Podcasting can have many milestones—episode numbers, anniversaries, and more. Here are some suggestions for celebrating your podcast milestones.
If you want a good podcast milestone, you need to start your planning several weeks in advance. There are several reasons to do this.
- You want to invite a special guest, and they book weeks in advance
- You need time to collect responses to include
- You want to excite your audience ahead of time and keep reminding them
- You want to do something big that will take more time to prepare
Planning is never a bad idea. The better you plan your milestones, the better the celebrations will be.
Giving versus gazing
Most milestone celebrations come in one of two forms: giving value, or “navel-gazing.”
You would be giving value when you make the celebration about your community. This could directly involve other people, or you could have a great idea for highly valuable content to help or entertain on your podcast milestone.
You would be “navel-gazing” when you make the celebration about yourself. This would be when you reflect on your own history, a “best of” selection of your episodes, or anything else that focuses more on yourself than on others.
There are appropriate times for both giving value and “navel gazing,” and that decision is entirely yours. Here are my suggestions.
Episode-number milestones: give value
It's big to reach your first double digits on your podcast. It's even bigger to reach triple-digital milestones, like 100, 200, and so on.
These are significant numbers and your community will be happy to celebrate with you.
Remember that the accomplishments of episode numbers are also relative. It's big for a weekly podcast to hit episode 50, because that correlates to almost a year of podcasting. But a daily podcast will hit episode 50 within on two months; it won't seem as exciting because not as much time has past relative to the potential lifespan of the podcast.
Episode-number podcast milestones are great opportunities to give value back to your audience. Here are some ideas to inspire your creativity.
- Include tips from your audience. Make the number of tips be the episode number. For example, in The Audacity to Podcast's 100th episode, I shared 100 podcasting tips from my community. (This may not scale well for your higher numbers.)
- Invite a special guest. Pick someone who will mean something to your community in order to give value. This is what I did for my 200th episode.
- Live-stream. If you don't already live-stream your podcast-recording, consider doing it for this celebration. Video (with YouTube Live) would be the most engaging. This doesn't have to be a professional production because the focus is on celebrating with the community.
- Host an in-person party. If you have enough loyal fans, it may be easy to pick a date and location for celebrating in person. You may be surprised how many people will travel to celebrate with you. You don't have to podcast from this event, but why not? If nothing else, make sure you take plenty of pictures and get video and audio recordings of the event. You can use these to encourage more community participation or promote another live event. (Sidenote: you don't have to wait for a milestone to host a meet-up!)
- Have an “open house” episode. Invite your community to participate in the episode with you with live call-ins. I did this for the 100th episode of our clean-comedy podcast and everyone had a lot of fun.
- Try a different format. If you normally host an interview show, try a solo show, or vice versa. If yours is normally an audio podcast, try a video episode. (I don't normally recommend mixing video into an audio channel, but your community will be accepting with enough warning.) If your content is normally a presentation or conversation, try a scripted drama or even a musical (but these can take a lot of work, as Dave Jackson knows from his 400th episode).
- Answer questions. If you spend most of your podcast presenting information, this could be a good time to address the questions that have been accumulating. Ray Edwards did this in his 100th episode.
Comment below with additional ideas for how to celebrate and give value!
Podcast anniversaries: “navel-gaze”
You have most likely skipped an episode here or there and ended up with fewer than 50 episodes in a year. Or maybe you have a straight run with an episode every week of the year. In any case, it's likely that your podcast anniversaries will not fall on episode-number milestones. Thus, these anniversaries or less-significant-episode-number milestones (like 25 or 150) can be good times to get a little introspective.
I still think your ultimate goal should still be to either help or entertain, and you can easily do that even if may seem like “navel-gazing” or focusing on yourself. Here some more ideas for “celebratory navel-gazing.”
- Tell the story behind your podcast.
- Share what you've learned thus far.
- Talk about the mistakes you made along the way. I did this for my 150th episode.
- Look back and highlight some of the best content. After all, it's likely that much of your audience either forgot or didn't hear or watch some of the earlier episodes.
- Explain a shift in vision.
- Reveal plans for the future.
Comment below with additional ideas for how to celebrate with some introspection and still give value!
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