This question comes up ALL THE TIME: when should we launch our show? Our clients often want to know how they can optimize the launch and posting times of their show to gain the greatest number of downloads. A variation on this enduring question illustrates the strategy behind choosing a date and time to launch your podcast (and subsequently post new episodes).
“Is summer a bad time to launch my show?”
You may have heard this theory before. I get the logic behind it; people tend to take a vacation in the summer when the weather is fine and school is out. That means they’ll be off their regular routines. And, thus their podcast listening habits will be disrupted.
There is evidence to support this idea that the summer is a sleepy time for podcasting. Take a look at this data from podcast hosting company Buzzsprout (via Livewire). It shows a dip in monthly downloads in July and August of last year. But the story changes for the most popular podcasts. Buzzsprout reports that the top 1% of podcasts experienced a spike in first-seven-day downloads between July and September of last year.
So there is no clear answer to the question. But it does raise a good point about listener habits. And prompt this essential question:
“What is the routine of my ideal listener?”
Think about what your listeners are doing when they’re listening to your show. If your podcast is a daily news show, think about how your listeners build your show into their daily routine. Do they listen to their smart speaker while they’re making breakfast for their family? Do they listen on the commute to work, or on the way home? How might this affect the time of day you publish?
If you’ve created a binge-worthy narrative podcast, your listeners might be more inclined to listen on the weekend or summer vacation when they have more time to really dig into, say, a serialized podcast.
One of my favourite examples of a podcaster being mindful of their listeners’ habits is The Longest Shortest Time. It’s a parenting show. The original creator, Hillary Frank, started posting episodes in the middle of the night when she knew parents would be up with crying babies and sick kids. It can be a lonely time of night, and the relatable stories on The Longest Shortest Time are a lifeline for underslept and struggling parents. They were for me when my eldest was in a long (very long) phase where she couldn’t fall asleep unless she was in my arms. In fact, I discovered The Longest Shortest Time in a desperate search for answers about how to get my baby to sleep on her own. The Longest Shortest Time came up in the Google search results.
Timing also factors into your marketing and promotion plan.
Have you considered the timing of your marketing/promotion plan?
Marketing your show is a key ingredient to podcast success. And a great marketing strategy may include leveraging any editorial themes in your show to tap into niche communities of listeners, host guesting opportunities, or taking advantage of important dates that relate to editorial themes in your show. For example, if your marketing plan includes a pitch to Apple Podcasts for promo consideration tied to a particular event or holiday, you might consider launching your show sometime around or leading up to that event or holiday.
And, if your company has a marketing plan with key dates, think about how your podcast’s marketing plan and launch date might fit into that.
Does your marketing plan include a budget for paid promo?
This is where I’ll get a bit more specific in my advice. Podcast advertising is a hot business right now. That means a lot of podcasters are buying ads on other podcasts. And, in our experience running paid campaigns for our clients, the most coveted inventory can sell out quickly. So if a paid campaign is part of your plan, consider launching your show earlier in the year so you can buy the podcast promos that are best suited for your show and audience.
So, yes, launch dates do matter:
To figure out what date to launch your show and post episodes, determine this one factor first: Keep your audience in mind. When, where, and how will they be listening to your show?
Next, don’t forget the timing of your marketing plan! And, factor in the timing for any paid campaigns.