How to Make Your Podcast Blow Up
In a previous post, we discussed how to conduct result-driven podcast marketing, Papi Digital style. There are references to case studies and metrics you should follow for optimal tracking.
Today, we're looking at the process to follow for growth hacking your podcast to success. How can you stand out in a sea of shows that are vying for a robust American and global audience?
Planning for Success
While starting a podcast and having it go viral without effort is certainly a possibility, a smart investor wouldn't leave it up to chance. And yes, the word 'investor' is interchangeable with 'podcaster' because you are investing your time in creating a show that aims to boost your brand.
Success leaves clues and following the blueprint of top podcasters will yield results. Think of the evolution of digital marketing and the trends that have passed. In the mid-90s, you could make a website rank number one in the search engines through keyword stuffing and questionable backlinks. Now, you need quality, value-filled content that drives engagement.
Remember Facebook marketing in the mid-to-late 2000s? Building thousands of followers meant you could automatically create a profitable business. Now, you need to build organic interaction and leverage paid marketing.
Podcasting is still in its early stages but is certainly past its infancy. Building a Crime Junkie or a Joe Rogan Experience is going to take more than placing a microphone in front of your face. On the other hand, if you value your brand, you wouldn't want it any other way. Reaching the top of your niche should be a reflection of your brand and not an easy backhanded trick that anyone can pull off.
Hit the Ground Running
If you put out a single first episode when launching your podcast, you only have one show for the audience to judge you on. This can lead to people passing you by if you don't have more for them.
On the other hand, people like to watch more of the content they enjoy. Netflix is an excellent example of this. The company almost single-handedly created the binge-watching phenomenon. Imagine someone coming across your first episode, loving it, and not having any of your content to consume after that. It could end up costing you listeners.
Try putting out at least three episodes when you launch. If you can do more, even better. There's nothing more beneficial to your brand than creating rabid followers that can't get enough of your show.
Maximize Social Media Exposure
Parsing your podcasts into bite-sized clips and dispersing them throughout social media is a sure-fire way to gain exposure. Try figuring out which parts have the greatest potential to go viral. Use video and image creative to promote these clips on visual platforms and audio cues to stand out on voice-driven apps.
Qualify Your Guests
There's an interesting duality in choosing podcast guests. As much as it might sound shallow, you should qualify your guests with a list of criteria in mind. These criteria should go beyond their knowledge in your niche but also consider their bankability. How big an audience does your guest have and how many listeners do you stand to gain from having them on?
At the same time, you shouldn't treat your guest as if they are a means to an end. Make their life easier by preparing images or pre-written tweets they can post to promote their appearance on your show. Let them know that this is a mutually beneficial relationship. Implore your listeners to follow your guests. After all, it's all about sharing value with everyone: the host, the guest, and, of course, the listeners.
Transcribe for Searchability
Transcribing your podcast will help you post it in text form. In written form, your podcast can go directly on your blog where it'll be searchable by Google. Furthermore, you can take text quotes and augment your social media strategy by posting them. Images with text are often meme-worthy and can gain traction with social media users.
Leverage YouTube and Other Video Platforms
Uploading your podcast to YouTube gives you the potential to reach audiences that don't use podcasting platforms. The comedian Bill Burr has gained massive success for his Monday Morning Podcast by posting it on YouTube. If you want to cover the entire video spectrum, you can simultaneously upload your podcast to Facebook as a video. Alternative video platforms like Rumble and Brighteon can also give you access to audience segments outside of your normal reach.
Timing Is Everything
Digging through your podcast's analytics can offer insights with practical use. For instance, after you upload a few episodes, trends will start to form. You should be able to discern which time of day your listeners prefer to listen to your show.
At the same time, do some competitive research. What time of day do the biggest podcasts in your niche upload their shows?
The ideal upload time might not jump out at you from the data, at first. However, with a little experimentation and some data tracking, you should be able to optimize your upload time. Furthermore, this can be used for determining the best day of the week to upload. Is your audience more likely to listen to your show over the weekend or during the week? At the end of the day, your episode will be available for your loyal fans regardless of upload time. However, there is much to be said about publishing strategically.
This is evident in the case of Bill Burr's Monday Morning Podcast. Fans wait for the upload every Monday and often give the comedian grief when he is late in uploading. This usually turns into comedic banter that Bill is able to capitalize on. In a nutshell, it may not matter when exactly you publish your show, as long as it is the best time for your specific audience.
A Method to the Madness
Podcasting is a space that is experiencing growth both in the US and abroad. Though there are millions of shows, podcasts that manage to break through are only a small percentage. By adopting a growth hacking, data-driven approach, you can turn the uncertainty of podcast marketing into a lively, brand-building effort.