So you want to launch a podcast... Great! I know you're excited and you want to just dive in, but let's take a moment to talk about your launch strategy. What's a launch strategy? It's a methodology that could mean the difference between a massively successful launch and a dull thud.
The reason I'm so passionate about podcasting is because it has changed my life and business so dramatically, I simply can't sit by and not tell the world about how awesome podcasting actually is. Through our own podcast "The Inner Changemaker" and our online training platform "Podcast Your Brand," we've been able to build an online business that offers us incredible freedom: Freedom of time and freedom of travel. We've also had the opportunity to speak at some of the largest podcasting events around the world such as Podcast Movement in Chicago, Podcastfest in Florida and even PodCamp in my native hometown, Toronto.
In this article, I'm going to be sharing four key metrics that will help you have the most successful podcast launch possible.
Before we begin, let me explain why I'm sharing this with you. The fact is, there's a ton of information out there on podcasting. Unfortunately, most of it is outdated. Even guides published in 2013, 2014 and 2015 are seriously out of date. The landscape of the podcasting world has changed dramatically even in the last couple of years.
In case you don't want to READ the blog...
I made a VIDEO specifically for you below:
Ready? Let's begin!
1. Popularity Algorithm
Whenever I talk about algorithms, people seem to shut down. Bear with me, I promise you this isn't a boring technical discussion. In fact, you already know about it - you just didn't realize it. The popularity algorithm comes into play with things like crowdfunding projects, launching Amazon bestsellers even your Facebook feed. Here's an example. When you launch a project on Kickstarter, one of the best ways to ensure your project is successful is to have 30-40% of your project funded in the first 72 hours of launch. Why? Because that's one of the metrics these crowdfunding sites use to measure the popularity of projects. Getting 30-40% funded in the first 72 hours creates a spike in the measurements, encouraging the site to promote your project on their newsletter, promoting it even more. In podcasting there are certain key performance indicators (KPIs) that people focus on. These include the number of subscribers, downloads, ratings and reviews. Simply put, the higher these numbers are, the easier it is for your show to position itself at the top of the iTunes charts.
2. Having a Launch Plan
Even before you launch, you need be in contact with people such as interviewees (if your show is in an interview format), or even family and friends. Basically, you want a group of people who can provide that initial boost of support, reviews, ratings and testimonials. In my case, I spent several weeks contacting literally hundreds of people from high school, university and coworkers. I used personalized videos, emails, etc., whatever made sense based on the relationship we had. When I reached out, I asked them if they could subscribe download a couple of episodes and leave an honest review of the show. I also explained how important this was, and how much I appreciated their help. What you're doing here is turning your launch into an event - one that everyone can be part of. As you move closer to launch, share with your supporters tidbits about how you're doing, and include them in the success of the venture. They'll become more invested in the process and more engaged in your success.
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3. Number of Episodes at Launch
There are a lot of schools of thought about this. Some say three episodes, others say five. I actually launched with seven different episodes. I did that because I was trying to create a "binge effect." It's like logging on to Netflix and seeing an entire season of House of Cards. You've got the chance to watch the entire season in one sitting. This effect gets people engaged and drawn into a show, and then are far more likely to keep following future episodes. In my case, I wanted to give my audience a chance to really get a lot of value in one huge binge rather than listening to one episode and then having to wait for another. Having said that, you don't want to launch with 20 episodes as that can seem overwhelming. Realistically, anywhere between 5-10 is a great number to launch with. Within those 5-10 episodes, you can mix things up with shorter and longer episodes, different formats, etc. It offers the audience value, and the chance to become powerfully engaged in your message.
4. Your "Origin Episode" (Episode #000)
This is a very important episode - called a "pilot" in television. Episode #000 is your chance to share your big "WHY" with your audience. You're sharing your purpose in this podcast. Why you're getting on the mic. Why you're interviewing these people. Why you're sharing your message. This episode is where you can harness some real authenticity. It allows you to say "Hey, I don't have all the answers, let's explore them together." That's a powerful idea and can engage your audience on an even greater level.
These are some of the key metrics and concepts that you need to have in a solid podcast launch plan. I know that many people get excited and want to just dive in headfirst. I totally get it. But I promise you, if you take the extra time to implement these ideas, you'll end up with a much more successful podcast, you'll have the opportunity to influence a larger audience and you'll be able to more effectively share your message with the world.
PS: Have you ever tried launching a podcast?! What has been your experience? Leave it in the comment section below.
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