Long story short (TL;DR) I find too many videos and blogs talking about how you can and should start your podcast, and not enough content on how to actually sustain and grow your podcast. And no, we aren’t talking about big bucks from sponsors or hitting the jackpot and become a famous podcaster. Podcasting is a long game, and most people don’t have the patience or stamina for it. But if you play it well and create a system that works for you, good things will happen.
Let’s talk about:
– The system and tools to sustain and grow your podcast
– How to reduce time and cost, and
– How to avoid burnout by creating a system that works
I was able to start my business and quit my full time job a year and a half after I started podcasting. In this blog post, I’ll walk you through an adaptable system you can learn from and make better for your own growth.
Let’s break down what it means to “Launch and Sustain” a Podcast
1. Your show is updated regularly
Your show is updated regularly means you are releasing it on a schedule whether it’s weekly, monthly or whichever frequency you choose that’s comfortable and sustainable for you. Even if you miss a deadline here or there, you are able to get back and keep going.
2. You are learning and growing as a host and continue to be interested and invested in your show
Before we talk listenership, it’s important that you, the creator, have and can sustain enough interest in your show. #realtalk
You don’t need to always feel the same drive and enthusiasm when working on your show. Trust me, frustration and occasional boredom are part of the package, too.
3. You aren’t relying on income and sponsorships from the podcast in order to make ends meet
So much of the stress for podcasters often come from one major source, which is the expectation that your creative work needs to make money AND as soon as possible. That reminds me of this helpful quote:
Don’t force your creativity to make money.
It’s important to acknowledge that most show will never make a dime. But there are ways to generate revenue – even make a living as a podcaster – without massive downloads or listenership. Check out: How to make a living as a podcaster WITHOUT counting downloads
With that understanding and reminder and expectation that you will most likely need to make money elsewhere first, we can move onto what you can actually do instead to sustain your podcast and develop a creative career in the long run.
What you NEED to launch, sustain and eventually grow your podcast
You need simple tools and a system that work for your podcast
Are you surprised that I didn’t immediately go to “you need enough content and guests (if it’s interview-based) to sustain your show!” Why? I’m with Seth Godin on this, writer’s block is a myth, so is content creation block for podcasts. And if you believe you have it, good news is there there’s a simple cure.
The reasons behind failed podcasts are often time and money, at least on the surface.
I think the real reason is false expectations and not having the right tools and system.
Let’s face it, there is not infinite time or money for most people, including podcasters.
Over the years, I’ve come across thousands of creators. The #1 mistake I’ve noticed over and over again is creating overly complicated tools and processes to achieve some level of imagined perfectionism.
Sure, you might finally feel happy about an episode or two, but in the long run, you know if a process is unsustainable. For example, do you absolutely need to edit episodes for hundreds of dollars each? Or do you really need a human-verified transcription for $1/min when you are just starting out?
Good intentions have bad consequences too.
Feisworld has used, invented and reinvented many systems for our podcast production process. In which we’ve tried contractors and software for podcast editing, social media design. After years of trials and errors, we learned a simple TRUTH:
“Keep your system as simple as possible. Make it dummy-proof, Document every step.”
I love experimentations, and I finally learned in recent years to separate them from our main system. Don’t get caught up with shiny objects, stick to the basics that work for you and your team.
Remember, a complicated system will not only cost you money and time.
Podcastle.ai – One Stop Shop for Recording, Editing, Managing and Publishing Your Podcast
I discovered Podcastle in 2020 and wish I had known this app sooner. Prior to that, we were primarily using Audacity and GarageBand for podcast editing.
Podcastle is so simple and user-friendly for podcasters, including those who are just starting out on their creative journey with no experience in editing audios or videos.
The Podcastle interface is minimum and easy to use, and it offers multiple functions that help podcasters achieve so much without leaving the platform (i.e. less time import/export during editing, and less money spent too).
A. Podcastle has built-in production management and folder structure
Podcastle allows podcasters and their teams to upload, manage, edit, export, share their work freely. The unlimited audio upload feature is available on their plans.
B. Recording studio-quality audio and video is possible without a physical studio
Recording studio-quality is not only possible but very easy to do from within Podcastle. I noticed the recording quality is high both with their desktop and mobile app. This include a test I did without using an external microphone (see Podcastle.ai iOS App: Record High Quality Sound with Your iPhone), yet the audio quality was crisp and clear.
When podcasters are starting out, I often hear them speak about renting professional studios. This is an idea I tend to reject the most because it increases production complexity and cost. With Podcastle, you can significantly reduce that cost and make recording accessible to anyone, not just those who are local to you.
To further improve audio quality if needed, Podcastle’s built-in Magic Dust enables you with a single click to remove background noise and optimize the audio levels across all your tracks. This is the AI tool all podcasters have been waiting for. Check out Podcastle.ai features exposed: Revoice and MagicDust
C. Editing our podcast in a fraction of the time
I wrote about Podcastle: How to edit your podcast in less than 10 minutes. With features like Magic Dust, splitting/cutting, fade in/out, text to voice, editing is a breeze compared to what I used to in apps such as Audacity and GarageBand.
Furthermore, Podcastle improves existing audios I’ve recorded in the past using Zoom and Restream. Therefore if you have less-than-ideal audios in your archive, Podcastle can significantly improve your audio quality, and you can replace existing episodes on most hosting platforms.
D. Remove filler words automatically
If you prefer to remove the ums, uhs, ers, etc., Podcastle allows you to do that easily within the app. Simply toggle ON “Detect Filler Words” and watch them get highlighted within seconds — the unwanted “ahs’ and “ums” and everything your audio doesn’t need. All you have left to do is to ignore or delete them with one click.
E. Built-in podcast transcription and ability to edit transcript instead audio
Transcription is built into the Podcastle app, but there’s more. You can edit your podcast using transcript to accurately remove specific words and sections of your show. Editing transcripts is often easier than editing audios in many cases because it allows you to access the content more precisely.
F. Convert text to audio
You can also convert text to audio using Podcastle (Check out How to convert blog post to audio in minutes (no recording needed). This is a great tool for podcasters who have text-only blogs, or creators who prefer blogging and want to make audios available as another medium for their audience to consume.
This is not only popular for content creators but for major publications as well, such as Forbes, with an audio block at the top of their articles.
G. My Digital Voice
“My Digital Voice” is still in beta at Podcastle (as of November 2022). I’ve already trained my own voice to be able to produce audio recordings that sound like me with only text. More to come on this topic.
In short, Podcastle’s management, recording and editing features have saved us more than 50% of the time editing and making our podcast.
Canva – where all the design work happens
Whether it’s for the podcast cover, blog thumbnail designs, social media posts, we create everything on Canva (the Pro version) and have been since 2016. My team and I have created templates for each purpose and platform.
PodIntelligence – for Word Cloud, Keywords and Insights
After 8 years of podcasting, we were desperate for a tool like this. Because we couldn’t find anything quite like this on the market, my partner Adam Leffert and I decided to create one on our own.
PodIntelligence is an AI-driven, plus human-supported service to help podcasters, webinar hosts and filmmakers create high quality micro-content that drives macro impact. PodIntelligence turns any number of long-form audio and video into word clouds, keyword and topic driven MP3 and MP4 clips that can be easily analyzed and shared on multiple platforms. Learn more:
Sendible – The Social Media Management System
If social media is part of your podcast marketing effort, you’ll want to consider a system that can get the job done with the least amount of resistance. Instead of manually posting on multiple platforms, you could consider Sendible, a platform that turns hours into minutes when managing your social media accounts. Plan ahead, directly schedule, collaborate, and report on your successes in one place. My team and I have been using Sendible for years to manage not only our own social channels, but 19 of our client accounts as well.
Fei Wu helps small business owners craft video content to showcase their products and services, and to grow their customer base with YouTube and podcast strategies designed to meet their business needs. She is a bilingual podcaster (English and Mandarin Chinese), the creator Feisworld Media (a monetized YouTube channel with 20K+ subscribers, Feisworld Podcast / 菲的世界播客 (with over 200K downloads worldwide) and Feisworld Documentary Series on Amazon Prime.Her online academy teaches entrepreneurs and businesses to create multiple revenue streams and scale using Zoom, podcast and YouTube strategies.In 2022, she cofounded PodIntelligence, an AI-powered and human-verified software to help creators do more with their existing content through keyword-driven analytics and micro content.
Her stories have been featured by Dorie Clark in her best-selling book called “Entrepreneurial You”, Harvard Business Review, and Forbes.