(By Larry Roberts) This year’s flu season has been one of the harshest we’ve seen in quite some time. With at least 29 million flu illnesses, roughly 28 million of those affected have a podcast (Ok, that’s simply not true. Recent stats show it at just above 900k, which is still a massive number). Regardless, many are finding themselves all but silenced due to the respiratory illness that accompanies many cases of the flu.
This can put many of us in a terribly vulnerable position. After all, a podcaster with no voice is like a tiger with no stripes, a Dalmatian with no spots or even a warthog with no warts. So, what can you do to prevent your show from suffering through podfade when your voice is little more than a whisper?
While having a backlog of episodes to cover your downtime is the most obvious answer, there are often overlooked tasks that can be critical components to the consistent growth of your show. Granted, these tips can be carried out with or without a voice, but when we have a voice, we tend to find ourselves overwhelmed with things like recording episodes of our shows and telling everyone how great it is.
One of the most common questions that I hear from new podcasters is “Do I need a website for my podcast?” My answer to that is always going to be yes! A website should be your home base for all things related to your podcast. Even if you are only using it to provide an in-depth description of the show and each of the hosts, it’s still highly recommended if for nothing more than additional credibility.
However, your website can be so much more than just a portal to your show. You can use it to publish blog posts, articles for periodicals, “As Seen On” for guest appearances on other relevant podcasts or even television spots. It’s also where you will want to list any goods and services that you offer as an extension of your show.
Having a high-quality website has more benefits that I can possibly list within the confines of this summary, but when you’re unable to record, it’s an excellent project to allocate your limited resources to.
- Social Media
With so many social media platforms to choose from, it’s very easy to spread our attention thin across multiple sites. While it’s believed to be great to appear in as many possible, it can be counterproductive if not setup and or maintained correctly. Take this time to list all of the platforms you are on and research the best practices of each and then compare them back to your own practices and make tweaks wherever you find it necessary.
This is also the perfect time to evaluate platforms that you’re currently not using. Many people ask which platform is best for growing your audience, but the fact is, there’s not a single platform that will provide consistent growth for various podcasts. Factors like demographics, niche and personal goals are just a few that can come in to play when determining which platform may be your most productive.
Social Media is a constantly evolving environment and it requires diligence on our part to stay on top of the latest algorithms and best practices. If your voice is on vacation, this is an excellent way to spend your quiet time.
- Research Future Guests
Finding guests can always be a challenge and how to find them is another question that comes up often from new podcasters. The great thing is, you can research and even recruit your future guests without saying a word. Depending on where you are looking, you can secure guests via email, social media or even direct messages. The key to landing your ideal guest is where you find them and how you communicate to them.
When I started podcasting, one of the first methods I used to find guests was by using Amazon. I would look up books on a particular topic and then reach out to the author directly. Many times, their email is provided in their Amazon bio and if not, there is a messaging platform built right into Amazon. You will be surprised at how often even the most prestigious guest says yes!
Another excellent source of guests are Facebook groups that center around your niche. Not only are these groups excellent sources of knowledgeable guests, they can be exceptional for promoting your show. Just remember to make sure you follow the rules of each group. You don’t want to risk getting the boot from an otherwise productive resource.
Podcasting is a complex hobby and an even more complex business. Downtime can have a negative impact on your downloads, but in some instances, it can have an even harsher impact on your bottom line.
Don’t let the flu get your numbers down. Use this time to make changes to your systems and processes that will turbo-charge your numbers over time.
If you have any additional thoughts on downtime productivity or podcasting in general, I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to connect via email, or social media!