If You’re Going To Use Your Podcast For Business Reasons, Treat It Like A Business

I see it all the time.

ALL the time.

People who are amazingly knowledgeable about their particular niche or industry (marketers, sales professionals, CEOs even) who approach podcasting like it’s a “build it and they will come” thing.

The interaction goes something like this

  • THEM: “Hey there I want to start a podcast! I’m ready to roll and would like to have a show up and running in two weeks!”
  • ME: “Have you ever published a podcast before?”
  • THEM: “No, but I’m an experienced speaker and do Facebook LIVE very successfully. I know I can make it successful.”
  • ME: “I’m sure your skills and experience will be very beneficial for creating an engaging podcast, but there’s a lot of background work that has to be done to get the kind of results you’re hoping for. But you’re smart to reach out to someone who specializes in doing exactly that.”j
  • THEM: “Sure, but I’m not able to take a lot of time to learn this stuff. I want to have it live in 2 weeks.”
  • ME: “Can I ask, what is the topic you’ll be covering in your podcast?
  • THEM: “Digital marketing.”
  • ME: “SIGH…”

NEWSFLASH:

It requires just as much work to make a podcast successful as it does to make what YOU do successful.

Really, it does.

Think about that for a minute — all of you professionals out there.

How long did it take you to become proficient at what you do?
What training did you have to receive?
Was there a learning curve?
What sort of “pay your dues” aspect was involved in becoming really, really good?
How would YOU feel if someone thought they could accomplish all you have with 2 week’s worth of work and NO dues paying?

Answer those questions — then ask yourself this…

Why, Why, WHY do you expect to become successful at podcasting by doing any less?

It is true…

  • Podcasting IS the best form of content marketing on the planet
  • Podcasting IS a able to produce an incredibly high ROI over time
  • Podcasting IS fairly simple in concept and in execution

But simple doesn’t mean easy — and it doesn’t mean you can rush the process and get the same results.

If you’re going to start a podcast for your business, consider it like you would any other business activity.

It’s serious work that requires serious investments in at LEAST these ways…

  • research of your target listeners (target market)
  • preparation (quality matters — everyone and their dog are podcasting)
  • timing (rushing to launch will miss vital things required for success)
  • proper execution (there are such things as best-practices. Learn them)

Let’s go through those one by one.

RESEARCH: A podcast audience is a TARGET MARKET— just like exists for any form of marketing

Before you haphazardly publish a podcast, you need to do the hard work required to know…

  • Who is interested in the topics you will cover
  • Why they are interested in the topics you will cover
  • Where they hang out and what circles they move in
  • How you are going to get on their radar in a non-intrusive way
  • What they want/need related to the topics you will cover
  • How you are going to meet those needs and satisfy those wants
  • The results YOU can provide to THOSE people through your podcast

Why do you have to do this work?

Because you don’t truly understand your audience until you do.

You don’t understand their needs until you do.

You don’t have anything relevant to offer them until you do.

In other words… You aren’t really adding legitimate value to them until you do.

PREPARATION: There is too much noise in the podcasting space for you to publish just any old thing…

To illustrate this point, open up iTunes or the Apple Podcasts app.

Pretend you are a prospective listener who would like to find a show that speaks to the issues YOU want to podcast about.

Click on the “search” function and tap in the keywords you think would most likely find your show.

What do you see there?

On any given day you’ll see many results returned — depending on the keyword, of course.

And there are more of them all the time… I don’t care what niche topic you want to podcast about.

Last I heard there are thousands of new podcasts being added to iTunes every month.

That’s lots of competition for people’s listening time. And you have to take it seriously, because the industry does.

Edison Research refers to this as “Share of Ear.

It doesn’t matter if the majority of the shows being added to iTunes are not podcasting about the same topics you are… they are options for listeners to choose.

To prove my point, think about how many times you’ve been scrolling through Netflix for a particular show to watch, only to get sidetracked by something else that looked interesting.

The same thing happens as people search the iTunes directory. Often.

So what’s going to enable your show to stand apart? Preparation.


There’s a ton that does into good preparation…

  • The audience research referred to above
  • A strategic approach to the TYPE of show you produce
  • Reasons behind the format/structure you choose for your show
  • Intentional decisions regarding publication frequency — that fit your audience
  • Taking the time and spending the money to create effective cover art that follows principles of compelling design
  • Learning how to do, or paying for quality audio production
  • Investing in quality show notes and other related resources to your episodes
  • Deciding on how you will go about audience engagement once your show gains a bit of momentum

And perhaps more important than anything else…

  • Doing the hard work of creating truly engaging, valuable content

There’s one focus behind all of these preparation steps: QUALITY

Gone are the days when people will listen to junk because it’s novel or cutesy.

The competition that has created “Share of ear” has seen to that.

You’ve got to stand out.

You’ve got to produce the BEST podcast and related resources in your niche.

And it takes LOADS of preparation to make that happen.

TIMING: Doing things in a certain order, ahead of time, makes a HUGE difference for launch and even more difference for forward momentum.

“Buzz” is the word here.

Apple does it pretty well (wink, wink).

So do movie studios and video game companies.

They start the buzz about their next product or production WAY before it’s actually ready to be released.

WHY do they do that? You answer the question.

If the people interested in what they are doing don’t know they are going to be doing it, its impact will be marginal at best.

And people think they can launch a podcast in two weeks and get a huge amount of downloads right away.

Right.

Podcasters who take the time to figure out how to generate the same kind of buzz for their new show get to experience something similar.

Similar, mind you… not the same.

We are talking about multi-million dollar companies with massive marketing budgets and experienced teams (Teams, not individuals like most podcasters).


HOW do you do it?

Start early

Begin telling your contacts and connections that your show is coming. I recommend AT LEAST 3 weeks ahead, even more is advisable.

Think of it as priming the pump. But be careful.

You don’t want to be that gal whose only appearances on social media are to say, “HEY, check out my upcoming podcast!”

Be sure you’re engaging with your following/friends in other ways as well.

If they like YOU, they will likely like your podcast when it launches.

Story-fy it

Don’t just tell your peeps that you’re going to launch a podcast. Tell them the story behind WHY you are launching a podcast.

There IS a story behind it, isn’t there?

It could include why YOU find the topic so compelling you’re willing to talk about it episode after episode.

That might include some kind of pain you experienced, or some issue you ran into.’

Be transparent. Tell the story.

Serve

The people you promote your show to should NOT be seen as a potential listening audience.

You need to see them as people you are eager to SERVE.

Explain what’s in it for THEM. How will you be helping them solve a problem, meet a need, or enjoy their life more?

That’s what they want to hear.

That’s what will get them interested in your new show.

And the more truly helpful your approach to the subject is, the more people will FEEL there’s potential they might be helped and therefore, tell others.

Spice it up

Everybody loves a good image. So make sure you include eye-pleasing visuals with your announcements.

Your cover art may be enough. But probably not. It’s worth it to invest in this.

But it’s not only about images.

Come up with ways you can give little Costo-sample-like tastes of your upcoming podcast.

Audiograms — maybe.

Short vids of you and a future guest chatting about what’s coming? Good idea.

Giveaways or contests? Why not? Anything you can do to create buzz around your podcast in a spiced-up way is good.

Enlist Valuable Beta-Listeners

Think through those friends and associates who are interested in the things you’re going to be podcasting about.

The higher profile they are in the niche, the better.

Allow them to invest in your success by asking them to give you feedback on the first couple of UNPUBLISHED episodes.

If they are willing, the time they will invest in listening and providing feedback will be time they’ve invested in your success.

So when the show launches, they’ll be naturally part of your promotional team.

Take the time to think this one through. It could be powerful.

Call in favors

Are there people in your network you’ve gone out of your way to help in the past?

It’s time to ask for the same in return.

Your podcast launch is worth it.

Ask them to email their lists about your upcoming podcast — especially on launch day.

Ask them to post about it on Social Media.

Provide them the resources to do it in a copy and paste fashion…

Write tweets for them. Create artwork for them. Include a short link to where you want listeners to subscribe.

Make it easy for people to help you help your audience.

Be ready

This sounds silly to say, but you need to anticipate things NOT going as you plan.

Directory submissions can take longer than you expect.

So can artwork, audio editing, show notes creation, and systematization of your publishing process.

Give yourself time to have all your ducks in a row.

I’ve resorted to getting everything approved and “live” on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, etc. up to a week before the planned launch date — just to ensure everything is ready for the big launch day push.

It’s not an issue if people stumble upon the show early. Really, it’s not.

The worst they could do is tell others about the show — and that’s not such a bad thing, is it?

Surely there are other ways to strategize when it comes to timing. Let me know your ideas!

PROPER EXECUTION: Best-practices matter. Even for a fairly new medium like podcasting.

One of the things I love most about podcasting is that there is no “right” way to do most things.

If you want to publish a podcast about body paint and piercings for Golden Retrievers, go ahead. Nobody’s going to stop you.

You can even publish episodes every other Thursday and every fourth Monday at 1 AM. Good for you.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t “better” ways to do certain things.

Best-practices, if you will — the things others have learned that have made a big impact for launch and ongoing podcast growth.

Some of the things I suggest clients take a long, hard, thoughtful look at are…

You see, we’ve been doing this podcasting thing long enough to see patterns of good practices and bad practices.

Don’t go off half-cocked, thinking you can produce the next runaway hit podcast — without first checking out what others have done who have attained those same things.

While there’s no “right” way to podcast, you need to do your podcast “right.”

Make sense?

SO… if you’re going to publish a podcast for business reasons…

Get it out of your head that there’s an easy way to make it happen.

It won’t.

It’s serious work that requires serious investments in at LEAST these ways…

  • research of your target listeners (target market)
  • preparation (quality matters — everyone and their dog are podcasting)
  • timing (rushing to launch will miss vital things required for success)
  • proper execution (there are such things as best-practices. Learn them)

If you’re interested in chatting about how the PFT Podcast Consulting Service can help you hit all these targets and more… contact us here. https://PodcastFastTrack.com/contact