I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone who enjoys making mistakes. I, personally, find making a mistake a very difficult process. Not because I’m trying to be perfect all the time, but because I can’t help but regret the time wasted, or the fact that I let someone else, as well as myself down.
But making mistakes, for better or for worse, are part of the human experience. However, the good news is that, if we learn and grow from each mistake, we only have to make each mistake once.
And the even better news is that, in many instances, there are certain mistakes we don’t even have to make ourselves! If we know where to look, we can learn from the mistakes of others and avoid some common pitfalls.
And the best news yet is that podcasting is just one of those industries where we can learn a lot from the mistakes others in a very similar position to ours have made.
So, today we’re sharing a list of the ten most common mistakes we see podcasters making. Learn from them, and avoid making these faux pas on your show. You’ll save time, you’ll avoid a whole lot of disappointment, and you may even find ways to make your podcast even better for your audiences.
A word of warning before we continue. Some of the advice I’m sharing may come across as a little “harsh.” But in the long run, hard truths are exactly what we need to calibrate our trajectory and get us on the path to success once again. The intention always is to help you create the best podcast possible. And sometimes, a little tough love is just what is needed.
So with that out of the way, let’s get right to it!
Mistake #1: You Have Unrealistic Expectations
One of the first mistakes many podcasters make is setting their initial expectations far too high. Now, I am not saying that you shouldn’t have great dreams and aspirations for your show. You totally should! And you should then work consistently to see those dreams fulfilled! But, what I am saying is that podcasting success doesn’t happen overnight, and thinking that you’re going to hit “The Big Time” overnight is a mistake, and can lead to some serious disappointment. So much so that it might even make you quit your podcast before it ever has the chance to sprout wings and take flight.
Because even if you follow all the guides, and mark off all the checklists, this does not necessarily guarantee that you’ll find yourself in the New and Noteworthy section in your first few weeks of publishing your episodes. I can’t even guarantee that your show ends up in the #1 spot in the different podcast directories.
But don’t let this get you down or deflate your passion! Rather set achievable, short-term goals and do your best to reach each milestone, and then celebrate each goal you tick off along the way.
Mistake #2: You Don’t Really Know Your Niche
Another mistake podcasters make is not having enough knowledge about their niche. This is a big blunder! You need to have a thorough understanding of your subject matter in order to put your spin on the niche and create your own unique voice. If you only have a sub-par knowledge of your niche, your audience will quickly pick up that you don’t speak with authority on your subject and will quickly tune out.
Knowing your niche means you’re perfectly positioned to start building authority within that niche. And that authority building is key to getting your show to stand out from the crowd.
Related read: 8 Ways To Strengthen Your Niche Authority
Mistake #3: Your Topic is Too Broad
Big mistake #3 is a counterpart to mistake #2 – having a topic that is too broad. If your topic is too broad, you probably won’t have a clear heading of what you actually want to share. Or where, content-wise, you want to take your podcast. And by extension, how you will meet the needs of your listeners.
If you can’t accurately sum up your show, you’re going to find it really difficult to promote your show, garner a base of loyal listeners, and find traction within the industry. And so to avoid making this mistake, make sure you really put research into honing your niche and narrowing down your topic. You will then be able to attract and keep listeners and build a community around your show.
Mistake #4: You Don’t Know Your Target Audience
Part of the reason that Mistake #3 happens in the first place is because of Mistake #4, you don’t know your target audience. This is perhaps one of the biggest podcasting mistakes a podcast host can make, particularly when they’re just about to launch their show.
And I could give a whole list of reasons why honing in on the right target audience for your podcast is important, but for brevity’s sake for this particular post, I’ll just share one. But it’s a big one! Marketing! Without a clear picture of who your ideal listener is, how will you know how or where to promote your show? How will you know what they are after, and how will you make your podcast the perfect “product” to meet their needs?
Check out this post: How To Hone In On Your Podcast’s Target Audience which shares 10 questions that have been designed to help you get as close as possible to finding that all-important target audience for your podcast.
Mistake #5: Your Podcasting Skills are Lacking
While we stand by our belief that podcasting really is for everyone, and it is true that podcasting has a very low barrier to entry (meaning it is fairly simple for anyone to launch a podcast), you do need to master some basic skills to make your show a success.
Just because it’s easy to get a podcast up and running does not mean it’s easy to produce a high-quality, highly valuable show. This is another mistake podcasters tend to make – not developing the necessary skills to master the medium.
You will need to put time and effort into mastering all the aspects that come together to make a great show. Take courses, listen to successful podcasts, learn from the pros – basically do all you can to consistently up your podcasting game!
And if you do find that there are certain skills you just can’t master as much as you’d like, don’t panic – outsource! Partner with professionals who can help you put together the best show possible. (If you’re looking for editing assistance, check out our prices and packages here.)
Related read: Podcast Courses to Take During Lockdown
Mistake 6: You’re Making An Audio Error
This is a nice way of saying your sound quality is poor. Yes, this may sound harsh (I did warn you in the beginning that I was going to dole out some tough love!), but when it comes to how a podcast sounds, I’m afraid I can’t pull my punches. It will not benefit you, and it certainly will not benefit your listeners. So, I must speak the truth in this regard.
It is a major podcasting blunder to not put enough emphasis on the sound quality of your episodes, as one of the quickest ways to lose listeners is a poor-sounding podcast!
And with the available technology, as well as all the resources available detailing how you can capture that great audio, even from the comfort of your own home, there really is no excuse for poor audio.
Related read: How To Create A Home Podcast Recording Studio
Mistake #7: You’re Not Marketing Your Podcast
The long term success of your show depends on developing and growing a loyal audience base, but in order to do that, you need to get your show noticed. So common podcasting mistake #7 is thinking that simply submitting your podcast to your hosting site and getting it listed in all the top directories is enough to get it out there and into the ears of an eagerly awaiting audience.
I’m sorry to tell you that this is not the case! You’re going to need to look at multiple platforms and social media channels across which to share your amazing show! You’re going to need to create an email list (for tips on this, check out this post), you’ll have to create audiograms, and you’re going to have to embrace social media in all its shapes and forms in order to create a buzz about your podcast.
Related read: Social Media Marketing Options For Podcasts
Mistake #8: You’re Not Marketing Your Podcast Correctly
Or, perhaps the mistake you’re making is that you’re not marketing your podcast correctly, via the correct channels. Now, in general, I don’t mean that some social media channels should be used to promote a podcast and some shouldn’t. Quite the contrary. I believe that a podcaster can find marketing success on all the available social media platforms. But, I don’t think that every podcast works on every platform.
This is where knowing who your target audience is really comes into play. You can then know where it is you’re most likely to find your audience and what type of content will grab their attention best. You’ll know whether you need to be creating long-form style posts for Facebook, creating video content for Instagram or TikTok, or creating question-and-answer tweets for Twitter. By knowing where you need to engage your efforts for the most reward, you can double down and spend your time efficiently and effectively on the platforms that serve your audience’s needs best.
Mistake #9: You’re Not Consistent
One of the most important pieces of advice for every new podcaster is to remember that consistency is key. If you want to achieve certain goals, or hit particular milestones with your podcast, you’re going to need to be consistent in the content-creation department.
You need to have a publishing schedule, and you then need to stick with it! This doesn’t mean you have to put out multiple episodes a week – you can totally have a podcast that only publishes a new episode every two weeks! But you then need to deliver every two weeks! Your audience will not stick around for very long if they have to keep guessing when a new episode might be making an appearance!
Mistake #10: You’re Not Engaging Your Audience
And speaking of your audience, if you’re not engaging with them in some real way, you’re making our last podcasting mistake. The magic of podcasting really lies in the connection between podcast hosts and their loyal listeners, but in order for you to have a great community of loyal listeners around your show, you need to build some real connections.
Yes, your listeners technically get to “engage” with you through hearing your content, but this is a very one-sided conversation! You need to look beyond your episodes and find real ways to build relationships. Some of the ways you could do this is through the rating and review sections of podcast-listening apps, through responding to comments on your social media channels, creating an exclusive Facebook group for your listeners (you can get some great pointers for setting up a Facebook group here), as well as through the newsletters you send out. If it will work with your audience, you could try your hand at live videos, on Facebook or Instagram for example, as this allows your audience to connect with you in real time.
The bottom line is that you need to find ways to nurture that connection you have with your audience, and find ways to engage with them in a real way. This is the way to build a thriving community around your show, and to truly experience the magic of the podcasting industry.
Related read: 10 Ideas For Live, Virtual Podcast Events
Mistakes are part of our human experience. And while I’m sure no one enjoys making a faux pas, when we use them as lessons to help us learn and grow, they do serve a purpose.
However, when it comes to your podcast, you’re not required to make all these mistakes yourself in order to earn your podcasting stripes.
And while there are never short cuts to achieving your dreams and aspirations, by being aware of common mistakes or hurdles others have faced on their podcasting journey, you can certainly save some time and quite a bit of that metaphorical (or actual in some cases…) grey hair on your own adventure.
So, evaluate your podcast, your process, as well as things like marketing campaigns, strategies, and goals in line with what we’ve covered in the post, and stop making these 10 common podcasting mistakes today!