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The 20 Biggest Podcasting Mistakes You
Can Make 

If you're struggling with podcasting or a certain aspect related to it, you might be doing one or more of these crucial things to avoid.

Continue reading and learn what and what not to do from the speakers of the upcoming Podcasting for Business Conference!

pfbcon 2023 speakers

Mistake #1: Not defining your listener persona.

“The biggest mistake I see when people and brands are going into the podcasting field is when they are launching without defining the listener persona.

The listener persona is like the target or buyer persona in marketing. They are the concrete target you want to reach through your brand or your product. And you know how to do that on the brand, but a lot of people forget to do that on the podcast.

But if you want to have a good podcast that’s attracting and talking to the people you want to, then you have to do the same strategy.

This is one thing I do—a framework that I created on how you concretely dress up an ID of your listener persona, of the listener you want to reach through your podcast and try to understand what will make them listen to your podcast.”

Mistake #2: Spending too little time  strategizing.

The biggest mistake that I see a lot of brands make when they're first getting into podcasting is not taking the necessary amount of time that they need to come up with a good content strategy, or altogether skipping out on the fact that the podcast is a reflection of their brand promise that they've already established.

If it's part of their brand to be super high quality, best ingredients, or just the best service you can find, to have a podcast that is hobbled together or subpar in terms of quality is going to reflect poorly on that brand.

That's something to look out for.”

Mistake #3: Thinking that your ideas are ordinary.

“What's ordinary to you is amazing to others. And one of the big mistakes that people make when they start a podcast is they forget that your ideas, your insights, your view on life is ordinary to you, but it's amazing to so, so many other people. So never discount what, you know, what you can share with the world.

The world needs to hear your voice now more than ever.”

Mistake #4: Relying too much on gurus and influencers.

One of the things I think people struggle with is trusting their instinct or their gut.

Another way to say it is that they really rely on the gurus and the influencers to dictate exactly how they're going to move with their podcast. But I think about podcasting as a creative endeavor. There are many of us who do this as a business but it also allows you to be creative.

So I always say, listen to what the gurus are saying. Listen to what experienced folks are saying, and then take with you what you feel like is applicable to you and don't beat yourself up over the fact that you're not doing everything right.

That's something I've learned over the years: Listen and absorb what you can and move forward without judgment on yourself.

Mistake #5: Going in with selfish intentions.

“Here's the biggest mistake that I see so often because people come to me and ask me questions about podcasting because I've had such great success. And they said, ‘I tried it and it failed for me.' And here's why. This is the common thing that I've seen with everyone who said podcasting as a guest just didn't work for me.

And that thing is, you went into it selfishly. You went into it for what you had to gain. It was all about you. It was all about you trying to get in front of that person's audience. It was all about whether their audience was going to turn into your customers and make you, okay, maybe you didn't say rich, but make you money.

That's what you wanted. You were selfish. And because of that, it didn't work. Because everyone saw it, everyone feels it. And it's the wrong approach to podcasting.”

Mistake #6: Being afraid of starting

“The biggest mistake people make is they don't start. Once you start, it's all a learning experience. I won't speak for you, but I can barely watch or listen to my early podcast, but they were all learning.

And I've been doing this for 12 years now, and I'm still learning my craft. I was interviewed on a podcast and I told the guy at the end, “You have the best presence of a host I have ever seen. I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I'm going to incorporate what you do into my podcast.”

It's always learning, work on your craft. If you're passionate about your craft, it's not work.”

Mistake #7: Not defining your podcast's goals and success metrics.

“The biggest mistake that people make when they get into podcasting for their business for the first time is not being really clear about what role the podcast is going to play for their business and what metrics or indicators are going to show them whether or not it's working.

Podcasting value tends to be long term and indirect more often than directly profitable. So it's really important to understand what success means for your podcast. And if you don't have a goal at the outset, you're not actually going to know whether or not the podcast is making a positive impact in your business.

Or if you know it's making a good impact, you may not be able to measure how and that can make it difficult to justify continuing to include it within your budget along with all of the other marketing activities that you're doing.

So set your goals and track them all the time.

Megan Dougherty

Creator of The Podcasting for Business Conference


Get the strategies, the tactics and the answers to your questions about podcasting at the Podcasting for Business Conference 2023.

Mistake #8: Not understanding what your podcast's job is.

“The biggest mistake that I think people make when they get into podcasting is not actually understanding what job their show is playing in their business. I am a huge fan/nerd about the jobs to be done theory, and I think you can apply it to pretty much everything.

You can both say ‘this is the job my show plays for my listeners and that's why they would listen to it’, but you can also say, ‘what is the job that my show is playing in my business and for my business?’

And a lot of people have an ill-defined job that their show is doing. And so, it's trying to do little pieces of everything without being optimized for any one of those. And usually those are the types of shows that do not grow an audience. They also do not lead to business results.

Mistake #9: Not knowing who your target audience is.

“I think people really need to figure out who the audience they want to reach is. And I think everybody has this idea that I'm going to reach everyone. And if you're making a podcast for everyone, you're not making your podcast for anyone. If you really want to find your people, you have to zero in on who you want to reach.

It does mean excluding some people. But if you speak to that target audience all the time, think of it as one person that you're speaking to develop a persona, a podcast avatar of that person. You will find your people. And even people you think you've excluded will find a way to listen to your podcast.

Focus on your audience, narrow it down, and remember that they're people and talk to them like people.

Mistake #10: Looking at your podcast as
a direct money maker.

“I think the biggest mistake people make is that they look at it as A money maker.

And I think that, um, if you go into it with intentions to help people to learn and grow and share information, I think the money will come. I think, uh, looking at it as a, as a service to help others to make a contribution to the greater good, uh, as holistic as that may sound, I think that certainly helps you grow and in so doing that brings the money in the back way.”

Mistake #11: Not maximizing
the services you pay for.

“I have a production company. And as, as a producer, I have to also bring in other experts in specific things like lighting, audio, videography… and those experts charge you by the day. So if I'm going to pay somebody by the day, I might as well use their whole time, their entire day and do as much content as I can get out of it. 

It's going to look amazing because they're the experts, but it's also going to be saving us money.”

Mistake #12: Focusing on quantity over quality.

“A mistake that I see people make when they get into podcasting is thinking that they need to create more episodes in order to have more impact.

It's not just about saying that you're creating more quantity of episodes. It's really about making sure that more people can get access to the episodes that you have already created.

It's like I need to create one piece of quality content that's evergreen that I can then run ads to and get more fresh eyeballs into that particular episode.”

Mistake #13: Thinking that it's all about your recording yourself and your voice.

“I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when they are getting into podcasting and don't know much about it is thinking that it's just about recording yourself and your voice and that you're good to go and that you don't really need to do much.

Podcasting is not what it used to be. I think the inception of podcasting was about recording your voice, talking to a friend, but nowadays it's so competitive and it's about a lot more than just that.”

Mistake #14: Overthinking and underthinking

“It's a toss up. Podcasters are either over or underthinking it. Those who overthink it never get it launched, and those who underthink it don't get it listened to.”

Podcasting success = clear strategies, goals, and metrics + trusting your gut

Having a clear understanding of every aspect of your podcast is important, however, when strategizing and planning is stopping you from moving forward, there's nothing wrong with following your instincts and diving right in.


What Are Your Unique
Success Metrics?

If you're wondering ho to get maximum value out of your show, then you need to make sure you'reoptimizing for, and tracking, the right things. This free training webinar, which we're offering live in the lead up to the Podcasting for Business Conference will help you identify what is most important, and how to measure it. 

Mistake #15: Not creating that personal connection with the person you're talking to.

“The biggest mistake people make is not having a personal connection with a person that they're talking to. Instead of having a conversation and doing that back and forth, they're just asking questions one after the other without even reiterating what the other person just talked about.

You want to create that bond, that connection, and not just be a host to ask a question, take the answer, and then move on to the next question. Be conversational because you're basically building a relationship. You're going to be hanging out with this person for 30 to 45 minutes.

Might as well make it pleasant for yourself and the person on the other side.”

Mistake #16: Not outsourcing your tasks.

The biggest mistake that I've made in eight years of podcasting is not outsourcing to a skilled production team sooner. I had some fits and starts with this. I tried delegating to teams where they themselves were as overwhelmed as I was. But in the beginning, I was kind of franken-stringing software and external consultants together.

I, Jenny, the host and creator still owned the life of an episode. So when I fell behind on editing or even delegating, everything grinded to a halt.

Finally, when I hired One Stone Creative, and no, they didn't pay me to say this. I felt like I could rest. That now all I really had to do was show up to prepare for the interview, conduct the interview, and they would keep the trains moving on time.”

Mistake #17: Having absolutely no plan.

“A really unfortunate mistake I see people making in podcasting happens before they even launch.

And it's to really have no plan. And I get it. We want to try something new. We're just curious about it. And that's great. But really, what have you ever seen succeed that you didn't have some sort of plan for? Right? I always think about a friend of mine who decided she was going to drop into a half pipe on a skateboard when she had never ridden a skateboard before.

She had no plan. She just decided, Oh, this seems cool. And went for it. And you can imagine what happened to her face, right? I find that our podcast ends up being a lot like that, unfortunately, because we go into being like, we're just going to aim for the stars and go for it. No, but if we'd sit back and say, okay, why am I doing this?

Who's it going to serve? What's the plan direction I want to go in and how long will I commit to doing it? And if it doesn't work at that point, I'll give myself permission to stop, but I'm going to go until then. If you do that, I find that that is night and day in the difference of your chances of succeeding as a podcaster.”

Mistake #18: Having a ‘random' podcast.

“The biggest thing that I learned was how to find an audience. Because when I started, my first podcast was a comedy podcast and it was a bit of a hit.

I did a lot of great things with that podcast, but then I turned around and started a random podcast. So random, I called it Readily Random. And it was so random that no one listened. Because no one knew what it was about. No one understood the value proposition. No one understood what they were going to get from listening to the show.

The biggest surprise, and this was way back early 2015-2016, was learning that you had to identify an audience. And you had to structure your show around that specific audience.”

Mistake #19: Forgetting that podcasting
involves consistent, ongoing work.

“When you're getting ready to start a podcast, there's a lot of excitement with regards to the ideas, the content, and creative aspects of things. But once you actually start, then there's work involved.

And from what we've seen from our customers or their customers, when you're starting a podcast, you're generally adding to your existing work workload.

So it can be quite time consuming, which is why small technology tools can play a big factor. Because if you're reducing a little bit of time, that adds up to a lot on time that doesn't necessarily exist.”

Mistake #20: Taking it too seriously.

“I think the biggest mistake people make when they're getting into podcasting is taking it too seriously. Writing out scripts and being too rigid can be so obvious sometimes. Often just being yourself and talking about the topics you're passionate about works the best.”

Get the strategies, the tactics and the answers to your questions about podcasting at the Podcasting for Business Conference 2023.