1. Not using feedburner.com
When I get hired to “Fix” a podcast, one of the tools that has NOT been used is Feedburner. Feedburner gives you an idea on how many people have subscribed to your podcast. It allows you to add iTunes tags with a few mouse clicks, provide email alerts for your podcast, and more. Many times I spend hour correcting things that could’ve been avoided if a person had used feedburner. You never plan on moving your podcast, but life happens and if you have to move to a new server feedburner makes it super easy.
2. Having Bad Audio Quality.
I need to clarify. There are ways you can use your phone to podcast and it will be “OK.” This would not be my preferred method, but it would be listenable – barely. When this is a problem is when you use services such a talkshoe.com and blogtalkradio.com Yes these services make it easy to create a podcast. You end up with a podcast that sounds like someone is frying bacon underwater in the background. In today’s world its actually HARD to create a podcast that has audio quality that is unlistenable. Another way you can accomplish bad audio is using your laptops microphone. You can get a $40 microphone that will be listenable. I would prefer the $99 microphone that sounds good, but for you to have good old fashioned “Bad” audio takes some creativity.
3. Winging It
There is a delicate balance here. I hate to hear about people who won’t start a podcast because they have paralysis by analysis. They want things to be perfect. These people typically type out a script. This often is taking things too far in that “planned out” direction. The opposite is also true. I’ve heard people (myself included) who had turned on the microphone with no notes and go all over the place and never get to the point.
4. No Homework
I love people who start a podcast (yes you Jillian Michaels) who apparently never listen to one, or have a clue on how they can build up a community. This is the podcast where you turn it on and there is no “polish.” By this I mean no intro music, no mention of a website for more information, no contact information, no show notes. I wouldn’t become a NASCAR driver without watching a race or two.
5. Giving Away Control of Your Feed
Now I know I said you should use feedburner, which gives away your feed. However, feedburner is owned by Google, and has a bazillion people using it. If Google seriously jerked with feedburner, there would be rioting in the streets. What I’m talking about are services that will “set up everything for you” and in the process submit your feed to iTunes. This then ties you into using their service forever. You should always own your feed (via feedburner), and YOU should be the person who submits your podcast to iTunes and any other directory.
6. Being a Tight Wad
Another trend I see when it comes to podcasts that I’ve had to “fix” is that they tried to podcast for free (you can do it, but you can also paint with peanut butter). I work hard for my money just like you. I don’t like to give it away. I also don’t like to give away my time troubleshooting systems, and answering question from my audience like “it downloads so slow.” When you podcast for free, you get what you pay for. Once you make you initial investment of equipment, the ongoing price for your podcast could be around $20 a month. This comes down to $4 a month for your website, and $15 for your media (less than drinking a starbucks mocha a day).
7. No Album Art
You only get one chance to make a first impression. You should have album art for your iTunes listing. When people do a search for podcasts in iTunes, the first thing people see is album art. Album art is also in your media. I am amazed at the number of people who do not tag their media files. Your audience can pass your files around. Consequently, there should be some information as to where the media came from in addition to some ALBUM ART. It just makes it look so much more professional.
8. Poor Episode Descriptions
I understand that some podcasts follow a format of different segments. However, I need to remind you that nobody is Googling “Jimmy and the Dweeb Episode 38.” I used to do the music news podcast which featured news about everybody in the music biz. Instead of titling en episode “Music News 47” I would name it “Steve Tyler admits to Drug Use” which would get me a lot more search traffic.
9. iTunes Only
I’ve seen some podcaster’s website where the only subscription option they offer is via iTunes (again, I'm talking to you Jillian Michaels). Maybe their thought is by forcing their listeners to subscribe via iTunes their podcast will be more popular and move up the charts in iTunes. From what I’ve seen, iTunes is taking more and more strides to make it harder to subscribe to podcasts, and more and more software for phones is coming out that make it easier to subscribe. If the only option you offer is iTunes, a person must subscribe via iTunes, then use the “Get info” feature to determine what the raw RSS feed is and type that into the software they are using. Bottom line: you’re not getting that person as a subscriber. You should always offer a “plain” RSS feed option along with iTunes and any other platforms you want to support.
10 Failure to Listen To the Episode Before Posting
I am guilty of this myself. You make a mistake in your episode and tell yourself you will edit it out later. You get in a hurry, and post your show. Then you listen to it later and you realize that you never edited out the mistake.