Your podcast episodes don't have to “expire” once the next episode is released. With some strategy, you can use your old episodes to continue growing and engaging your audience!
Why bother sharing old episodes?
Before I get into the 6 ideas to reshare old episodes, I think you need to consider why you should even do this. I suggest the following two reasons are the most important:
- To share quality content people might have missed but can still enjoy or find benefit
- To attract a new audience through content that interests them
1. Make timeless content
Although aspects of the world are constantly changing, many ideas are timeless or nearly so. For it to even make sense to promote old episodes, those episodes need to still be relevant today.
So try to make episodes that could be enjoyed and appreciated whenever they're heard or watched. Even if you host a current-events podcast, you could occasionally break from the format to share something more timeless. Look at what Erica Mandy does with The NewsWorthy. Each episode is usually around 10 minutes. Her weekday episodes cover the latest news and thus probably won't be very relevant after even just a couple of days. But then she also publishes “Special Edition” episodes on Saturdays with more in-depth information that is often timeless. For example, these recent episodes have covered how to talk politics with loved ones, how social media warps reality, the value of college today, and what science says about coffee. Each of these might be inspired by current events (such as recent studies, elections, and other news), but the core of the conversation could often apply weeks, months, or even years from now.
It comes down to this: timeless content will be relevant for a long time and can thus be promoted at almost any time.
A handy way to make timeless content is to brainstorm episode ideas long before you record them. The more planned and less reactionary your podcast content is, the more likely it is to be timeless.
2. Repost on social networks
Whenever you publish a new episode, I recommend writing about 10 different messages to promote that episode. These could be intriguing excerpts, parts of the outline, tips or inspirations, and more.
Go ahead and use all these messages in the first week you publish a new episode, and then save the best messages for a collection you can pull from again later to promote those episodes after a little while.
Just keep in mind the life of a post on each network. Twitter posts, for example, have a very short life and often won't be seen by all your followers. But YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram posts are more likely to be seen for days after you've posted.
If you do automate this, make sure you revisit your list at least once a year to ensure everything is still relevant. For example, I stopped promoting Appendipity themes for WordPress a while back because the company disappeared. Now, I promote SecondLine Themes (and here's my episode about why I love SecondLine Themes so much). If that company ever closed, too, I would need to ensure I wasn't still promoting them, either.
3. Reference old episodes in new content
Stay familiar with your content so that whenever you create new episodes, articles, posts, videos, or emails, you can easily point back to older content when it's relevant. Just like I did under point #1 when I referenced my old episode about brainstorming future episode topics.
This doesn't mean every new episode must promote old episodes, but try to always look for those opportunities.
And if you don't already use memorable “/keyword” friendly URLs for old episodes, simply point your audience to your current episode's notes for the links back to old episodes. This helps reinforce one call to action (visiting this episode's notes) instead of multiple calls to action (one for each old episode you reference).
Link Whisper is a handy WordPress plugin that can help you more quickly find and link to your older content.
4. Include episodes in an email automation sequence
I'm a big fan of automation! And one of the best ways to do that online is with an email automation sequence. I recommend MailChimp or ActiveCampaign for this (but ConvertKit and Aweber are good, too).
If you have an email newsletter list, consider writing a series of messages where some of them (or maybe even every one of them) promote a timeless previous episode.
This doesn't have to be a daily or weekly email sequence, either. It could be an automation that promotes an old episode only once a month or even every couple of months.
And don't forget your welcome email, either! Along with thanking your audience for subscribing, you could share a short list of your top episodes—whether by popularity, by what you talk about the most, or by what episodes lay a foundation for what your podcast teaches.
Like with #2, make sure you revisit your series once a year or so to ensure any old links are still relevant.
5. Share relevant episodes in comments
If you are active in social media around your niche, look for opportunities where you can answer someone else's questions and then include a link to a relevant old episode for more details. But make sure you follow any applicable rules! For example, I've seen some groups call this “self-promotion” and strictly forbid it, regardless of relevance. While other groups disallow posts that “promote” your episodes, but they allow you to share an episode when it's relevant in a reply.
A good way to both follow the rules and be more helpful without seeming spammy is to always provide the needed information first. For example, don't simply say, “I talked about that in this episode …” and link to your episode. Instead, give a full answer and then add the link to your episode if the episode provides further information you couldn't fit in your answer. In other words, if the episode says the same thing in the same depth as your comment, then the episode doesn't provide any extra value to the reader, and thus shouldn't be shared.
This is where things get meta! This very episode was inspired by a question by “Productfellow” in the Podcasting subreddit, and I've shared this episode along with my answer as an comment on that same post.
6. Reshare episodes when timely
Even if you create episodes that are time-sensitive, look for opportunities when they might be relevant again. An easy example is any kind of holiday-related episode that might be relevant again every time that holiday occurs (for example, “It's Christmas again! Here's our gift-giving guide to help you shop!”). Or you might have an old interview that you could highlight when your guest has been noteworthy again (for example, “Listen to our interview with … before they became the celebrity you see today!”).