Should Your Podcast Have Seasons or Be Ongoing?

Should Your Podcast Have Seasons or Be Ongoing? Tips for Structuring Your Show

When launching a new podcast, one decision you’ll need to make is whether to structure your show around seasons or keep it ongoing. The goal of every podcaster is to have a successful show. But that looks different for everyone. 

It can be hard to build consistent content without feeling burnt out and overwhelmed. 

No matter which structure you choose, it all comes down to how well you can plan your podcast content and execute that plan.  

Maybe you’ve been trying to plan your podcast but aren’t sure if your podcast should have seasons or be ongoing. This is a question we get often from our launch clients. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be as complicated as you might be making it. 

Today, I will share a few examples of ways you can structure your show and how to make the most of whichever structure you decide on. 

Should Your Podcast Have Seasons or Be Ongoing?

What Are Podcast Seasons?

To start, a season typically consists of 7-25 episodes grouped together. 

Podcasts that are structured in seasons work just like your favorite TV shows. Each season follows a particular story arc or topic. But when you take a closer look, even your favorite shows each approach their seasons differently. 

Shows like Seinfeld or Bob’s Burgers build on the stories and character journeys of the previous episodes. But the seasons don’t usually end on a cliffhanger or leave you needing to know what happens next. 

While other shows like Game of Thrones or Heroes end each season with a cliffhanger to keep you on the edge of your seat until the following season. 

Then you have shows like Lockwood, The Sopranos, or Breaking Bad that end the entire show on a cliffhanger… Don’t be those shows at all costs!

It’s likely that, as a business owner, the only type of seasonal structure that you would consider is the first one. The show that builds on previous episodes but takes short breaks between seasons to regroup and come up with new content. 

Even with an ongoing show, it’s possible to create this illusion for yourself but more on that later. 

Download now: Podcast Workflow Checklist

Why Is A Structured Show Important?

When you are clear on the structure of your show, it allows you and your audience to know what is happening next. 

I use this example when discussing our kid’s schedule with my husband. People (especially kids) thrive when they know what to expect. It takes the guesswork out of what to anticipate and makes less space for disappointment or frustration because we thought something would go a certain way. 

The same goes for our shows. Not just the structure within our show but whether our show will continue on past a certain point or go on breaks during certain times of the year. 

By implementing an expected show structure, you’ll be able to keep your audience engaged and excited about what is to come. 

This way, you will increase listener retention and when they share about your show with their friends, they’ll be able to easily articulate what that new listener can expect.

Related Post: Is it Easy to Start a Podcast? 10 Things to Consider Before You Launch 

Podcast Season Examples

If the idea of podcast seasons sounds elusive, I get it. 

There’s no hard and fast rule as to what that should look like for everyone. It’s really up to you. 

So I put together a few examples below to show you how some of our clients use podcast seasons to make the most of their shows. 

Example #1. Six Month Intervals

One client pushed new episodes out from  January to May and then took the month of June off. Then they started back up from July to November and had December off. This allowed them to focus those two months on batch recording new content or spending time with their family.

A five-month on, one-month off cycle might be right for you if you are very intentional about the time you spend in your business. 

Don’t forget that if you wanted to keep going, you could always batch ahead or outsource the marketing during those months to give you time away. There are options for everyone. 

Example #2. Episode Intervals

Since most podcast seasons land somewhere between 7 and 25 episodes per season, you can decide what that cadence looks like for you. Then you can choose 

We have a client that releases twelve episodes every season. Then they take off a month or two, depending on life, before returning. It all shakes out to work for them as they are busy moms and have their own careers. 

This interval allows you to choose (and change if needed) what works best for you. I think this might be the best starting point for someone starting out. You may decide after that first break you want to keep going. 

With this interval, you can also decide whether to have breaks. You may decide to go along with 25-episode intervals and can change the season but won’t bother taking breaks. 

Whatever you decide, just make sure it’s something that you can consistently show up for.

Related Post: 3 Surprisingly Powerful Ways to Measure Podcast Success

Example #3. Yearly Intervals

Another client is an astrologer and uses the astrological new year (the start of Aries or March 21st) as the starting point for a new season. 

There is usually a new theme or format for the season’s content as well. It keeps the audience excited and ensures the host feels good about having space to change the format as she grows as a person and host. 

With this interval, you would most likely only take a month off (if that) of your content to prepare for the next season or to create anticipation. 

Tips for Podcast Structure Success

Here are a few tips to help you maximize your podcast results whether you have seasons or not: 

First, Understand Your Own Capacity

It’s important that you know what your own capacity to show up is. That will help you know which of these formats to choose if you decide to go the seasons route. And remember, you don’t even have to do seasons if you find that the content can be a continuous stream of information. 

Related Post: Step-By-Step: How to Start a Podcast 

Next, Create a Plan to Adhere to Your Structure

When you first start podcasting, you may not know what will or won’t work for you. It’s important that you at least start with a plan. 

90% of podcasters don’t make it to 25 episodes and I genuinely believe this is one of the problems they run into. They start a podcast, thinking it’s a quicker and easier way to create content when really they are putting in a ton of work and aren’t sure if it’s working. Or if they even want to keep doing it. 

Related Post: How to Know if a Podcast is Right for You

With this in mind, if you can create a plan and adhere to that plan, you’re already doing better than most. Keep showing up. You’ve got this!

Finally, Communicate Your Schedule

If you don’t communicate your plan with your audience, they won’t know to expect shows from you. That leaves it too open when most podcast listeners like to arrange their days around which episodes go live on which days. 

If you break for a season without telling them, you can guarantee that you will lose followers and listeners. 

And we don’t want that for anyone. So communicate new seasons. Communicate if you need a break. And communicate if you are changing up your format.

This helps keep your audience engaged and lets them know you care. 

Tune in to more episodes from Successful Podcasting Unlocked.

Start a Podcast Today

I hope this guide on podcast seasons was helpful for you as you journey into podcasts. If you take nothing else from this, remember that you get to choose! 

The best way to set yourself up for successful seasons is to choose a structure that works best for you. 

Now that we’ve covered that, I want to encourage you to look through my FREE Podcast Launch Roadmap. If your podcast has seasons and you’d like to make the most of a new season, you can follow that exact formula to create excitement and anticipation during your off time. 

Download your Podcast Launch Roadmap today!

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