There are several reasons why I love watching shows like Shark Tank and The Profit. For one thing, I'm fascinated by the decisions people make when it comes to growing their business and what inspires them to make such decisions. Many times, I've seen the experts on those shows criticize CEOs and entrepreneurs for over-expanding their products or businesses.
In the view of the business owner, more shops or more products meant more money. One of the reasons the experts warn against this is that it can pull attention away from what's working. If you sell shoes and you have five different types that kill it in sales, adding too many more variations can hurt you. This is especially true if those other products don't sell.
You'll be putting time, energy and money into them even though people don't love them as much as your big five. Another self-defeating decision is choosing to open more stores when you haven't given yourself enough time to maximize potential in the first store. If there aren't successful standards established in one place, how can you expand any demonstrated qualities into other locations?
Podcasters can make similar mistakes for similar reasons. These errors can be equally as counter-productive and embarrassing. Just like a business might start adding more products/stores thinking it will automatically translate to more dollars, podcasters unnecessarily add more content thinking it will easily translate to more downloads. First of all - that's NOT why you should add content.
You should add content because it provides a clear value to listeners. Or you should be able to clearly state why new content is something they would want from you. In other words, adding content should be about them...not you.
These aren't the numbers you're looking for
It's true - if you add more shows, that means more downloads. That means bigger weekly and monthly numbers for you to promote, right? Well, it does give you bigger numbers, but in most cases, it also means you have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror everyday after cooking the numbers. If you have 400 subscribers that listen to Podcast A, you probably only have about 400-600 downloads a week. However, if you add a second podcast...you'll have (assuming all of those people want to hear the new stuff) 800-1200 downloads a week, and it will also jack up your monthly totals!
The problem is, those stats are misleading because you haven't actually grown. It's the same amount of people listening to two shows instead of one. You not only need to be honest about your listenership, but also learn to not put too much stock in monthly podcast downloads.
Too much, too soon
I've consulted with podcasters who (understandably) want numbers to look so good when they launch, that they said they were going to start off with posting content 5-7 days a week. I strongly advise against that for several reasons. The main reason is that you have absolutely no data or reasoning to believe that your listeners are even going to WANT that much from you. Plus, it's likely to stretch you too thin.
This goes back to the business analogy. After businesses learn trying to open more stores too soon is hurting them, they have to close those stores. That never looks good in business, and it looks bad in podcasting too. You don't want to be putting out 3-4 days of content only to see that the numbers suggest that people only care about 1-2 of those days. Then, you have to explain why you're removing content.
Again, put all of your effort and energy into doing ONE show really well. If your listeners grow over time, and the success of that show is on auto-pilot, then consider adding more content. It's best to have a clear reason to do it later than to do too much too soon and have to cut back.
The new content has to make sense
If you choose to add a spin-off show, don't do it just because it sounds fun. Make sure it perfectly connects with your other show and fulfills needs that the original program can't meet. For example, in the first year of Assembly of Geeks, the idea of spin-off shows wasn't even on the radar. The first time I chose to do one, it was an experiment. I launched The Peggy Carter Podcast knowing it would be a limited run.
It also accomplished something the flagship show couldn't provide - a laser-focused discussion on ONE geek topic. It was crazy successful, and listenership has grown in its second year.
The other two hosts and I are not comic book fanatics, and I'm really the only one that could be classified as a gamer. I didn't like how that limited our means to discuss those two very important elements of geek culture. So, I launched Comic Book Noob and The Gamer's Dominion.
All three shows fit the Assembly of Geeks umbrella, and they fill some of the conversational gaps of the flagship show.
When I look at the numbers, I stay true to what they all mean. I also focus primarily on daily/weekly downloads for each program. It doesn't do me or anyone else any good to exaggerate the real statistics.
So, remember...before you consider multi-day content:
1. Make sure your doing one show/one day very well
2. Make sure you take what works best out of that program and apply it to the new content
3. Make sure the concept makes sense for your overall theme
4. Make sure it's something your other program cannot offer
5. Make sure you can make a clear case as to why your audience would want it
Finally, there's nothing wrong with just producing one show and focusing on improving it every year (without adding more content).