Then we will walk you through how to determine for yourself and your own unique show what day of the week and time of the day is best to release new episodes. 🤩
We will wrap up by emphasizing the importance of consistency and stability. To truly optimize publishing new episodes, you need to look at all the work that goes into making an episode and make sure you are scheduling your episode drops at a reasonable rate. 🤓
Here’s an outline of the concepts we are going to cover:
- Current Industry Standard
- Weekdays, early mornings
- Based on outdated research, even though it makes sense
- Your Own Data and Marketing is What Really Matters
- Listener data: Audience peaktime, location, device, listening platform
- Sync with your marketing plan
- Content specificity
- Done is Better than Perfect
- Do what is sustainable for you
- Coordinate with your production schedule
Ready to learn yet another way to boost your podcast’s audience numbers? Let’s go for it! 🚀
Current Industry Standard: Best Day to Release a Podcast
In every industry there are rules of thumb about what works and what doesn’t work. Podcasting is no exception. 🎙️
These rules of thumb usually come about with good reason. Usually there is some quality research done, and it is backed up by common sense.
However, especially in the digital world, best practices, industry standards, and rules of thumb are changing all the time. Algorithms change, user behavior changes, platforms change. 🧑🔬
So while it is good to know the industry standard answer to “What is the best day to release a podcast,” it does not mean that the answer is perfect. 💁♀️
Keep that in mind as we explain the standard answer about which is the best day to release a podcast. ⬇️
The common knowledge in the podcasting community is that the best time to publish a new podcast episode is Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday morning at 5:30am eastern time.
BUT DON’T CLICK AWAY JUST YET! This is not actually the sure-fire answer you were probably hoping it would be. Let us explain…
The answer “Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday morning at 5:30am eastern time” is based on research by Megaphone in 2018. The problem? Well, there are a couple.
First, the research by Megaphone is quoted in a lot of blog posts in the podcasting world, but it isn’t actually available. Those blog posts sometimes link to Megaphone in general, but they do not link to the study. 🕵️
Without being able to look at the actual research structure and data, you can’t really tell if the results and recommendations are good.
Second, 2018 was light years ago in podcasting years. That’s before the COVID pandemic, before Spotify bought Megaphone, before YouTube launched its dedicated podcasting page… the list goes on. Even if the Megaphone research was perfect in 2018, it is now outdated. 👵
It Does Make Sense: The Audience’s Work Commute
The “Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday morning at 5:30am” answer has also stayed alive and strong because it seems to make good sense. 🤷♀️
Here is the logic behind it: Many podcast listeners listen to podcasts when they commute to work. If you release your new episode at 5:30am, that gives platforms (Apple, Spotify, etc.) time to refresh the RSS feed, putting your newly released episode at the top of listeners’ feeds.
That does make sense. So it remains a safe, go-to answer that people will refer to all the time.
But here at Ausha, we question the status quo. We know that data analysis and strong marketing is what really matters when it comes to growing a podcast. That’s why our answer to “what is the best day to release a podcast” is more complicated. 📈
Ausha’s Answer: Best Day to Release a Podcast
Our answer to when people ask us what day is best to release a podcast, is “let’s look at your listener data and marketing plan.” First, we will cover what specific listener data should guide your decision. 📊
Note: If you are starting a completely new podcast, you will not have any data to go on. That’s ok. Pick a release date and time to start with. After you release a few episodes over time, you will have enough data to start working with.
Your Audience Data
There are four key audience data points that should inform you decision to release your downloads. You should be able to get this data through your hosting platform. For example, Ausha has an analytics dashboard that lays out these numbers in a nice, simple way.
Downloads by Day and Date
The first thing to look at is when your episode is downloaded the most. On Ausha’s interface this is called the PeakTime Tool. It shows a chart of the days of the week crossed with each hour of the day. The PeakTime tool uses a color coded system so you can easily spot when you are getting the most downloads. 🟣
Even if you do not have Ausha, you can probably get this data from your hosting platform. It just may be harder to visualize and interpret.
It is important to remember: Listening platforms will automatically download new episodes for people who have chosen to follow or subscribe to your podcast. That means you will likely see a lot of downloads about an hour or two after you release a new episode, no matter when you release it. Keep that in mind as you look at this data. 🤖
If you want to get an idea of how many downloads are based on the automatic download feature for subscribers and followers, here’s what you can do: Change the time of day that you release your next episode. Then see how many downloads shift to that new time and how many remain at the previous time. The downloads that shift to the new time are likely subscribers. 🕒
When making decisions like what is the best day to release a podcast, you need to balance the need to retain subscribers and the need to recruit new listeners. Ideally, you find a release date and time that subscribers appreciate and that attracts new listeners. Keep an eye on your data trends and you will find that sweet spot. 🍭
Audience by Location
The geographical location of your audience really matters when it comes to release times! After all, 5:30am on the east coast of the United States is 2:30am on the west coast… and it is 11:30am in London. 🌎
In general, you want to pick a time that seems to attract the most new listeners to your show (while not losing subscribers). So if your new listeners are from California, make your decisions based on Pacific Time, even if you’re based in Virginia. 🏄
Audience by Device
At first glance, you might not think it is important to know if a listener tuned in to your show on their phone, Alexa, or desktop. But it is really important to deciding the best launch time for your new episodes. Why? Because it gives you an important clue to what context they are listening to your episode in. 📻
Remember how the assumption about the “Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at 5:30am” answer was that people were listening during their workday commute? Well what if you found out that most listeners where listening to your episodes on their desktop computer… they definitely aren’t commuting with a desktop on their laps! They must be still at home. 🏠
Knowing what device your listeners are using to hear your new episodes helps you envision their behavior, which helps you envision how to connect best to them at that moment. With this information, you can know how to better attract potential listeners. 🤝
Audience by Listening Platform
Last but certainly not least is looking at which listening platforms your audience members are using: Spotify, Apple, even YouTube! 🎧
Keep in mind: If you are using Ausha as your hosting platform, you are automatically distributing your show to over 20 listening platforms around the world and receiving data back from each one of them. 😍
However, some hosting platforms only distribute to one listening platform or a handful of them.
With this level of information, you can see which platforms you are growing the most on and pick your release time to optimize that platform’s performance. 🏎️
When you cross all of this data together: Peaktime, location, device, and listening platform, you can really dig into the weeds to figure out when is the best day to release a podcast.
Your Marketing Plan
Here is the second critical aspect to think about when picking the date and time to release your new episode: Marketing. 👋
Marketing is the foundation to growing your podcast. You need to have a plan where your social media, website, and email strategies work together to boost each other.
Now, there are optimal release days and times for social media posts and emails. Ideally you schedule your podcast release time in coordination with your social media and email release time. 📆
For example, let’s say you get your most email opens on Monday mornings, your most social media interactions on Friday afternoon, and your most new downloads on Saturday afternoons. That means you need to plan the content of these posts and emails accordingly. Based on this data, it might be a good idea to release new episodes on Saturday at midday, send an email with the link to the new episode early Monday morning, and post a sneak peek post on Friday.
There is one last thing we should mention when it comes to developing your own optimized episode release day and time: It depends on the content of your show.
For example, let’s say you have a weekly podcast about college football. Almost all the games are played on Saturdays. Then, let’s say, you need a day or two to make the episode analyzing those games. That means your release date and time would probably need to be Monday afternoon– your content will be as fresh and timely as possible, but you will have had a reasonable amount of time to create the content for that episode. 🏈
Another example is if you plan to do a live-recording, catching listeners live on a platform like YouTube and then converting it to a podcast later. Obviously, your podcast episode release is going to need to follow the schedule of the live recording. 📹
Overall, keep your content in mind as you map out your overall release strategy!
Sustainability and Consistency
No matter what is the industry’s rule of thumb, no matter what your own listener data and marketing shows, if you can’t reliably produce a show to be released at the scheduled time then it is not a good scheduled time for a release. 😅
People almost always underestimate how much work goes into creating a podcast episode, step by step: Develop a topic, find a time that the guests are free to do an interview, do remote audio (and maybe video) recording on a software like Riverside, do in-studio audio (and may video) recording, editing for sounds quality and for content quality, etc.
Even if you have great help, it can be stressful and overwhelming to make a podcast episode. Burnout is a real threat. Pacing is important. 💆
If your own health and well-being is not a convincing enough reason for you, think about it this way: Algorithms, even the ones on listening platforms, favor consistent, long-term content. If you want to grow your podcast audience, you need to rank high on these algorithms so you have a better chance at being discovered.
Plus, listeners love feeling like they can depend on their podcast. It is often a bright spot in their day, week, or month. They can get pretty sad if they thought they were going to have that little slice of enjoyment or fulfillment, but then it is not there. It is better to extend how long they have to anticipate your new episode, then to promise them one soon and let them down. 💔
How to Pick the Best Day to Release a Podcast
Now that you have read all this information, you are probably feeling a little bit overwhelmed. But don’t worry, we won’t leave you stranded there.
To help you take all this information and make it actionable, here is a step by step list for you to do. It will guide you, start to finish, to select the best episode release day for your podcast.
- Does your content call for a specific release date? (Example: Review of college football Saturday games).
- How long does it take for you to COMFORTABLY create a whole episode: develop a topic, record audio and video, edit for quality, publish on platforms, etc?
- What does your audience data tell you about when/where subscribers and new listeners download your episodes?
- How can you coordinate your release date with your optimized marketing schedule?
If you use these steps, you can narrow down the perfect day to launch new episodes, specific to your show and your needs. 🥳
We hope this blog post is a help to you! If you want to learn more about all things podcasts (recording, editing, publishing, you name it) check out our other blogs. You can also follow us on social media for great, up-to-the-minute news and advice. And of course check out our own podcast, “Tips”– we create and launch information-packed, 10min. episodes every month.
And as always, enjoy the podcast journey! 🪐🟪
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