10 Podcast Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

Your 3rd-grade self might think making mistakes is a bad thing, but in reality, mistakes are how we grow. However, if one of your friends made the same mistake, and learned from it… wouldn’t you want to know how to avoid it to save you some time?  When you’re starting you are inevitably going to make podcast mistakes, that is inevitably, but why not learn from our podcast mistakes?

Here are a couple of podcast mistakes and how you can avoid them.

1. Being a Generalist

Your podcast is unique because you are so if you’re trying to fit in and be like everyone else you’ll start to blend in. Have you ever heard the saying, “if you’re appealing to everyone, you’re really appealing to no one?” Well, that saying couldn’t be more true. You need to give people a very specific reason why they should come back to you. What do you offer that nobody else in the podcasting world does? 

Think about it this way… if you needed brain surgery, would you rather have someone with the title, “doctor” or “neurologist” perform surgery on you? We assume the latter. For this reason, you should aim to be as specific as possible, appealing to a very targeted audience. This cultivates loyal listeners because they’re unable to get the same information elsewhere. 

Let’s look at an example to paint the picture even further. The Old Time Radio Mystery, Suspense, and Horror is a podcast that critiques and analyzes old-time mystery and suspense radio programs. This show is targeted to an audience that is a certain age and would know the certain radio programs being talked about. Not only that, but the audience has to have a certain interest in the crime and mystery genre. 

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Here’s how you can narrow down your niche so you can avoid this podcasting mistake:

  1. Observe what others are doing in your industry
  2. Think about your background experiences, upbringing, and values
  3. Reflect on positive comments others have given you about your personality and expertise
  4. Identify how you can combine those elements into your podcast show

Simply put, find your unique selling point and scream it from the rooftops. Then watch your listenership skyrocket. 

2. Not Understanding Who Your Listeners Are

This mistake is number two for a reason because it goes hand in hand with the first mistake. Narrowing down your niche means you’re extremely clear about your “why” and you’ve narrowed down the type of listeners you’re appealing to. Take some time out to map out the reason behind your podcast and what goals you intend to reach. 

Once that’s nailed down you can dig deeper into who your audience is by asking these questions:

  • What are their demographics? 
  • How do they consume your content? 
  • What episode topics really speak to them?

With Spreaker, we provide in-depth analytics like podcast geolocation statistics, device statistics, and even podcast evolution statistics. 

Let’s go back to the Crime Podcast genre for a moment to think about this concept a bit more. If you realize through your analytical research that most of the folks listening to your Crime Podcast are based out of Georgia, you might consider releasing episodes that pertain to Georgia crime.

Having this knowledge will allow you to make the best possible content that’ll truly inspire, help, and connect to your tribe of listeners. 

3. Underestimating the Amount of Energy that Goes into a Successful Podcast

Anyone who tells you you’ll have overnight success with your podcast is wrong. Just like anything worthwhile in this world, podcast success takes time and energy.

We suggest going back to your why. What’s the purpose behind your podcast? Is this purpose enough to sustain months or years of work spent on your podcast? Be real with yourself about this, and once you’re absolutely positive you want to move forward with 100% energy consider a time audit. 

You might be wondering… “what is a time audit?” 

A time audit is simple. Write out all the main priorities in your life and the tasks that pertain to those priorities. Then, write down a timestamp for each of the tasks. How long do they take to complete? 

After, consider all the elements that go into running a podcast such as:

  • Finding the right guests
  • Recording your podcast
  • Editing your podcast
  • Finding the right platform
  • Marketing your podcast

And write down how long each task will take. Typically us humans like to underestimate how long it takes to complete a task, so whatever time you’ve written down add a couple more minutes to it. 

Once that’s all said and done, weave in your podcasting tasks into your other daily priority tasks. In this way, you’ve made the time and a plan to market your podcast on Tuesdays or spend an hour finding the right guests on Fridays. A time audit will also let you know if you don’t have enough time and need to outsource certain jobs.

Ultimately, you want to be sure about your podcast purpose and then plan accordingly.  

4. Not Having a Marketing Plan

In a dream world, we’d release our episodes and millions of listeners would flock to our show. But if you think like that then this is definitely one of the podcast mistakes you should avoid.

In reality, is it takes a ton of effort and a bit of strategy to grow your audience. Put it this way…if they don’t know about you, they won’t be able to listen to you.  With that said, having a marketing plan is crucial to grow your podcast. 

If you’re starting at square one with your marketing plan here are some questions you might consider:

  • How are you going to get people to listen to your podcast?
  • Where do the majority of your listeners hang out online?
  • Do you have any marketing experience that you can leverage? (for example, maybe you’ve run Facebook Ads before) 
  • What social platforms are most effective for you?

With those questions in mind, there are plenty of ways to market your show including email marketing, paid ads, social media channels, and networking events (virtual or in-person). 

Let’s explore a couple of these options.

Instagram Marketing for your Podcast

Here are our top tricks to promote your podcast on Instagram:

  1. Optimize your bio to concisely state who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. It would also be a smart idea to include a part about when your podcast episodes are released. 
  2. Use linktree or the Milkshake app to make the most out of the link in your bio. These services allow you to list multiple links which might include new episodes, your email newsletter, your website etc. 
  3. Create a cohesive, on-brand Instagram aesthetic and ensure you’re staying true to your messaging 

For additional tips on how you can leverage Instagram for your podcast show check out our latest blog here.

Now for Instagram’s older brother, Facebook.

Facebook Marketing for your Podcast

Quite recently Facebook ruled out a new feature that allows guests to listen to your latest episodes directly from your Facebook page. No longer do you have to upload and schedule out content to promote your episodes! 

Another reason Facebook can be super helpful in promoting your podcast is through the use of Facebook groups. By joining groups like The Podcast Movement Community, Podcast Guest Connection, or Podcast Guest Collaboration you can find guests and share your recent releases. And, these are only a couple of ways you can leverage the power of Facebook to get the word out about your show.

We can go on and on about why and how you can market your podcast but to keep it short, just remember a podcast without marketing is like a car with no gas… it just won’t work. 

5. Recording on Only 1 Track

This mistake is a biggie. Why? When your guest coughs abruptly or there’s an ambulance siren in the background it is nearly impossible to remove that noise.

 However, if you record on more than one track it’ll be seamless post-production for you or your sound engineer to quickly snip that unwanted noise out. This simple tweak will save you a lot of time in the long run.

6. Worrying about Sound Quality Over Content

Yes, sound quality is important otherwise there wouldn’t be millions of blogs and vlogs discussing which sound equipment is the best. And, we also know you’d quickly skip a poorly sounding podcast on Spotify if it came through your earbuds. So we’re not saying the sound quality isn’t important but we are saying that if the content isn’t valuable, the sound quality won’t even matter. 

Check out the Spreaker app to see how you can seamlessly record your episodes!

7. Waiting to Build Your Community

Building a community around your podcast is how your show will thrive. Listeners are great, but to create a community means there’s a back and forth conversation. Communities are fully involved with helping each other and therefore a certain trust is formed that creates a deep connection.

With that said, don’t put this off, even from the get-go you can implement email marketing or time networking in Facebook groups to start growing your audience. 

Now, let’s jump into how you can utilize email marketing and how to grow your list to promote your show.

First off, you should consider an email list (if you don’t have one yet) because it’s the only thing (besides your website) you own 100% of. In this way, you have complete control of the content you’re pushing out to your list. 

Emails can help your audience

  • Stay up to date with your latest releases
  • Get reminded about past episodes
  • Get notified about your exclusive podcast content 

Additionally, having an email list means with the click of a button thousands of superfans get your content served up on a silver platter.

Want to know more about email marketing for your podcast? Binge this blog: Why You Should Grow Your Podcast Email List

8. Neglecting to Plan Ahead for  Monetization Strategies

Knowing upfront that you’ll eventually want to monetize your podcast will set your podcast up to easily transition into this phase. This is one of the biggest podcast mistakes that we’ve seen

For one, as we previously discussed earlier, creating your community and establishing a tight connection amongst your listeners will create the trust you need to sell products or programs associated with your podcast. With a loyal community, your listenership will be consistent and therefore you’ll be appealing when you’re ready to reach out for brand sponsors. 

To add, finding the right hosting platform will also set your podcast up for monetization success. For instance, with Spreaker you can insert programmatic ads, which are a way that buying and selling of advertisements occur automatically. This takes the leg work out of having to find sponsors, and instead, sponsors are looking for you. 

“Thanks to Spreaker I have been able to monetize my podcast and work as a full-time podcaster. Spreaker Prime takes the stress out of worrying about how to monetize my podcast and begin to make money for your hard work.” 

Emily Thompson, Podcaster

On that note, decide whether or not you want to start making money with your podcast so that you can plan ahead for the future! 

9. Music Copyrighting

One of the biggest podcast mistakes we’ve seen podcasters make is music copyrighting issues.

You might think, “Well nobody will notice if I just use two seconds of someone’s song.” 

But AI detection software is made solely to prevent this from happening and will remove episodes that it deems as copyrighted. What’s worse than getting an episode taken down is getting in real legal trouble. So, the bottom line is to stay away from this headache. 

On the flip side, there are plenty of websites that you can get music from (even sometimes for free!) For example, Epidemic Sounds and Podcast.co have some great options for all types of music tastes. Epidemic Sounds has a section just for podcasts, and Podcast.co’s library has some awesome free options to bring your episodes to life. 

Maybe you want something a bit more personalized? Get a professional music producer to craft an intro or outro to fit your show.  

At the end of the day, it’s better to invest some money into obtaining quality sounds that are sure to highlight your podcast and keep you out of unwanted issues. 

Now for the last podcast mistake, not researching the best host for your podcast.

10. Not Researching the Best Hosting Platform for your Podcast

Your podcast needs the best home. So before you make a quick decision, weigh out your options and think about what your podcasting objectives are.

Like we discussed earlier, if one of your goals is to monetize, then you’ll want to find a host that offers the best solutions for you to do that. 

You want a hosting platform that enables you to grow through the help of intuitive analytical data, easy distribution processes, and a seamless way to record your episodes. 

Check out Spreaker’s plans to see if it’s the right fit for you. 

Let’s recap now, shall we?

Recap: 10 Podcast Mistakes

  1. Being a generalist
  2. Not understanding who your listeners are
  3. Underestimating the amount of energy that goes into a successful podcast
  4. Not having a marketing plan
  5. Recording on only 1 track
  6. Worrying about sound quality over content
  7. Waiting to build your community
  8. Neglecting to plan ahead for monetization strategies
  9. Music copyrighting
  10. Not researching the best hosting platform for your podcast

Like we said, we all make these podcast mistakes so it’s inevitable that you’ll accidentally forget to press record or have a total episode flop but if you could avoid a couple or all of these podcast mistakes, you’ll be farther ahead this time next year in your podcasting journey.  

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