(By Tina Nole) I recently read an article from Entrepreneur Magazine Online with the headline “Want 7-Figure Podcast Downloads? Try These 5 Strategies,” and let me be the first to tell you, this article is not only misleading it’s completely ridiculous!
First of all, the number you should concern yourself with when it comes to podcast success is downloads PER EPISODE, not cumulative. The podcast game is about building an engaged audience, not one-time listeners.
In March 2018, Apple Podcasts passed 50 billion all-time episode downloads and streams. They report there are 550,000 shows and over 18.5 million episodes available for listeners. Being heard above all that noise is a huge challenge, and being heard by over a million pairs of ears is an even larger task. It can be done, and the suggestions put forward by the author of this article aren’t a bad start — but they are certainly not the path to a million listeners.
The author suggests asking your guests (assuming you have them) to promote your show, being conscious of length (30 minutes is the sweet spot), publishing consistently, asking for reviews, and using giveaways. But there is a great deal more you can do to boost your numbers.
Invest half of your budget in marketing
Whether your budget is actual dollars or your personal time and energy, half of that budget should go towards marketing your show. From paid and targeted social media advertising or boost posting to PR campaigns and guerilla marketing. This should be in your plan from the get-go.
Invest in a producer
If you’re not a trained journalist and have little public speaking or “behind the mic” experience, consider hiring a professional to coach you about how to sound authentic behind the mic, guide you to best practices with content, and coach you through (at least) your initial podcast idea and first few episodes.
Use professional equipment
I always say to my students if you expect me to put your voice in my ears for 20 minutes or longer, please respect your listeners enough to use a decent microphone.
Know your audience
I once heard that the Oprah team used an expression “Why does Jane care?” Jane represented their target audience, and they got to know Jane very well. They know how Jane spends her money, what she does in her free time, what she cares about, and ultimately who she is as a human. If you know your “Jane” you can go where she is to market your show. If your podcast is about yoga, for instance, your Jane likely does yoga, eats well, and is interested in the “wellness” movement. This can help you home in on where and how to market your show — whether with ad dollars or with time.
Get on other podcasts
Podcasters consumers tend to listen to five or more podcasts a week. Being a guest on another show gives you access to their audience, and they’re likely to subscribe to your show as well.
Last, do you really need a seven-figure podcast to achieve your goals?
It’s important to realize the enormous power of podcasting when it comes to intimately connecting with your target audience, and not to get caught up in the numbers game. Think of it this way: if 10 people listen to me (intimately) once per week for a half hour or more at a time, that’s pretty powerful. They’ll likely share me with their friends (if what I’m saying has a unique point of view and is well laid out). They’ll come to my parties, friend me on social media, and take a genuine interest in what I’m doing. Now multiply that by 10, and I have 100 people engaged with me, my voice, my brand intimately and consistently — that’s the equivalent of a university classroom. 200 – 500? That’s a conference! While it’s easy to get caught up in volume, the most valuable thing about a podcast listener is the reality that you are building a strong, long lasting, loyal, and ultimately consumer-driven audience — one pair of ears at a time.
Tina Nole is the Founder/Chief Creative at Larj Media. Larj Media produces podcasts for thought leaders, celebrities, and brands.