And the podcasting – I swear to you – on its worst day, the podcasts are better than our best films. Because they’re more imaginative, and there’s no artifice, and it’s far more real – Kevin Smith
The Buggles were wrong. It wasn’t video that killed the radio star; it was podcasting.
The digital revolution turned the world of commercial radio on its head. It allowed anyone with a good idea and a passion for their subject matter to record and use the internet to transmit their own radio shows, or podcasts, to the entire world.
And all that anyone needed and needs to launch a successful podcast is a great concept and a handful of episodes.
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How Episodes Do I Need To Record To Launch My Podcast?
While it might seem like an open-ended question, the number of episodes that you should have recorded, edited, and fully prepared for your potential audience to listen to is significant.
If you ask any seasoned podcaster how many episodes they recorded and used to launch their podcast, the answer will invariably be the same, three.
Almost every notable and lucrative podcast that has found and been discovered by its audience had at least three episodes in the bag and ready to be listened to when it was originally launched.
Three – It’s A Magic Number
It might seem like a precise number, but there are some excellent reasons why most podcasters start their shows with three episodes or chapters.
While being enough to attract an audience’s potential attention, a single episode isn’t enough for them to become fully engaged. If it takes you a week to record and upload another episode to whichever platform you’re using for your podcast, there’s a good chance that you’ll lose some, or maybe even all, of the listeners who were interested in your initial episode.
Three episodes also give you the chance to create your show’s identity and lock it into place. Unless you’re already an industry professional when you start on your podcasting adventure, it’ll take you some time to find your feet in the world of podcasting and become comfortable in your new role behind the microphone.
With three episodes under your belt, you should have found your voice, and your audience will have become used to you and be familiar with the themes and ideas that your show is focused on and built around.
Then there’s the single most important factor that’ll help you launch a successful podcast – the number of downloads. The more episodes that you have when you launch your shows, the more episodes your potential listeners and audience will be able to download, and the higher the number of downloads that your show achieves, the more your show will be noticed by the two names that can make an incredible difference to your chances of podcasting success, Apple and Google.
Higher Than Three
While three seems to be the common consensus regarding the number of episodes that you should prepare to start your show, it isn’t a view shared by everyone. A school of thought that adheres to the philosophy that more is better and advises any potential podcasters that they should record up to ten episodes in advance.
It’s a large amount of content to prepare, but there is a method to the madness, as the more episodes that you have to launch your show with, the higher your download figures could potentially be and the higher the number of downloads that your show achieves the more likely it is to attract the attention of the aforementioned names that can catapult you to the dizzying heights of podcasting fame and fortune.
New and Noteworthy
One of Apple Music’s features to promote podcasts is their ‘New and Noteworthy’ pages that list the shows that Apple thinks will appeal to the subscribers who use their service.
Thanks to its position on the homepage, anyone and everyone who logs into their account can see and click on the page and be transported to a world that might feature their new favorite podcast.
When you consider how many millions of users log in to Apple Music every single day of every week, that’s a huge audience that your new podcast could reach if Apple features it on the page.
So how does Apple choose which podcasts make it on to the ‘New and Noteworthy section of their site? While no-one outside of the upper echelons of Apple is exactly sure what all of the criteria that the site uses to choose the podcasts that they feature, the one factor that most podcasters and industry insiders are certain plays a major role, is the number of downloads that a new podcast accrues.
The algorithms that Apple uses are dictated in part by the popularity of a podcast, so the higher the number of downloads that a podcast achieves, the higher up in Google, and thus Apple’s rankings it appears, which in turn increases the chances of it appearing on the ‘New and Noteworthy category on Apple Music.
And the more episodes of your podcast that are available for download, the higher your download figures will be, which increases the chances of it being noticed by Apple and featured in the category that could open your show up to a global audience.
There’s Only One Beginning
While it’s true that your podcast can only debut once, the vast majority of podcasts take a long time to find their audiences. But if you want to make a big splash in the increasingly large pond of podcasting, the best way to do it is by launching your show with multiple episodes.
And if you want to further increase the chances of your audience downloading and listening to all of the episodes that you record to launch your show with, make sure that you give them a reason to – link the content of each show so that your audience becomes invested in it and actively wants to download all of the episodes that you use to start your show.