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Why You'll Never Get Ahead With Your Podcast
Episode 943rd March 2022 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
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Evo Terra:

A lot of podcasters live episode to episode, dreaming of getting

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ahead, so they aren't always rushing to get an episode produced and published.

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For many, that's an achievable dream.

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The trick is staying there.

Evo Terra:

Hello, and welcome to another Podcast Pontifications with me, Evo Terra.

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Broadly speaking, there are two types of podcasters, those who are working

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on the next episode they need to produce, and those working on the

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next episode they need to publish.

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Those two are not the same.

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Many, perhaps most, podcasters are the latter.

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The episode currently in development or is set as the next one to be

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developed, well, that's the next episode they're going to release.

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Now, serial podcasters, those who are doing fiction, documentary,

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educational, et cetera, they're much less likely to be in that spot.

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But for episodic podcasters, we're very likely in a position where what we are or

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what we will be working on next is also what our audience is going to hear next.

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And many of them, many of us, would like very much not to be in that situation.

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Because life for the others looks so great to us.

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We see or read about, or possibly hear, other podcasters who have, you know,

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the next five to six episodes already produced and even scheduled to publish.

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We imagine those podcasters as being so far ahead that the pressure to

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get a show produced right now is very much lessened, or even non-existent.

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But "produce ahead" isn't the goal for every single podcaster.

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In fact, it's not possible for every single podcaster.

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Podcasts that report the news, for example, like The Download from

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Sounds Profitable, Podnews, or Techmeme Ride Home, those shows

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can't be produced in advance.

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All three of those shows are news roundups, which means that the

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news has to be rounded up, right up until the requisite time to get

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an episode produced and scheduled.

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For shows like those and many others, producing early means potentially

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missing content that they should have been covering and their audience

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would have expected them to cover.

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And the same goes for shows that follow the release cycle of other

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properties, like, you know, companion podcasts to other media properties

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like television shows, and, believe it or not, even other podcasts.

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Or podcasts that cover trending topics.

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Or podcasts that just don't want to sound too dated.

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See, living in one world isn't really better than living in another.

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And the realities of the type of show you are producing may require a

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particular production and release style.

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But for a lot of shows, like this show, we choose our production

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and our publishing schedule.

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And for those of us who've chosen to mirror the production and release

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schedule, the idea of not doing that is really, really enticing.

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We see these ostensibly-smarter-podcasters-than-we

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producing and working on episodes that will not publish for weeks or

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months ahead, and we say, "Man, I wish I could get ahead like that."

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Now, if that's you, I have some bad news for you.

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There's no such thing as getting ahead.

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Let me clarify what I mean by not being able to get ahead.

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And I'll do so, as I am wanting to do, with a clunky metaphor.

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Now, look, I'm no gym rat, but more than a few years ago, I was

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in the best shape of my life.

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I was working out twice a day, five days a week.

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Now look, I wasn't going to make anybody swoon if I took off my shirt, but I was

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markedly less Pillsbury Doughboy-like.

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For about three months.

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'Cause then I slowed down on the workouts, and eventually I stopped them altogether.

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And my body reverted back to its own baseline.

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Surprising exactly no one.

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Because that's how life works.

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To stay there, I would have had to have keep working out.

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I wasn't getting ahead of my metabolism.

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I found a new level of fitness that required a new level of committment.

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And sitting back and relaxing clearly wasn't going to, and

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certainly didn't, keep me there.

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Surprise, I'm back to being me.

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The same as for your podcast.

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You can't really get ahead with your episode production schedule either.

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Putting in the work to get ahead with your episodes is possible, sure.

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So you maybe even have three to four of those things in the can.

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But if you don't keep working ahead, you'll fall right back down.

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If you let your production date slide, or a production date slide,

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that will eat into your progress.

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If you get distracted or you explored other projects because you're ahead,

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you're going to start sliding backwards.

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When I came back from my Long Winter's Nap in January of this

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year, I was a full month ahead.

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While you were listening to my episodes in early January, I was

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already working on episodes that wouldn't publish until February.

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Great.

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But by early February, my ahead-ness?

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Well, I was only ahead by a couple of weeks.

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And by the time you hear this episode in early March, I'm only ahead by five days.

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There's no getting ahead.

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What I should have done, not that I'm a big fan of using the words should

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have, but roll with me for a moment.

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I should have kept going.

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I should have made every day a production day, just like I had

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previously done for all those years.

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But I didn't do that.

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And my lead gradually slipped.

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Now, there were many reasons why I didn't do it - launching new projects,

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exploring new podcast ideas, and also to be honest, opting to not crank

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out an episode when the deadline wasn't staring me in the face.

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There's no getting ahead.

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There's only adjusting your calendar and developing a production

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schedule that keeps the separation between production and publishing.

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That's not working ahead.

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That's staying on schedule.

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But with anything, your mileage may vary.

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My mileage has certainly changed for sure.

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With that, I shall be back directly with yet another Podcast Pontifications.

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Cheers!

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Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra.

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He's on a mission to make podcasting better.

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Links to everything mentioned in today's episode are in the notes

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section of your podcast listening app.

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A written-to-be-read article based on today's episode is available at

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podcastpontifications.com where you'll also find a video version and a corrected

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transcript, both created by Allie Press.

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Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.