The holidays are literally just around the corner now, and you’d think podcast listeners would dial down their media consumption, ironically, they don’t. Listeners will always want new content, but this doesn’t mean podcasters don’t have a breathing space during vacations and holidays. The key is to bank on episodes so you really don’t need to ask whether you should run podcast replays or a new episode. Planning ahead will allow you to make a compilation of excerpts from previous episodes that share a common theme or subject which in turn can make for a good special episode. Find out more how you can stay consistent and relevant by either making hybrid episodes or just post one new episode for the week.
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Podcast Replays, Worth it?
With the holidays here all around us, we decided we wanted to talk about a subject that is a question we get asked often about podcasters, especially new podcasters. That’s what to do around the holidays or when you take a vacation, should you run a replay or do you always want to run a new episode? There’s really no right or wrong answer but we’re going to discuss it. I think it’s changed over time because we’re in this world of bingeable listening or bingeable watching, viewing if you’re talking about Netflix or whatever. We have on our box, our DVR, we have a thing that says, “Only download ones that are new.” There isn’t that setting in a podcast player per se if you repost them as a replay. Because they have a new date, they have a new number, they become new automatically. Even if the content is old and even if you mark in big, bold letters replay. What we found is that listeners get a little annoyed. We tried it. We’ve been over 500 episodes, we tried running a few replays at times. I think we’ve probably run more than a few. We tried it for a couple of months. The reality is once you get over 300 episodes, the old ones drop off iTunes and so new listeners weren’t seeing the old ones.
We thought this would be a good way to bring them up, but our fans didn’t love it and sent us many, many emails saying, “Please stop it.” What we did was we put them into archives so that they’re in their own volume now. You can go back and you can listen to the original episodes. That’s where we want to set people up, that that’s the way to do it. You can mention them, you can talk about them. The best way to do it is to just maybe if it is something that really needs to be brought up again, and we have done this once, which I thought was really the best way to handle it. We had a company that came to us on our 3D Print Podcast. It was right after all the hurricanes. It’s a company called Field Ready. Field Ready goes into disaster zones and basically 3D prints replacement parts. As long as you have a generator and can power the machine, they can print pretty much anything out of certain materials that are needed in that disaster situation. We had interviewed the founder almost like a year earlier. It was a great interview. He was really interesting. It was one of these things where a year later, there’s all these hurricanes happening, they need more funds because they’re all donation-based. They were out in the field and couldn’t do another interview. They were in Puerto Rico I think helping people which was a power challenge and a resource challenge.
They needed exposure and we were happy to give it to them. We recorded a new introduction with some new information about what was happening currently. Then, ran that past interview which would have been done in the past episode and created a hybrid episode out of it. That way, fans who had remembered the original episode didn’t have to listen after the first introduction but they got the new information. Those that hadn’t heard it before or forgot about it could listen to it again right there. We thought that was a really good way and that might be a solution to what you can do with the holidays to keep your consistent posting going on. You can do it in a little bit different way, which is the idea of maybe compiling excerpts from a couple of episodes. If you’ve got episodes that are grouped around a particular subject that were really great, maybe you want to do an intro and then select the episode’s sections that you think would be the most useful to replay. Then of course, you’re going to send people back to it. The only caution I want to make there is do not put the transcript of that section back in that post because it would be duplicate content. Either make the whole post a nofollow in Google if you understand what that is in WordPress. Make it a nofollow and noindex or don’t put those transcript sections, just put the link to the original episode.
The reality is your audience is always going to want to hear new content from you. The best practice is to be ahead recording and to always have new episodes that are going out. We have clients through this holiday season on Thanksgiving, on Christmas, on New Year’s Day publishing new episodes. I think that’s the best idea because you have more listeners with more free time during those holidays. They want to listen to new content. That’s always the best practice. Provide new content always, but for you the podcast host, if you’ve just been really busy and you’ve been a little behind and you’re not able to keep up with that pace, there are a couple of tips and tricks we’re trying to give you for how you can recycle some content maybe, but still make it somewhat current and relevant to give yourself a little break during some of these times. We understand some people like to do it in seasons. They actually do a season and then take some weeks off, and then they do another season. That’s a process. We don’t like that because it’s not consistent enough for Google ranking. Google ranking wants something every single week. What we recommend though is taking your podcast description, the main body text you have that describes what your podcast is about. At the very beginning of that description, because only a short amount of it shows on some of the players, you write, “On holiday,” or “Vacation break being taken. Returning on such and such date.” Just put it right up there in the very top of the description, temporarily and when you’re back in, you return. You take it right back.
It’s a good idea to do it so that people don’t think, “You’re not posting anymore. You’re gone,” and they unsubscribe you. You don’t want to do that. One thing about those podcast descriptions. Some of our clients have us do it for them, and they pretty much all have access to their own descriptions. If you change your description at your podcast host level, that changes on iTunes, Stitcher, all the different podcast players pretty much in real time. It does goes very quickly. It sometimes may take an hour to refresh. It depends but within an hour it should refresh anywhere on any directory, so iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play. You should note that pretty much it doesn’t have to be hosting with us if you’re doing Libsyn or SoundCloud. They all work the same way. You have to edit your main description. You do not have to go into iTunes and edit it, you can’t. You have to do it at the podcast hosting level, which is great because you only have to do it in one place and then it pushes out that same information to everywhere that your podcast is syndicated. Think of it like an out-of-office vacation reply.
A new tip and recommendation we have is if you do need to take a break, especially if the majority of your listeners are through iTunes or Apple podcast, which is still the lion’s share of actual podcast listeners are listening still on that channel as opposed to Google Play or TuneIn or some of the others. With the change in iOS 11, if you don’t have a new episode for a few weeks and someone’s not able to listen or doesn’t listen to a show from you for a few weeks, that podcast player will pause downloading new episodes. They have to go in and actually intentionally say, “I want to keep listening to this one,” and then it will download them for them. The recommendation is to the extent that you have an email list, a newsletter that you put out about your show or on your social media channels, LinkedIn or Facebook, whatever your preferred channels are. Wherever you are communicating with your audience, you also want to be putting out notifications, “Our next episode won’t be publishing until such and such a date. Make sure you come back to your podcast player and resume downloading,” especially if you’re an iOS listener. You might want to make some other communications like that to make sure that as soon as your new content is out. Your audience is going to be able to get it as fast as possible.
If you’re a host that’s doing multiple episodes per week, there is no crime in recording what would be two weeks of the month. Let’s say in December, you’re going to work for two weeks and you’re going to have two weeks off on vacation and not post at all, and you normally posted two episodes a week. Go ahead and take them out. Instead of doing two episodes in the beginning week, do one a week because it keeps that subscription level live and it keeps it active. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just make sure that you mention it on your episode that you’re doing that. That for the month of December, you’re taking it a little slower because you’re going to take some time off and you’re only going to post once a week for the month of December or whatever month it might be. August is always a good month to take off. It’s where our listeners drop off the most, during the summer. That was a great tip for those people that are doing more than one episode a week. When you need to just dial it back to one a week and keep a slower flow, but at least a constant flow of content going out.
I think we’re becoming as a society, rerun resistant. We don’t like reruns. We just don’t like them anymore. We don’t need them. We’ve got DVRs, we’ve got plenty of other things, and we show hop. The last thing you want to do is send somebody to someone else’s show and then they don’t come back to you. If there’s any way you can do that by not annoying them, by putting up replays or by posting every single week just at a lower pace, anything you can do to keep that going and keep the consistent and constant content in some way, shape or form, you’re going to be better off as a host. The ultimate best practice that we’ve touched on in past episodes is really to be very organized and plan way ahead with what your content would be. Record those episodes way ahead so that you do have some breathing room. This can be done. It’s not rocket science but it does take a little discipline. If you’re a client of ours, just reach out for some help because we help you with these things. We help set you up with systems that make it manageable. That’s another good reason why your schedule may need to shift a little bit, and it happens with guests too. You could get thrown a curve ball, it’s through no fault of your own that you have a guest that is sick or something happens and they can’t keep to the scheduled time they were going to be interviewed by you. That’s another good reason to get ahead. We always plan more episodes in a recording session than we absolutely need for the upcoming month or whatever that time period is, so you have a little float room to shift things.
We always plan a buffer guest. We do five guests if we’re only recording four guest shows, and then we do our topics. We do plan a fifth guest because it helps you bank that up but it also helps you when you end up with a drop out. Then the other thing that happens, and it’s happened to us too where despite our best efforts, there’s not enough guests and there’s not a show there. What I’ll do then, I go into my contact list, “Who’s a really good guest in the past? Who do I know well enough that I could call and maybe just catch them free, and just quickly have another interview or have a discussion or an update?” Often, I can and we’ve done that. I don’t even really let the audience know that that was the case, especially it ends up being a really good episode. The Tonight Show or any of those shows, they always had the guests that would recur because they were local and in town and available. They could call them up the last minute when a guest didn’t show. They always have backup. Jay Leno always did that. Whenever he had the local zoologist or zookeeper in that was showing some new animals, you know somebody cancelled that day or somebody fell out a favor or taboo to interview now so they got to call someone in. Having somebody on-call as maybe a recurring but good guest that you could slot in rather quickly is not a bad idea either. That could be joint venture partners, things like that. People that you do business with but maybe aren’t your normal level of guest. It’s always an interesting episode and that we find people really like that. That’s a good way to slot one in, especially around the holidays, people cancel. We have that happen.
We hope this helps. I do also want to mention that we’ve been doing some more Facebook Lives, which we are turning into podcast. You’ll hear them but you might want to see them. Go to our Facebook page @FeedYourBrand and go to FeedYourBrand.co for more information. We’d love to hear from you, love to hear what you want us to talk about. Let us know what you’re interested in and how we can help in. What types of top-level things you want to talk about? Challenge us. Reach out to us. Any questions you may have, we’ll be happy to address some in the future episode. You could email us at Hello@BrandcastingYou.com and we’ll also get that message there.
Thanks again for listening. We’ll talk to you next time. This has been Tom and Tracy on Feed Your Brand.