In this episode of Audience, we cover the results of our launch day, talk about how we approached launching the podcast, and what some of the early analytics around the launch day episodes are.
From here the fun (and hard) part starts, where we will begin growing the listenership of this podcast. A modest beginning of ~200 listeners in our inaugural episodes is a good starting point, but now comes the time to broaden the reach of this show to new listeners.
Our early plans to grow this show include both organic social media platform growth (Facebook and Twitter for us), and then we will begin experimenting with different paid acquisition channels for the show.
Speaker 1 00:06 Hello and welcome back to audience, the podcast where you follow along as we build a real and impactful podcast audience from scratch. I’m your host Craig Hewitt from Castillo’s. Well, at this point, launch day has come and gone and we’ve learned a lot. In this episode we’re going to talk all about how we went about launching the podcast, some of the strategies and marketing tactics that you might use in launching your own podcast and some of the early results from our analytics to talk about how the launch went in those first few episodes. When it comes to launching a podcast. I think you really need to, to think about launching a podcast as you would any other product or initiative within a, within your business or brand or community. Uh, a podcast launch is, is a product in and of itself. And with that in mind, I think one of the first things that you think about is, is how you already reach your existing audience.
Speaker 1 00:55 So we’ll assume that we have some kind of audience if we’re going to be starting a podcast, if you’re truly starting from scratch. I think a lot of the same principles apply here, but they’re a little bit of guesswork. Uh, and in the, I mean, the first thing we think about is how do we reach our existing audience already for us at , it’s been primarily through email, a little bit of social media and through our Facebook group called podcast hackers. So with that in mind, the things that you might think about as you’re looking to, to launch a podcast are how do you already connect with your existing audience, whether it’s again, for your, your business or for your local community, religious organization, your passion project or hobby. How do you already connect with the people in your world? For a lot of people, this is a, some kind of digital or virtual environment, emails, social media, online communities, things like that.
Speaker 1 01:46 In person events always plays a big role in more local focused kind of, you know, brands and topics. So again, a religious organization, a sports community would be much more kind of geographically focused. And so in person events might play a bigger role here. Also things like networking events. Uh, if you’re really like in a B to B space from there, the choice of if you’re talking specifically about social media, I think the choice of social media platform plays a big role. Things like Twitter maybe are more lean more towards the technical crowd. Uh, things like startups and online business and things like that. Facebook is pretty ubiquitous. I think a lot of people hanging out on Facebook, um, whether we like Facebook or not these days. Um, Facebook as something that can apply to everybody in our view. Uh, and then things like Pinterest and Instagram are, you know, by their nature much more visually based and so are really good for things like travel and food bloggers and maybe more lifestyle brands.
Speaker 1 02:47 Email marketing has been somewhere that, that we’ve always focused a lot just because it’s one of the very few things that you own and control almost entirely. Uh, if you’re a building your, your kind of presence, say Facebook or Twitter, they update their algorithm and start not showing your content to certain audiences. There’s really nothing you can do about it. Whereas something like having your own website or having your own email list where you own those contacts and you own that domain is something that, uh, with, with rare exceptions, people can’t take away from you. So as you’re building your, your kind of marketing assets and your ability to reach your audience, this is definitely something to think about is, is the thing I’m building my, my house and my platform on something that I own or have a decently high degree of confidence in the control I have over this.
Speaker 1 03:34 The downside of this is there’s a less kind of network effect like you might see with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram like that. But when you build an email list on your own, you do control this. You do decide when and how you get in touch with these people, all the messaging and all the connection around that. Uh, this is, uh, a reason why we focused on email as a resource to grow our marketing reach a lot. And, uh, and we used it pretty heavily in launching the show when we thought about launching the podcast specifically in terms of the episode releases. We were pretty strategic about this and I’d love to hear how other people have launched their shows. But the approach that we took is, is to, to release a teaser episode a about a week ahead of time and then release three episodes on launch day.
Speaker 1 04:19 So, uh, we’re publishing the audience podcast on Thursdays. We chose to publish our teaser episode the Thursday before, uh, on December 12th. And then we released three episodes on launch day itself. Uh, the reason for the teaser episode is to, to build a bit of hype. We did send a dedicated email and a post in our Facebook group with a teaser episode that did have an audiogram associated with it. So we created an audiogram from the teaser episode. Uh, and for those of you who don’t know, an audiogram is a really cool, uh, kind of marketing social media tool. Um, we use, uh, an app called headliner, so headliner.app to create our audiograms. And this is a nice way to pull a short snippet. Ours were a minute or so long. So we posted this on all of our social media platforms as well as in our Facebook group.
Speaker 1 05:08 So this is a good thing to think about, not just for your launch episodes, but really if you have the time, it takes 10 or 15 minutes to build an audiogram. Uh, and I’m sure that everybody gets better over time. Uh, this is something that I think is a really good marketing tool for you to use, uh, as you’re looking to, to market your podcast specifically on social media channels. So check out headliner if you haven’t already, a headliner will be integrated directly into the Castillo’s platform here shortly after the beginning of the year. So stay tuned. That’s a really exciting development that we’re working on there. So in terms of launch episode scheduling, we had our teaser episode go out on December 12th the regular episodes went out on the 19th and we did have three of them. You might ask why three, why not one or even two?
Speaker 1 05:51 The reason was, is when I think about launching a podcast, I want to have a little bit of variety in format and topic and kind of angle on the subject that I’m going to be talking about for the podcast as a whole. So what you don’t want is to have two or three episodes all in the same format, talking generally about the same aspect of your topic. And so we tried to have as much variety as we could in these launch episodes and for us in this situation, that meant we needed three episodes. Um, so the first episode was talking all about the who and the why of your podcast. So why are you podcasting? Who is your target audience? Uh, these are really fundamental questions that we want to answer. The next episode was all about kind of gear and set up. So podcasting mikes and RSS feeds and hosting providers and editing tools.
Speaker 1 06:37 Uh, and these two episodes were, were just me talking in terms of format. So there were kind of a monologue, but they also were very kind of how to, in terms of format. So a lot of, uh, advice, a lot of tactical things like this. This didn’t really have a lot of variety, right? The format was the same. The, the style of the episodes was really the same. Uh, and so we wanted to mix it up a little bit and give folks a taste of something different in the, in their launch group of episodes. And we did this with an interview. Um, this is a really highly produced interview where I did the interview and then went back and added commentary around the most interesting segments. So the episode ended up being about 25 minutes, but this was from an interview that was about 40 minutes kind of in raw length.
Speaker 1 07:20 I can tell you these episodes take a lot longer to produce than a conventional interview where it’s just a, a really naturally flowing dialogue. But I think these are the really appealing to listen to and sound really neat. Uh, we had a lot of dynamic effects and things like that. So this might not be the format you would choose for your first podcast episode. It is pretty intimidating to do. Um, much like a, a monologue, like this is really hard to do. Uh, I’ve been podcasting for four years and this still takes me a very long time to record a 10 or 15 minute monologue like this just cause it’s not really natural for us to sit and stare at the microphone and record something perfect every time. Um, and on that line I would say, you know, make sure anytime you’re recording a podcast, give yourself some, some leeway and some grace and say, look, I’m going to edit this later.
Speaker 1 08:07 If you mess up, just take a pause, take a deep breath, have a sip of water, and then start again and restate your whole statement. Editing that later will be really easy. Whereas if you, if you run on from phrase to phrase and restate what you’re saying, all in a huge run on sentence, uh, you’ll really kind of kick yourself later in post production because splicing all that together and mixing it to sound natural is really difficult. So as you’re recording, if you mess up, just stop, take a deep breath and repeat the whole thought and phrase from the beginning and later in post-production you’ll find a real easy, okay. So we talked about the, the format of the episodes that we did on launch day. So we did teaser episode a week before we had three episodes on launch day. Uh, the first two were kind of monologue and how to tutorial kind of episodes.
Speaker 1 08:57 And the last one was an interview where we talked all about storytelling and building a narrative for your podcast. We did that because building a story and a narrative and a story arc as the folks from pressboard media talked about is super important to building the, the content that people really want to follow and it becomes viral and they share it and they talk about it at the water cooler, at work. Uh, and they, they want to tune in every week to hear what happened. And for us, with this podcast specifically, the, the, what happened is going to be, you know, how is the podcast going? What were the results of the launch day? What were the results of, uh, you know, this marketing experiment that we decided to run. And so that’s what we’re going to jump into a bit now is kind of what were some of the, the old early results.
Speaker 1 09:37 But before we get into that, want to talk about how we went about marketing this? We talked about the channels a little bit, uh, and the content that we released on the launch day. Now we’ll talk about specifically for us how we went about marketing this on, on launch day. So the teaser episode went out on December 12th. We sent a dedicated email for that on that Friday as well as opposed on our social media channels. And in our Facebook group on launch day, we did the same thing with a dedicated email to our list, a post on our Twitter and Facebook pages, our feeds and a post in our Facebook group, podcast hackers, uh, in terms of resources that, that we have available to us. I think one of the questions is, Oh, you know, Castillo’s podcast company, of course, it’s easier for them to launch a podcast with a bunch of listeners.
Speaker 1 10:22 You know, I am just starting out or I don’t have a huge audience or anything like that. The results that I should expect to see are not the same as they would see. So I’ll give you a little context about kind of what kind of assets we have that we’re playing with. So in terms of email, we have about 6,000 people on our email list, which is a, I think a moderately sized email list. I know plenty of people with tens and hundreds of thousands of people on their email list. That’s a, that’s a very different kind of tool than we have. And in terms of social media or Facebook group, podcast hackers has just under a thousand members in it and I think it’s pretty active. It’s a place we’re going to be focusing a lot here with the podcast to, to create a community and dialogue around the, the topics that we’re discussing here in the audience podcast.
Speaker 1 11:06 Uh, but a thousand people is a pretty good place to start there. In terms of regular social media channels, we get about 400 views on our Facebook page a month. And on Twitter, which is our only other active social media channel, we have just under 300 followers. So a, I, we have a lot of room to improve here on social media. It’s not somewhere we’ve focused a lot, but it is somewhere that we’re going to be exploring here going forward is our kind of organic social media channels. And I say organic because I want to differentiate that from paid social media traffic. So we will be experimenting with um, promoting posts and advertising this podcast on Facebook and Twitter. Um, but, but that’s not the same thing as us posting something to our Facebook page or a Twitter feed and people seeing that organically coming over and listening or subscribing to the podcast.
Speaker 1 11:56 So now I wanted to talk a little bit about the analytics from the podcast. So, uh, we had our teaser episode and then we had the three episodes on launch day. And in the spirit of transparency, which is a big part of what this podcast is all about, we want to share some of the numbers after just a few days after launch here. Can I give some timeframe around this because typically as you’re talking to sponsors, they will want to hear the numbers for your podcast between four and six weeks after each episode has been launched. This is a, this is very short, uh, and that kind of time span, um, or just a few days, not even a week after launch as I’m recording this, but I wanted to give some numbers around that for folks to listen to. So for our teaser episode here today, again, this is for the teaser episode.
Speaker 1 12:39 It’s been about a week and a half. We have a just under 300 listens for the episode. Each of our launch episodes is just under 200 listens per episode. So we’re definitely seeing a bump on the, the launch group of episodes relative to the teaser episode, especially since the teaser episode has been out a whole week more than the launch episodes. But we are really starting from scratch with this. As I look at our analytics, I am, uh, I’m humbled by, by kind of where we’re starting. Uh, we have not done a ton of work in terms of marketing. I think you can, you can really build up a really big buzz around launching a podcast and you can, uh, you can do a lot of things like a contest or a giveaway or specifically gather people’s email addresses. Just for the podcast we emailed our whole list, which I mentioned is about 6,000 people.
Speaker 1 13:26 Uh, and you know, the conversion rate I guess that we’re seeing on that as if we’re, if we have a email list of 6,000 and we’re getting 200 subscribers at this point, that’s only about a 3% conversion rate. So that is not something that we’re, that we’re thrilled with and we’re going to be working very hard to improve that here going forward. But we have to start somewhere. And I think that’s an important lesson for, for us all is to say like, okay, I want to start a podcast. But a lot of folks who are are wanting to start a podcast, a spirit, you know, here at the end of 2019, uh, it can be really intimidating cause there’s a lot of really good podcasts out there that are, that are very successful already, especially as you get into the more kind of mass market niches.
Speaker 1 14:03 Uh, I think, you know, going up against Joe Rogan and some of these true crime podcast is really intimidating. So you might want to say, Oh, I want to start a podcast. I really have a passion for this one thing. But then you look and say, yeah, but I’m going to hit killed by these people who have been doing this already. And that’s, that’s fair. But the lesson here for me is that we want to, you know, launch the podcast, get started, continue marketing and continue promoting the podcast as we go because you have to get started sometime. So going forward from launch day is really just the beginning. You know, we mentioned in one of the first episodes or in the teaser episode that the point of a podcast is not to launch, but it is to grow and have an impact with your podcast as a marketing channel and a vehicle for you to share your voice with the world and with your audience.
Speaker 1 14:47 And so we’re excited to, to have launched the podcast, gotten started. And now really the hard work starts. The hard work is to continue creating content that is interesting and engaging and helpful for, for you the folks that are listening and for us as a tool for our brand and our business, the podcast is, uh, is hopefully going to be a way for us to reach more people that aren’t already in our world. Uh, so we talked about sending emails and posting on social media for folks that already follow us. And that’s all well and good for reaching the people that already know about you and already know about. So in our case, but the goal with this is for us and and for a lot of people is to to have a podcast, to let new people find out about you and hear your message and find out about your brand.
Speaker 1 15:32 And that means these people aren’t on your email list or aren’t following you on social media already. And so now the strategy is not sharing the podcast with people who already know about you, but to find ways to introduce your podcast content to new people. And that’s going to be the focus of a lot of our work as far as marketing the podcast and growing the listenership here going forward after launch day. So launch day is done. We did, we did what we could do. Um, you know, as I’m, as I’m kind of looking back on this, I say we, we probably could have done more, but the goal with this podcast is not really to launch with a bang and have a huge showing right out of the gate. But the point is to, to start and have a good starting point and have a frame of reference and then go and learn from there to say, how can we, how can we grow the podcast, how can we find more people to, to listen to this, who would enjoy it and share it with their friends and things like that.
Speaker 1 16:22 And that’s our mission here going forward. You know, in the spirit of transparency, we wanted to share some of the numbers around the podcast. We want to let folks know kind of where we’re coming from in terms of the resources we have in terms of social media and email list and things like that so that you can say, okay, I have an email list like this or I was just a, a following that has this many people. I can expect something, you know, more or less. But we didn’t want to give some of the listenership numbers without any context of, of kind of where we were coming from. Uh, if I’m honest, I think this is a really humble beginning for us. Switches a kind of good and bad. It’s good because we have a lot of room to improve. We have a lot of upside in terms of our audience.
Speaker 1 17:00 I would have liked to have, you know, a thousand listeners or something here in the few days after we launched, but that’s not, we have, we have about 200 listeners per episode for our launch group and we’re going to be working hard to grow that here going forward. So I hope this was interesting and informative and a little inspirational maybe for folks who are, are just starting a podcast or have one that’s already going and really getting into the next few episodes. We’re going to be sharing a lot about the, the tactics and the strategies and the, the mindset that we have around growing the podcast. And, uh, we’ll be sharing everything we’re learning here with you and the audience podcast. If you’re enjoying the show, our ask is to share it with somebody who you think would enjoy it as well. So our, our goal here is to share a lot of really great information. And, uh, if you think we’re doing that, please share this podcast with a fellow podcaster that you know, who think would enjoy it as well. Show notes for this episode can be found at audience dot dot com thanks so much. And we’ll see you next time.
Get More From Audience
If you like what you hear, consider sharing Audience with a fellow podcasters in your network or joining the Podcast Hackers Facebook group.
And if you’re looking for more actionable podcasting tips, subscribe to our newsletter. Every Thursday we share additional resources as we publish new episodes each week.