Stick To The Schedule
January 4, 2016
It's important to be consistent in podcast scheduling.
Except when it's not.
Okay, explanation: It's often an admonition at podcasting convention panels that you need to be consistent in your release schedule. People, they say, want their shows to be available when they want them. They expect your show to post on Tuesdays at noon Eastern? You need to hit that mark. And there's wisdom in that -- get people into the habit and they'll be there waiting, but skip weeks or miss deadline and they'll move on and forget all about you.
So, explain "Serial."
Okay, let's try: Some shows get away with doing "seasons," short runs of episodes, because there's an arc. You're telling a story over several weeks, so within that period, your audience is being served. When the arc's over, you rest, and they... well, they might go away. It makes you have to re-establish your show with listeners, and you don't know if a new episode popping up in subscribers' feeds will delight them or whether they'll think, oh, yeah, THAT show, I'll get to it later. (Which they won't.) This will be a bigger issue once we know for sure whether people who download shows actually listen to them, or how much they listen to.
But you're not "Serial." (Unless you are, in which case, hello, Ira, Sarah, and crew.) You are a show that isn't telling a story over a period of weeks or months. (Unless you are, in which case, go sit over there with "Serial" and ignore me for now.) You will benefit by getting listeners into the habit of listening to your show, and you can't be terribly habit-forming if you miss a lot of weeks, or people never know when a new episode is available. So, for most shows, consistency in scheduling IS a positive. You CAN take time off -- nobody can expect you to work a 24/7/365 schedule -- but for the most part, being there at a regular day and time is beneficial, even if the listeners don't actually listen until later. And advertisers expect it, so even if you're not selling ads yet, being consistent in your release schedule is going to be critical when you do.
And since I missed a few weeks here during the holidays, I recognize that I am not practicing what I preach. But this isn't a podcast, so....