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The Power of Limited Series Podcasts

Do you want to start a podcast but don’t want to commit to creating a new episode weekly until the end of time rolls around? We’ve got the solution for you!

If you have a cracker of an idea that you believe people will want to listen to, the answer to your commitment issues is simple, make a limited series podcast.

This style of podcasting not only gives you a touch more creative structure, but you have the chance to pre-plan the whole series. From start to finish, your series can be constructed with an overarching theme in mind with each new episode exploring a subtopic that paints a finessed picture.

Regular (e.g. weekly) podcasts that we usually subscribe to can fall into the trap of being reactive. Covering the latest news and being a platform for discussion can feel repetitive and won’t always leave you a great deal of time to get creative.

A limited series podcast on the other hand can be proactive by using the art of storytelling to explore your chosen topic. You can create a story with a beginning, middle and end with a limited series podcast which gives audiences craving digestible stories the comfort of closure.

Before you start aimlessly getting behind the mic, there are a few things that you need to prepare. One, what do you want your audience to take away from your podcast series, and two, what can you do to compel your audience to listen all the way until the end? A recent study found that 74% of podcast users in the US listen to podcasts to learn something new. What’s brilliant about this listener mindset is that you can structure your content in an enticing way where your audience can’t help but binge the entire series because of their curious consumer behaviour.

Now that we’ve discovered our why, here’s a ‘Podcast for Dummies’ checklist of essential questions to ask yourself for the how?

Podcast for Dummies Checklist Questions

How are you going to structure your story?

Roughly plan each episode with dot points to decipher what compact sub-story you’re going to tell. Have you come up with enough content to create an episode or can you merge multiple topics into one episode? Are some topics too big? Why not break it up into part two parts?

A limited series podcast forces you to stick to a tight structure where no moment is wasted. At the same time, this focus can let what you want to say turn into compelling quality episodes that your audience can’t miss a second of.

How many episodes will there be?

Podcast limited series aren’t confined by a minimum or a maximum number of episodes, you can release as many as you like or need in order to cover all the sub-topics in your overarching series theme. During your pre-production planning, you’ll get an idea of how many episodes you’ll need to complete your story.

Top Tip: Don’t stretch it out – If you only have enough content for 4 episodes, then that’s how long the series will be. Pack value into every minute of every episode.

Should you release the series all at once or episode by episode?

Again, there’s no hard and fast rule book when it comes to limited series, you can choose to release your podcast all at once or on a weekly schedule. If your podcast includes evergreen content, once all episodes have been released they become a binge-able resource that you can promote and share tenfold. The whole series can sit on your website, along with an accompanying blog for people to access again at any time. If your podcast is a touch on the suspenseful side and you want to give your audience a thrill factor, make them eager to come back each week with a scheduled release.

If further down the road you realise you have more to say that didn’t make it into your first season, there’s nothing stopping you from making a season 2! The beauty of podcasting is that you’re in charge of how much content you want to create and how often you share it with the world.

Now, are you ready to listen to the best of binge-able limited series?

We thought so! Have a listen to the three most recommended binge-worthy limited series podcasts selected and peer-reviewed by the resident “Master of Mic”…

#1: Private Affairs

“Veronica (Vee), a recent Melbourne transplant, unexpectedly finds herself in a situation with a charming Aussie doctor and has to quickly learn how to keep her wig on when things get sexy, as well as navigate other complexities of an intercultural relationship. Told over 6 episodes with new episodes every week.”

Created and written by Christine ‘DJ Kix’ Mwaturura, this romantic dramedy inspired by true events is a layered listening experience that’s witty and sexy.

Why Listen? The podcast was inspired by a character from a blog about dating Christine started soon after she moved to Melbourne which morphed itself into an award-winning series, with both “Podcast of the Year” and “Best Fiction Podcast” titles grabbed at the 2021 Australian Podcast Awards.

#2: Serial: Season 1

“An investigative podcast hosted by Sarah Koenig, Serial: Season 1 examines a high-school senior named Hae Min Lee who disappeared one day after school in 1999, in Baltimore County, Maryland. A month later, her body was found in a city park. She’d been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was sentenced to life in prison. Sarah soon discovers that the trial covered up a far more complicated story than the jury – or the public – ever got to hear.”

The popularity of Serial has been credited with spurring an interest not only in general podcast consumption but also in other true crime narratives, a phenomenon that became known as the “Serial Effect”.

Why Listen? When a prosecutor in the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s office stumbled upon two handwritten notes in Adnan’s case file, everything changed. A judge deemed his guilty ruling illegitimate, citing unreliable evidence and alternate suspects. For the first time in over two decades, Syed walked free from prison in September 2022.

#3: Stuff The British Stole

“Throughout its reign, the British Empire stole a lot of stuff. Today those objects are housed in genteel institutions across the UK and the world and usually come with polite plaques. This is a series about the not-so-polite history behind those objects.”

In each episode, award-winning journalist, author and genetic potluck, Marc Fennell, picks one artefact and takes you on a wild, evocative, sometimes funny and often tragic adventure of how it got to where it is today.

Why listen? Marc Fennell. Everyone likes him right? The show also managed to nab “THE CREATIVITY AWARD” sponsored by NOVA at the 2021 Australian Podcast Awards so they did something right!

Want to get in touch with our resident Master of the Mic? Get in touch with us today.

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