PodSchool Podcast | How to launch a podcast when you’ve got no following


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How to launch a podcast when you’re starting from scratch

Don’t have a following online and you’re wondering whether your podcast can still be a success?  I’ve got good news for you…it absolutely can.

So how do you get your show in front of an audience when you haven’t built one yet?

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Think long and hard about your idea

When you’re starting from scratch it becomes even more important to have a clearly defined idea that provides value to an audience.

I see a lot of shows fail because they’ve been created with someone’s ego in mind rather than an audience so make sure you’re thinking of your listeners first.

Think about what would appeal to an audience because, ideally, you want to create a show based on content people are already searching for rather than trying to get them to listen to something they’re not interested in.

How to come up with a great podcast idea


Choose the right niche

When you don’t have a following you can’t cash in on the fact there’s an audience ready to listen to whatever you create so you have to make sure your show idea grabs people’s attention.

If your show is in a competitive category think about how you can adjust your content so it offers something different from what’s out there already.

If your podcast fits into a couple of categories, choose the one that’s less competitive so you’ve got more chance of featuring in the charts for that category.

How do the Apple Podcasts charts work?


Be creative with your podcast promotion

Promotion is essential for any podcast but it’s even more important when you’re launching a show with no following.

Ideally, you want your podcast to be seen by as many people as possible in the hopes that a bunch of them are interested in checking it out.

To achieve this you need to share your podcast in different and interesting ways because you never know what’s going to appeal to someone.

If you’re batch-recording episodes (which is a great idea) use the content you’ve recorded to build social media posts that give people a taste of what’s to come.

This will help build momentum and interest, which is important when you’re launching a new show.

After you’ve launched your show look at how you can repurpose each individual episode into multiple pieces of content e.g. audiograms, quotes, blog posts, etc to share on social media.

And once you’ve got your content ready to go make sure you’re using hashtags that are relevant to your niche.

How to get multiple pieces of content out of one podcast episode


Be on the same social media platforms as your audience

Social media management takes a lot of time so it’s better to do one or two platforms well rather than spreading yourself too thin.

When you’re thinking about what platforms to focus on think about where your audience is most likely to be.

If they’re into visual content stick to Pinterest and/or Instagram.

If your show is more political or news-based maybe it’s best to focus on Twitter.

Also, think about whether you can use your own personal accounts or whether you’ll need to start a new profile for your show.

Merging profiles might not be possible if there’s a clash between your personal content and the brand of your show.

But if it works to combine the two it’s a good idea because you won’t be building a new profile from scratch.

Do you need social media accounts for your podcast?


Tap into your network of family and friends

In the early days, the people who’ll be easiest to convince to listen to your show are the ones who know you already.

So tweet, message, email…whatever you need to do to get them involved because getting people to listen and subscribe to your show in the early days can help bump your show into the charts and build the momentum you need to grow an audience.

How do you grow your podcast audience?


Submit your show to all the podcast directories

This might seem like a no-brainer but some people don’t realise you have to submit your show to directories like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.

If you want to grow your audience it’s essential your show is in all the places people listen to podcasts so make sure you’re submitting it to as many apps as possible.

At a bare minimum you want your show to be available on iPhone and Android so don’t just submit it to Apple Podcasts and think you’re done because you’re leaving a huge potential audience on the table.

Which podcast apps should your podcast be in?


Pay attention to your podcast SEO

Optimising your podcast for search is important because it helps your show turn up in podcast apps and search engines when people are looking for content in your niche.

Having a decent web presence also means there are more avenues for potential listeners to find your show and that’s always a good thing.

A beginner’s guide to podcast SEO


Share your show using a universal link

If you’re sharing your show using only the Apple Podcasts link you’re excluding a huge number of potential listeners because anyone who clicks on that link using an Android phone will be sent to internet purgatory.

Since there are more Android users in the world than iPhone users that’s a big audience you’re missing out on so you want to make sure you’re sharing your show using a link that works for everyone.

How to share your podcast to iPhone and Android with one link


Turn up for the listeners you’ve got

Even if you don’t have a lot of listeners, make sure you’re showing up for the people who are showing up for you.

Word of mouth is slow but it’s still one of the most powerful ways to grow a podcast.

It can be hard to stick with something that’s taking a lot of time to gain traction but that’s why having passion for your content is essential if you want it to succeed.

Passion is what’s going to keep you delivering high-quality content consistently even when you’ve only got a handful of listeners.

And it’s that commitment that’s essential to grow your audience and that will eventually make your show a success.

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

Got some time on your hands? Read the full episode transcript

Welcome to the show. Next week will be the last episode of PodSchool for 2020 so if you’ve just joined the show, my goodness, you've got plenty of stuff to get through. So, make sure you head back to earlier episodes because there’s heaps of helpful content there and heaps of content at my website rachelcorbett.com.au.
Today's episode is about how to launch a podcast with no following. I get quite a few emails around this because most people don't have a following, and that's totally fine. Interestingly, the thing about podcasting is you really don't need to be high profile to be a success. If you think about the majority of shows in the top 10 they aren’t hosted by celebrities and those who are well known have become so through their podcast. But the key to being successful, if you don’t have a following, is to really think about your idea.
If you just do a show that’s pretty general and non-defined it’ll be hard to get traction because it’s not clear what your show is about or why people should listen. So, think about what would appeal to an audience because, ideally, you want to create a show with content people are searching for rather than trying to force people to listen to a show they don't really care about.
Obviously when you’re starting from scratch, promotion is also essential, so it’s a good idea to cut your show up into as many different pieces of content as possible. You need to create show notes for your episode, audiograms so you can share little snippets. You want to create social tiles with quotes and other content, behind the scenes photos and videos. Whatever you can do to get as many different bits of compelling content out of the one episode so you can engage new and existing listeners in new and interesting ways.
You should also think carefully about your niche so you can make sure you choose one that fits your show but that you can also stand out in so your show doesn’t get lost. Then you can use hashtags that apply to that niche so people searching for that content will find you even if they don’t know you or your show. You also want to make sure when it comes to social media that you are in all of the places that your audience are. So, if your audience is more into visual social platforms stick to Pinterest and/or Instagram. If your show is more political or news-based, you’ll probably want to be heavily into Twitter. The point is you don’t have to be on every social media platform because you’re much better off choosing one or two and doing them well rather than being everywhere and doing a half-arsed job of the platforms you’re on. So just make sure you’re on the social platforms where your audience is.
The other thing to think about at this point is whether you can use your own social media channels rather than starting up new ones for your show. Sometimes it's not possible, and I've got an episode around social media and whether you should think about doing something specific for your show or using your own personal profile that you can check out. The problem with using your personal accounts is when there's a clash between your personal content and your brand. Sometimes it doesn't make sense to mix those two things, so think strategically about whether it’s a good idea and if it’s a good fit this is a great option because it means you don’t have to start another social account from scratch.
The other thing you should do when you’re starting out is tap into family and friends. Sometimes we can be a bit reluctant to do this but in the early days, these are the people who are most likely to support you and listen to your show, so get them involved! If they're following you on social media, then tweet, Facebook and Instagram the crap out of it and get them on board your show because they can contribute significantly in the early days to downloads. They're also the ones who will happily write reviews and rate your show because they’re your biggest fans. So, don't underestimate the power of people you know. It's also a good exercise to write a list of all of the people you know in all aspects of your life and blast out an email to them. People love to know when you’ve started a new creative endeavour and they’ll want to support you. And you don't need to start off with random listeners because you can get a decent following of people based on who knows you already. So don't be embarrassed to ask them.
The podcast directories are another important place to get your show. This might seem like a no brainer but some people don’t realise you have to actually submit your show to get it into them so this is an important step. Why? Because you want your show to be in all the places people are listening to podcasts.
The next really powerful thing is podcast SEO, so having an understanding of keywords and how to optimise your content is really important. Since Google has introduced playable search results that means people might have an episode of your show presented to them even if they don’t know anything about you or your podcast. Just because your show was optimised for the keywords they’re searching for and that’s a great way for it to be discovered by new potential listeners.
Also, make sure you’re sharing your show using a universal link which is a link that works for everyone no matter what device they’re on. If you’re only using your Apple Podcasts link that’s not going to work for anyone using an Android phone and that means you’re missing out on a huge number of potential listeners. So, make sure you’re sharing a link that everybody can click on. I’ve got an earlier episode of this podcast that covers that if you want to see what that means and how you can create one.
Make sure you’re turning up for your audience. Even if you don’t have a lot of them because being there and delivering great content is what will generate word of mouth and that’s still one of the most powerful ways to grow a podcast. I know sometimes it’s hard to stick with something if it’s not gaining traction as quickly as you’d like but you have to be patient. If you have passion for the project and you know it's something you want to do and you know it's something that serves an audience, then stick with it and people will come eventually. Having no following isn’t a problem. You can still build your show and make it a success. You just need to do a bunch of different things, put the work in, have the patience and understand that it does take time to achieve. But you will get there eventually. I promise. Next week, as I mentioned, will be the final episode for the year for this podcast. I'll be back next year with heaps more content and if you want to head to PodSchool.com.au you can join the waitlist for my online podcasting course, and you’ll get an email as soon as the course is opened. Thanks so much for listening and I will see you next week for the final episode of 2020 for PodSchool.

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Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!