Editor's Note: Jared's back with ten actionable tips for you to find the same success he did. Pay attention to his story! He knows what he's talking about. His podcast has been a success since day one. Read his backstory here that we published on Monday.
Prefer to listen? Jared has a 55 minute audio version of this piece at the bottom of today's post. Enjoy!
1. Understand that the Podcast is an Arm of Your Business
When launching a podcast, think about your goals and look at the bigger picture. John Lee Dumas is known for Entrepreneur on Fire, but he works with dozens of different business models. Besides podcasting, he also does consulting, mentorship, speaking, blogging, content marketing, affiliate marketing, social media, he helps host events, and most importantly, creates educational products using rapidly evolving new software. All that, and he still has time to take a 35-minute power walk every morning!
There are people that podcast for fun, and people who podcast to make money. But a lot of us fall somewhere in between, as we want to earn money doing something that we love. Whether through sponsorships, or affiliate marketing, making money in the beginning is enticing, but not likely.
Making money at the beginning depends on a few things, but it mostly depends on your following and your niche. Ryan Maher, of the Christian Quotes Podcast, did an excellent job of gaining a following first, and then producing a podcast second. He had an Instagram following of 500,000 followers when he launched his podcast. So when he launched, the traction he built with his tribe converted into massive numbers of downloads, which he can further monetize with products, education, webinars, or whatever he wants to do next.
No Tribe Yet? That Makes Things Harder, but Not Impossible
If you haven’t built a tribe around your thoughts yet, that’s okay! I didn't have a single follower on any social media platform, and no one knew who I was when I launched on March 19.
But going from zero to 25,000 downloads, with an average of 700 downloads per episode wasn't easy, because nobody knew me yet. I had to use other avenues and work hard to get people into my podcasting circle. So, if you're like I was, don’t freak out; it will all come into focus.
In the beginning, especially if you have not launched yet, try to focus on one or two platforms to start. You can interact with your audience easily on Facebook. Instagram is pretty easy too. And as I talk about Instagram below, know that it can be fairly easy to grow a following there as well. (Think about this: I started my Instagram profile on May 4, 2015. Today is June 28, and I have 5,500 followers!)
So back to my original point. Think about your goals with the podcast and look at the bigger picture.
Then start building content that converts:
- Build affiliate relationships with others
- Promote products
- Write on your blog
- Sell physical products
- Speak at events
- Build your social media presence
- Create educational products and sell them via webinar
- Learn Facebook ads
- Get interviewed on other podcasts
… the possibilities are endless!
Have an overarching business model in mind. What are you going to be talking about on your podcast and how can you pivot that and sell something to your tribe that benefits them? How are you going to build your list and convert those leads into paying customers? Think about what you can do build a tribe around your thoughts, and pivot that into a way to make money. Podcasting is the most personal element of your overarching business model. So get out there, launch your podcast with the big picture in mind, and expect baby steps at first. Things will eventually pick up steam.
2. Have a Personality!
No one can replicate your conversational muse, your interview style, your voice inflection, tone, volume, or character! If you have something engaging to tell people, do it with enthusiasm, or what my grandpa called chutzpah. Look it up. It’s a cool word to say. Next time you hear an old guy saying someone has chutzpah, you’ll know they mean it as a compliment.
Remember: no one is going to listen to a podcast with a monotone, dull voice. Be interesting, and have some energy, no matter what the subject. Make sure your whole brand shows off your personality: your website, your hand gestures in your videos, your blog posts, everything! That’s why people like Pat Flynn and John Lee Dumas have been so successful. They believe in themselves and the energy behind their words. That makes them believable, intelligent, trustworthy and real.
Think about why people buy, why they trust, and why they listen. Speak to your audience as you would a friend at a bar. You’re telling a compelling story. You’re helping them.
Remember: Your Podcast is Your Brand
Don’t let anyone take anything from you, and be yourself. And most importantly, be passionate. It’s your message out there. Make it compelling. Make it noteworthy.
Bonus Tip: Deliver value. I can’t tell you how many times I've sent a simple 10-minute email or a small Facebook comment to congratulate someone has come back around in a big way. The pay it forward attitude will make you a better entrepreneur. If you take the time to listen to someone, give them advice, encourage them, send them information, and help them, karma will come back around to you. You become someone people can trust. And next time someone says, “who's a great person to talk to about” or “who know’s a lot about” whatever, your name will come up if you’ve been an active, engaging participant in other people’s success. Doing little favors for others is seen on and off social media. Then, when you need people’s help sharing a post, or helping you launch a podcast, their fingers click for you because they like you. Deliver value outside your podcast.
3. Build Your Email List with Fun Offers
This one wasn’t so obvious to me when I started my podcast, but after I listened to big players like Amy Porterfield, Darren Scott Monroe and Michael Stelzner, I realized how important lead generation and list building is to my business. I remember chatting with Darren Scott Monroe (of the Charge More Money Podcast) on Facebook, and he told me about doing webinars, charging for products, and LeadPages.
Darren woke me up when he sent me this message:
“Platform over podcast…Podcast is only a promotional outlet for your business. So yes, and if you are not building a list now and always you have no business online.”
Soon after, I started creating lead magnets and Podcast Upgrades with the help of Jeremy Montoya (he helps entrepreneurs grow their list). Every week, I offered something to my audience as an upgrade to the podcast.
Upgrades I sent include:
- The spreadsheets I use
- Contractor bids
- Other articles I wrote
… anything that allowed my audience to follow along with me more effectively. I mentioned, “opt in for podcast upgrades on FlipJL.com.” in every episode. People who opted in to the bonus content did so because it enhances their podcast experience.
How Can You Add Value for Your Listeners?
- A PDF of an article or blog post
- Cheat sheet
- A BONUS, downloadable-only podcast episode!
Do some background research and think about what you can give to your audience as they follow along with your podcast. Amy Porterfield offers cheat sheets in her podcast. My podcast just happens to be about real estate investing. Since I'm in that space, I occasionally create something that would help my listeners follow my journey, and learn something.
For instance, I keep track of my expenses via spreadsheet. So:
– One week I provided them with the exact spreadsheet I use with all my expenses broken down.
– A week later, I provided them with a blank spreadsheet so everyone could use the same analysis on their own potential deals.
Bonuses like these provide value for my listeners. They can see what sort of expenses they can expect from this type of project and how they can analyze these things for themselves. More importantly, it gives them some perspective into my life, like the fact that I have $80,000 of my own money in and out of a house at any given time. That is scary to most people, but it also helps people understand that I am a real person, and I am not blowing smoke when I give advice.
Bonus tip: Email your list often, build a relationship with them and survey them! Focus on what your audience is craving. That will allow you to create educational products for them down the road and really monetize your business. Survey your list and ask what they would like to see along with the podcast. Ask them on social media. Gauging your list is a huge key. There was a time when I was barely emailing my list because I was afraid of losing subscribers. (Afraid?!?! What was I thinking?!?) Jeremy Montoya opened my eyes. I was lamenting to him on a Skype call about how I hated managing my email list on MailChimp, and how I was afraid of losing subscribers if I emailed too much. ***Cue Liquid Gold*** Jeremy replied with this… “Dude… I sometimes email my list more than once a day. You have to interact with them. Those people who unsubscribe… forget about them… you don't want them on your list.” Since that day, I have emailed my list 3-4 times per week.
Sending out podcast upgrades and creating landing pages for content that I write has been the single biggest reason I have built my list. Entrepreneurs like Amy, Darren, and Jeremy preach list building because it allows you to pivot and sell something, deliver something, or interact with your audience. All in all, it allows you to build a tribe. Creating an engaged tribe of people around your thoughts is the most important hurdle to jump through before you pivot off that and try to market something to your audience. This obviously leads me into my next tip, which is a must…
4. Get LeadPages
How do you connect great content with thousands of leads out there waiting to get a piece of it? Welcome to LeadPages. LeadPages has created dozens of landing pages for articles, books, education, physical products, webinars, podcasts and more. Don’t bother to understand the technology behind it… just know that it works! It’s relatively user-friendly and inexpensive. (With no promo code my account costs $37 per month.) LeadPages has allowed me to create awesome landing pages for my webinar registration pages, thank you pages, and have them integrated with GoToWebinar, Facebook ads, and my MailChimp account.
There are also LeadBoxes, LeadLinks and LeadDigits.
LeadBoxes allow you to insert links including easy two-step opt-ins as pop-ups when people click your link. Research has shown that two-step opt ins convert at much higher rates than a simple one-step opt-in, where you ask for their email address up front. Instead, with LeadBoxes, you click on a button that says ‘download now’ or ‘show me how’… then the LeadBox pops up asking for your email address. Huge lead generation tool that has worked wonders for building my list, and it’s available at the basic subscription level of LeadPages.
These next two lead generation tools cost a little more money at a higher subscription price, but even at a monthly cost, it’s only about $30-$50 more per month to take advantage of them…
LeadLinks allows you to utilize other people’s email list to build your own. For instance, if you are promoting an affiliate webinar, and your presenter emails their list, every person who clicks on that LeadLink in the email is not only registered for your webinar, they are added to your list. Pretty cool, huh? So, If my list is 100 people and my friend’s list is 5,000 people, and I send them the LeadLink to have people register for my webinar, Any of those 5,100 people who click that LeadLink will be registered for your webinar AND ADDED TO YOUR LIST!
Finally, LeadDigits allows you to effectively build your list while marketing to people who are nowhere near a computer. You can ask people to text a passcode to 33444, and they will automatically be emailed your content and added to your list. Amazing stuff. Simply check out the helpful videos below to see how LeadPages is ‘leading’ the wave of the future for lead generation and list building.
5. Focus on Your Niche
Everything depends on your niche. Who is listening to shows in your category? Who are your prospective listeners, or avatar? Are they willing to pay for any content or education you are putting forward? Do they have the ability to pay? Do they want to listen to what you have to hear? These are questions you kind of have to ask yourself, but the answers are lying somewhere in cyberspace. And in order to find these answers, you have to go out there and ask some questions to the main podcasters in your niche.
The Market isn't Saturated (Yet)
Thinking about starting a podcast about movies? Reach out to people who have already done that, and talk to those podcasters about their experience.
Bonus Tip: A lot of times you don't even have to contact these people. Podcasters talk about their audience, email list, pain points and successes all the time on their podcasts. So listen to the podcasts in your niche to get an idea of how they run things and what their struggles are. However, quit being shy and reach out to these people! If you are simply asking for advice, they will almost always be forthcoming and give a new podcaster the time of day to talk.
Still, the best way to get answers to your burning questions is to reach out to podcasters in your niche. They have the answers to your burning questions. Here are a few questions you can ask them:
- What do their listeners like to hear?
- What has worked for them?
- What sort of marketing do they use?
- Why are they podcasting?
- What sort of tasks do they outsource?
- How do they build their email list?
- Do they blog?
- How many downloads do they expect per episode?
- How did they land a sponsor?
- How long did it take them to build a solid email list?
- Do they run Facebook ads?
- What other podcasts do they listen to?
6. Get Interviewed on Other Podcasts
No podcaster I have met, even the ones in my niche, look at me as competition. In fact, it’s the opposite. Here’s why. You have your own marketing, your own unique audience, your own unique show. They have a similar one. Podcasters are (usually) open to having another fellow niche podcaster on their show because commingling audiences benefits everybody. They benefit from your listeners checking out their show, and vice versa.
Bonus Tip: If you reach out to someone to request to be on their show, they can respond a few ways: Yes, Maybe, and No. If they say no, then don't worry about it, and don't take it personally. I have very good friends who I have asked and they say, well, your experience just isn't right for my show, or I’m backlogged 12 weeks or something. Asking to be invited on someone’s show should be done delicately, and with respect. When you strike out, or get no response at all, respect is still the name of the game. The more you get to know a person, the easier it is to request an interview eventually. So if you strike up a conversation with them a few times, they will be more receptive to scheduling you for an interview down the road. Take rejection and ignorance with a grain of salt.
Commingling audiences has been gold for me. I have an engaging personality, so other real estate and entrepreneurial podcasters like to interview me. It puts my message out there, and it puts the word out about my podcast. So, when I started, one of my main marketing tactics was to get interviewed on other podcasts in my niche. I sought out every real estate podcaster out there and contacted them. I didn’t care how famous they were perceived to be. I sent them an email. I even hit up Rich Dad Poor Dad’s Robert Kiyosaki’s assistant about an interview… although she still hasn't gotten back to me. No worries 🙂
Bonus Tip: Don't be afraid of rejection! Embarrassment is for suckers. You’re going to die some day. Don’t give a crap about what other people think. It doesn’t matter. If someone doesn’t respond to your request, rejects you, or is even rude to you, don’t think about it, and move on. Focus on what you can control: the 24 hours ahead of you.
And again, try to focus on current podcast listeners. You can tell people about your podcast until you’re blue in the face… but some people just don't want to listen to podcasts, some don't understand the technology, some don't have the capability, and some don't have the time. In my experience, the best way to get new listeners is to be interviewed on other podcasts in your niche. And if you go seek out those in your niche to either be on their show or ask them to be on yours, those people who already listen to a podcast in your niche are most likely to pivot and subscribe to yours.
7. Use Instagram to Grow Your Podcast
I feel like an idiot telling you that Instagram is the future, because it has already arrived with a cannonball splash. But really, marketing on Instagram has only touched the tip of the iceberg. And just because you’re not selling physical products doesn’t mean that Instagram should be out of the question for you. If you have a podcast, you’re hurting yourself if you’re NOT taking advantage of it!
Ryan Maher, who I mentioned above, has an incredible course that delivers thousands in value. I took it and learned that there’s way more to Instagram than Dan Bilzerian. You can create an engaged community around your content in days… DAYS. Ryan teaches how to get a ton of followers in your niche, engage with them, create amazing content using a few apps on your phone, engage with other profiles, and leverage your following by posting the right content, at the right time, and tagging it effectively.
With Instagram, you can’t put links in posts. But there are little known tricks to Instagram that can allow you to effectively market a podcast. You can always change out the link in your bio, so when you post a new episode, are promoting a new product, or running a webinar, you can change out that link in your bio. So, when you post about that thing you’re launching today, say “click link in bio” and your followers clicks take them right to your podcast, webinar registration page, Facebook profile… anything.
You think you know Instagram? You ain’t seen nothing yet… It took me two days to run through Ryan’s course, and in six weeks I had over 5,000 followers. Five Thousand.
Here is a link to Ryan’s course: Instagram Academy
Bonus Tip: Every week, when I release a new interview on Flip, I will take a picture of my Podcast Logo, playing that episode. The caption will say something like, “New Episode of Flip Today Featuring Jason Hartman! Click link in bio to listen!” The link will click out to iTunes to start playing your episode, and just like that, my Instagram followers are converted into podcast listeners! I will also tag that interviewee in the post if they have an Instagram account.
8. Network with Other Podcasters
Networking is the name of the game in every professional realm, and podcasting is no different. In fact, being a podcaster and promoting a podcast to be successful almost forces you to be even MORE engaging with others.
Especially if you are doing interviews on your show (and most are) you have to get out there and find people to interview. Some people even outsource this, because your time becomes more valuable as your podcast grows in popularity. However, in the beginning, reaching out to guests on your own is imperative to your success as a podcaster.
Here's a good way to do this:
Craft a basic email, including an introduction of yourself, your show, and your ask: you're looking for potential interviews for your podcast. Finish with a link to your show, and a signature. Tailor it to your show and how professional you like to be. Then, when you find someone who would be a killer interview on your show, you already have 80% of the email written. Save it as a draft, or use a text expander app to paste this email text, then just add the beginning 20% that’s personalized to the person you’re emailing. Easy.
Put Yourself Out There
Don’t be embarrassed to email someone because you feel they are above you. There’s no such thing. You can cold email someone asking for advice or to come on your show. You could ask a mutual acquaintance to introduce you.
Of course, there are some people that are just hard to get a hold of. You have to do some digging sometimes just to get someone’s Twitter handle. But if you go to their website, there is usually a contact tab. And remember, some people are better with email, and some are better with social media. It depends. I have hit some people up on Twitter with a simple, “what’s going on?” and a conversation flows from there. Other times, I would email, and an assistant would email me back a week later, saying that the person is busy for the next three months. You get the feeling for how available and for how personable some individuals are. If they aren’t savvy with social media, or if an interview request takes a while to get back to you, don’t take it personally.
Don’t start with the big sharks in your field. Get some traction under your heels before you go after the big kahuna. When they research you and find more content, they will be much more receptive to working with you.
Spend the time to actually talk to people, keep in touch, and deliver value to them. Your network will slowly grow, and before you know it, you have a guy for Facebook ads, someone for webinar advice, a girl who knows a ton about leveraging Twitter, a woman who is killing it on Instagram, a podcaster in your niche you can always hit up for advice, an expert on audio editing…etc etc etc. You get the idea. Expanding your network and treating people with respect are two of the most important aspects of running a successful business, and podcasting is no different. Get out there and talk to people.
9. Create a Launch Strategy
I launched a live podcast following my life through a real estate investing journey. I quit my job and taught myself to podcast and the first house I bought was in demo mode. So since I wanted to launch a live podcast, I had no choice but to just jump in and do it. I had no launch strategy. Looking back, I wish I took the time and energy to build an email list, and network with other podcasters to build a little launch team. Now, since I wanted to jump into podcasting ASAP and didn't have the time to build a team, I’m not exactly an expert on how to do this. But I know a thing or two about leveraging your launch.
Here are some sick tips to launch with a bang…
Tip 9.1: Get Ahead of Schedule
Have six episodes already recorded and edited before you launch. Some people launch with three or four episodes, not to overwhelm their audience, and their first entire week live is spent editing episodes five and six. This is one of the worst holes you can put yourself in! Have a handful of episodes recorded and edited so you can simply schedule them to go out. If you have a month or two of episodes scheduled, you can focus on marketing, getting new guests, planning projects for the next month, and building your email list.
My friend Bruce is preparing to launch in a few weeks, and he has… wait for it… 48 episodes recorded. 48. Let that sink in. Imagine how much time and energy he can put into finding new guests, making his show better, marketing his show, and building his email list with months of content edited, uploaded, and ready to go. I’m jealous.
Tip 9.2: Take Advantage of your “New and Noteworthy” Status
Focus really hard on the first few episodes. Think of your 56-day stint in iTunes New and Noteworthy section as having a free, full-page ad in the New York Times for two months. You are going to be getting a TON of organic traffic because people see your podcast on iTunes, and decide to click it on a whim. Impress the heck out of them in your first few seconds!
I was recently on a webinar with Omar Zenhom of the $100 MBA Show. He reiterated a point about attention spans that really resonated with me. He said, “Your first few episodes are SO important, especially the first minute. I spent so much time focusing on the first few minutes of my episodes because I knew that people would make a split-second decision on whether or not they liked my podcast.”
If you start off your podcast with a few dull, monotone seconds, people will dump you like a date on prom night. Your time in ‘New and Noteworthy’ is so incredibly valuable, some podcaster’s really undervalue the importance. The lesson here is to just always focus on putting out great content. You can spend all the money you want on a nice intro, and a have great guests. But if the interview, the conversation, and the content suck, your listenership will die out.
Tip 9.3: Outsource
This tip should read, “outsource as much as you can reasonably afford.” Your podcast will lead you to doing other things in the online sphere, like webinars, Facebook ads, affiliate marketing, physical products, educational courses, and more. So the podcast isn't the thing you should be putting 100% of your time into. Sure, in the beginning it will require a lot of your time. But if you outsource some things like editing the show and scheduling social media, time frees up and you can focus your energy on providing your audience with great content.
Tip 9.4: Hang Out With the “In” Crowd
Invite the most popular professionals in your industry on your show, especially those who podcast. The first couple episodes of your show should include some amazing people to get your audience engaged. Get them on your show months before you launch. So, when you have your first five episodes in “New and Noteworthy,” you'll get subscribers simply because of your guests. Even one podcast-worthy person in the first few shows will show your listeners you know what's going on. It’s really important to let your listeners know early on that you have the ability to go out and land the most engaging, high-quality guests.
Tip 9.5: Plan
Plan your launch. Leverage your email contacts, friends, family, Facebook groups, colleagues, co-workers… everyone! Every single person you can contact should know about your show in advance, and be prepared to help you on social media during your launch day.
This tip seems easy enough, but too many people don’t take advantage of every contact in their phone, every email address, every Facebook friend. This tip isn't over though. I mentioned, ‘be prepared to help you.’ iTunes might take a few days to approve your show after you submit your RSS feed. It just depends, and there’s no way to predict how long iTunes will take to approve your show. Typically, it’s 2-5 days, but I have heard stories it can take as long as 2 weeks. So, why set a launch date in advance if you don’t know you can adhere to that date?
Don't set a launch date, but let people know the week your show should be live in a few days! Since iTunes might approve your show in 2 days or 8 days, as long as all your contacts know about your show, once your show actually IS live, you can blast your email list once your RSS feed is live on iTunes, and make your launch so much more effective. You definitely don’t want people Facebook posting and tweeting about a show that doesn’t exist yet!
iTunes accepted my podcast in 3 days.
10. Be Prepared to Grind it Out
I saved this for last, because it’s the most important. Late nights, early mornings, coffee, and even arguments with your loved ones will be a part of your podcasting experience, especially if you don’t plan on outsourcing anything. If you don’t outsource anything, you will be tied up with editing, marketing, producing, and creating content. You should expect to spend a lot of time creating a community around your thoughts.
On a recent interview with Justin Verrengia on the Weird Entrepreneurs Podcast, Justin asked me to share my best entrepreneurial advice. I put it to him like this: I can do the Rubick’s cube in under a minute. But to learn the Rubick’s Cube, I seriously did nothing else for three days one summer except focusing on the Rubick's Cube. I messed up constantly, and it was frustrating. It took some practice over months, but those three days of intense study were my building blocks for success down the road. Part of being an entrepreneur is getting back up after you fail.
When I went to law school, my prior exploits as an entrepreneur prepared me to hit the books hard, because I knew what sort of mindset it takes to succeed in that environment. I knew that anything worth having in this world takes intense mental focus, attention, aggressive attitude, and overall, you just have to want it if you’re going to be a success. When it came time to take the Texas Bar Exam, I knew I was in for the worst three months of my life (a 12-week course followed by a three-day exam.) I don't remember much from December 2012-February 2013. Sure, I remember studying hours on end, waking up in the middle of the night, not being able to go back to sleep, and studying more… I had nothing better to do. Usually I would try to study 12 hours a day, but that turned into about 14-16 toward the height of it.
However, when studying for the bar, what I remember most were the things that I missed. I didn’t do anything for the holidays. I didn’t hang with friends, or speak to my family much. My girlfriend and I stayed in on New Years Eve. And I only watched the tail end of the Super Bowl. These are the types of things you have to sacrifice in order to really crush it, like Gary Vaynerchuk says.
Speaking of… I recently watched a video Gary posted, where he didn’t even let jury duty stop him from destroying his day. The title of this Facebook video is ‘Being efficient, executing, and shooting for those big goals is predicated on your actions!!’ Click here to watch.
Basically, Gary, the poster child for hustle, was on jury duty, and they let him out for a long lunch break. Now, most people look at that as a nice little vacation, but Gary doesn’t. He wrote some emails, jumped on some conference calls, and shot the video I’m talking about, all within that lunch break. Gary said that while some people love to hustle, and then a curveball happens (snow day, meeting cancelled, etc.) they take that as vacation time instead of adjusting to it. He says the truth of the matter is, being efficient and shooting for those big goals is predicated on your actions!
He’s right. You can’t say you’re hustling when you take an hour lunch, or leisurely waltz through the day. Guys like the late professional poker player Stu Ungar used to hate eating, and considered it a ‘waste of time.’ If you’re really hustling, you know it. You’re using your time wisely, and if you get a free 15 minute ‘vacation’ during the day, think about what you are doing in that 15 minutes to make those minutes count. It’s all about what you do with those minutes, Gary says. “Every minute has to count. Every minute has to count.”
There isn’t enough time in a day, but everyone has the same 24 hours… You do and I do, just like Tim Ferris, Lewis Howes and Amy Porterfield do. Everyone has the same time in a day… it just matters how you get out there and utilize it. So go get out there and get it fellow podcaster’s. I know you will.