classic Simpsons episode “So It’s Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show.

5. A blast from the past

Some podcasters will only have their most recent episodes available at any time. If this is you, consider bringing back some of your best episodes — especially if they are currently relevant.

This American Life plays a classic episode every other week, and Fresh Air often plays episodes in memory of famous people Terry Gross has interviewed after they pass away.

Listen to the episode, or read its transcript, to make sure the episode is still relevant. If the episode is out of date, you can expand and update it with new information.

We hope these five ideas will help you formulate a backup plan for your podcast — having a set schedule is a great way to grow your podcasts listenership.

Do you have any other tips on how to grow your podcast? Drop them in the comments section below.