There is this question that many podcasters ask themselves. And I believe that there may not be a universally valid and accepted answer. It’s like social media: Why do people unlike my Facebook page or why do people don’t post comments on my Instagram post?
Starting from this question, I tweet a poll and asked my community why do they think people unsubscribe from a podcast.
And, after carefully considering the answers I got from the community, I chose the following ones because they reflect my personal opinions as well. They state the main reasons I usually unsubscribe from a podcast as well.
In total, there were 238 people who voted on my poll. There were also some other people that chose to reply to me with their own answers.
What were the results?
20% said that they unsubscribe from a podcast because they don’t like the host
07% said that they would unsubscribe from a podcast that was not updated with a new episode lately
29% answered that that they don’t like the topics the guests and the host are talking about
44% answered that they would unsubscribe if the episodes were based on the same topic and if the host fails to come up with something new
Now let’s get a little deeper into this topic and see what you can do in order to prevent people from unsubscribing from your podcast.
1. Be a better host
Every host has their own personality. Their uniqueness and their personalities are the traits that convince the listeners to stay engaged in the show.
Let’s move a little bit from podcasts to TV shows.
Just think about the old TV hosts like Letterman or Larry King. They have their own personalities. They have their own special way of addressing the issues and talk to their guest, And, usually they discuss the topics people want to hear about.
Now, we have Trevor Noah and Jimmy Fallon that are speaking directly to their communities and they do it on the same level and by using the same language. However, every episode is different. Every guest they invite in the show it’s different in one way or another. Jimmy does a lot of fun stuff with them on the show. And the funniest pieces are transformed into another type of content that they are using to create viral content for their platforms.
Why did I choose to talk about these TV hosts in a podcast article?
I did it because I wanted to show you that your own personality drags the kind of people that love that show and stay engaged in that show.
Seth Godin said in an article that “People like us do things like this” – Think about who you are and what you do. Think about the kind of people you might be able to convince to follow your podcast and subscribe to it. Think about what kind of topics you want to embrace and to talk about, in your podcast.
It can be people that have the same beliefs, people that have the same hobbies or people that are working in the same industry. If you think that you can talk about general stuff like Joe Rogan or Marc Maron do but in a different way, just do it.
Like Brittany Berger said “A lot of people think if you have a podcast you don’t have to pay as much attention to your writing or content strategy and flow as with a blog post. But since audio is consumed differently, it’s actually more important to be super strategic on your copywriting and flow of a script.”
Some of you can have a natural gift in just talking into the microphone about whatever you want and make people just love to listen to you while some of you will have to put out the hard work day by day, just to become better.
You can work on your tone of voice. You can work on your topics.
You can do tremendous research on the next guest and just talk about a topic other podcasters didn’t had the chance to touch.
2. Be consistent with your podcast episodes
If you want to start a podcast today it’s very easy. But, if you want to have a successful podcast you have to put in a lot of work.
At the beginning you can be alone, you have to do the research, you have to contact the guests, you have to create the content, publish and promote. Or, you can hire a team, work with a consultant or just work with other freelancers. It depends on you and on how much resources you have at your disposal.
However, you have to be transparent with yourself and with your community. Like Harry Morton from Lowerstreet said:
If you want to start as an experiment, just let them know that this is an experiment for a limited series of episodes.
“Whether you publish your podcast daily, weekly, or fortnightly, consistency is super important to maintaining and growing your subscriber base.
You’re competing with 740,000+ other podcasts so listeners are not short of options. With all the podcasts we produce for clients, we’ve seen time and again that it’s important to stay a part of your audience’s regular rotation with great content to sustain and increase engagement and stay in your listener’s feeds.
Once you lose a subscriber, it’s really hard to get them back. So stay fresh in their mind by consistently putting out great episodes.” via
When I launched my podcast I told everybody that this would be an experiment for me. I told them that I was gonna do 50 episodes, and then, that I will sit down and analyze if it’s something that I want to do or not.
So, I worked for every episode. I met with the guest, I interviewed them, I created the episode, published and promote the podcast. Then, after 50 episodes I sat down and look at the project: is this something that I enjoy doing? Is this something I want to do a regular basis. The answer was yes. And, as a consequence, I continued, because it’s something I love to do.
People will unsubscribe from your podcast if you are not updating it regularly.
This means that you need to have an editorial calendar. Let your subscribers know that you will publish weekly episodes, or every 2 weeks or monthly. Or let them know that every week, in a specific day they can listen to your podcast.
When your listeners will know that they can listen to an episode every week, they can schedule their program, they can do their program in a way they can also include your podcast episode in it and listen to it.
3. Choose a topic people are interested in
How can you find a good podcast topic that people are interested in?
Well, you have different options. Let me give you some examples.
You can start by talking with your friends about what kind of podcasts do they listen and what do they think these podcasts are missing. This way, you can listen to your friends opinions on podcasts and learn what do they listen to and what do they want to listen to.
Start talking about podcasts with your industry colleagues. There are tons of podcasts in different industries. Ask them if they listen to this type of audio shows, what kind of podcasts do they listen to and what did they learn from them. If you want to get more deeper into the conversion you can ask them if they learned something specific from every episode.
You can do a poll on a social media channel and ask your followers if they listen to a podcast, what podcasts do they follow and why.
Another way you can find a good topic people are interested in is by doing a small research using SEO tools.
For example, you can go on Ubersuggest and research the topic you are interested in. If you are in politics and you like talking about politics you can choose the word “politics”
Then, you should click on the “keyword ideas” option.
Then, click on the Related options. From there, you get tons of keyword ideas you can choose from when you prepare for the next episodes.
For instance, I chose “cartoon politics” and found that there are a lot of websites that are talking about “cartoon politics”
From these results, you can take every website and start talking about these cartoons.
You can also create a website where you repurpose that cartoon, mentioning the website that created it and publish your own podcast with a transcription of the episode. It can be a solo podcast or you can invite guests from this industry or a friend who can comment along about that specific cartoon.
In the end, you will have a topic that people are talking about in a way or another.
4. Invest in high quality audio equipment
There are tremendous amounts of good equipment you can buy in order to make sure you get to publish high quality audio content.
Even if your guests don’t have a good microphone or they have an ok-ish audio equipment, you, as the host, you have to invest in hiqh quality audio equipment.
Moreover, you need to also work on the edit of your podcast. Try to get something that it’s as good so that you will not be ashamed of it being published and available worldwide on the internet.
I believe that a lot of people unsubscribe from podcasts that publish episodes with bad audio streams. Just like in radio, for podcasts, audio is everything. It’s like looking at a movie on Netflix that is not at the highest video quality. I bet you won’t pay anymore for such as subscription if all they have is very bad quality movies.
Now think about people that are paying you with their attention. You want their attention, you want their ears and their time to listen to your podcast. If they can’t understand anything from your audio stream, they will leave it.
5. Don’t put too many ads in an episode
What do you think about advertising in a podcast episode? Some of them must be there because brands want to support podcasters and if the podcasters wants to have a team behind their projects, they must make some money with it. So yes, ads are indeed needed into a podcast.
But when you have 8 ads in a 20 minutes episode I believe it’s way too much.
I also believe that 5 or 10 minutes episodes in a 1 hour long podcast is too much. Or when a host inserts ads in the middle of the podcast.
You can insert your ad before and after the podcast. You can insert an ad on your podcast website or you can include it very simply and naturally in your podcast. But when you are doing it like a radio ad, I believe that’s a really good reason why people leave
6. Don’t just follow the trend
I know that podcasting is a trend right now. Content marketers come with this brave idea about starting their own B2B podcasts but like Jay Acunzo said in his reply, “Like any trend most marketers are following without strategy” you have to have a clear strategy in your mind.
How much value can you get from a podcast? Will you do interviews with other influencers in your industry? Will you talk about the same topics? Will you ask the same questions?
For example, I found out that podcasting can be a very good strategy to create a strong loyalty within your customers. How?: Just stay tuned because I will show you in a few days. Until then you can just follow me on Instagram or Twitter.
Even if it’s the era of big podcasting, it doesn’t mean that everybody should create audio content, especially when they don’t have a strategy.
It would be just wrong! I believe that before you start a podcast you have to understand the advantages, to create your own strategy regarding this type of content and analyze the amount of resources you will be investing in it.
If you think you are ready to start a podcast and you think you can handle all of this points, start doing it right now. But if you have your own doubts, I recommend you don’t start a podcast right away.
Now, let me know in the comments below, what other reasons do you think people have when they unsubscribe from a podcast.