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Podcast SURVIVAL Guide: LESSONS from the Neon Boneyard

If I ever make it back to Las Vegas, Nevada, I will make a point of going to the Neon Museum. According to its website, "Founded in 1996, The Neon Museum is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. "

It's outdoor exhibition space is called the Neon Boneyard, "which contains more than 250 unrestored signs which are, at sunset, illuminated with ground lighting as well as numerous restored signs which are on all the time."

As I perused their website, I imagined some of these signs affixed to their original buildings back in the heyday of old Las Vegas. Dazzling lights beckoning travelers from far and wide to come in and stay awhile. Yet today, they only stand as a memory of what once was.

The more I looked at the pictures, the more I was reminded of podcasts . . . or what is left of so many of them. If you scan Apple or Spotify and go deep, you will find the detritus of more than a million (and likely multiple millions) podcasts that no longer publish episodes. They are both the source for new podcasts and at the same time, a podcast boneyard for so many more.

No person starts a podcast thinking, "Yes! I am going to launch and then quit after 4 episodes. Can't wait to let this die on the vine!" Instead, they start out with excitement in the planning and launch stages, until at some point (maybe episode 4 or 7 or 23), the initial energy wears often and the realization of ongoing work sets in.

There is nothing sexy about episode 34 of a podcast. Hopefully it is better than episodes 1 through 30, but at its core, it is a functional piece of content and another has to be made right after it.

How do you keep your podcast out of the podcast boneyard? Let's look at three ways to do so.

1. Be realistic on time commitments and budgets

Podcasts take a lot of time on a recurring basis to create, produce, and distribute. It's easy to only think about the recording time (whether it's an interview or a solo episode either one) and forget all of the pre and post production that is needed. And when you are starting out, the time takes significantly longer because you're learning it all. Many people jump into it, only to realize it took 15 hours to create the first episode, and they panic and lose interest.

2. Outsource what you don't like or don't have time to do

You don't have to do everything on your own. In fact, you probably don't want to do everything on your own. This was a huge mindset shift for me in life when I learned to focus on what I do well and let someone else do what I do poorly. Mentally and physically it was a relief. It's the idea of just because you could doesn't mean that you should.

Plus, from a time perspective, adding a podcast on top of the day-to-day business responsibilities can be challenging, especially if the people involved are learning it as they go.

3. Know why you are doing a podcast. What is your goal?

If you don't know why your starting a podcast, you likely won't continue with it. "Because I should" is not a strong enough reason, nor is virality. If your goal is to build long-term content for your business which works like SEO and can repurposed for years to come, then you are moving in the right direction. If your goal is to build relationships with other people in your industry and to develop trust with listeners (who may become customers), then you have a reasonable objective.

Now what?

This is not meant to scare you away from podcasts. Quite the opposite in fact. I want you to have long-term podcast success, but that can't happen if you don't know what your walking into.

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