Let’s say you wanted to start a podcast, and you’ve put in the work to get it up and running. After a while, your show is finally getting lots of listeners, and maybe you’ve even acquired some sponsors to monetize your message. Great! But what happens if your podcast is no longer sparking joy?
Perhaps you’ve discovered that you’re not as passionate about your topic as you thought. Or maybe you have simply run out of things to say. Before you “Marie Kondo” your podcast, and move on to the next topic, it’s important to do it in a way that doesn’t turn your existing audience away or anger your sponsors.
First, the good news – sponsors and audiences don’t expect a show to stay 100% the same forever. They usually understand if it grows and changes with time as the podcaster refines their ability to host a higher quality show. However, if you’re not careful in how you change course, you can completely upend what you’ve already built.
Before you begin making any changes to your podcast, you should ask yourself whether you need a full rebranding or just a change in format. A format change doesn’t necessarily call for changing your entire brand or topic completely – instead you just change the way that you deliver that content.
This could mean bringing on a co-host or different co-hosts weekly, monthly, or even for every episode you record. Another option for change could be switching to an interview format. Sometimes the real cause for wanting to change topic is boredom. When this is the case, switching up how it’s delivered may be all you really need to rejuvenate your love for your current topic.
Your Options to Change Your Podcast Topic
What if a new format isn’t enough? If what you really want is to change your podcast topic, make sure you have a very clear and specific reason for doing so. In the event something new is imminent, you have a few choices for how to proceed, but the main two options are:
- Start an entirely new podcast or
- Alter your topic only slightly while staying true to your original message
Starting an entirely new podcast may mean starting from scratch in terms of finding listeners and sponsors for your show, but there is a chance that you could bring your current fans and partners to your new show. In truth it depends just how far you’re deviating from your old show’s topic. If you choose this option, we recommend leaving your old show up and running for people to continue enjoying. This way, you have the option to come back if you ever rekindle your love for that topic. While you might not gain any new sponsorship income this way, you could continue gaining fans that can then find you on your new show.
The safer way to go about changing your podcast topic however, is to alter it only slightly. This option makes it easier to keep your current fans and sponsor happy, and helps you avoid starting over from scratch.
Whatever you choose, have a clear reason and purpose for your decision. If you still have the same target audience, you can discuss the upcoming changes in an episode, and explain how it will make things better for your listeners. It’s also helpful to actively involve your audience in the changes. Something as simple as sending out a survey or soliciting feedback via social media lets them tell you how they feel. The same is true for any sponsors or partners you are working with.
When your listeners and sponsors feel like they have a voice, it’s easier to keep them on board. And the more you keep them informed, the more positive their reception is likely to be.
If you do change your podcast topic, stick to the change for a while.
The best thing you can do once you’ve decided to change your podcast topic is to fully commit to it. Making a significant change and then reversing it every other week will only confuse and potentially alienate your audience. That’s why it’s important to carefully think this through, and have a specific plan for implementation.
Maybe you want to expand your target audience, or focus on a more specific subtopic. You should know up front that rebranding is always a risk and has the potential to cost you all of your listeners and current sponsors. That’s why you should avoid doing it for reasons such as:
- Wanting to mimic another show
- Receiving negative reviews
- You have shiny object syndrome (the tendency to always chase new things rather than doubling down on what you’ve built)
- Fear of going deeper with your topic
- You’re actually just burnt out
You may decide after reading this post that you want to simply keep moving forward with your current topic. Whatever you decide, just know that your ideal audience is out there, and even though change may be difficult, it’s okay to deviate even when it’s scary.
You might get some mixed reviews at first, but don’t let that scare you. Podcasting is supposed to be enjoyable, so while you can let constructive criticism and feedback guide you, don’t let negative feedback keep you from chasing your dreams. After all, there will always be people who will resist any change whatsoever.