How to Learn from Your Failed Podcast Projects


PodMov Daily: Monday, September 20

Episode 507: Your Monday Mix

How to Learn from Your Failed Podcast Projects

“What is the thing that only your podcast provides for its intended audience?” Edison Research SVP Tom Webster has started and stopped several podcasts over the years. Most podcasters are in this boat, especially those that have refined their craft enough to answer that first question with confidence.

“Starting and stopping a podcast is only a negative if you learn nothing from it,” he says. “One of the most valuable things you can do is to go back to those darlings you decided to kill [and] dig them up for a postmortem examination of the corpses.” He began his first show nine years ago, but began guesting in 2007.

As it turns out, “the thing that only your podcast provides” needs to be something you enjoy providing. As Webster picks through old projects, he identifies pain points that led to their collapse. If editing, music licensing, or wrangling guests is weighing you down, consider this a sign: “Soar with your strengths, baby.”

The Struggle to Capture Great Podcast Storytelling

For five years, Julian Shapiro wanted to start a podcast to exchange stories with great storytellers. But, he admits, “every time I recorded a test episode, I sounded lifeless like a stressed-out amateur.” If you’re concerned about the impact of your delivery behind the mic, here’s some recommended reading.

Shapiro is a writer, marketer, and developer with a passion for learning from his own failures. During his “treasure hunt” for what makes a compelling story, he did what many podcasters set out to do at the beginning. He studied masters like Neil deGrasse Tyson on YouTube — and continued to record episodes that flopped.

What finally struck gold was the concept of “blowing your own mind.” (Sounds goofy, but it’s not.) Shapiro finds that while strategy and practice are important, the key is to truly relive what we’re telling. Audiences feed off emotion in critical moments, the same ones that make a story worth repeating.

She Podcasts LIVE: Join Us October 14-17 in Scottsdale

Next month, the She Podcasts LIVE conference will bring women and non-binary audio creators together for education, inspiration, and community. The largest in-person gathering of its kind, She Podcasts is different by design. In a holistically supportive environment, you’ll find conversations that couldn't happen anywhere else.

Expert-led sessions will dive into growth, monetization, and marketing, as well as the ‘big picture’ of a creative life. They’ll discuss health, happiness, ethical sales, outsourcing, circadian rhythms and more. You’re never alone, no matter what your podcasting journey throws your way. 

Keynote speakers like Cameron Esposito (Queery), judgment-free dialogue, and even a pool party make She Podcasts LIVE a can’t-miss event. Safety is their top priority — learn more about policies here. Ready to discover your best chapter yet? Join them in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona from October 14–17.

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.

Here's what else is going on:

  • On repeat: This Thursday at 3:00 pm CT, will host “How to Avoid Burnout & Keep Creating.” Brian Baltosiewich, the Emmy-nominated founder of Queen City Podcast Network, will outline steps to keep the podcast production process enjoyable and sustainable. Free registration.
  • In class: The inaugural Humanities Podcasting Symposium is coming up on October 15-16. Featuring Radiolab co-host Latif Nasser, the free, virtual program of discussions and workshops will focus on using podcasts for teaching, learning, and scholarship in the humanities. Register here.
  • Crop top: Limited by other platforms, marijuana marketers are flocking to podcasts. According to Phoebe Bain of Morning Brew, publicly traded companies like Cresco Labs are seeing success with campaigns in states where cannabis (and therefore, marketing cannabis products) is legal.
  • Open channel: The podcast boom in Cuba has coincided with a worsening economic and health crisis, reports Ernesto Londoño of The New York Times. Though the country’s government has blocked access to some news sites, about 220 uncensored podcasts are thriving and sparking debate. 

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