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Podfade: What It Is and How To Avoid It

We recently published a post that shared practical strategies for how to go about taking a podcast break without losing that hard-won momentum you built around your show. (You can check the post out here.) We also shared some reasons why spending that specific time away from your podcast can actually be a necessary part of ensuring your show’s overall success. But today’s post is not about those planned podcast breaks. Today, we’re talking about podfade.

What is podfade, you ask? Podfade can refer to two types of scenarios (neither of which have a “happily ever after” moment for the podcast in question, I might add!) that frequently befall podcasts and their hosts. The first instance of podfading occurs when a podcast host publishes episodes less and less frequently, and, eventually, the episodes dry up altogether and the show disappears into oblivion. The second instance of podfading occurs when a podcast is publishing episodes regularly, but then suddenly stops, and all the momentum the show has gained disappears. As I said, neither of these have favorable outcomes for a podcast! And unless your plan was to just put out a couple of episodes on a topic and then be done with it, you most likely want your show to go on well into the future. So you certainly do not want to fall victim to podfading! And we certainly don’t want that for you either! This is post aims to help you steer well clear of the infamous podfade by looking at four key reasons podfade commonly occurs, and then by arming you with four workable ways you can protect your show and keep it going for as long as you want to keep podcasting.

Let’s get to it!

Top Reasons Why Podfading Happens

According to multiple authorities within the podcast industry, if podfading is going to set in, it happens most frequently around Episode 8 (if you’re well past that, then congratulations!) I couldn’t find the exact data (but have a look at this article for some super interesting statistics!) but the general consensus amongst those in the know is that podfade generally sets in after Episode 7, and then the podcast in question begins to disappear into that black abyss that is cyberspace. But just why does podfade happen? We’ve highlighted the top four reasons…

1. Not Enough Time

Podcasting is a lot of work, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! And making a great podcast can take a lot of time! There’s the content creation process, where you need to research and write your material. Then it’s the actual recording, where you need to make sure you get all the takes you need to put together a cohesive show. There’s the editing process, of course, which can require hours of your time (and heaps of your patience!), and lastly, there are all the ways in which you need to go about promoting your podcast if you truly want to build up your audience, strengthen your authority within your niche, and expand your reach. Phew! So much to do, and often, it feels like too little time is available for you to do it in! It’s easy to see why a time crunch is so often the reason podcasts take a spot on the back burner.

2. Not Enough in the Niche

This simply means that there is not enough content within the topic or subject you’ve chosen to keep your show going. In some cases, people are hit with what seems like an amazing idea for a podcast, and they just jump right in, hit record, and before you know it, they’ve published their first episode. But when it comes to Episode 5, 6, 7, and the infamous Number 8, that great initial idea just doesn’t have the legs it needs to keep going. There is simply not enough scope in the chosen niche to keep the show alive. And like a flame without enough oxygen, the podcast splutters and then comes to an eventual standstill. 

3. Not Enough Preparation 

Like we stated above, hosting an active podcast is a lot of work! But with so many podcasts starting on an almost-daily basis, it can be easy to think that all you have to do is buy some equipment, hit record, and “Hey, Presto!” you’ve got a great episode! But, as we also shared above, there’s a lot more to it than that. And while it’s true that it can certainly get easier the longer you do it, starting anything from the ground up is no picnic, and requires a lot of preparation if you want it to A) Be successful, and B) Keep going well into the future. Too often, people get hooked on the idea of starting a podcast, and then just dive right in, without laying a strong foundation or doing any of the groundwork that is necessary if you want your show to last. 

4. Not Enough Passion

Okay, so this one sounds a little harsh, and I am by no means calling anyone whose podcast does fall victim to podfade “unpassionate”.  This statement is simply meant to communicate the fact that so many podcasts do end up falling off the radar because their creator simply underestimated the time and effort needed to create a long-running, successful podcast. And without a deep-rooted passion for your podcast, you won’t have that extra drive and motivation to put in the time and effort needed to create a stellar show.

Ways To Prevent Podfade

So now we know some of the reasons why podfade happens, let’s move on to the reason why you’re all here – how to stop it happening to your show. We have four prevention methods that directly address the four common reasons for podfade we gave in the previous section.

1. Find A Workable Schedule

As we shared above, one of the main causes of podfade is underestimating the time it takes to consistently create high-quality podcast episodes. So one of the first ways to combat this is to find a publishing schedule that works for you. Your podcast certainly does not need to publish an episode every week! There are many successful shows that publish a new installment every two weeks, or even once a month. The key here is consistency. If you clearly communicate your publishing schedule to your audience, you’ll find they will “show up” whenever a new episode drops, because they know when to show up. And by finding a podcast schedule that works for you amidst all your other responsibilities, you’ll find it that much easier to consistently release new content.

Bonus Tip: Look into ways that you can optimize the time spent on your podcast. This could be anything from keeping your episodes under a certain length (we don’t all have to go all “Joe Rogan” when it comes to podcast length!) to help reduce the time you spend editing, or you could even consider using a podcast editing company to handle all that work for you. This will definitely help lighten your podcasting load and help keep you podcasting for the long haul. 

2. Lock Down Your Niche

This is might be the most important step you can take to safeguard your show against the dreaded podfade. Locking down your niche simply means that you’ve honed your subject and have made sure that it is both not too broad, as well as not too narrow. If your niche is too broad, you’ll end up bouncing all over the place, which can be confusing for both you as the creator as well as your audience. Having too broad a niche can also make it difficult to come up with episode ideas as there is simply too much scope to choose from. This can be frustrating, and can quickly drain your motivation to podcast! 

On the other hand, picking a niche that is too narrow will mean that you are constantly trying to stretch your content to fill up your episodes. If you have to really work hard to scrape enough content together to keep your episodes coming, your podcast is going to become a chore, rather than a joy, and the likelihood of you sticking it out becomes pretty thin. But if you spend some time before ever hitting record finding that middle ground and really honing your niche, you’ll always have a clear direction and plenty of content to help keep your show alive. 

Related read: 8 Strategies To Build Authority In Your Podcast Niche 

3. Put in the Preparation

While it seems like every other person you meet wants to start a podcast, starting and maintaining a successful podcast requires a lot of thorough preparation. But that preparation will always pay off in the long run! To get your adventure into podcasting off on the right start, begin by learning all you can about starting a podcast. Buzzsprout has a great How to Start a Podcast step-by-step guide (and it’s free!) which will equip you with all you need to know as you prepare to launch your podcast. Other ways you can put in the preparation is to learn all there is to know about your recording as well as your editing software. This will help you really maximize your time as you will be well-versed in just how to get the job at hand done well, and as efficiently and effectively as possible. Without this adequate preparation, you may become overwhelmed by all the processes and stop podcasting altogether. But with thorough planning, you’ll be able to master all the processes and get the task of creating your stand-out show will become easier and easier.

Related read: Top Strategies for a Successful Podcast Launch

4. Keep The Passion

The longevity of your podcast rests heavily on the passion you have for your show. Starting a podcast on a whim can turn out great! But often, that isn’t enough to keep the show going. As with anything in life, you’ll put the time and effort into those things that you’re passionate about, and if that whim that initially got the ball rolling doesn’t turn into something deeper, your podcast will be well on its way to Status: Inactive. But there are ways to keep that initial passion you had when you first started out alive and kicking! Our main advice is to keep learning as much as you can about the industry, keep listening to amazing podcasts, and keep learning all you can about your niche. By keeping yourself immersed in all that’s taking place in the industry as well as within your niche, you’ll keep the excitement you had when you first started out constantly brimming up and running over, helping to keep the passion for your podcast burning brightly. 

In Conclusion

Podfade happens to many shows for many reasons. And while some shows come to a natural end – and that’s okay – there are ways to prevent your show from meeting an early demise. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or podcasting has just lost a little of the joy it used to bring you, maybe it’s time to assess where you and your show are at and take the necessary steps to get back on track so that you can keep sharing your voice with the world. Take a long, hard look at your show, do a little introspection to assess where it is you’re at, and then use some of the strategies above to help invigorate and reignite your podcasting passion once again.

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