You want to launch a podcast, and in the past, I've talked about how there are 27 steps to launch a podcast (you might want to read that first). Today I want to cover this episode from a new angle and address some of the mistakes I am seeing on episode 636 of the School of Podcasting. If you missed the previous list it was
Step 1: Pick Your Topic
Step 2: Decide if you're podcasting solo or with cohost(s).
Step 3: Pick how you will podcast.
Step 4: Pick where will you podcast?
Step 5: Pick a name.
Step 6. Buy the Hardware
Step 7. Buy Software
Step 8 is purchasing web hosting
Step 9 is installing WordPress
Step 10 is to get your WordPress installation ready to podcast
Step 11 is making your website look good.
12. Domain Name
14. Intro Music. (optional)
15. Media Hosting (for your mp3 files)
16. Organize Your Content
17. Record Your Content
18. Edit Your Content
19. Assemble Your Episode
20. Add ID3 Tags
21. Upload your media
22. Write Your Show Notes
23. Copy the Media URL and Paste It Into Your Post (optional)
24. Click Publish
25. Set Up Tags for iTunes
26> Make Sure your Feed is Valid
27. Submit Your Podcast to Apple Podcasts
What is the Goal of Your Podcast?
You need to know this. How will know if it's successful? Is it a certain number of downloads? Is it a certain number of sales? Is it to position you as an expert?
Does Your Podcast Move You Toward Your Goal?
So if the goal of your show is to help build an email list, did you remember to tell people about your list. If it's to build your consulting clients, did you mention you are available for consulting?
Has Someone Who Is Your Target Audience Given You Honest Feedback?
Have You Checked to See If You Are Unique?
There are at least five shows named “outside the box”, and six shows named, “The Feed.” If you name your show identical to another show, not only may you be opening the door to legal action, but these people have a head start and you will have a hard time ranking for that phrase.
What you NEED to Launch a Podcast
- Artwork: The artwork is SQUARE with a minimum dimension of 1400X1400 and a maximum dimension of 3000X3000. The FILE SIZE needs to be less than 500 kb. Failure to meet these specifications can get you rejected, and cause your show not to update, and in some cases get removed from Apple.
- A Valid RSS feed. That feed will have a description of your show. Along with the author/hosts(s) of the show, categories, and an email address. This is typically entered into your media host (more on that later) or whatever tool you are using to create an RSS feed
- A media host. I was a Libsyn customer for 10 years before being a customer, but I feel Libsyn.com is the best. For other thoughts on podcast media hosting see this post A quick note: Stay away from Anchor or any other free media hosts. I've seen multiple attempts at free media hosting over the years and it always ends badly
- One published episode. You can't upload a bunch of episodes as drafts, submit your show to Apple and other directories, and the flip a switch. While many people will tell you to launch with 3, 4, 10, 30 episodes, I'm here to tell you that you can launch with as many as you want (please note they DO NOT automatically download when someone subscribes, your audience needs to manually download them) but you only NEED one.
The Podcast Launch Schedule
I see so many people picking a launch date and then trying to fit their podcast into it. This is like picking a time for Thanksgiving dinner and you've never cooked a turkey before. You need to have a knowledge of how long it takes to cook the bird, and likewise, you wouldn't call everyone to the table if the meal wasn't done. They would all come running to the table and ask, “Hey, where's the food?”
I spent last week with Rob Walch the VP of Podcaster Relations at Libsyn.com (the oldest, largest podcast media hosting company – get a free month using the coupon code sopfree ) and he recommended to start submitting your show to directories ONE MONTH in advance and I agree and here is why:
- While it may take 3-5 days to be listed in Apple, in some cases it takes a few extra days for the artwork to show up (after you've been approved) and in some cases even more, time before you are shown in the results of a search
- You want to have your show listed in as many apps as possible. Right now I recommend Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Podcasts, and if it's still alive Google Play Music. As I write this in September of 2018, Google Play Music is on a respirator and I would worry about it last. The reason for this is people get comfortable with their apps and devices. I use Overcast on my iPhone. If someone wants me to listen to their podcast and it's only available in Stitcher, there is a very strong chance I will never hear their episode. It costs nothing but a few minutes to submit your show to these places. I've got tutorials on how to do all of this at the School of Podcasting
Once Your Ready Pick Your Date
Once you are listed in the directories, then you can pick your date and start building the buzz (OK, you can start building the buzz when you submit to the directories). A musician is not going to plan a CD release party (remember those), or an author won't setup a book reading and autograph session until they have their products in their hand. With this in mind, I strongly suggest you do NOT pick your date until you are listed in all the directories.
Teach Your Audience How To Subscribe
Don't just tell your audience, “I'm in Apple podcasts.” SHOW THEM how to subscribe. You can take screenshots on your phone (on an iPhone hold down the button on the right side of the phone and press the home button). If you have an android phone just press the Volume Down and Power buttons at the same time, hold them for a second, and your phone will take a screenshot. You want to guide your audience into being subscribers. This is the difference between a clerk at Home Depot answer the question “Where are the plastic tarps?” by saying “Isle 8” or taking me to aisle 8 and putting one in my hand. In that scenario, the clerk knows I'm walking out of the store with a plastic tarp. You want your audience walking out with a subscription. If you want you can use a video I made that explains how to subscribe to a podcast in Apple podcasts at www.learntosubscribe.com
One thing I should mention here, while I'm assuming you have episode(s) recorded is I also assume you have a domain name. Do you have your own website? That's up to you ( I recommend it) but at least have a domain name so your website is
Did You Know Siri Can Help You Subscribe to podcasts?
Get on Facebook live and ask Siri on your iPhone to subscribe to your podcast. Most of the time she gets it right.
Get Your Social Media Ready To Go
Make sure you have your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc ready to go with graphics, etc. There is a tool called thunderclap.it which enabled you to work with your friends so you can post a tweet on their account and so your message goes out to a huge group of people at the same time. As I write this thunderclap.it is having issues with their website (and may have gone out of business). With this in mind, supply your group of friends with a pre-written tweet that they can retweet, etc.
Get Your Attitude in Check
If you want your podcast to be a business eventually, then you better write a business plan on how you're going to be different, better, and more successful than your competition. I will say that it takes YEARS to generate a sizeable income. In the book “beyond powerful radio” by Valerie Geller she points out that it takes three years to build an audience on radio. Wil Schroter is the Founder + CEO @ Startups.co say that it takes at least 4 years just to get pointed toward a real business. According to a post on Quora.com Amazon started in July 1994. They reported their first profit in Jan. 2004 for the last quarter of 2003.
With this in mind, get ready for the long haul. This is not a sprint. It is a marathon.
How Many Downloads Should My Podcast Get?
I have said the equation for downloads is
Total Value in the Episode
The total amount of intelligent promotion
= Total Number of Downloads
Also, keep in mind, it's not all downloads. You can see so many benefits of podcasting. I spotlight them in this podcast as a “Because of My Podcast” segment
Make sure your show is good. Get your target audience to give you feedback
You only need one episode to launch, but many people launch with three.
Use the right tools, and make sure you are following image guidelines.
Don't start promoting your show until you are listed in the top directories
Get everyone to SUBSCRIBE to your show when it launches
Realize it will take time to grow your audience
Common Podcast Launch Mistakes
Using the wrong tool for the job. Podcaster who host their media on a web host (instead of a media host), free media hosts, companies that minor in podcast (Squarespace, Soundcloud)
Only promoting Apple. In May 2018, 54.4 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers were using a Google Android device. Apple was the second most popular smartphone operating system with a 44.3 percent market share. source
Picking a launch date a few days from today (and not knowing the time frame it takes)
Horrible titles of episodes ( putting the name of the show in the title along with the episode number)
Overthinking everything and Underthinking the process
Not checking to see if the podcast name is already in place.
Not knowing how to use their equipment (bad mic technique, and bad microphones like the Blue Yeti, Blue Snowball, that are not bad, but you need to know how to use them)
Thinking a “Big launch” equals a big success. This is like saying a big wedding will lead to a happy marriage.
Worrying about Apple charts, and new and noteworthy. Focus on your audience, and make it easier to interact with you instead. The charts do not deliver much of a boost, and their validity is under suspicion at the moment.
Rating and Reviews are nice to have, but SUBSCRIBERS are the better thing to cultivate (which is why you want to lead them)
People are spamming their name. So if I had “School of Podcasting” |make money podcasting, Pat Flynn, John Lee Dumas that would be spam. Apple hasn't given any
Mentioned on this show
Idea for International Podcast Day (9/30) See Video
Want Some Help Launching Your Podcast?
I would love to sit down with you and help you plan your launch strategy. Go to www.schoolofpodcasting.com/schedule to schedule some one on one time, or Join the School of Podcasting