Measuring Success & Setting Achievable Benchmarks
Measuring your success. So we've talked about growth. What does it mean to be successful? And again, there is another course that spends an hour an a half on this and definitely check it out. We're gonna do some top-level work. But I'm also going to set kind of some benchmarks and some standards here to I think help us all sleep better at night. Focus on what matters, growth takes time. And this is not podcasting, this is anything you do in life. (laughs) It is going to take time. Do not get defeated. Do not get overwhelmed. So questions that you personally need to sit down for your podcast and decide are how do you define success? For you, what is successful? Is it a side project? Do you wanna make $500 a month off of it? Do you not wanna make any money off of it? Do you just wanna inspire people and have a lot of downloads? Set your own metrics for success because it does not matter what the top 50 shows on iTunes are doing. What matters is you and your show. What does realistic grow...
th look like to your show? Again, my random weird show about peanut butter, I'm never going to be in the Apple top 50. It's just never gonna happen because it's a show about peanut butter. That doesn't mean that I can't make a great show and find advertisers that might wanna be a part of it. Are your listeners engaging online? Again, let's just not look at download numbers. Let's really focus on the fact are people having conversations around my show? Are they sharing recasts? Are they talking about it on Facebook? Are they talking about it on Twitter? That is one big thing that you should be pushing as much as pushing listen to my episode but creating those conversations on social media. And then also like I said before trust in slow growth. It is not going to happen overnight, it takes time. So let's talk about understanding your analytics because this has a lot to do in your growth and I'm gonna move through this kind of quickly. But plays over time is a new metric that is just kind of coming into the industry. And the nice thing about the plays over time chart is it never goes down. It's always going up because what it is is the life of your show, of how long it exists. So if I had 30 downloads yesterday and I got 40 today that means it went up by 10. So that line is never going to go down for the life of that episode. So it's an interesting metric, one, because it just makes you feel warm and good because it never dips. Listening locations, our new platform is going to allow you to not just see one, are they listening on a computer? Are they listening on a tablet? Are they listening on a phone? I actually couldn't tell the difference between a tablet and a phone there for a second. But in addition to that we are giving analytic data on where people are listening. Is somebody listening to your show in a home? Are they listening on LTE, probably walking or in their car? Or are they listening at work? Which they probably shouldn't be doing but we're gonna be able to show you that. So that gives you a lot. (audience and Brad laughing) For all the employers out there everybody's listening to your show at work. Those are great things for you to know because it not just says who is listening and how many are listening but at what time of day are they listening. If you're finding that a lot of your listening is happening at home in the evening, it allows you to almost tailor the show and be a little bit better there. Geography, being able to understand kind of where your show is and what you need to do and what you need to go over. Also if you wanna do a live show at some point you need to know where your most listeners are. This map that we offer in Simplecast allows you to literally zoom in further and see kind of the segment of, say, Seattle and find out where in the area those people are. So these are also very interesting to know. Do you have a pocket in New York? Do you have a pocket in Seattle? Or do you have random pocket in southern Florida? Why? Retention is another metric that we will be launching. And retention is great because that allows you to see where people begin to drop off. This is from Apple's analytics. This is a very common flow, a very common chart. A lot of people you'll see kind of a slower drop and then end of episode. This is usually closing music or an ad. But what's very interesting is when you can look at retention and see like why did I maybe have a drop 15 minutes in? Was it an ad? Was it something I said? So retention is a very important metric that again has not been around very long but it's something that we're working on building into the platform. So when I said kind of setting goals, the thing that's important here is to set achievable benchmarks, not benchmarks that we're going to miss. Focus on what matters, growth takes time. Be realistic with your benchmarks. You're not going to be launching an iTunes top 50 show next week. I certainly won't. So one area that you can focus on is your foundation. When you're setting your benchmarks, and this is a very eye-opening fact, is in the past six months, 5% of podcasts made it past 10 episodes. Now that doesn't mean they stop forever. They just haven't created more than 10 episodes in six months. So all that I can say today is don't be that statistic. Get over that hump of 10 episodes because if you really wanna build a following and you really wanna start bringing people into your show they're going to desire consistency and they're going to not wanna start falling in love with the show that might be gone in two months. Some realistic metrics to really focus on and again let's set the bar low here because we don't wanna feel bad inside and cry ourselves to sleep at night. Set small metrics. Maybe it's 500 downloads, maybe it's 1,000 downloads. Think about it small. Your one first positive review that's not your mom, that is a good early metric. Somebody likes your show enough to actually go give it a star rating and say something very kind about it. Your first email from a fan or a tweet or a Facebook, that is a very important metric because that means your work is being done well. People are liking your show. And again, let's get to that 10 episodes benchmark not to be a statistic. Another area of focus is consistency. This one I kept very brief because consistency is craved. If you publish every two weeks, try to keep it every two weeks. If you publish on Tuesday, try to keep it every Tuesday. I have shows that I watch and they will come on on Netflix and I know that new episode's gonna come out on Wednesday. I watch it on Wednesday. I don't go on Wednesday and then find out oh, well they must have been behind and that show won't be out until the weekend. Try as much as you can to give your listeners consistency. If you do every week, stick to that schedule. If you do every other week, stick to that schedule. Consistency. Another focus area is traction and I mentioned this already too. How do you know your show is gaining traction? That you've maybe been a guest on another podcast. Somebody found your show and they liked it enough and they were like actually, would you mind coming on my show and talking about your podcast? That is a great sign of I'm starting to gain traction with my show. Plus another sign that you are reaching some traction, you're three months in and you publish once a week and guess what? You've just beaten the scary 10-episode limit. You're no longer part of that terrible statistic and you did that in less than three months. That is a realistic element to show traction within your show. 3500 monthly downloads, that sounds like a lot for a brand new show but if you really do the math here, and I'm gonna fail my math in front of everyone. I believe that's somewhere around if you have 12 episodes that's like 300 downloads per episode on average. We can fact check that later if we need a calculator. And also your first $1000. Making money off your show is an incredible fact of showing traction and that doesn't have to be an advertiser. That can be Patreon. That can be the fact that you went to an event and you sold $500 worth of T-shirts for your show. Any money that you are generating on that show is proof of I've got something here. And it might be dollars or even pennies at that point but it's important enough that people care about it.
With all of the many platforms, tools, and resources available to help you publish and distribute your first podcast, it’s hard to know which to choose. It’s important to make an informed decision about the services you use so you can be confident that you’re putting your best foot forward as a new podcaster.
Founder of Virb and CEO of Simplecast Brad Smith will take you step-by-step through the process of learning about and choosing the right technology to power your podcast and the best practices you should keep in mind when deciding on which platform is right for you. By the end of this course, you’ll have a full understanding of podcast distribution, measurement, and the various creator tools available.
In this class, you’ll learn how to:
- Get the most out of your hosting platform.
- Distribute your podcast to every major listening app.
- Develop workflows that streamline your process.
- Measure and analyze the success and health of your podcast.
- Grow your audience with essential creator tools.
- Evaluate when is the right time to pursue podcast monetization.