How to Launch a Successful Podcast
Launching a new podcast is very exciting! But launching a successful podcast can be tricky if you don’t have your eye on every step. We’re going to run you through the key stages of how to launch a podcast from start to finish.
How to Launch a Successful Podcast
1. Think about your podcast topic
Choosing a topic or a theme is one of the most important choices you will make before lauching a podcast. Whatever you choose will be your life and soul for the duration of the podcast, which means you’ll need to strike a balance between personal interest and long-term audience goals. A successful podcast is a long-term commitment, and you need to make sure that you can stick it out!
Picking something that you’re not interested in will bore you very quickly and choosing something that nobody’s interested in will land you with no listeners. It’s a fine balance, and one you need to think about before anything else.
Furthermore, are you giving people a reason to subscribe and listen to you again? Ask yourself a few key questions:
- Am I offering valuable information?
- Am I being helpful or solving any problems?
- Am I being relatable?
You don’t need to tick all of them, but questions such as these will help you pick a topic that will be beneficial in the long run.
This is a very important step in the ‘how to launch a podcast’ breakdown. So pick wisely, or you’ll be back here again in a few weeks!
2. Plan out the long term
Running a podcast is a long-term commitment and future planning is key. If you want to launch a successful podcast, make sure your idea will last more than a few episodes and is future proof for as long as you intend the podcast to run.
Create a content calendar with all your episodes mapped out. Creating a calendar from the outset will allow you to focus on every episode without worrying about the long term and will keep you to a schedule. It will also give your listeners a timetable to follow and will help them get into the rhythm of listening and anticipating your next episode.
3. Script your podcast episodes
Before recording your podcast, write a brief script. You don’t need to write it sentence by sentence, but make sure you note the points or questions you want to cover.
This will give your podcast a structure that the audience can easily follow, as well as serve as a guide during the recording – so you won’t have to do it over and over again!
For more information on scripting, here’s a related article: How to Create a Great Podcast Episode
Complete Guide: How to Create a Podcast
4. Get the right podcasting equipment
Recording a podcast using your smartphone microphone is not a good idea. It’s free, but your audio may suffer. You can buy a good quality microphone or headset for under £100.
(See our Top 10 Recommended Microphones article for tips)
Getting this out from the outset will help you with your first impression on the listener, that you’re taking this seriously. They won’t necessarily notice that your audio is good, but they will notice if it’s not great!
(We’ve also complied a list of 10 Things You Need Before Starting a Podcast)
5. Work on the podcast quality
The quality of the podcasts available today has raised the standard expected by listeners. Even if you don’t have any knowledge in the field, it is possible to improve the quality by:
- Finding a quiet place to record
- Using music
- Working on your voice, articulation and flow
- Improving your editing skills (e.g. suing Audacity, Reaper)
- Choosing your equipment (microphone, recorder, headphones, mixing desk) with care.
In addition to the sound quality, you can always work on improving your content.
- Listen and review every episode
- Get good at speaking freely with minimal notes
- Review your structure and approach
- Plan the themes discussed over several months
- Grow a network to be able to access the right people or information
- Improve your marketing and audience engagement
The above will help you improve episode by episode.
6. Choose a good podcast hosting provider
Once your first episodes have been recorded and edited, then comes the hosting stage. Your episodes need to be hosted in order to create an RSS feed that can then be downloaded on aggregator platforms such as iTunes, Snitcher or Sound cloud.
(See some other suggestions here in our Top 5 Podcast Hosting Sites article)
It’s a good idea to choose one of the more popular platforms, not only for the volume of people using those platforms, but because new audiences will be more likely to click on a familiar sounding link if you’re sharing on your own marketing materials.
Depending on the chosen host, you can also analyze your feeds and see how many are listening. So choosing one with a range of data analyzing abilities will help you.
Top 5 Hosting Sites
7. Take care of the details
As you’re uploading your episode, elements such as your name, keywords and description need to be confirmed. This step is important, as this is the information the platform uses to choose who sees your content and who the platform to guides to your content through search results.
The title itself can be used as a marketing tool as intriguing or humorous titles can attract clicks. A detailed description is key to entice a listener into listening to your podcast after clicking. Lastly, your keywords will be used to match search results to your content when they are relevant. So, make sure you don’t leave that section blank or you’ll be receiving far less traffic!
In addition, the podcast’s cover will also be a key element of your success. It not only makes your podcast look good, but some platforms only promote podcasts that has a cover.
8. Prepare before the podcast launch
Launching a podcast is always tricky, especially if you don’t have an audience yet! It might be a great idea to:
- Start your marketing campaign well before your launch
- Create a website with information, and even teaser material (such as a video, images etc)
- Start growing your social media following
- Send out a newsletter, if you have any email lists
- Reach out to other podcasters asking for shout outs (usually, in return for a shout out)
- Have a few episodes (at least 3) recorded beforehand so that you can concentrate on the marketing elements after launching, and not thinking about recording the next episode
Preparing for the launch will make things so much easier when you actually go live, and will allow you to concentrate on all those little things!
9. Promote your podcast
To make your podcast a success, promote it as much as possible. Distribute it on your social networks (a few tips for beginners here) or write a blog article to present it as well as anything else at your disposal.
Also, if your confident, consider promoting it via Social Media Ads and a Google AdWords campaign.
If possible, add it also on more platforms where podcasts are regularly downloaded: iTunes, Sound Cloud, Google Play Music, Spotify or Deezer. The further you spread your content, the more listeners you attract overall.
Best Types of Content for Every Social Platform
10. Broaden your audience and grow, grow, grow
The success of a podcast depends in part on the comments and opinions left by its listeners on the iTunes, Sound Cloud and Snitcher platforms. Indeed, a well rated podcast with a lot of comments is more likely to be highlighted by the platforms and to appear in similar podcast suggestions.
Several techniques can be used to get these valuable opinions:
- Make a call to action at the beginning and/or end of each episode by asking your listeners to comment and rate your podcast (e.g. to share it on social networks)
- Promise a reward to the author of a randomly selected comment.
- Quote the comments and thank their authors in the next episode.
- Commit to addressing a topic requested by your listeners in the comments
- Contact other podcast producers related to your niche and ask for a mention: many listeners discover a podcast through others.
- Upload episodes on YouTube
Some episodes will be listened to and shared more than others. In order to identify the winning recipe, it is important to analyze the reasons for this success and the relative failure of other episodes. Is it a question of title, description, guests, content? What’s making that content tick?
Publishing a survey on the podcast on your site or newsletter can also allow you to get interesting feedback.
We hope that’s helped you to understand how to launch a podcast.