The Mystery Show Mystery

There are so many other things I should be doing right now. It's a late night in the office, there are a ton of unchecked tasks with my name on them in our project manager, and a handful of the CPU staff is heading out of state for a shoot tomorrow. But now, tonight, this is the post that needs to get up. It's one of the first things I wrote when we started prepping for the new CPU content strategy. It was scheduled to go out... sometime, but it needs to go up tonight. Read it to the end, then I'll pop back in with another note contextualizing all this. Thanks. - AJB.

If you swing by the CPU office during regular business hours, there’s a good chance you’ll see us frantically try to turn down a Pandora station when you walk in (and not just because we’re listening for client’s ads). Music is great when you need to focus on what you’re working on, but if you catch us after-hours, we’re very much podcast people.

If there are a couple of us working late, that means we’ve got to agree on what we’re going to listen to. And if “the couple of us” is me and Pye, then the first thing we do is check to see if there’s a new Mystery Show.

Mystery Show is a delightful podcast from Gimlet Media and This American Life alum Starlee Kine. Each episode of the show revolves around Kine pulling on her detective hat and getting to the bottom of one of life’s great mysteries - things like “What was the story behind that license plate Miranda July saw that one time?” or “How tall is Jake Gyllenhaal, really?” It’s so good, but telling you much more would essentially be spoiling the fun, so please, go listen.

The only bad thing about it is that there hasn’t been a new Mystery Show since August 2, 2015. It's been more than a year. In a world where The Bachelorette ends and Bachelor in Paradise starts the next night, waiting a year for the next installment of a thing you love feels like a lifetime.

But for the right stuff, the wait is worth it.

Anytime you talk to a “social media expert” about how often your company should be posting to your blog, Facebook, or really any other channel, you’re going to hear about how important consistency is. That’s not wrong. Consistency is important, but there’s a bigger question about why so many people are so focused on putting out “new content” all the time.

Are you trying to get a new post up every day because you’re so excited to share all the awesome stuff you’ve been working on? That’s great! Keep that up! Are you shoveling content onto the internet because you’re worried your audience is going to forget about you? Maybe do less of that.

If you’ve got enough of a track record of being amazing, your audience will wait for you. It’s true with Mystery Show, it’s true with Game of Thrones, it’s true with Frank Ocean, and it can be true with your company’s blog or e-mail. When you’re building an audience, focus on being consistent and good. But once you’ve got people who are looking forward to seeing what you put out next - they would always rather wait for something awesome than have a constant stream of sub-par fluff.

So, go be great! Consistently, even. But if you have to choose between frequent content and quality content, be good first. We’ll wait for ya ;)

The reason this had to go up tonight is that Starlee Kine announced today that Mystery Show had been cancelled. Back in April, apparently. Here's the post announcing it, she's apparently been let go by Gimlet Media and is looking for a way to continue the show elsewhere.

Danee and I are basically heartbroken. (Her response to this news was :shocked face: :broken heart: :tear face:) And it's weird because we’d scheduled this blog post to go up... sometime, talking about how good great content is and how willing people who love it are to wait for it. So, thanks for reading that, content calendar be damned.

Everything we wrote up there is still true. Great content is worth making, always. Starlee's Twitter is being blown up right now with people mourning the loss of something really special to them. Everyone knows she's going to go make something great again. And even though Gimlet decided Mystery Show wasn't sustainable, it's this perfect example of how making something with love can win you an army of people who, at least in this case, will basically beg you to start a Kickstarter so you can make more of it.

Let’s all work to make more things like that. It’s really the only thing that is sustainable.