Jeff Sanders of The 5 AM Miracle Podcast asked a very good question regarding a common podcasting issue on the Nashville Podcasters Facebook page:
If you're serious about podcasting and have a frequent release schedule, there will come a point when it's time to record and you don't feel well. Or you're really busy with other things. Or your online connection goes down and you're not able to publish an episode you've recorded.
Does it matter? Not really.
Your Podcast vs. FOX News
In 2012, a study was released which said watching only FOX News makes you less informed than watching no news at all.
This is counter-intuitive. How is it possible?
It's possible when the "news" being delivered is misleading or otherwise not in service of viewers.
The same applies to your podcast. While you may not be talking about news or important information, if your episode isn't up to the standard that listeners expect (or should expect), they're better off not hearing your episode at all.
No Podcast Episode vs. Bad Podcast Episode
Forget the politics and ideology of the survey above. Let's talk about a real world example of how this would apply to your podcast.
According to your release schedule, a new episode should come out tomorrow. You've been sick and haven't recorded it yet and you're still sick so you can't record it now, at least not with the quality you normally would.
This gives you two options:
- Record something even though you're sick.
- Miss your deadline.
There's a good argument for "the show much go on." I've done this when I've got multiple people involved in putting together an episode (producer, engineer, guest) and other factors (studio time booked, guest only in town for a day) that would likely turn a "delay" into a cancellation. But that's just the "recording" part of an episode.
When it comes to actually releasing something, there's a higher standard.
Most people won't notice a missed or delayed episode, but they'll definitely notice a bad one. But is a "bad episode" always a negative thing?
The Positive Side Of A "Bad" Podcast Episode
NOTE: This clip is NSFW. You've been warned.
A vulgar rant by a beloved Top 40 disc jockey is shocking. It's the exact opposite of the polished delivery and message people were used to hearing from Casey Kasem.
But these recordings, which were passed around on bootleg cassettes and, eventually, digital files online, also showed Kasem's human side. He wasn't perfect, but he was just like we are, which made some people like him even more.
You have the same opportunity when releasing a "bad" podcast episode. Especially if you have a podcast like this one...
5AM?! That's intimidating as hell. And this "intimidation" is one of the things somebody like Jeff (or any of us) has to work around when marketing our podcasts.
Like Casey Kasem, people are used to hearing a polished version of us. Because of this, showing up when we're not at 100% might actually help us to be more relatable to the people who listen to our podcasts.
So here's what I'd do in a situation where you feel like you need to get an episode out, but you're not feeling 100% yourself:
- Record the episode.
- Mention that you're not feeling 100% during the recording.
- Edit as normal, holding your content up to the same high standards you normally do.
- If the episode will still "connect" with people and be valuable to them, release it. If not, skip it.