Updated: Jan 21
If you're just starting a podcast or thinking about starting one, this blog is for you. I review the top 10 mistakes to avoid. Avoiding these mistakes will save you time and generate revenue faster. I also make recommendations on what you need to do instead.
1. Never Stop Learning
As soon as I launched, I felt overwhelmed by all the tasks I needed to do. As a result, I created processes on how and when I was going to pitch, when I was going to interview guests and when I was going to edit and promote.
I created processes around everything. It was super helpful, but it got me into a routine.
I never took a step back to see what was working and what wasn’t working. As business owners, you’re probably cringing right now. Because this is not good. I literally did the same thing over and over again for months without evaluating if my efforts were getting results.
Don’t get me wrong, I was learning as I kept interviewing people and promoting episodes, BUT I stopped researching best practices. I stopped evaluating my efforts. I was stuck in a loop where I just focused on repeating the same steps over and over again.
Repeating a process is great when you have a winning formula but at the beginning of any podcast, you’re not sure what’s working and what’s not. So it’s best to try new things and adapt to what your audience I telling you.
First, every month, take a step back and evaluate your efforts.
- What are you spending time on? - Are you spending too much time on editing and not enough on promotion? - Can the content be improved? - How can you improve it? - How do you take your podcast to the next level? - What does the next level look like?
On a consistent basis, you want to do is evaluate and see where you can improve and optimize.
My second piece of advice is to stay up-to-date with what’s going in the podcast world. If you're in marketing, you make sure to keep up with the industry; the same thing if you're in finance or personal coaching. The same applies to podcasting. Keep listening to podcasts like the Marketing Bound Podcast, watch YouTube videos, and read blogs. Keep learning and use it to improve your show and optimize your processes.
2. Avoid Not Leveraging your Podcast as part of your Personal Brand
The second podcasting mistake to avoid is not leveraging your podcast as part of your personal brand.
When I started podcasting, I started it for fun, to meet entrepreneurs, and learn from them. I was very adamant about making sure the guests were the stars of their episodes. This is the wrong way to do it.
As a podcast host, you are the only component that is consistent every single week. Just like Oprah. She was the star of her show even if she had different guests every single day. People watched because of Oprah.
The same goes for your podcast. People tune in over and over again because of YOU. The value that you bring to the show. Even when you’re interviewing guests.
Therefore, note that you are very much part of the podcast brand. However, unless you have a large audience, you don’t need your name in the podcast title. That’s not what I mean by being part of the brand. I mean being part of every episode and showing up for your audience, and making sure you are giving them information on a weekly basis.
I suggest including your face in your promotion. My second piece of advice is to make sure you are contributing to the interviews.
3. Don't Rely on Your Guests to Promote their Episodes
Many people think that having guests on your show makes it easier to get listeners. It does help get visibility but you can't rely on the guest to do anything for your show other than show up for the interview.
Guests want to take advantage of your listeners. In their mind, they don’t have to or want to promote their interviews to their audience. Also, if they’re a recognized guest, chances are they are doing dozens of interviews. Therefore, they're definitely not going to promote dozens of interviews to their audience.
You can't rely on the guest to promote their episode.
Do not make the mistake like I did. Your promotional efforts have nothing to do with your guest promoting their episode.
When thinking about your episode, never consider the guest’s promotion as part of your promotional effort. You need to think of your promotion efforts without their help.
If your guest promotes their episode, think of it as a bonus, not as part of your promotional plan.
4. Not Focusing on One Social Media Platform
It’s the first rule of social media. You need to be where your audience is. And that doesn’t need to be everywhere.
I quickly got distracted with Instagram and Facebook and Twitter because my competitors were there.
You're most likely have a bigger audience on one platform (this can be an email list as well). Start promoting there. Once you get the hang of promoting your podcast there, then you can expand.
You can get a lot further by focusing on one platform then spreading yourself too thin on all of the platforms.
Being on different platforms means different graphics, videos, and text. It’s not worth creating different media for every platform at the beginning. Focus on one social media platform for three months and then start using other platforms.
5. Not Adding to The Conversation
Before I mentioned that you are part of your podcast's brand. People listen every week to hear from you.
As a podcast host, and especially if you want to leverage your podcast as a source of revenue for your business, people need to hear from you as well. You need to add value to the conversation. that's how you build your credibility and your reputation as an expert.
Think about the podcasts you listen to. Especially larger shows, the host always adds his or her opinion or expertise because that’s what the audience wants.
Note: Even if you're not trying to position yourself as an expert, your audience wants to hear from you. Regardless of your podcast category, you need to add to the conversation.
First, when preparing for the episode, think about how you can add value to the conversation. think about the expertise you can bring to the conversation or the stories you can bring up.
Second, ask your audience what they think. They will tell you if you're saying enough or not.
6. Not Picking a Niche
Having a specific niche from the beginning 1) helps you align the podcast with the people you can help, 2) it helps you make decisions on who you should interview/what to talk about, and 3) broad targeting may work for large podcasters but that doesn’t work anymore.
Have a super clear niche from the beginning!
As a business owner, you probably already have a niche, a specific target audience, a specific group of people you help. That’s what you need for the podcast.
If you do not have a niche for your business, you should not start a podcast - especially if the podcast is supposed to help you generate leads.
You need to take a step back and work on niching down. It sounds harsh but a podcast won't help you.
For example, The Marketing Bound Podcast is targeting service-based entrepreneurs who want to leverage inbound marketing in their businesses and who make less than $250,000 a year. Pretty specific. But super important.
The topics we discuss here are for the solopreneur or entrepreneur with a small team. And I make sure the advice is actionable specifically for them. Therefore, I will never invite a guest on the podcast to talk about commercials or billboard ads.
7. Make sure your sound quality is on point
People are consuming your content through their earbuds or headphones. The sound quality is the most important technical aspect of your podcast. People are okay will less than perfect video but if the sound is off people won't listen.
A great example is that I thought it would be a good idea to record episodes in person. As a concept that’s a great idea, but I didn’t have a studio. So, I would meet up with the guest and we would record in their office or a random meeting room.
The sound quality was never regulated. It sounded different everywhere I went. To be frank, some of the first episodes suffered from their sound quality. I'm also not a sounds engineer so I really don’t know how to fix the sound post-production. I edited what I could and published them.
Some people did complain about the quality. Therefore, I adjusted my strategy and shifted everything to Zoom. This also made it so much easier for me.
I recommend you focus on the sound quality when you're recording. You do not want to deal with that in post-production.
To help you test your sound:
Make sure you're recording in a small room or a well-insulated room,
Make sure to test the sound with headphones or earbuds like your listeners would listen to it.
Play your episode on a speaker and crank the volume high. If it gets distorted, chances are there's a buzzing sound in the room. You may need to insulate or change the room.
8. Avoid Spending a lot of Useless Time Editing Every Episode.
At first, I would spend hours going through my hour-long interviews removing any dead silence, the um's and the and's.
It's not worth it.
People want to hear natural flowing conversations, and few and's, and um's and run-on sentences are normal. Leaves those in. The only time you should spend time on editing is for sound quality. Other than that there's no need to spend hours and hours on editing.
My current editing process is that I listen to the entire interview. I take notes on the episode. I use that for promotion, the show notes, and the introduction. I write the introduction, I record it separately. I add the intro and the music and I’m done. This takes about two hours. That’s pretty good for an hour-long interview.
So I would suggest setting up a process so that you can streamline the editing so it doesn’t take you very long. For example, I could technically write the intro right after the interview and then not have to relisten to it. I would save an hour relistening to it.
A podcaster I know takes notes during the interview. That saves a lot of time. However, I also know a podcaster whos also a sound engineer and she takes 14 hours to edit an episode.
My biggest recommendation is to take the time you need to make a great episode. Make sure the time you spend on it is adding value to the episode. Removing and's and um's is not making the episode more valuable.
9. Avoid Not Asking for Backlinks Sooner.
Many podcasters don’t have a website but as an entrepreneur, you probably have a website page dedicated to your podcast.
This gives you the opportunity to ask guests for backlinks. A backlink is a link from another website that links back to yours.
By doing that, you're increasing your search engine optimization (SEO). Better SEO means Google favors your website and increases the chances of your website popping up on the first page.
I made the mistake of not asking for a backlink to my website. However, I realized that many guests have a media page where they list the podcasts they were on. So it’s super easy to get a backlink to your website.
One of my guests linked to my website and because Google already liked his website, it increased the score of my own website by A LOT.
If you do have guests on your podcast, make it easy for them to link back to your website. You can do this by giving them the link to their episode and even provide a description.
10. Avoid Not Batching Your Work.
In podcasting, you have so many different tasks; preparing for an episode, research, if there's a guest, you need to coordinate, the actual interview, editing, writing the intro, show notes, creating graphics, uploading any videos, promotion. This is very overwhelming at first. There's so much to do every single week.
That is why batching work is so important. It makes the new workload more manageable. It’s a lot less overwhelming when you prepare the graphics for 4 of your episodes at once. Then you schedule them all at once and suddenly a month's worth of podcasting promotion is complete. You don’t want to be scrambling every single week to repeat this process.
Batching tasks encourages you to spend less time on things and encourages you to be a few episodes ahead. This is so key in podcasting.
It might be hard to batch work as you're still getting used to your podcasting processes but my recommendation is that as soon as you can start batching work together, do it.
Those are the top 10 podcasting mistakes to avoid. If you want more inbound marketing tips, be sure to subscribe to the Marketing Bound Newsletter here.
This blog was originally an episode on the Marketing Bound Podcast. Listen to the Top 10 Podcasting Mistakes here.