I started my podcast, Her Life By Design, back in November of 2019. And in full transparency, I had little to no knowledge of what it took to launch and grow a podcast. It has been over a year since the first episode of Her Life By Design aired, and to say I’ve learned a lot would be an understatement. If I had to do it all over again, I would do things differently. If you’re thinking about launching a podcast, struggling to grow an existing one, or you’re in the thick of a podcast launch, this episode is for you. Keep on reading to find out what I would do differently if I launched a podcast today.
What I Would Do Differently If I Launched a Podcast Today
My experience in the podcasting world has truly been a collection of trial and error. Day by day and week by week, I sat down to figure out what worked in terms of serving my listeners the best information possible. On top of that, I was constantly testing new strategies to grow the show and reach more listeners. Needless to say, I have since absorbed so much information about what it takes to have a successful podcast and how to grow an engaged listenership.
Today, I’m sharing the 5 things I would do differently if I launched my podcast all over again. Whether you’re thinking about launching a podcast of your own, or maybe you already have a podcast but you’re struggling to get it off the ground, these 5 things will take you 5 steps closer to having a successful, top-rated podcast.
Why You Should Have a Podcast
If you’ve been following my blog, social media, or podcast, you know that I’m constantly stressing the importance of owning an evergreen platform. Owning an evergreen platform in addition to Instagram and TikTok gives you more control over your content and how you nurture your community. The most important aspect of an evergreen platform such as a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel is the opportunity of discovery for years to come. Meaning, with the right SEO strategies and techniques, your content can be discoverable at any point in time regardless of the date it’s published.
When it comes to deciding which evergreen platform is right for you, you need to figure out what kind of content you feel most comfortable producing:
- Blog: If you love writing and you like being more behind-the-scenes, a blog might be for you.
- YouTube: Love video editing and being on camera? YouTube would be the perfect evergreen platform for you.
- Podcast: If you like speaking, conversing with people, and creating content without needing to put makeup on or get out of your sweatpants–then a podcast might be for you.
Choose whichever evergreen platform is right for you, but don’t put all your eggs in the social media basket. Evergreen platforms are key to building a sustainable business with longevity.
Now that you know the importance of having an evergreen platform such as a podcast, let’s dive into the 5 things I would do differently if I launched a podcast from scratch today.
Batching Podcast Episodes in Advance
The first thing I wish I did when launching my podcast was having at least 3 to 5 episodes live at once. I launched with a single episode back in 2019. However, having a few more episodes up and running would encourage listeners to spend more time listening to my show in one sitting when my podcast was officially launched.
Because of how the Apple podcast algorithm works, where you rank on the Apple podcast charts is entirely based on the amount of listenership and reviews that your show receives. Ranking on the Apple podcast charts is extremely important since that’s how people discover new shows to listen to according to the niche.
Launching with a few episodes up and running will give listeners an opportunity to binge the show within the span of a day or two. This activity will then help you rank high in the charts from day one, allowing you to reach more people from the getgo and set your podcast off on the right foot.
Giveaways are one of the best ways to encourage people to leave reviews. And again, reviews are so important because the more reviews you have, the more chances you have of ranking on the charts. Hosting giveaways from the very beginning will encourage more reviews and activity on your show. This will increase your podcast’s discoverability, helping you grow your listenership.
To be honest, I would host a giveaway every week if I were launching my podcast all over again. Because let’s face it–asking someone to take time to leave a review is a big ask. Hosting giveaways will really push people to take action.
The key to hosting a successful giveaway is tailoring the prize to something your ideal listeners would want. This means the prize needs to be related to your niche and your audience. For example, I’ve hosted giveaways in the past that included my online courses, my mini-courses, and 30-minute coaching calls which my audience finds extremely valuable.
Here are some examples for niched-down prizes you could include in a giveaway:
If you’re a health and wellness coach with a podcast, some giveaway prizes could include a gift basket with some wellness products. Or if you’re hosting a travel podcast, give an Airbnb gift card or travel-related products.
Your giveaway will drive engagement only if the prize is worth it for your audience.
Record More Solo Episodes
You’ve probably noticed that I’ve started recording more solo episodes in 2021. Don’t get me wrong–interviewing experts and industry leaders is a great way to deliver more value and increase your podcast’s awareness. But solo episodes establish the host (you) as a thought leader.
Although the structure of your show is entirely up to you, it is in good practice to make sure that 50 to 70% of your show is made up of solo episodes, and here’s why. Because when you’re interviewing or having a discussion with a guest, it can be really hard to fully communicate your expertise and build that confidence with those who are listening. With a solo episode, it’s a lot easier to establish authority and build confidence. Since an episode is usually 20 to 40 minutes of you talking about a topic that gives your audience value.
However, recording solo episodes takes a lot of time and planning. Before sitting down to record a solo episode, I bullet point and get clear about all the points I want to make. Whereas with an interview, all I have to do research, plan out the topic of discussion, and coordinate times with your guest.
Personally, I find solo episodes to be more work. But oftentimes the things that are more work are the most worth it. And at the end of the day, your podcast should provide value, establishing you as a thought leader with your audience.
Growing My Email List
I wish I would have realized what a powerful opportunity having a podcast is for growing your email list. And if I were starting over again, I would I have two or three freebies created that were each focused on one of my content pillars before launching my podcast.
For me, this could look like a freebie all about Instagram growth, influencer partnerships, and blogging. And depending on the topic of the episode, I would promote the relevant freebie throughout the recording, encouraging people to sign up and download it.
If you’re not focusing on building your email list, converting listeners into customers, or getting your listeners to go check you out in other places, you’re missing out on an enormous opportunity that can come from podcasting.
A Solid Promotion Strategy
Unfortunately, publishing a podcast episode is only 10% of the equation. The other 90% comes down to your promotion strategy. This is something that my team and I have built out over the last year.
And if I’m being frank, this applies to any piece of content that you’re putting out, whether it’s a podcast episode, blog post, or YouTube video. Creating and publishing content is only 10% of the equation. The remaining 90% is in the promotion that you are doing of that piece of content. This promotion includes Instagram captions that encourages your audience to tune in or take further action, or promoting the podcast episode to your email list.
Something that has worked really well for Her Life By Design is repurposing each episode into a blog post. These blog posts (like this one) offer a ton of valuable information shared in the episode while encouraging people to tune in to the show for more.
And the reason why that is so impactful is because repurposing each podcast episode as a blog post leverages two evergreen platforms. With proper SEO techniques and promotion on Pinterest, that blog post will be discoverable for years. Therefore people who discover that blog post can tune in to the relevant podcast episode years down the line.
5 Things I Wish I Had Done Differently
And there you have it! If I were to start a podcast from scratch today, I’ll be implementing these 5 things without question. After a year of trial and error, tracking analytics, and seeing what worked, I’ve reduced the most important steps to these 5 things.
If you’re launching a podcast or trying to get one off and running, start implementing these tips right away. Even though I didn’t implement these strategies from the very beginning, I’m thankful for the knowledge I’ve gained over a year of trying. Besides, it’s never too late to implement effective growth strategies.
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