5 Biggest Mistakes New Podcasters Make

5 mistakes new podcasters make

We don't know what we don't know.

That's why I'm sharing the biggest mistakes I see people make when launching new shows.

The good news is these issues are easy to fix — or avoid altogether.

Knowing these are mistakes is more than half the problem.

So here we go….

Mistake #1: Volume levels

You tune into a new show and can't hear the host.

So you turn up the volume until their guest begins to speak.

You bolt for the volume knob because NOW IT'S TOO LOUD!

How do you fix the problem? Here are three suggestions:

  • Learn about normalization, compression, and loudness tools in your editing software
  • Use Auphonic.com
  • Mac users can still use the Levelator App

#Tip: Have each person recorded on a separate track. Adjust the levels of each independently for best results

Mistake #2: Episode Titles and Descriptions

Episode Titles

The following is a horrible title for a podcast episode: Episode 001:

Not only is it ugly, but it's also 12 characters long.

Here's an example of what not to do:

Most apps only display between 25-50 characters. Don't waste the space!

People click “PLAY” in their apps when a title grabs their attention.

“Episode 2203 -” means nothing when apps keep track of which episodes have been played.

The lesson: Get to the keywords as fast as possible!

#Tip: Use this hack for episode numbers without putting them in the title: https://stevestewart.me/itunes-episode-number-hack

Episode Descriptions

I have a similar recommendation for episode descriptions.

Do not begin episode descriptions with the same phrase or text every time.

Look at this example:

What a waste of valuable real estate! The description is truncated before any real information is provided.

Avoid using the following phrases in your episode descriptions:

  • In this episode,
  • Today we speak to
  • In today's podcast

It is a foregone conclusion that whatever information you put in the episode description is in that episode.

No need to say “In this episode”… of course it is!

And “today” is irrelevant to someone who just came across your episode 3 months after its release.

#Tip: If the episode features a well-known guest then include their name in the first few words of the episode Title. If not, include it in the Description.

Mistake #3: Long intros

I make this mistake way too many times with Money Plan SOS (my old podcast).

My wife doesn't listen to podcasts, but eventually gave one of my episodes a shot. Her feedback was golden! Unfortunately, it was a horrible experience and she never listened to another episode (as far as I know).

What was so terrible? I spent the first 7ish minutes talking about stuff that had nothing to do with the topic of the episode.

I wasted 7 minutes of her time – and time of at least another 999 listeners while I was promoting a giveaway and probably asking for iTunes reviews.

BTW: I wasted 7,000 minutes of listeners' time (estimating 1,000 listeners) and didn't get a single review during that month.

Avoid these topics at the beginning of your show:

  • Talking about your week, the weather, or sports (unless you are a sports podcast)
  • Reading recent iTunes reviews
  • Any call-to-action that takes listeners away from your podcast (follow on Facebook, leave a review, etc)

#Tip: Give listeners value and deliver on what is in the title of the episode right away. Those who listen all the way through are the ones who are more likely to follow you and any calls-to-action you offer.

Mistake #4: Double Guest Intro

This is very common. The host introduces the topic of the episode that includes an interview with [insert name here] from [insert company here] who did this cool thing [here].

It sounds something like this:

“Hi everybody. Welcome to the podcast. Today I'm bringing on Antonio Banderas who played Puss in the Shrek movies.”

Then when the interview begins, it sounds like this:

“Hi everybody. I'm so excited to have on the podcast today Antonio Banderas who played Puss in the Shrek movies. How are you doing, Antonio?”

As I see it, there are two ways to solve this problem:

  1. Tease the interview and all the relevant information in your episode intro, then get right to the first question during the interview
  2. Cut one of the duplicate guest introductions from the recording when putting the episode together

#Tip: Let your guest know you'll be recording a separate introduction later. That way it doesn't feel so weird when you jump right into your first question. Some pre-recording chit-chat can help reduce the awkwardness as well.

Mistake #5: Wasted CTAs

CTAs are “calls-to-action”. This is where you ask your audience to do something.

During an on-boarding call, I ask every potential client what they want to accomplish with their podcast.

Their answers are NEVER one of the following:

  • To get a bunch of Ratings and Reviews (R&Rs)
  • To get a bunch of Twitter or IG followers
  • To get into New & Noteworthy (N&N) for 8 weeks

Yet, these are the very things most newbie podcasters ask their listeners for!

Don't throw away your CTA. If the goal of your podcast is to sell your mastermind or course, then that should be your CTA.

You can ask for R&Rs, but they don't help your show rank or be discovered by new listeners.

Getting into N&N is good, but it's not the overnight success to riches everyone says it is.

Getting people to follow you on social media is okay, but STARTING A CONVERSATION on social media is GOLD!

Put your CTAs in the middle or end of your episodes. Remember your reasons for making a podcast. The success of your show will come true sooner when your CTAs match the goals of your show.

#Tip: If you don't have anything to promote yet, then ask your audience to share the podcast with a friend who might benefit from hearing your awesome content.

BONUS: Missed opportunity

Most podcasts are consumed while people are doing something else.

This makes it difficult for your listeners to follow any of your CTAs.

Here's a trick I've been using for YEARS – and it even helps my business:

Pretty Links (or some other URL re-direct)

Listeners are already familiar with my podcast name, which is also website domain name (MoneyPlanSOS.com)

When I wanted someone to visit my show notes, I wouldn't ask them to go to https://moneyplansos.com/sos070-chris-hogan-and-coordinating-fpu

Instead, I would say “Visit the show notes at MoneyPlanSOS.com/ChrisHogan”

So much easier to remember!

Using Pretty Links, which is a plugin for WordPress, allows me to use my brand AND help people remember where to go on the internet.

Other uses for Pretty Links

I don't just use Pretty Links to podcast show notes, I use them for all kinds of thing. Here, try them out:

SteveStewart.me/prettylinks – takes you to my affiliate link for Pretty Links Pro

SteveStewart.me/Levelator – to download the free Levelator App for your Mac

SteveStewart.me/schedule – the place where you can schedule a call with me

SteveStewart.me/submittopodbean – the site where you can submit your podcast to be included in Podbean's directory

SteveStewart.me/STLpodcast2020 – the slide deck from a presentation I did at the St. Louis Podcaster's Meetup

MoneyPlanSOS.com/w4 – takes you to the IRS website where my financial coaching clients could adjust your income tax withholdings

If you don't have a WordPress website – don't worry! I've been hearing about other services or features that have this functionality.

Podpage.com is one such service. Check it out at SteveStewart.me/podpage (which will re-direct you to Mathew Passy's affiliate link for Podpage. See what I did there?)

What mistakes have you made before?

Top 10 Directories to Submit Your Podcast