What You Need to Know to Launch a Successful Podcast
Podcasts are huge nowadays. It seems like there are podcasts for every subject, from fiction storytelling podcasts like Welcome to Night Vale to entrepreneurial podcasts like Chris Ducker’s YouPreneur and everything in between.
It’s a wonderful time to be a podcast listener! It’s also a wonderful time to be a podcast creator.
In this post, I am going to jump into a number of specific tips to guide you as a new podcast creator and help the launch of your your podcast be as successful as possible. Sound like a plan? Let’s get into it!
Tip 1: Start With My Complete Step-by-Step Podcasting Tutorial
In How to Start a Podcast: Pat’s Complete Step-by-Step Podcasting Tutorial, I describe each step you need to take to create a successful podcast, from creating your podcast title to choosing the best podcasting gear. This is the best place to start if you’re launching a podcast. Even if you have already launched a podcast, and you’re gearing up for an exciting relaunch, my tutorial can help you take your podcast from stagnating plateau to climbing up the mountain toward more listens, downloads, subscribers, and higher rankings.
Get started at PodcastingTutorial.com today!
Tip 2: Your Podcast Launch Is an Event
Creating a podcast takes a lot of hard work and determination. So you want to make sure that the work you’ve put into it gets the proper attention it deserves (there’s nothing worse than working tirelessly to produce a thing only to find that it didn’t have much of an impact). The best way to do that is to make your podcast launch an event—with a big celebration and announcement, fireworks (figurative or real, it’s up to you!) and all. You want to make a big splash. The bigger the splash, the more ears perk up, which leads to more subscribers, higher rankings, and the potential for more customers down the road.
So, how do you do this exactly? The first thing to do is to have a deadline, or a specific launch date that is transparent to your audience. This way they know exactly how you’re progressing and when the podcast will ready to. It can also be pretty self-motivating—if your audience is aware of your launch date, you’ll be more keen on meeting your self-imposed deadline.
Tip 3: Build the Buzz
If you want to make sure that your podcast launch is an exciting event, focus on the buzz. And I don’t mean bees (although if your podcast is about bees, then you’re good!). By building buzz, I mean putting pieces in place that will strategically inspire excitement and anticipation leading up to the launch date.
One way you can accomplish this is by working backward from your launch date and determining the other dates that make sense to market and/or promote your podcast. I’d recommend putting together a calendar that includes each of the days you want to highlight the podcast launch on social media, your blog, or elsewhere. For the launch of Will It Fly?, we created a social media strategy that followed the same logic with the goal of building buzz before the book was even published. It was pretty successful too!
Tip 4: Social Media is Your Friend
Just as social media was integral to the Will It Fly? book launch, it can also be important for your podcast launch. Your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) followers are part of the community you’ve created. They are naturally an extension of the things that you like, so it makes sense to bring them into the excitement for your next great thing.
A few things you can do to utilize social media:
- Podcast Graphics/Logo: When you have your podcast logo or graphics completed, you can share those to give people a visual sense of your show. You can even share your work-in-progress versions of your logo and ask your audience to respond with their thoughts. This gives your followers that warm sense of creative collaboration.
- Podcast Clips: Share short fifteen-second clips of your podcast leading up to your first episode. This also gives your community a sense of the podcast, using a short and sweet preview. Focus on a quality clip that will inspire them to subscribe.
- Quote Graphics: Similar to podcast clips, you can mine your launch content for valuable little snippets and turn them into eye-catching quote graphics. Include a countdown to launch day in your social media post to keep your audience jazzed.
Tip 5: Compile an Email List
Throughout your preparation for your podcast launch, you should definitely be building an email list. This can be done simultaneously as you build buzz and market your podcast on social media. A few ways you can inspire folks to subscribe to your email list is to send insider information to people on your email list, something exclusive and beyond what they might get by following you on social media.
You could offer up a small glimpse into the structure of your podcast, the main focus of the podcast, upcoming guest appearances, and the reason why you’re creating a podcast in the first place. Remind your audience that, when they do sign up, they’ll be the first to hear about special offers, fun tidbits about the podcast, information about how to access the show, and details about the launch day festivities.
Be sure to also have a listen to SPI 179: New & Underused Methods for Building Your Email List for excellent tips from the amazing Tim Paige.
Tip 6: Early Access to iTunes
In the many years that I’ve been podcasting, one of the coolest things I’ve learned is that you can actually submit your podcast to iTunes before your launch date. I recommend doing this so that, when your launch day arrives, everything is ready to go. The last thing you want to do is not prepare in advance, have your launch date set but no show to promote because it hasn’t yet been accepted by iTunes.
A good example of this happened during the Will It Fly? launch. When launch day arrived, the Kindle version of the book was still in the approval process at Amazon. Eek! And, because we wanted to meet our launch deadline (after all, that was the expectation we set with my audience!), we had to push forward without the Kindle version. Even though it had been submitted, we didn’t allow enough time to ensure it was approved before launch, which was a mistake. You don’t want the same thing to happen to your podcast on iTunes.
You definitely want to make sure you give at least twenty-four to forty-eight hours for your show to appear on iTunes. When it does appear on iTunes, share an email with your list announcing that your podcast is live and ready for them to enjoy.
Tip 7: Create a Launch Team
One tip that I wish I would have known about when I started my own podcast is the amazing contributions a podcast launch team can add to your push. Thankfully, I was able to capitalize on this value when I launched Will It Fly? and worked with Daniel Decker on a creating a book launch team (you could apply the same tips for your podcast launch!).
Launch teams typically include people you trust and and whose opinions you respect. They are folks who are part of your community, eager to help support your creative output, and thrilled to get exclusive and early access to it. For your podcast, you can do the same.
Gather a group of people who are excited about you and your podcast. Give them early access to the podcast so they can listen to it, critique it, and be involved in your tweaking of it. This makes them part of the creative process. You could even ask them to provide feedback on which episode should go first, who the guests should be, and things of that sort. You could also ask them to share their honest feedback with an iTunes review.
Bonus Tip: Reward a member of your launch team with a guest spot on your podcast! You could talk about the launch team, its purpose, and how the guest contributed to the launch.
Tip 8: Pump Up the Launch Day Volume
Similar to how you want to build buzz before your launch date, the focus should be on making as much noise as possible on the launch day itself. This helps iTunes rankings and leads to greater exposure for your podcast.
A smart way to do this is to compile as many podcast-promoting assets as you can prior to the launch day and have them at the ready to post on social media, your blog, and anywhere else that makes sense. These can include audio clips, quote graphics, testimonials from folks on your launch team, iTunes reviews/ratings, and so on. As I mentioned before, the bigger the splash, the better!
Well, iTunes rankings are based on the number of subscriptions, downloads, reviews, and ratings collected in the short period of time following your podcast launch on iTunes. So, if you can plan it properly and pack all that activity immediately after your itunes launch, you’ll see greater results.
Bonus Tip: One amazing way to really boost your podcast is to try to be a guest on other podcast shows. This will allow you to build relationships with the podcasting community as well as allow you to promote the launch of your own podcast. It’s best when your guest spot is on a podcast that is a good fit for your audience too.
Tip 9: Launch with Multiple Episodes
When you launch, make sure that have multiple episodes to show. It gives your listeners more to chew on, more to respond to, and ponder. There’s more of a discussion there, which can lead to some great social media back and forth. I once launched a podcast with a single episode and actually received negative reviews from people who had listened to the first episode and were upset that there was only one. When people love your stuff, they’re going to want more of it, so give them what they want. I recommend launching with three to five episodes.
Sound overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be! What helps me is to plan ahead so that both you and your audience know what’s coming. Add your multiple launch-day episodes to a content calendar so that you can preview what’s on the horizon (that has worked out incredibly well for me!).
Tip 10: Hold Nothing Back and Have a Blast
Yes, that’s right. The nine tips that come before this don’t amount to much if you’re not giving it your best shot and having fun while doing it. Your podcast is the result of countless hours of hard work and creative toil. You should be proud of it. Now get out there and make it as successful as can be!
I look forward to hearing about your podcast launch stories. Let me know it goes! If you’ve launched a podcast before, what tips have worked for you?
Thanks as always for reading and happy podcasting!