8 Progress Checks For Your Podcast That Are Not Stats
Maintaining a show is not only about the numbers.
Yes, stats are important, but they are far from the only things you should be using to determine if your podcast is working.
Every couple of months it’s wise to step back and look at other possible issues.
The first check may surprise you, but to me it’s always seemed the most important.
Are you still enjoying your podcast? Does it still give you satisfaction? Is it still fun to produce or is it becoming a chore?
Podcasting should be providing you some kind of enjoyment. I’m not saying you’re going to like every part, some things are downright tedious (editing, anyone?), but you should still be looking forward to your next episode. Even if you’ve hired a service to take care of all the other details (something I can help you with if you need it), desire for the show can still wane. Trust me when I say people listening can tell if you’ve lost interest.
When it becomes a struggle, or a burden, or takes you from other things you feel are more important, it might be time to stop. And that’s okay. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Podcasting is not life or death. It’s not something you NEED to do merely because other people say you should.
People don’t generally mourn podcasts that have faded, they just shrug their shoulders and look for another one to listen to.
So besides enjoyment, what other things should you be checking up on?
Are you having issues with time?
Maybe your podcast takes more time than you expected, and more time than you have to devote to it. If this is your issue, look at ways to streamline or delegate some tasks. Can you learn to do some things faster? Or you could find someone to help you book guests, or pay someone to edit your episodes and graphics.
Are you starting to struggle to find guests?
Do you need to find some resources to help you? Maybe revisit blogs and videos about the best ways to book guests. Sit down with a co-host or friends, or others in your company, and work on a list of possible guests. By adding more people to the search, you could build your future guest list back up.
It might also be helpful to rethink your niche.
Maybe it needs adjustment. Maybe your scope needs widening, which could lead to more possibilities. Maybe you need to steer your topics in a whole new direction. Could changing directions lead to a loss of listeners? Maybe, but if the adjustment is good, it could bring in a lot more followers.
Are you getting along with your co-host(s)?
Is it time to have another discussion about who does what? Do you need to clear the air about something that’s been aggravating you? Maybe they’re the ones who are not happy, and they’re going to ask you to make changes. Don’t be afraid of the feedback, it’s a great (if sometimes painful) way to learn.
How about your equipment?
Microphones, etc. Many podcast experts talk about starting with something you already have to do a podcast, like your phone, but if you’ve been at it for a while, it might be time to invest in better gear. It can make a big difference in quality that your audience will appreciate.
Don’t worry about so-called “purists” who believe doing shows with amateur equipment makes you more “authentic.” Why wouldn’t you want to sound the best you could? I’m not saying break the bank, but a $100 mic is going to sound much better than your phone or computer.
Is all of your gear working correctly?
Is it time to find help with some of the glaring problems you keep promising you’ll take care of? Things like figuring out why there’s distortion or a hum. Or maybe it’s time to try different software for recording or editing.
Are you paying attention to the feedback and comments from your audience?
You can learn a lot from comments should you have the stomach to read them. Obviously there are hateful trolls to ignore, but if beyond that you see issues being raised again and again, it might be something to examine further and see if changes need to be made.
While this post has been about benchmarks other than stats, I’m aware the numbers can be helpful, and can guide future episodes in a lot of ways. I just felt it was important to help you understand that stats should not be your only measure of progress.