Why Most Podcasts Fail: How To Start a Podcast That Succeeds

Disctopia How to Start a Podcast

How To Start a Podcast,Why Most Podcasts Fail

There’s always a lot of talk about how to start a podcast. There’s rarely the talk of why people quit podcasting or why most podcasts fail. Let’s be frank, while there are a lot of new podcasters, there’s also a growing number of former podcasters.

At Disctopia, we are interested in helping podcasters find their feet. Usually, the search queries of podcasters are often on how to start a podcast or how to grow and monetize their podcast. Still, we are also seeing a surge in podcasters about to quit.

Yes, we agree that most podcasts fail. It’s difficult maintaining a podcast, and if care is not taken, you’ll get burned out and quit. We don’t want you to become a one-hit-wonder after all your efforts and investments.

While we cannot ask these podcasters while they quit, the reasons why they did isn’t rocket science.

In this piece, we are interested in how to start a podcast with long-term success. Let’s say we’re focusing on how to start a podcast that will not fail. 

How Many Podcasts Have Failed? 

It’s not enough to say “most podcasts fail,” Let’s put a number to the numbers of podcast shows that have failed. Then, we’ll be able to focus on why they failed and how to inspire creators on how to start a podcast that stands the test of time.

  • Only 20% of the podcasts launched this year will be in existence by next year. Invariably, about 1 in 5 new podcast shows will make it past a year. – Slam Agency
  • This is close to the position of Daniel Larson that 75% of podcasts fail. – Daniel Larson
  • In 2018, about 50% of 540,000 podcast shows were estimated to have podfaded. – Amplifi Media
  • In 2021, there were about 2 million podcasts, but only 720,000 podcasts had more than ten episodes and only 880,000 podcasts with more than four episodes. – 9to5 Mac.

How To Start a Podcast That Does Not Fail? 

Now that we have an idea of the number of podcasts that fail, we must focus on reducing the numbers and occurrence of failure

1. Most Podcasts Does Not Have a Unique Selling Point 

It’s quite easy to start a podcast. The industry is known for its low cost of entry. That’s why there has always been an upsurge in the number of podcasts. However, with the industry’s boom is also a corresponding increase in the case of failure.

The podcast industry is no longer what it used to be, it’s now overcrowded, and many are still trying to break into it.

Why will you want to start a podcast on an idea already being duplicated over a hundred thousand times? People abandon your podcast halfway into an episode because of a lack of uniqueness and innovation.

Solution: Find an edge that helps your podcast stand out

Rather than being concerned with just starting a podcast, be interested in knowing how to start a podcast that stands out. We are at a point in the podcast industry where you’ll need strategic positioning to succeed.

You are better off not starting a podcast than another watery or boring one. While planning your podcast, you need to discover what can give you an edge over the close to 3 million podcasts we have currently.

These podcast listeners have a short attention span. You’ll need to show that you have a better offer and content than every other existing podcast show. In the words of Neil Patel, you can’t get anywhere or make any waves when you try to be known for everything.

2. Lack of Systems and Automation

Despite the low cost of entry and the low barriers, podcasting isn’t child’s play. Most of the podcasters who quit are those who don’t have systems in place. This is due to a lack of emphasis on podcast planning.

We are far past the era when you can release a podcast episode when you deem fit. You need to invest in systems and processes, or else you’ll wake up one day and discover that it’s been six months since you last published a podcast episode.

There’s much to do as a podcaster, from podcast research, publishing, advertisement, guest search, and many more. You cannot approach all of these tasks without a system in place.

Solution: You need to build and implement systems for your podcast

It’s high time podcast experts start teaching and emphasizing building systems as part of how to start a podcast.

If you look into how Joe Rogan, Tim Ferris, Sarah Fraser, and other successful podcasters how been running their podcasts, you’ll notice a pattern. They have a system in place; that is why they have been able to run their podcasts efficiently.

With a system in place, you’ll be able to run your podcast sustainably and with long-term success in mind. Let’s remind you of the importance of systems; you’ll save time, run efficiently, and be able to focus on what matters.

3. Absence of Goals and Milestones. 

This Harvard Business School study established that people who set goals are ten times more likely to succeed than those without goals. Knowing it’s part of why podcasts fail, we have a piece on How to Set Podcast Goals.

Without appropriate goal setting, you’ll struggle to grow your audience. You will likely be measuring yourself against other podcasters, setting yourself up for failure.

Solution: Write out your podcast goals and chart out milestones. 

With goal setting, you are likely to succeed as a podcaster. Not to sound cliché, but goal setting will help you stay motivated and inspired even when things don’t seem to go according to plan.

As a podcaster, put your short and long-term goals in black and white. Ensure that your goals abide by the SMART principle. So also, break your podcast goals into milestones and celebrate every milestone.

At the beginning of every year, write out what you want to achieve as a podcaster and how to achieve it. Define what success means to you, and work towards being successful.

Your podcast goals could be selling more merch, growing your audience, brand awareness, or becoming a thought leader.

4. Inability To Monetize Your Podcast

When you read somewhere that Joe Rogan makes about $30 million from podcasting annually, you start wondering what you are doing wrong. You are not doing anything wrong, you are still building, and if you embrace growth, you may also get to that point or closer someday.

As a podcaster, you need to know that while making money from podcasting is possible; it’s not easy. Despite the booming industry, podcasting is not a get-rich-quick scheme. You may find yourself podcasting for years without making a dime. Not to worry, with every podcast episode, you are getting closer to payday.

Solution: Consider alternative podcasting monetization strategies. 

Stop bothering yourself about Joe Rogan, Steve Barlett, or Dave Ramsey’s annual income. They didn’t start earning millions from their show within their first five years. You need to start somewhere; maybe start by aiming at going from $0 to your first $500.

Podcasters must embrace and consider different alternatives and strategies for monetizing their podcast.

Final Thoughts: How To Start a Podcast That Won’t Fail

It’s not important to start a podcast, but when you do, ensure you are starting a podcast that will not fail. You need a strategy that helps you keep producing new podcast episodes regardless.

There’s nothing bad about quitting podcasting, but if you have to hang the mic, ensure it’s for the right reasons. You should never quit podcasting because you fail at building a system or cannot monetize your podcast. These are quite trivial if you have a good grip of how to start a podcast that will not fail.

If you’ve stopped podcasting and would love to give it a shot again, Disctopia will always be ready to welcome you back into the fold. We are here to help podcasters, and other independent creators find their footing. That’s why we have a growing resource and tools to help you make the most of your creativity.