There are a few lines of thought on this. Having a number of episodes “in the can” does give the new producer a sense of accomplishment.
Equally having six months worth of episodes can be a draw back. Going live with your first episode and nothing ready for the next slot does sharpen the mind.
A few episodes held in readiness does give a bit a of a safety net. If life gets in the way, you have a few episodes up your sleeve before you need to hit the record button again. The danger of that is the dreaded podfade. Getting out of the production rhythm is fraught with dangers in the early stages of a podcasting adventure.
Having six months worth of content has its own issues. Working on the assumption your episodes are podsafe, that is do not breach anyone else’s copyright, you may have errors you are unaware of that only listeners will pick up. This means lots of re-recording or just living with the glitches until your pre-recorded episodes have played. Either way is not ideal.
Now if you made an error and produced material that wasn’t podsafe, you will have to re-record or at the least, re-edit to remove the offending material. Usually this will be music. The music industry is fanatical in protecting their rights. In the US the penalty for breach of copyright is something like $150,000 per breach. There’s a post on being podsafe coming but now and I’m not a legal professional, the best rule of thumb is this: if I didn’t create the content, I don’t use it.
All that being said. I started World Organic News with one episode, the first one. Now that’s not a silly as it sounds. It is possible to start with a “zero” episode or a trailer as Apple Podcasts now calls it. I was that green I just recorded an episode, published it, on Soundclound, then wandered through Apple’s podcasts connect process to place the RSS feed on iTunes. 150 episodes later, the start really didn’t matter that much. You have to be into podcasts for the long haul.
What do I recommend for my students nowadays?
Have three episodes recorded and scheduled on a weekly/daily/monthly basis, however you are going to publish. Then record your trailer episode. The act of recording those first three episodes will give you clearer idea of how to describe your show. Publish the trailer at least two weeks before your first episode is due. If you want to launch in the New Year period publish your trailer at the end of November and then follow the Apple Podcasts process to have your show assessed by Podcasts Connect. This is done by real people not an algorithm. These people take time off over the holiday period so you need to get in early. Otherwise two weeks enough. I’ve never had to wait more than six hours to have a show up with Apple but delays do occur.
If you release all three recorded episodes, and I’ve heard this argued for, you don’t receive the listeners equally across all three. This is because the default setting in Apple Podcasts is “play newest episode first”. You just throw content away by launching three on the same day.
Now if you’re going weekly, maybe launching three episodes a week for a month may be a way to build excitement. This is something I’m going to test with a relaunch this year so we will see.
- You must start publishing to learn the craft.
- Publishing too many episodes ahead of schedule doesn’t give you the chance to fix things quickly.
- Record three episodes and schedule them as per your plan.
- Record your trailer and publish it.
- Submit to Apple
- Keep to your schedule.