Keep your podcast growing and up to date with these ten things you may want to update at least every year.
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1. Update your podcasting goals
(You do have goals for your podcast, right?)
How are you doing on reaching your podcasting goals? It may be time to make “SMARTer” goals for your podcast, or you may need to update the goals you've been working toward.
There's no shame in changing directions when you realize you have going the wrong direction, or when you have reached your goals.
Updating your goals may mean dumping what you had and starting over, or it could mean refining the goals you already had.
2. Update your software
Think about all the podcasting software you have and what new and relevant abilities the latest upgrades give you.
First, look at your copy of WordPress and all your plugins. While this may seem like a “no-brainer,” keeping these updated can be a little challenging. It's true that any WordPress or plugin update has the potential to break your site and podcast feed (but the likelihood is quite small, especially if you use quality plugins). Because of that, many people will wait a little while to update.
If you have been waiting, too, it's time to update! If you have plugins or themes that haven't caught up with the latest technologies, then you may need to better find alternatives.
Desktop and mobile software
Next, look at the desktop applications and mobile apps you use.
Adobe Audition now includes much better loudness normalization. Internet Explorer versions under 11 have been officially retired and will no longer be updated. The new version of Windows, OS X, and Linux are more stable and compatible. And some tools, such as Levelator, have been dead for so long that it's time to let go and move on to better tools, like Auphonic.
There's a big difference between “updating” and “upgrading” when it comes to software. Updating is usually minor additions, bug fixes, and performance enhancements. Upgrading is a bigger move from an older version to a newer. This often brings vastly improved parts, but also often costs to upgrade.
Upgrading could be costly, so certainly consider whether you truly need the latest and greatest software. Always prioritize what will save you time or make your workflow easier.
3. Update your format
How you present your content in your podcast may need to change as your podcast matures. This doesn't have to be a radical change, but maybe it's time to let go of things that aren't working and try new techniques to better present the information you want to share with your audience.
Whether this be adding or removing a segment, or changing the style of your presentation (such as from solo to interview), you may find a new way that's not only easier for you to communicate your message, but also connects better with your audience.
4. Update your branding
“Branding” covers many aspects of your podcast.
Podcast cover art
How long have you had your podcast cover art? It may be time to update it! Todd Cochrane, from RawVoice/Blubrry has said that updating podcast cover art has often resulted in an increase of new subscribers.
But don't update only for the sake of updating. Consider getting a better design, removing clichés (like a microphone, headphones, or RSS icon), or making your design more relevant for your more matured podcast.
If you need new podcast cover art, I can refer you to a designer, or consider using 99designs.
Your visual branding also includes your website design. The website design industry has changed radically in the last several years. Modern design is clean, responsive, and lightweight.
If your website isn't already optimized for mobile, then you absolutely must update! But even if you already have a mobile-friendly website, it might be time to enhance the design to make your podcast website as easy as “visit website; press play.”
These are my favorite WordPress themes for podcasters:
Your show's audio branding can be much more than merely the music you use. But perhaps it is time to update your music, too!
Consider everything about your podcasts' audio identity. How do you start and end each podcast episode? How do you segue between topics or segments? More than the words you say, this is how you present the information, how you set the mood, and how you make your show unique and memorable.
My favorite way to update the audio branding is to put something unique before your theme music. For The Audacity to Podcast, this is the title of the episode or a brief tease for what's coming.
Video branding (for video podcasts)
If you host a video show, then it might be time to update its visual branding, too. Especially do this if you have updated other aspects of your visual branding, so that you can make everything consistent—cover art, website design, and video branding.
Look at your title screens, lower thirds, animations, and more.
5. Update your podcast information
Do your podcast descriptions, tagline/subtitle, and about page still accurately describe your podcast? Have you stuffed your description with keywords that can be removed (because descriptions don't matter for podcast SEO in iTunes)?
Maturity usually comes with time. So it may be time to update your podcast descriptions to accurately explain what your podcast has matured to become.
6. Update your intro and outro
Similar to your written descriptions, it may be time to update the spoken opening and closing of your podcast. This is how you let people know what your podcast is about, as well as the last words you say as you close.
The Audacity to Podcast has gone through many transformations in the years. For example, I no longer reference the Audacity software in my intro, and I no longer use the quaint “POD” for “passion, organization, and dialog.”
Make sure your intro and outro don't conflict with your audio branding. If your branding says your tagline, then you don't need to repeat it.
7. Update your call(s) to action
How long have you been asking your audience to do a particular thing? For example:
- Rate and review
- Join your email list
- Visit your sponsor
- Buy something from you
- Send feedback
- Follow you on social networks
- Visit the show notes
Re-evaluate which action is really the most important to you. If you have been giving multiple calls to action, try narrowing it to a single, strong call to action.
Consider how you can update your request to inspire more action For example, instead of saying, “You can review us in iTunes,” consider thanking specific reviewers and pointing people to your website to click the link to write a review. (My Podcast Reviews is perfect for this!)
Or, instead of asking your audience to take action at the beginning of your episodes, wait until later or at the end after you have presented value.
8. Update your media kit
You probably already know that podcast media kits are great for getting sponsors. But media kits can also be great for getting press coverage, convincing people to be your guest, and more.
Most likely, you need to update your stats and demographics, as these tend to change over the years. This may also affect your advertising rates.
You might need to update the description of your podcast in your media kits, or rework it to be more relevant to a potential guest or sponsor instead of a potential listener.
Look at anything that is outdated, inaccurate, or incomplete and update it.
9. Update (or create) printed pieces
As your visual branding or purpose of your podcast may have changed over the months or years, you may have physical items to update. Paper can be recycled (or be kindling for a family bonfire), so don't feel so attached to using up your stock of paper marketing pieces that you're hesitant to update them.
I recently realized that all of my own podcast cards need to be updated with more correct information. And I have to completely ditch my standard business cards (they were branded with “I design websites, presentations, and podcast cover art”—which I no longer do!).
My favorite place for getting business cards and other things printed is GotPrint (no affiliation).
10. Update your “subscribe” and “follow” links
When was the last time you tested your subscriptions links? Are you still using the old iTunes URLs (with “webObjects” in the URL)? Does your iTunes URL launch iTunes directly to your podcast? Do you link to dead or unpopular podcast apps (like Zune)? Are you ready to link to the new Google Play Music listing for your podcast? Have you tried SubscribeOnAndroid.com yet? Do you link to social profiles that you no longer update?
Consider using my Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress. This contains the popular app, social, and directory icons and buttons you would want (and I add new networks by request).
What else do you frequently update for your podcast?
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