When you’re planning your podcast, it’s important to consider the shelf life of your episodes. Shelf life is the length of time an episode remains relevant and useful. Some podcast episodes are evergreen, meaning they’re always relevant and can be listened to at any time. Other episodes may have a shorter shelf life and may only be relevant for a few weeks or months.
Here are two examples:
1. Topical and timely podcasts
I often listen to the NPR show Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! as a podcast. This program takes current events and turns them into a game show. On the one hand, I feel an increased pressure to listen each week because I know that if I don’t, the show will become out of date. On the other hand, I have never gone back to listen to a six-month old episode, because I know that it’s no longer relevant. The disadvantage of time-sensitive podcast episodes is that if people do not listen to them shortly after they are released, they are unlikely to ever listen to them. You cannot get as much life out of the podcast in the long run.
2. Evergreen podcasts
On the other hand, stand-up comedian Marc Maron hosts the WTF podcast. His show features evergreen interviews with celebrities like Robin Williams, Paul McCartney, and even Barack Obama. I have listened to episodes of his podcasts months or even years after they were initially recorded because they are timeless. However, I don’t feel the increased pressure to listen to every episode as soon as it is released, so with Marc’s podcast, I will often binge listen to several episodes, then go months without listening, then return to it again. The advantage of evergreen podcasts is that listeners will still find value in them months or even years after they are released. The disadvantage is that there is less incentive to listen to them right away.
Timely vs. Evergreen Podcasts: Which is right for you?
When you’re planning your podcast, think about which type of episodes you want to create. If you want to create episodes with a longer shelf life, try to choose topics that will remain relevant for a long time. You could discuss general topics like the history of podcasting or tips for podcast beginners. Avoid topics like current events or pop culture.
On the other hand, if you want to create episodes with a shorter shelf life, try to choose topics that are timely and relevant right now. This could include discussing recent news stories or upcoming events. You could also interview guests who are experts on timely topics. By considering the shelf life of your podcast episodes, you can ensure that your podcast is enjoyable and informative for your listeners.
As you can see, the shelf life of your content can have a significant impact on how people consume it. A podcast series featuring evergreen content can get a lot more life out of older episodes, while a current-events driven podcast can take a lot longer to gain traction. When you are launching a new podcast, think carefully about how your episodes will age.
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