Many people who want to get into podcasting would naturally overlook this question: “Does Podcast episode order really matter?” Tracy dives in deep and gives you answers by saying it does while taking you into the steps on how to do it. The order is the journey you want to take your listeners to. It is then very vital that you get it right and make sure that you’ve figured out the purpose of where want them to be. Should you go for straight topics or straight interviews? When should you switch it up? Learn all of this and more!

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Does Podcast Episode Order Really Matter?

I’ve got a question from a client and sometimes when we get questions in, I think, “This would make a great episode.” Everyone in the office said, “Just go live. Let’s share with everyone.” It’s something when you type the answer to this, you go, “That’s not enough information. I want it to be taken right. I want to be able to give the long answer.” I’m going to give you the short answer and the long answer. Does the order of your podcast matter? Yes, the order matters. The long answer is, “What do I do with that? How do I decide what to order?” It gives you a whole bunch of other questions that you’re going to ask yourselves and you’ve got to figure out. That’s what we’re going to talk about in this little session here.

Does the order matter? It matters because people find your podcast, videocast, blog posts or whatever it is that you’re doing and whatever the mode of delivery of your content is. The order matters because you’re leading them on a journey. You’re leading them to get to know that they can trust you. You’re leading them to find out more about you, your information, about your company, about your mission, about your social good or whatever your purpose is for doing a podcast or videocast. Whatever the purpose is, you have to lead them through that. You can’t just start mid-sentence or midstream. You also don’t want to start too basic either. You’ve got to have that little mix up going on.

That’s where we look at this and think, “I have to have a methodology or thought process that goes along with how I am going to figure out what order my episode should be.” I’m going to use an example of a podcast that I launched. I launched Product Launch Hazzards with some content that already existed and interviews. We’re talking about topic-based podcast or videos and interview-style videos. You have both together and I turn them into podcasts. I had to think about the order that was going to happen because I wanted to intersperse them together. You can’t do all straight interviews or all straight topics and then shift to interviews because you’re confusing your audience on the style that you’re doing. Are you doing an interview-based podcast? That’s all there is to it. Everything you do is going to be some kind of interview like John Lee Dumas or any one of those people out there. It’s a very typical style of doing interviews.

The order matters because you’re leading them through a journey. Click To Tweet

Here at Brandcasters and Feed Your Brand, we’re big proponents of interviews because they provide you the proper authority-transfer. The people who are going to share their audience with you and how you’re going to be associated with big names in your industry, all of those things are important. Plus for business purposes, it may very well be a networking. That’s exactly how I use my Inc. column and a lot of my podcast. I use them as a way to network, get into the industry, maybe get speaking engagements or find someone who might be a partner for me. Those are things that we want to do is make sure that we’re fulfilling our business needs. That’s where interviews come in big time.

You should have them as part of your podcast in some way, shape or form. Do you have to have them as your entire foundation for it? That’s not the style of the podcast that we’re all about here at Feed Your Brand. We’re about it being your brand. At some point, your brand has to come into it. Your episodes, topics and brilliant expertise need to come into it. We want to drive all of those things and bring them to you at some point. We don’t want to just shift and go interview all the way at the beginning, and then all of a sudden shift to topic styles after that. It feels very salesy like, “I drove you in by associating myself with all these people. From now on, it’s all going to be about me.” We don’t want to do that either. Mixing them up and making sure that you’re shifting your show types amongst your catalog is important.

We want to think of it like an album. Remember in the old days when we used to have record albums and we didn’t sell songs individually? We didn’t just pick and choose, we had an album. I guarantee you there are lots of network executives sitting around trying to decide the perfect order for every single song on that album, “What order do they go in? What does it matter? How’s it going to lead to the next one? Should I have a heavy rock song and then a ballad? How am I going to raise the dopamine and lower it again and ease them into what’s next?” You have to be thinking about those things as you’re building your catalog of podcast episodes as well. It’s your album and it’s on iTunes. It’s just an album, there’s no difference there. Especially if you’re going to launch, as this podcast client is, with 25 episodes at once. Those 25 at once may be all anyone ever consumes. They may consume all of that and then that’s it. They’re done, they’re going to hire you or they’re done and they said, “I didn’t like that.” The reason why we like 25 when people launches because it fills a whole page on iTunes, because iTunes does about 25 a page at a time. You’re getting there looking like you have a full catalog already from the get-go, so you look more established.

FYB 61 | Podcast Episode Order

Podcast Episode Order: If you’re unhappy with your first 25 episodes and you think they’re not the best representative of you, then go ahead and restructure them.

 

That’s why that’s a good launching number to use. Remember, you don’t have to do that. You can just launch with three. You don’t need to overdo it if you’re not capable of that. We’ve got to do what’s within our means and what’s within our own effort and abilities because we don’t want to overwhelm ourselves and quit. Since it’s ongoing and long-term organic traffic-generating, we want to make sure that we can sustain it. If this is not for you, that’s okay but the order still matters. Think about which one you’re going to air when and how you’re going to do it.

A lot of you fly by the seat of your pants and record whatever comes to you in live stream. That doesn’t mean that this episode has to live in the exact spot I launched it in. You get to mix it up later. You can change your episode number. You can change the date that it aired. You can do that. You can restructure your catalog if it’s not working for you. We have a couple of podcasts that have hundreds of episodes. We have one that has 560 episodes. We were talking about restructuring some of it. Some of those early episodes, even though they’re in volume one, are still so relevant today. We ought to bring them back in. We ought to move them around into the catalog. We’re not going to re-air them like a replay because that’s a terrible idea. We tried that and people flipped out and did not like it. We’ve got lots of nasty messages on Facebook and emails.

They didn’t love that because you push it back up into their feed as new. Changing the date once you’ve entered something and moving it around within the catalog is perfectly okay for you to stay within it, as long as you’re not replaying it and putting it back in as new. It’s not going to come up into someone who subscribed to you, who’s a fan and has already listened to that episode. You can reorganize underneath that and that is what I recommend to you as well. If you’re unhappy with your first 25 episodes and you think that they’re not the best representative of you, then go ahead and restructure them. Go ahead and reorder them into a different order. I’ve done that.

The thing that we want to do is make sure that we’re fulfilling our business needs. Click To Tweet

I’ve also taken out episodes. Here’s something that I want you to think about when you remove things. It’s going to change the number of episodes and you’ve got to be cognizant of that because if you’re airing and going, “We have 100 episodes,” and really you have 98 because you removed two of them, people are going to go, “Your number’s off. You can’t add.” You have to be aware of that. We don’t like to number episodes, there’s a whole podcast about that, because you have a lot more flexibility if you don’t number them. Also because sometimes the numbering gets messed up and it doesn’t match the number that iTunes says is your number. If you’re looking at them in reverse order, it messes everything up. Whatever the current number is, if you’re on 99, it says episode number one because you’re displaying it in reverse order because you want new people to find you to start from number one. They’re like, “That seems disjointed.” We like to not number at all because we think that it’s also a waste of character count. There are many reasons why we do that. Flexibility is the number one reason.

If you haven’t gotten numbering going on, you don’t have to worry about this at all. When you go to restructure, you might be thinking about, “What represents me the most? What’s the most entertaining, the most educating and the most variety I can show of the different styles of shows I have? Do I need to record my number one episode again?” I highly recommend you do that. If your show has changed a lot, record a new number one and you can shift it around so that your old number one, you just move it or make it disappear.

The tip that I want to give you is you essentially delist the podcast episode. Don’t delist the blog though. Leave the blog up and running so that if somebody finds it on search, they can absolutely find it and they can listen to it. Right there in the blog, it exists. Just delist it from what is in your feed, so it’s not showing up there. You move a different episode to that number one position. That way you’re recovering your number one show. These are pro and advanced tips on things that you can do. We like to restructure and help our clients to manage those shows. These are strategies we put in place. These are things that we can talk about if you’re one of our clients already and you’re listening to this and going, “I have 100 episodes. I feel like the beginning is weak, it got way better over time.”

Whatever the purpose is, you have to lead them through that. Click To Tweet

We felt that way about our first show as well. In the beginning, our intros, outros, and all of the ways we were handling interviews were really rookie and they make you cringe. Afterwards, it’s not that big of a deal to go ahead and restructure that or spin them off, put them in an old volume, and have your most current ones be there for you. Once somebody subscribes to you, they’re only getting served up the new. If they’ve already listened to those old ones, it doesn’t matter to them at all. It’s for the new people who are coming in and finding you, you want to put your best foot forward. You want to put your best catalog and best album out. Why can’t you have the best always as your first 25 episodes? You absolutely can and you should.

That’s what I wanted to bring you is to think about how much that order does matter and how it’s not set-in-stone. This is a feed, it refreshes all the time. You can force a refresh at iTunes if you need to. It exists and it’s out there if you’ve got your blog post going, if you need to remove something and you’ve got to totally remove it. For the most part, you have a lot of flexibility for how you present yourself. You are in complete control of your brand. You are in complete control of your feed, so use it. Use it to your advantage to make sure that you are presenting yourself and your brand in the best order possible. Thanks so much. This has been Tracy Hazzard and I’ll be back with another episode of Feed Your Brand.

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