The Key to a Successful Podcast Launch

Oh. I used the L word. Launch….if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, I guess. 

If you’re reading this it’s because you’re curious. You’re wondering how to launch a podcast or maybe why you should even bother. 

Here’s the next reality. You’ve probably read a bunch of other articles about ‘launching’ a podcast that tell you to do some combination of these tactics to get your show up and running: 

  • Get your name and feed approved by Apple Podcasts (because if and when this happens, all the other feeds will pick you up)
  • Get your graphics all set to go and in the right ratios of 1400×1400
  • Make sure you have a way to edit your podcast (free, open source audio editing like Audacity is great. I like to use Camtasia. Descript is another amazing option for a beginner). 
  • Have your launch date set and promote it with teasers or trailers
  • Have your first 3-4 episodes ‘in the can’ and ready before you launch

So I guess I can end this blog post now, huh? 

No. I can’t. 

Because those above tactics are a fabulous and necessary to-do list, but they are not what will make you feel good about your show or be able to carry it on beyond the first season. 

The one key to a successful podcast launch

(If you are new here, I’m Erin Trafford. A radio and television veteran and a podcaster since 2006. I’ve had three successful niche podcasts and produced shows for dozens of other thought leaders). 

Okay credibility established. Let’s get to it. 

What will make your podcast a success? The difference between a boring show and a must-listen show? 

It’s your presence and your ability to engage with an audience that you can’t see. 

And yes, that sounds as cool as it is and it’s as challenging as it sounds. 

It has very little, if anything, to do with how pretty your graphics are.

Essentially, you need to be so committed to and in love with your podcast content that your enthusiasm and charisma jumps out of you, through the microphone and into the ears of your listener – every time you turn on your mic.

You need to learn to tell stories that resonate. 

Most podcasters lose their mojo somewhere between episodes 5 and 10. And stats show that most podcasters bail on their show within the first dozen or so episodes. 

It’s not because they didn’t have graphics or a feed or even ideas. 

It’s because they didn’t have the ability to keep their energy.

This is where a good producer steps in. 

I mean, no good talk show host exists without a producer. Think about Kelly Ripa and Michael Gelman. Even Oprah has a producer!

And here’s the next amazing thing – when you are able to keep your energy high and your audience engaged through content that is provocative and resonant – magical things happen. Okay, not magical – money-full? 

Because if you are planning to launch a podcast as a form of branded content to grow your business (and I’m assuming you are), then you have some sort of financial or revenue based objective – even if it’s tangential. 

You want your podcast to drive conversions. 

And do you know what turns listeners into buyers? Keeping them engaged and in a State of Love and Trust with you. 

(And you can’t do that just with a graphic and a to-do list and a few episodes in the can). 

Let’s back up. Do you want to know the two times in my entrepreneurial journey when my business was so lit that I had to hire and increase my prices and swap my offers to accommodate growth? 

When I was podcasting and blogging regularly. 

Point blank. This shit works. 

But it comes back to being engaging. And audio is the absolute BEST way to do that. 

Research proves it. Podcast listeners are more apt to make a purchase after they heard about a brand on a podcast. 

They are even more likely to pay for exclusive content from you via a podcast. They are more apt to do both of these things because with the right energy and direction, a podcast is one of the fastest routes to developing trust with an audience.

But so many entrepreneurs fall flat because they think if they check all the boxes in that to-do list at the top of this post, their show will be successful… 

And that’s just not true. 

So here are some additional things to consider if and when you go to create a podcast for your brand or business. 

  1. Do you want to have an interview style show? 

Most podcasts are this way. But consider that this will put you in the back seat. The spotlight and ‘conversation swirl’ will be around your guest. Not necessarily the best marketing tactic if you plan to use your podcast to grow your own business. Great if you are a seasoned entrepreneur with an established lead generation funnel and you want to do it as a values-based project. But consider what it would mean to have to interview a new person weekly. 

The coordination alone, let alone developing the skills as an interviewer are what often lead podcasters to give up before too long. (Why? Because it’s an energy suck!)

  1. Are you confident that you can carry the show on your own? 

If you can’t coherently fill time by yourself for 16 minutes, then you might want to reconsider your podcast strategy. I always recommend my clients learn to hold space on their own. (See point 1). Because if you’re doing this to build your brand and make connections with your audience – you need to be ready to be the voice in their ear ALONE. 

  1. Consider your time frame and time commitment. 

Podcasts are INCREDIBLE for conversions. (Have I said that enough yet?) We are seeing a mass genesis of pop-up podcasts before launches of memberships and masterminds simply because they are so good at warming up potential leads. 

A pop-up podcast is a closed, limited series of about 8 episodes that is strategically released to coincide with another event in your business. It’s typically niche focused and is used to drive heat into the launch.

But, if you aren’t doing a pop-up show, and instead a regular podcast, you’ll want to look at it as a longer game. You will probably need to be consistently producing episodes for 8-10 weeks before you can measure real results and impact, if any at all. 

  1. Consider production time and all the extras. 

Audio grams, editing, show notes – not to mention intros, extros, midrolls, selling ad space and creating a cohesive production schedule. There is a reason people hire executive producers (of which I am one!) It’s because producing a great show requires a great ear and eye and ability to ‘thread an editorial needle’. Without this, your podcast risks feeling disjointed and a bit rinky dink. 

How to Start

With that said, if you are interested in hiring me as your Executive Producer – drop us an email here to inquire.

Otherwise, you can start to develop a cache of long form content for your podcast in my subscription membership called Stories for a Year!

Join Stories for a Year

If you want to deepen your understanding and unlock the PROCESS for creating content that works for your business and for your personal brand, jump into Stories for a Year.

I created this program to be accessible, affordable and super useful for anyone who feels stuck and in the starting blocks when it comes to content creating and story. 

In Stories for a Year, you’ll get:

  • MONTHLY Blog Post prompt and plans (that can translate directly to podcast production plans!)
  • MONTHLY Social Media prompt and plans
  • WEEKLY Curated Blog Post and SOCIAL media prompts and plans
  • 4 BONUS Workshops on things like repurposing content, live streaming, creating media kits and sales pages.

Stories for a Year is your incredible blogging and content creation resource to get you beyond that blinking cursor!

You can jump in now and start immediately owning your Story!

The Rest of the Story is a project of love and commitment to showing up on this site every day for 90 days; sharing honest opinions, thoughts and observations. Comments are welcome.

Erin Trafford Incorporated is located on sacred land that has been the site of human activity for over 12,000 years. We are in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People, and we acknowledge them as the past, present, and future caretakers of this  land.
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