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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 or on social media and you’re wondering if your podcast can still be a success?  I’ve got good news…it absolutely can.

If you look at the podcast charts the top ten shows aren’t dominated by celebrities and having a profile isn’t a pre-requisite for podcasting success.

Factors that have more impact are whether you’ve got a great idea that appeals to an audience and whether you’re delivering your show consistently.  Do that and you can build a successful podcast even if you have zero followers.

So how do you do it?

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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 made 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 people are searching for rather than trying to force people to listen to a show they’re not interested in.

How to come up with a great podcast idea

Read

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 what you create so you have to give your show the greatest chance of standing out.

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

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

How do the Apple Podcasts charts work?

Read

Be creative with your podcast promotion

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

You want your show to be seen by as many different people as possible.  So to achieve that you have to share your show in a bunch of different ways.

If you’re batch recording your episodes (which is a great idea) you can use the content you’ve got in the bank to build social media posts that will give people a taste of your show before it’s live.  This can help build momentum which is really important when you’re launching a new show.

After your podcast is live you want to break up each episode into multiple pieces of content so you’re sharing your podcast in different ways e.g. audiograms, pull quotes and blog posts.

Once you’ve got your content make sure you’re using hashtags for your niche so your podcast turns up when people are searching for it.

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

Read

Make sure you’re 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 trying to be everywhere.

When you’re thinking about what platforms to focus on think about where your audience is most likely to be.  If your audience is into visual content stick to Pinterest and/or Instagram.  If your show is more political or news-based you’re probably going to want 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 when 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 to do it because you won’t be building your profile from zero.

Do you need social media accounts for your podcast?

Read

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, facebook, email…whatever it takes to get people involved because getting them to subscribe to your show in the early days can help bump you into the charts and build the momentum you need to grow your audience.

How do you grow your podcast audience?

Read

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 are listening to podcasts so make sure you’re submitting your show to as many podcast apps as possible.

What directories should you submit your podcast to?

Read

Pay attention to your podcast SEO

Optimising your podcast for search is really important for discovery especially since Google stepped into the podcasting space.

Now when people are searching for keywords in your niche, if your content is optimised properly Google can turn up playable search results even if the person searching has no idea what a podcast is or who you are.

SEO is also important for people searching inside podcast apps so if you want to get your show in front of as many different people as possible, getting this right is really important.

A beginner’s guide to podcast SEO

Read

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 on an Android phone will be sent to internet purgatory.

Since there are more Android users in the world than iPhone users that’s a huge potential 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

Read

Turn up for the listeners you’ve got

Even if you don’t have a lot of them you want to make sure you’re showing up for the people who are showing up for you because word of mouth is still one of the most powerful ways to grow a podcast.

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

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

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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