I’ve got a podcast!
You’ve spent months preparing for your podcast launch. Your topic is great, you’ve recorded some really great episodes.
Podcast name, check.
Music and cover art, check.
Social media accounts created, check.
You (and maybe a co-host(s)) are excited about your brand new podcast. It’s time to launch, you’re excited or maybe nervous about pushing that proverbial button to launch the podcast. You finally convince yourself that it’s now or never and release your first episode. Then it’s off to social media to tell everyone about it. You get some likes and congratulatory comments, promises that they’ll check it out. You’re excited because people are responding to your announcement. Now, you head over to your podcast host to check out the stats and well…it’s not a lot but you say it’s only the first day it will pick up. So a week goes by and you check again and there’s some more, but you expected more downloads. You feel disappointed, but you rationalize that you just need to promote your podcast more on social media and when the second, third episode drops your downloads will be better.
Reality sets in and it’s not what you imagined where hundreds, no thousands of listeners are tuning into your podcast.
Unfortunately this approach doesn’t work when you’re competing with millions of other podcasts and even more millions of content creators or the many ways your audience is already being educated, entertained or informed.
You don’t want to be one of those podcasters who spends a lot of time and energy on creating a podcast, but gives up on podcasting because they couldn’t engage or grow their listeners because there was no audience built beforehand.
The best way to ensure that your podcast is off to a great start is by starting with an audience in mind and engaging with them before you launch. While you can launch a new podcast in a month or less, building your audience takes a little more time and it’s going to take some effort. A few examples of connecting with your audience before launching your podcast is by joining other online communities whether on Linkedin, Facebook or other social media platforms. Another option that I’ve used is through creating a blog.
There’s no way around doing the work and it’s not going to be a quick approach either. You either do the work upfront to develop and launch the audience to learn if the audience is defined and where they can be reached. By finding them and connecting with them first you learn if you are on the right path with your show and topic or if you need to refine or pivot.
Conversely, you can do the work of developing your audience after you’ve launched. If this is the path you choose then understand that there will be more work involved in growing your listener base because it takes even longer for people to find out about your podcast because most people will not find your show randomly in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher or many other platforms people listen to podcasts.
In addition, if you’ve not done the work before launching then there is a risk that you are missing out on an important component of podcasting: building and participating in community.
Podcasting offers opportunities to connect with others who share similar interests as yours. When people are connected to a show they will want to tell their friends because word of mouth is still the #1 way people share podcasts.
Listener growth and engagement are 2 of the top 3 questions that podcasters ask about. The other question is around monetization.
So before you launch your podcast, take the time to develop an audience. This is a critical step. Start a blog, use blogging platforms or participate in forums and discussion boards related to your topic. There are many ways to grow an audience, but it takes time and effort. You really have to be committed to the process.
When you’re ready to launch your podcast, you’ll have a built-in audience waiting to hear your show. Makes sense, right?
Developing an audience is important for two reasons: first, because it’s the best way to ensure that your podcast is successful; and second, because it’s a great way to connect. Human beings thrive on connection and your audience is no different. It is through developing meaningful connections that you will be able to understand your audience and deliver content that resonates with them on several levels. Consistently building your audience may very well be one of the best investments you make as you establish your podcast and brand. So go ahead, put in the ground work to lay a strong foundation for your podcast!