How to build a profitable podcast.
This is the second post in the three part series, part one focuses on how to start a podcast and part three focuses on how to grow a podcast.
OK you have done all the hard work…
Its now time for the rubber to hit the road and for you to release this baby out into the world.
It’s time to learn how to launch a successful podcast.
First, go back to the previous post to ensure you have everything you need to launch and then more importantly… sustain the growth of your podcast.
Like everything great in life, the benefits of podcasting accrue over the long term, so you MUST ensure that you can commit to six months of publishing your show before making any decisions about its future.
We will cover this in more detail in the next post, but in order for your show to grow, you MUST gain the trust of your listeners and you do this… by being consistent.
So before you move on, you need to have the confidence in your ability to find guests, produce and promote six months’ worth of episodes. If you don’t have that… then jump back to the first post on how to start a podcast now.
You want your audience to immediately understand what is in it for them.
The best way to do this is to create a trailer detailing what they can expect.
We advise the follow structure:
This trailer will then be inserted into the start of your podcast feed and marked as a “Trailer” in Spotify (see Step 5).
You can see examples here:
As people rush to check out your new show, the Trailer will be the first thing they listen to. We want to clearly share the reason why they should invest their time… and then hit them with a clear CTA to subscribe.
We recommend using a professional podcast editor to do this for you… if you don’t have the funds for this, you can use tools such as Audacity or Descript.
Set a hard launch date.
You need to set a line in the sand when you will definitely launch. We don’t want to drag this out.
We typically advise this date to be set two weeks after the date in which you have finished all the activities detailed in the first post. As you will need time to get approved by Apple Podcast, prepare your launch materials and produce your trailer.
Put a big fat calendar invite in your calendar and invite all the people within your team that will be supporting the show.
Ideally we would be launching with two to three episodes AND the trailer mentioned above. In terms of the episodes to launch with, we want to ensure that the guests we are launch with are:
The reason being… is that we obviously want our new subscribers to be blown away by the quality of the episodes, but we also want the guests to help us make a big BANG on launch day.
If you have more than three episodes recorded prior to the launch date, then simply ping each guest with a message like this:
You can then review responses and determine which guests you think will help the most with the launch promotion. You can simply check their social channels for the amount of followers and engagement they have and also check their traffic stats with something like SEMRush to see how authoritative their site is (a good indication of the size of their email list, if they have one).
The other reason for launching with three to four episodes in total is that the Apple Podcasts New & Noteworthy section looks at a combination of the number of downloads and reviews when looking at who to include.
More episodes = more downloads = greater chance of hitting New & Noteworthy.
So if you don’t have at least two episodes to launch with… then you need to go back to Step 1 of this process and get them recorded!
When you have this launch date, you then need to ensure that you submit your podcast to both Apple and Spotify prior to launch, details on how to do these can be found here:
When you go live on Apple and Spotify, it won’t be long until Google picks up your feed, we want to provide links to all three in our launch promo so that iOS, Android and Spotify users and all subscribe easily.
Apple takes 2-5 business days to approve, so we need to make sure you submit to Apple Podcasts in time for it to be live on your launch date. Spotify normally takes a couple of hours to approve new podcasts.
When approved, collect your three directory links as you will need these for your promotion. We recommend using Bit.ly to shorten these to make them more clickable on social ;)
If you host with bCast, then as soon as you are live on Apple, simply submit your podcast to us in the “Directories” tab, and we will make sure you are in the rest ;)
Let’s get into the meat of this launch.
There are 6 concentric circles of people we can get to help us smash this launch:
We will announce the launch of the podcast to and will ask groups 1, 3 and 5 to subscribe and review, we will ask groups 2, 4 and 6 to subscribe.
This is the easy one… please simply send your three directory links:
To all employees and any friends/family that you like and request that they subscribe AND write an honest review on Apple after listening to some or all of the episodes - it’s the reviews that we are after :)
Please also include this video that shows how to do this, so you can also share these links:
If you need a copy, here is the text:
Next up - your customers. I suggest that either you or someone in your customer service team reaches out to all customers with a similar message to the above except we won’t ask for a rating/review as don’t want to annoy these peeps :)
Though some people will still go through and rate and review anyway!
This will show you are doing something awesome for the profession that should deepen the bond and ideally reduce churn… here’s the message:
Again, I recommend sending an email to all email subscribers you have… either as a one off broadcast or as part of your normal emailing strategy (e.g. a weekly newsletter), but we would prefer a one off email of course ;)
Text can be the same if in a newsletter:
And here is the full email for all email subscribers if you’re happy to send a full one:
I propose we pump out 4 updates in total over 4 days on all your social channels. Here is some proposed copy for the first post:
Be sure to natively include your main podcast image.
This can also be the post that is boosted with paid spend if there is budget available as per Step 8.
If you followed Step 6 of the first post in this series, you should have a number of “podcast fans” that are invested in your podcasting journey, the message to prepare for this group is similar to the message we prepped for friends and family above:
We need to list down groups of communities on the following platforms that will contain your ideal listeners:
Make sure you join these and engage BEFORE it’s time to launch your show, you don’t want to spam. Spend time to get to know the rules, key players in the group and answer some questions to add value.
If you do this right… then you should be able to take the same social posts and post directly into the groups and generate some engagement. Especially if you have already jumped in there to collect feedback on your images and name as per Step 6 of the first post in this series.
OK so you should now have ALL the copy and posts prepped for the big day… there are just a couple more steps to consider before we kick this off.
Now this strategy is a little extra work… but can be worth it.
We’re talking about incentivizing listeners to subscribe and review to be entered into a prize draw.
The bigger and better the prize, the more ratings and reviews you will get. We also like to get partners involved here, as this also should expose your podcast to their audience.
The process below outlines how to run this with partners… if you just want to run the promotion internally, without partners then you can skip to Step 4!
We are looking for between 3-5 (if you really want to blow this up go for 10 but that could take a while) partners that sell into the same niche that you do…
If you already know who would be great to partner with then awesome, jot them down in a Google Sheet, if not, let’s find them!
Simply head to G2 Crowd and locate the category (SaaS or service) where you would sit and browse around until you find businesses that are complementary not competitive.
You can also jump into the groups we have listed in your audience tracker and ask:
“What is your current [[niche]] tech stack?
Review the comments and add any that you think are a fit into a Google Sheet.
The final method is to simply search Google using the query:
Head to their site and then reach out!
Once we have a list of 10-20 we need to start reaching out.
We can either give the list to our VA or request that they find the email addresses for the CEO/founders or we can do this ourselves by heading to LinkedIn and then using one of the email extensions.
If we can’t find an email address for the CEO/founder we can approach someone in the marketing team and if not that, then we can chat/email their customer support and request the email address of someone from the marketing team.
Here is the email we will send, please edit to suit your tone of voice:
Once you have a couple of big names confirmed you can add them into this email template for social proof.
And once the email has been sent, connect with the recipient on LinkedIn and say:
Once we start to get responses from partners we now mark down details of the prize and how it will be delivered in our spreadsheet.
We then need to make one simple page on our site on “www.yourdomain.com/podcast” that includes:
Post launch, we will just redirect this page to your podcast page on Apple Podcasts.
Here is the copy you can add onto this webpage on your site:
You can then include logos, prize details and links to all partners below…
Simply add the rules to the promotion into all emails and social posts you send to all the different groups of people as part of your launch. Be sure to remember to publicly call out and congratulate the winners of the promotion after the launch and then everyone for participating.
You can share this email and social post copy with partners for them to publish:
Example social copy:
To pour fuel into the fire of your launch, you can simply boost the Facebook Post announcing your launch from your Facebook Page.
There is a sneaky trick you can implement here to maximize the effectiveness of this ad spend:
Target ONLY people on iOS devices and send people STRAIGHT to your Apple Podcasts link.
Remember, we are trying to maximize the amount of downloads, ratings and reviews on Apple to hit New & Noteworthy. People on iOS devices will be automatically redirected to the Apple Podcasts App where they can subscribe to your show in one click.
If you don’t want to link from the Facebook Ad to Apple podcasts, then make sure that you have the Apple Podcasts Smart Banner set up on the web page you send traffic to... to reduce friction.
OK we’re nearly there, please move through the following checklist to ensure that you have everything prepared for the big day:
If all the above are ready… then the last thing for you to do is simply: GET EXCITED.
OK so you have two weeks to get into New & Noteworthy so it’s time to go HARD.
As soon as the clock ticks past your official launch date, you need to man all stations and start pushing this bad boi out there…
Here’s a short checklist to keep in front of you on launch day:
All right… great work team.
You have now successfully gone from zero… to launch podcast.
There is only one more thing to do now… it’s to grow this bad boi slowly and steadily over time, we will soon release a guide to growing a podcast after it has been launched ;)
And if you’re interested in making your new podcast profitable then come over and join our Facebook Community: Profitable Podcasts.