Last week I was at Podcast Movement, a big 4 day conference that focuses on all things podcasting. I had a few goals in mind going into the conference – things I definitely wanted to focus on. While my show has seen great growth, I wanted to do even better; I know I can grow How I Built It through better engagement, and I wanted to get ideas. I also wanted to learn how to pitch show sponsors better. I’ve been grateful for the success I’ve seen by working with my network, but I don’t want to tap that well too much…so I need to grow. I’m happy to say I learn about that and so much more. Here are my top 5 takeaways.
#1: Ask Bigger Questions
There were a few sessions that challenged me to ask questions like, “What’s the purpose of my podcast,” and “What’s my audience’s biggest problem?” To be honest, I started my show as a little side project to promote my online courses. I never imagined it would grow to what it is today, so I never answered those types of questions. One of my goals this week is to do just that.
#2: If You Want Something From Your Audience, Just Ask
I’ve been asking for ratings and reviews at the end of my show for a while and it’s been working, but I never thought to extend it past that. I don’t get a lot of people emailing me because I never ask them to. One of the things I’m going to start doing this week is ending with a question to the listeners and encouraging them to email me their answers.If you want something from your audience, just ask #PM18 Click To Tweet
#3: Find Your Podcast Alt-Mode
Aaron Mahnke of Lore gave a great talk about finding your show’s “alt-mode.” Basically, it’s the idea that your show can serve as a vehicle to doing other projects. I’ve thought of a few obvious ones for my show, but I’d like to find that hidden gem that will really excite me.
#4: Use Your First 60 Seconds Wisely
I went to a session where people from the broadcast/radio world critiqued podcasts live on stage. The most common feedback to me was, “Use the first 60 seconds of your show wisely.” You have that time to suck the listener in, so start with a cold open and guide them through the episode. This will help new listeners get to know you and it will help your current audience understand what to think about or look for in the episode. I really loved that and will definitely rework the top of my show.The first 60 seconds of your show are the most important. Use them wisely. #PM18 Click To Tweet
#5: Podcasters are Influencers with a More Personal Connection
In the sponsor sessions, there were a few recurring themes. One was that as a podcaster, you’re a much stronger influencer than you might realize. You have a strong tribe of people who listen every week and trust you. Even if you don’t have the reach of Lore or Stuff You Should Know, you can work closely with brands you believe in to help both them and your audience. Positioning yourself as an influencer will make it easier to sell yourself and your show to potential sponsors.
Bonus: I’m on the Cusp of that Downloads Sweet Spot for Sponsors
I’m very close to 5,000 downloads per episode in the first 30 days, which by many accounts is where things start to really take off. This is where sponsors will still to seriously consider your show, because it’s enough of an audience to get a reasonable return on their investment. Between what I learned on how to grow the show, and the tips I got on pitching sponsors as an influencer, I’m excited to see how my show will grown as I enter Year 3.
So here’s my question for you: Are you thinking of starting a podcast? What’s stopping you?Are you thinking of starting a podcast? What’s stopping you? Click To Tweet