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PodSchool Podcast | How to set yourself up for podcasting success

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How to launch your podcast successfully

If you want to launch a successful podcast there are a lot of things you need to consider before you get started and once your show is live.

Most podcasts fade out after less than ten episodes because growing an audience is a lot of hard work.

So how can you make sure your show is a success?

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Think about who your show is for

For a podcast to be a success it needs to be created for an audience, not your ego.

That means you need to spend time thinking about who your ideal listener is and making every decision about your idea, format, length and content with them in mind.

Wanting to have your own podcast isn’t enough to guarantee success, you need to create a show people want to listen to.

Why you should design an ideal listener for your podcast

Read

Choose the right podcast niche

If you’re brand new to podcasting and don’t have an existing following it’s much harder to stand out in a broad niche because there’s often a lot of competition.

You need to think strategically about where your show fits and make sure it’s easily definable so people understand your concept straight away.

The sharper the focus of your idea, the more chance you’ll stand out and standing out will give you a better chance of podcast success.

Does your podcast have to be niche?

Read

Make sure you’re passionate about the idea

It can take a long time to build an audience and the only way to grow your listener base is by delivering high-quality content consistently.

That means you need to really love what you’re doing because you might be releasing episodes for a long time before people find your show.

Word of mouth, while slow, is one of the best ways to grow your podcast audience so it’s important to turn up for your listeners no matter how many there are.

Knowing you’ve got an idea that has the potential to engage, entertain and inspire can keep up the motivation required to deliver content consistently which is essential if you want your podcast to be a success.

Five questions you should ask yourself before starting a podcast

Read

Pay attention to audio quality

Gone are the days where you can sit down in an echoey kitchen and record your podcast by talking into the built-in microphone in your computer.

There are so many high-quality podcasts out there you have to think long and hard about the quality of your show if you want to compete.

You don’t need to record it in a professional studio or spend a lot of money on equipment but you do need to have respect for your listeners and give them the best audio experience you possibly can.

How to record high-quality audio at home

Read

Choose the right format and length for your podcast

It’s important to put thought into this and come up with a format and length that’s not only right for your audience and your content but right for you.

An hour-long episode might seem like a good idea when you’re starting out but by week six it might be completely unmanageable.

Having guests on your podcast is great in theory but what about the time it takes to book them and manage people’s calendars?

When you think strategically about length and format you’ll have a much better chance of making decisions that will lead to your show being a success.

Also, remember a podcast doesn’t have to go forever and sometimes seasons are a better way to do it.

Think about what’s best for the longterm success of your podcast, not just what’s exciting when you’re starting out because you need to make decisions you’ll be able to maintain.

How to make podcasting easier with seasons

Read

Batch record your episodes

One of the hardest parts of podcasting is turning around regular episodes and the more frequently you release shows the harder that is.

Batch recording can help you get ahead of yourself by creating multiple weeks of content in one session.

This can help you maintain consistency in your release schedule which is essential if you want your show to be a success.

Why you should batch record your podcast

Read

Go in with realistic expectations

The majority of podcasts get way fewer downloads than you’d think so don’t make the mistake of setting yourself a goal of a million listeners in six months because it’s going to be a sad old party at the six-month mark.

You’re much better off setting realistic goals and achieving them because that will give you the motivation to keep going.

How do your download numbers compare to other podcasts?

Read

Promote the crap out of your show

A lot of podcasters make the mistake of tweeting about an episode the day it goes live and then never tweeting about it again.

Social media moves so fast and it might take you posting about your show 10 times before someone notices.  They also might not be interested in a link to your episode but might engage if you share a quote, audiogram or meme.

You need to be pulling multiple pieces of content from each episode and sharing your show in as many different ways as possible to increase your chances of people listening.

How to promote your podcast

Read

Practice before you start

The more you understand about how long everything is going to take the more prepared you’ll be so if you can practice before you go live it’ll really help.

Realistic expectations are helpful when you’re starting out so you don’t step in on day one and realise you’re in way over your head.

If you know what’s ahead of you you’ll have a much greater chance of success.

Got a burning question you’d like answered on the podcast? 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

Hello. Today's show is all about how to set yourself up for podcasting success because I don't want you to fail. I'm very interested in you being a successful podcaster, and the way you do that is by having a high-quality show. So, let us talk about some of the things you can do, apart from joining me in my online podcasting course, PodSchool, of course, to make sure your podcast is a success.
I know I’ve mentioned this so many times I’m like a bloody broken record but when you’re coming up with your idea, please think about the people who are going to be listening to your show. Design your ideal listener. Make sure you are making your decisions for them because you are much more likely to come up with an idea that people will enjoy and seek out and want to listen to if you have an audience in mind. Make sure that's at the base of everything that you do rather than your ego because that never gets you anywhere.
Second thing is to choose the right podcast niche. If you’re brand new to podcasting and you don’t have an existing following it’s much harder to stand out when you’re competing in an overcrowded and broad niche so the more specific you can get the better. Look around at what’s already there and think strategically about your idea and the best way to execute it so you don’t get drowned out by shows that are already out there. When you’re a new podcast you want a show that’s really easily definable so you need to put time into thinking about your niche and where your show fits.
The next thing I want to talk about is passion because you need a lot of it if you are going to make it through the often deathly quiet early weeks, months or maybe years of your podcast. It might take you a long time to build an audience so you need to be realistic about your audience expectations. It might take a long time for you to build your listener base and while you’re waiting you really need passion for the project to get you through. It’s that passion that will translate to an audience and build your connection with them but you need to be able to drum it up even if you’re broadcasting to ten people. You want the people listening to think “Oh my gosh, I love this show. I love this person. I'm going to tell my friends about it!” And really turning up for your audience is one of the best ways to do that. Word of mouth is slow but it’s still a great way to grow your podcast. But you want to make sure you love doing it so that those cold, lonely winter nights don’t seem so cold and lonely. And if you don't get big numbers, don't worry. Just turn up for those people who have turned up for you and really make them feel like you love being there because you can still monetise a little show. You just need to have a really engaged, interested audience, and the only way you'll do that is if you're passionate about what you're doing.
Next, think of our audio quality. Gone are the days where you can sit in the kitchen talking into the built-in microphone on your computer and think that is good enough. There are shows out there that sound amazing, and there are only small things you need to do at home to get your show sounding just as good. So have the respect for your listeners ears and put time and effort into thinking about your audio quality.
Last week, I talked about finding the right format and length for your show when you're thinking about podcasting and one of the things I'd add to that is the importance of coming up with a format and content that has legs. So you might be better off separating things into seasons. That might give you a better chance of success because doing a show every single week for the rest of time might burn you out really quickly. Or there might not be enough content, so it might be easier to do it in seasons. The other thing to think about is making sure it is an idea you can flesh out for a long time because it's easy when you are starting to think “I've got all the ideas in the world” and then three weeks and you think, “Oh gosh, what am I going to talk about next week?” That's hard. The other thing that could be difficult if you're thinking about doing a show with guests is booking them. It's a lot of work, and you can't guarantee your schedule is going to fit in with their schedule or that you're going to be able to book somebody every week. So if you're not recording ahead of yourself, which you absolutely should be, you can get yourself into a real pickle. So just make sure you've thought about all of the ways things could go wrong so you can make sure that you've got a format that's the best for your audience, your idea and your workload. Otherwise, you’ll get a few weeks or months in and think “Oh no! I can’t keep this up!” And you don’t want that.
I mentioned they're recording interviews ahead of time. I would always advise batch recording if you can as it’s a great way to help you not fade out. When you are podcasting, there are a lot of podcasts that just fade into oblivion because they didn’t realise it would be this much work. If you record episodes in batches you can get multiple weeks of content done in a single sitting which will help you so much in the long run.
Make sure you have realistic expectations. Of course, it’s good to have goals but you want the passion for the project to come first then everything else is a cherry on top. Be realistic about what’s achievable, especially when you're coming up with timelines. Don't set yourself a goal of a million listeners in six months because it's going to be a sad old party at the six-month mark. The amount of downloads podcasts get are way lower than you might think so you’re much better off going in with realistic goals and hitting them than being constantly disappointed.
Once you actually get into the show, it's really important to promote the crap out of it. I can't stress this enough. A lot of podcasters make the mistake of tweeting once when their episode is released just with a link to their show and you can’t build an audience with that. You've got to get multiple pieces of content from each episode and share your show as many different ways as possible. You want to make sure that you are doing everything you can to get your content out in front of eyes and ears in different ways so you can entice people. Somebody might not be interested in a quote, but they might see an audio grab and find it really interesting. So you need to be promoting like crazy. If that's not something you're comfortable with, I get it but one of the best things you can do is get a scheduling tool so you can schedule your posts ahead of time. If you're trying to do that every week, it can get overwhelming but a scheduling tool takes it out of your hands.
And then the final thing, I'd say is before you start, if you could do any kind of practice of the process, that can really help you out. So everything from recording, editing, putting the show notes together, creating those social assets, coming up with a structure and a workflow so that when you get started, you know exactly what you need to do for each episode. But you also know generally how much time things take so you're not jumping in on the first week thinking “This is going to be a breeze.” And then you realising it takes way longer than you thought it would. So you really want to know how long it's going to take you to do each of the elements so that you can be really well prepared when you go into it. And, of course, check out PodSchool, my online podcasting course where I take you step by step through everything. It’s a mix of lessons that take you through everything from idea generation all the way to monetising your show and a bunch of video tutorials as well, where I step you through the process of uploading your show to the directories, editing and everything else. All right, I will see you next week and until then, happy podcasting.

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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!

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