Updating existing content is undoubtedly a good strategy that helps with SEO and keeps content as close to current as possible for our consumers. But, most of the time, when content strategists talk about updating existing content, the discussion focuses on written content. With the emergence of podcasting, it’s also good to consider: Can you also edit a current podcast episode?
You know, an episode that was published a while ago? Can we still make changes to it, and should we? This topic came up in my livestream with Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty, and I wanted to dive into it further.
Why we might want to update an existing podcast episode
Several reasons come to mind:
- There’s outdated information
- New content is worth adding to a popular episode
- A mistake needs to be fixed
- You want to add new branding – like an intro to an older episode
Some of these reasons have higher priorities than others. For example, a bad mistake that was missed should be fixed before updating the opening music because there’s a new opening now.
When to update an existing episode
Indeed, we can’t update all episodes – just like we likely won’t update all blog posts on a site with tens of thousands of articles. So there needs to be some prioritization. In a content performance culture, we should always look at the numbers. And that’s where I would recommend starting here as well.
Look at what older episodes are trending up. For example, I once had an episode on Instagram Reels get over 40,000 downloads and listens. That was a prime opportunity to add an update that might be useful.
For example, if I have a new book out that is relevant to the episode’s topic that is now trending, maybe go back and add a promo. Or if other content is relevant, promote that.
If there’s an update to the original content, go back and add a segment on what has changed.
How to update an existing podcast episode
From the technical side, it depends on your hosting provider how exactly you’ll update the existing episode. I use Anchor.fm, and here’s how it looks on that backend.
There are hundreds of episodes of The Business Storytelling Show that have audio-only. I simply find the episode in my Anchor dashboard, click on edit, and scroll down to the “edit audio” section.
You can easily add segments or replace existing components in that setup and upload new files. This is currently the most common scenario for me. Although these older episodes have been around for a while, the content at times is timeless so that it can take off at any time.
Spotify has also released video podcasts, which are great but make the update a bit harder. Once logged into your account, find the episode, and you’ll get the option to replace a file. So any updates need to be made in the video file, and then you’ll have to reupload it.
Once you update an existing podcast episode, all networks have different settings to pull in the update. Some take a while, some may never do it, and it will happen right away on some. For example, the Anchor embed code – which I usually use on my website – gets updated immediately. So, if most of the traffic to an episode comes from an article, this works great.
Also, keep in mind that the specific way of updating episodes varies by hosting platform. But, even if you don’t use Anchor, I think it’s good to know that updates are possible and are a strategic piece to keep in the back of our minds when it makes sense to use.