PodSchool Podcast | How to make podcasting easier with seasons


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Break your show up into bite-sized pieces

If you’re new to podcasting you might be worried that once you start you’ll be stuck churning out episodes every week for the rest of your life.

And while consistency is key, breaking your show into seasons can be a great way to take some of the pressure off so you can make sure you’re delivering episodes on time and sounding their best.

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What are podcast seasons?

Just like in television, seasons in podcasting are a way to separate your content into smaller self-contained batches that you release over time.

How you approach the content of each season is entirely up to you, as long as it all makes sense under the umbrella concept of your show.

Each season could focus on a different story or topic so you’re starting fresh with each batch of episodes.

Or you might have the same style of content across every episode e.g. an interview series, but you release your show in batches with a break in between.

Should you start a new feed for every new podcast idea?


How do podcast seasons work?

Instead of uploading an episode every week for the rest of your life, you might release a season of five, 10, or 20 episodes.

The number is entirely up to you but you want to pick a number that makes sense for your content.

There’s also no hard and fast rule about how long you can have off in between, which means you can make decisions based on what’s best for your life and your content.

Just make sure you give your audience as much information as possible so they know when a new episode doesn’t turn up in their feed, you haven’t disappeared entirely, you’re just on a break.

How long does it take to put together a podcast episode?


Do you have to keep making new seasons?

If your podcast wraps up perfectly in one season it doesn’t have to come back again.

In fact, if your content is evergreen, you can keep promoting it on social media and driving new listeners even when you’re not releasing new episodes.

One of my favourite podcasts of all time, S Town, was a single season of content told over seven episodes.  The story unfolded perfectly over those episodes so there wasn’t a need for more and that show has been consistently getting listens for years after the last episode dropped (although there are rumours they’re going to release a season two).

While this is definitely something you can think about doing, when you’re starting a show from scratch, it can be a difficult strategy if you want to build an audience because it takes a while for people to find a new show.

Dropping episodes consistently over a longer period of time is a much better approach if you don’t have a huge marketing machine behind you or an existing audience (S Town was made by the people who produced Serial so they had an audience and the cred to get it noticed even with a small number of episodes).

Having said that, if your show content is best suited to a finite number of episodes that’s fine and it can free you up to move on to your next idea.

If, however, your show is suited to more than one season then how many episodes you drop each season is entirely up to you.

Remember that building an audience takes time so it’s best to be regularly releasing episodes but it’s also your show and your life so you know what you’re able to commit to.

Why you should batch record your podcast


What are the benefits of podcasting in seasons?

It makes your podcast more manageable

Releasing episodes in blocks means you can batch record ahead of time which helps you stay on top of your release schedule.

It’ll also give you a chance to take a break between seasons so you’re not crawling over the Christmas finish line ready for a nervous breakdown.

It keeps your show interesting

If you release an episode every week in perpetuity you’ll rarely get a chance to make changes or improvements because you’re too busy trying to get a new show out every week.

Releasing your podcast in seasons means you’ll have time in between to look at what needs changing and make improvements.

During this time you could survey your audience to find out what they liked or just change up some of the things that didn’t work for you.

It helps you plan your show content

Doing a show on the fly each week doesn’t give you much ability to think strategically about what each episode is about and how you should plan out your content ahead of time.

If you break your show into seasons you can look at what’s coming up and plan out your episodes according to what’s best for the show and your audience.

The great thing about seasons is they give you the flexibility to think more creatively and keep things interesting for your listeners and more manageable for you.

What are the disadvantages of podcasting in seasons?

It can have a negative impact on your audience growth

If audience growth is your main driver the best way to do that is by releasing episodes consistently over a long period of time.

If you podcast in seasons you will always see a drop off in downloads when you’re not releasing new episodes and it’ll often take you longer to get your podcast back to where it was when you start releasing fresh content again.

If you’re an independent creator, with no obligations to deliver a certain number of downloads for an advertiser the impact of this is just on your ego.

So it depends on how important numbers are to you (even though you should remember, no one sees those numbers except you).

Ultimately, if releasing your show in seasons is the difference between getting your show out and not doing it at all I think it’s worth it even if it means it might impact your ability to grow your audience.

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.


Got some time on your hands? Read the full episode transcript

Hello and welcome to the show. Today I am going to be delving into the topic of podcast seasons. When you are starting out or if you have yet to start your podcast and you're thinking "Holy crap! that's a lot of work and I have to do it every single week for the rest of my life. How am I ever going to be able to come up with that much content"? Or "What if life gets in the way? How am I going to do this forever?" It can be a stressful thing when you are beginning so I wanted to just drop into your head the idea of seasons as an option for your show. Essentially this is a way of packaging smaller morsels of your program into maybe six, eight, ten, twenty-episode lots (it could be whatever number you choose) and wrapping a little bow on each season and then having a break in between. This can mean you can batch record and get ahead of yourself and do a whole season at one time, release that season and while the season's rolling out, start recording and getting ready for your next season. Or alternatively, if you are doing it week by week it can give you a chance to just have a break in the middle.
Like I said the seasons can be as long or as short as you want but it can take some of the pressure off needing to do a 52 week, year-in, year-out show which can be really daunting for people.
You may have listened to a show by Gimlet Media called 'Start-Up.' This was their very first show and it followed the process of them building their podcasting company from scratch and in season one they focused on their business Gimlet Media. Then in Season 2 they focused on another business. So it can be a really nice way to not only give yourself a break but to also vary the content a bit from season to season. Sure if it works for you, you can do all seasons the same. I do that with my interview series, 'You've Gotta Start Somewhere.' I did a long first season with a lot of episodes then I had a break in between and now I'm starting up season two with some new episodes but essentially the essence of the show is the same. But if you have an overarching theme where you could focus on a different area each season then it can be a really nice way to break things up and give yourself a little bit of a chance to snooze in between. Remember there are no real rules about seasons in terms of the length or how many episodes there are. As always it will depend on your content and what is best for you and your audience. So think about that before you have a panic attack thinking "Oh God I have to do this for the rest of my life?"
You don't have to. It doesn't need to be something that is going on in perpetuity. Things can exist in seasons and to be honest, if you wrap an idea up in one season then there doesn't need to be another one. There are some shows like 'S Town' which was just perfectly told in one season. It was a brilliant run of episodes and of course, it leaves everybody wanting more but it wrapped up just like a really nice film or a television season and then you can go on to a new idea. Don't think that podcasting means you have to be crawling across the finish line every week until you are absolutely broken and bruised and suffering a nervous breakdown. You can do it in a much easier simpler way with seasons.
I hope I've taken some of the pressure off or maybe it's just made you think differently about your content. If you've got any questions please head to podschoolpodcast.com. There you can also find the show notes and a link to my online podcasting course PodSchool. Thanks so much for joining me. I will see you next week and until then, happy podcasting.

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Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!