How to Launch your Podcast Successfully
Let's talk about how to launch your podcast successfully. So, if you've got the workbook, on page 13, I walk you through all of this that you're gonna think through for your launch. And the first thing that we kind of hit on earlier is if you don't have an email list, start one now. Just start an email list now. Like I mentioned, there's that Abby Gosenburg class about how to use an email list for your handmade business, it's super helpful. If you don't have an email list, you wanna start one now because what you want, is a list of people who are interested in hearing about your new podcast. This is gonna be great for your business, whatever your business is. And it's also gonna get you your first listeners and if your podcast launches to some immediate listeners, it's gonna be more commonly recommended on iTunes. You're just gonna have more listeners. You're gonna be recommended more often. So you're gonna be found by totally new people. So, kind of how to think about it is you're gon...
na launch your podcast to the people you have, who are most interested in what you do, and if they all jump in, in the first week or two, iTunes is gonna share it with more people. So you know, we've talked all through the day, how that you can use iTunes to get found by totally new people. Part of that is you first have to have the listeners to begin with. So whether you just have Facebook friends, whether you've been doing your business for awhile and you have a list of customers, or you have Instagram followers. If you don't have some place where they're collected and you can email them, start an email list, and invite them to join it. Tell them, "Hey, I'm starting up a podcast about X, Y, Z. "Sign up here to be the first to find about it." People love to be the first to find out about anything, so tell them, they're gonna be the first to find out about your podcast. And those will be the people who are most excited to listen in. So, you will also announce your podcast in all the places, which we'll talk about, but having that email list, we'll make sure you've got your very first listeners. So, if you already have an email list, then I want you to tell that email list, "Hey, I'm about to start a podcast. "What would you like me to talk about? "And get ready, it's gonna launch on this day. "So please, like, be ready, be excited. "When it launches, I'm gonna ask you to leave a review "and go listen, I'm super excited." Start talking about it in your emails leading up to it to get people really ready to listen. It's gonna have a much better launch, then it's gonna get found by more people. So, start talking about it now. Also by talking about it, you're kind of committing yourself into a corner, where then you have to deliver on it. So I say, right now, tell people your podcast is gonna come out in a week or two. And then you'll have to do it in a week or two, okay.
You know I have a question.
So you would not actually hit submit on your blog post with your first episode, yet?
Exactly and that's gonna be the next point.
(laughs) So that's perfect. So what I want you to do is record and upload at least three episodes before you submit it to iTunes. So you will, in fact, hit publish on that post. So what I would do, in your case, is get that website started, put your first episode, put your second episode, put your third episode, either post them or get them scheduled to all go the same day. Then, once they publish, you take the feed and you put it on iTunes. The kind of bummer is that you have to have them published before you put it on iTunes. So go on and publish them. What I did, is I published my first three or four episodes on like a Wednesday and then on the Thursday, I got the feed and I submit it to the iTunes and then it was like approved on a Friday. It's gonna even go better if you can do that like a, you know, upload your first episodes on Monday or Tuesday, submit it on Wednesday, and then do a launch on Thursday. You don't wanna launch over the weekend. Not as many people are reading their emails or paying attention. Yeah
But people are gonna know that the content is on your blog or on this new space anyways, this new hob.
So it doesn't necessarily matter that you haven't told them that it's launched. Even though it is there.
That's right. That's right.
And so, what I did when I started 'Eccentral Enthusiasm' is I actually did my first post on that new site that I build on Squarespace said, "This podcast is coming, "this is what we'll talk about. "Sign up here to be the first to find out" and it's just an email sign up form. And then my next post was episode one and episode two. Then I launched it on iTunes, then I emailed those people, "It's now live". And I sent them to my website to go listen and to iTunes to leave a review. So, one of the reasons you're gonna wanna record and upload three episodes, is because iTunes, just like we had talked about in the YouTube class, iTunes favors podcasts that get more listens and we think they don't tell us what they actually do to determine what is a popular podcast. But if you have three episodes that are 20 minutes each, that means your podcast got 60 minutes of listens, right? If somebody listened to all three. If you just have one episode up, then it just got 20 minutes of listening. So, by having more episodes, you're giving people more to listen to and you're also getting more downloads. So someone might subscribe because they're your fan, or your friend, or they're really into your podcast and if you only have one episode, that's just one download. If you have three queued up and waiting, and they subscribe, that's three downloads. So it is a signal to iTunes, "This is a popular podcast, "they just had three episodes downloaded". I mean, really, you need to have that multiplied by like a hundred, but that just gives it more downloads right away. And most people find that they don't become totally hooked on a show until they've listened to two or three. So by having those three episodes there, you can get people a much better vibe for what your show is. And if the thought of recording three episodes like this week is overwhelming, what you can do is record one a week, every week, and then launch it on the fourth week. That would be fine too, I would allow it. You don't have to launch it all in one week, but it'll also get you in the habit of doing it weekly. So that when it starts, you're like, "Oh, I've already got this. "I handle on it, I know all the steps to it". And this is gonna help your launch go better because like I said, iTunes is gonna see your podcast is popular and it's also gonna give people the chance to get hooked. And I don't know about you, but if I see a new podcast and there's only one episode, I don't click subscribe, I just listen to it. But if there's a couple, then I'll be like, "Oh yeah, "it comes out each week, I'm gonna subscribe to it".
Can I ask a kind of question that might just apply to, I don't know. Do you know if there's any stats on, for me I like to, I almost like binge listen to things more than, okay once a week I'm gonna listen to one until I get caught up. But if it's something new that I've just discovered, I like to binge a few episodes. So I see, definitely the motive behind putting up more than one when you get started, but do you know, like, is that what you guys do when you watch? Do you usually binge or is it just a "me" thing?
I will sometimes put off a show for a while, and then binge on it if it's, if I'm not in the mood. 'Cuz I listen to business podcasts, and culture podcasts, and then like some storytelling ones, and you know, I'm not always in the mood to deal with the business-y thinking, so I will often save those and then binge on like an airplane ride. I'll get like all these great business ideas. So yeah. And people tell me, "I've just been listening "to your last 20 episodes". I'm like, "Whoa, that's a lot of Tara". So, that's what I hear from them. At least the people who email me have just listened to tons in a row.
I was just curious.
(laughs) Do you binge?
I tend to, like you, I save up for, there might be a particular, like whether its a commute. So, or, you have like you're traveling somewhere or you're just at home, you know, for the afternoon, then you can kind of get it--
Put the audio on and yeah, get lost in it.
Yeah, I don't know how you listen with all the kids 'cuz I'm often like, "Jay, can we not talk so I can just "listen to podcasts I've been saving up".
I ignore them.
You ignore them, of course. You're just like, "Shh, mom's got a podcast on, hush up". So, record a couple so that people can binge. I mean you can do three to five before you launch, but what I find is that the longer people put it off, then they just fall off. If you don't get some early feedback, it can be hard to keep going. So speaking of early feedback, you're gonna ask for early reviews from specific people. Because, like we talked about, getting your reviews on iTunes leads iTunes to think your podcast is popular and recommend it to more people. And I'll tell you, you can ask people all you want on your show, you can send it to your email list and just say, "Hey, it'd be great if you send a review", but the best way to get a review is send a specific request. "Liz, would you mind reviewing my podcast", "Laura, could you go review my podcast". And, say it a little better than that, you can say something like, "Hey, so I'm about to launch "a new podcast and you're my friend. "I know you've been reviewing my stuff for awhile. "Would you mind to go into iTunes after you have a listen "and just say a couple sentences about it". Most people are like, "Oh my goodness, yes" and I even said, when I started mine, "I'm only asking a couple people this "'cuz I feel kinda shy about it. "Do you mind listening and leaving a review". And they were all like, "Absolutely, I will". And also, I actually got, like some feedback. They're like, "Oh yeah that sound good" or "No, you sound like you're in a hostage situation. "You should really like relax "or go some place a little quieter". So, getting those reviews from those specific people, you're not asking them to write something if they haven't listened to the show. You're asking them to go in, download the show, listen, and then leave a review and actually write words. So on iTunes you can just leave stars, but it's much better if it has actual words because those like count more and it shows that they're more into your show, so much so that they left a review. So in your workbook, actually, I have a list of ten. I want you to fill out ten ideas of people that will leave you reviews, ten people you can ask. So it might be friends, business partners, employees, even though you can't pay them to leave a review, or you can ask them if they'd mind listening, and anybody who you think will be interested in the content you're doing. Send them a specific email or direct message, and ask them to review it. Give them the direct link. It's really gonna help your launch. It's gonna help your podcast reach more people. Yeah?
Incentive to it like if you do this, if it was like to a broader audience like on Instagram let's say, or something, and you said, "If you listen to my first few podcasts and leave a review, "I will, you know, give you this resource page".
Yeah, I... So what I would do is not reward every review, but something like a contest. Oh, and what a lot of people do is they will either feature, like a featured review of the week. You leave a review and I'll quote you on my podcast. And then, its also the social proof, you're like reading the review on your podcast and more people are hearing it. But you can also do something like, I did this around my birthday or hundredth episode, for everybody who leaves a review in the next week, I'm gonna draw one name and you're gonna win a book.
So when you incentive-ise every review, that feels a little bit like paying for reviews.
Yeah, I see what you're saying.
I think Amazon might have more specific rules about it. I don't think iTunes does, but that's what I would do. Just incentive-ise like a contest.
Yeah, I like that idea. I was just curious.
Yeah, it's also saving you on Hoove. Everybody's getting it. So you're gonna ask for early reviews from specific people. Those reviews will help iTunes send it to more people. What's really great is if those people already have an iTunes account and are subscribing to podcasts. Apple's gonna be like, "Oh, well they listen to this podcast "and this podcast and now yours". So you're just creating those connections, so you can show up more recommended. And then the other thing is just when to tell everyone. On launch week, everyone in all of the places, all of the time. So, what I want you to remember is that the people who are following you in all of the places, they want to hear from you. They want to hear what you're doing, they want to know what you're up to, they are interested in hearing from you. So don't be shy about telling them what you're working on and what your new project is and about your podcast. 'Cuz you created this podcast to serve your customers, so your customers are gonna wanna hear about it. So, you're gonna send an email to the people who specifically said, "I wanna hear about your new podcast". You're gonna send an email to your, if you just already have a big email list or, when I say big I mean general, it doesn't have to be big with a lot of people on it. You're gonna post on Instagram, and if you do Instagram stories, do a story, "Ahh my podcast is live, wee". You're also going to post it on Facebook, your Facebook pages, your Facebook stories. What am I forgetting? Snapchat. You can post on Snapchat.
Pinterest. You can pin the images from, that you've put in your thing, you pin them on your own pin board. This actually brings up a good point. I have a pin board called 'Explore Your Enthusiasm podcast'. When I remember, I pin all my podcast episodes to that pin board and people click through from it. So, it's working. Everyone, everyone tell them. If someone asks you,"Hey, what's going on", "Hey, I started a podcast. "You should go here and subscribe to it right now". (laughs) But what happens is that people are like, "Well, I don't know if it's very good, so I'm not gonna tell anybody" and they loose that starting momentum. And that's fine in your own business, but that starting momentum really matters on iTunes and it really matters for the health of your podcast, and how many more people are gonna find it. And, once you know you have people listening and downloading and leaving reviews, you're more likely to stick with it. So like commit and go all in.
We'd had a few questions actually asking along the lines of, do we have podcast listeners in a separate group on an email list. But I mean, you just touched on it there, really you want everybody to know.
I want everybody to know. If people wanna get weekly updates of your podcast, and they've signed up to get something else from you, so like, if you are a yarn shop and you send announcements of only the new yarns. Well, if you're a yarn shop they probably wanna hear your podcasts as well, so I would just include that in the weekly email. If you're gonna send a announcement just about each new podcast episode and people didn't sign up for that, you might make it a different list. But what I would do, if you did make a subgroup of people who really wanna hear the podcast, I'd send them more messages, "Hey, we're live", "Hey, the episode four is up", "Hey, would you leave a review" because they specifically are interested in the podcast. Whenever I create a subgroup on my email list, it's so that I, those are people I know wanna hear even more than what I just send to everybody. So like, I did a sub-list of people who were interested in me coming to San Francisco 'cuz I lived in the area, so I sent them way more messages than I sent my general list. The same thing is true for my podcast. You're gonna just hear way more about it if you said you're interested in it.
What if you're shy about like letting your, like immediate family know that you're doing something kind of like really out there. Not out there, but you know what I mean, like just something that's like maybe even a little out of character, like they know you do this craft or this thing and now you're wanting to take it a step further. Like, that's kind of, it's really intimidating and a little bit out of like a comfort zone for a lot of people maybe and maybe you don't want those people to know right away.
Well so, if those people aren't the audience, then don't tell them. When I say tell everyone, I mean everyone in your business world who would like to... Assume that everyone in your business world would like to know. But when it comes to direct family, like, I don't send my dad announcements about my stuff. I mean he's a former marine, I don't think he's interested in listening about you know, craft business. But, so yeah, I mean, I don't... I don't think anybody in my even real life knew I had a podcast for like a year and now, when they tell me they listen like when you said you listen I was like, "Oh my gosh". So, yeah, but tell... So when I said say it on Facebook, for a lot of people that's your family. If that's the only, if you haven't built your business yet and that's entirely who you're talking to, well you've gotta tell someone, right. If you're ever gonna have a business, you have to tell somebody what you're doing. But you definitely don't have to call up your mom and be like, "Mom, I started a podcast today". So, I really recommend that you talk to the people who you're serving. So like, you mention you had a niece who's a jeweler.
So I would send her a message.
Right? My mom actually loves to do crafts and art and would like to sell it online, so I loop her in. But, you just wanna think about who is this here to serve and if it's not gonna serve this person, do I really want their feedback. Because like, I don't need to hear what my dad thinks about my podcast. He's really proud of me, but if he was gonna be negative about it, I don't need to talk to him about it. So it's really important is that you kinda protect yourself in a sense of protecting your like confidence and your ability to do it by not sharing it with people who'll be negative.
Yeah, of course. That's really common too. That people are like nervous. So on the, at the end of the page 13, I asked where you will announce the launch of your podcast, write all of the places where you have an audience already and audiences related to your business and is related to your podcast. Write it all out because you will for sure forget one. So when I launch my most recent podcast, I had a big list because what would happen is, I would wake up in the middle of the night and be like, "I didn't think to tell Instagram, how didn't I tell Instagram". So like, go and write down all of the places so that you remember to tell them. And then I also ask if you need any graphics or images or copy. Those people who you ask for your first reviews, you can also follow up and be like, "Hey, would you mind sharing this on social media". I think I asked you because I knew your audience would be interested in my new podcast. "Hey, would you mind posting this on your Facebook group", you're like, "Yeah, sure". But if I had an image or I had a specific description, that's just gonna make it easier for you. So, if you really want to go super pro on your launch, take your image that you've made for iTunes, your description that you've written, and send it to the people who might have an audience that would be interested in it. I get a couple emails every month that say I'm launching a new podcast about this and this, would you like to share it with your audience. A lot of times it has nothing to do with anything. They're like a financial advisor and I'm like, "No". But sometimes I'm like, "Oh, my audience would love that. "I'll listen and if I like it I'll absolutely recommend it". So I don't recommend doing that with total strangers, but you can do that with the people who you've interviewed on your show, you can do it with your business partners, you can do it with anybody else who's gonna like want to share this with their audience. And especially those early reviewers.