In recent years, podcasts have become incredibly popular amongst entrepreneurs and business owners. What used to be an entertaining outlet for creatives is now a valuable tool for building a brand, marketing your business, and becoming an influencer. It’s the pinnacle of content marketing, with the potential to drive hundreds of thousands of people to your business. Plus, it’s fun to create!
As a result, everyone and their mother wants to start a podcast. But actually doing it? That’s another story.
Starting a podcast can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and complex. But worst of all, if you get off on the wrong foot, your podcast may never gain the traction you desire. If you’re committed to creating a successful podcast, you need a plan.
That’s where Leverage comes in. Specifically, Ike Fontaine — our Media Visionary and expert on all things podcast-related.
Ike has been working on podcasts for our clients for years. From audio editing to content repurposing, he leads the strategy and execution for many of our clients’ podcasts. Chances are, if you’re listening to podcasts in the entrepreneurial and productivity space, you’ve not only heard a podcast produced by him, but an intro voiced by him.
Ike also spends a lot of time talking to entrepreneurs who are interested in starting a podcast but just don’t know where to start. He’s found that while there are some general guidelines to follow, there’s ultimately a lot of work that goes into creating a plan for your podcast — and that can be overwhelming.
Most people just think of the recording, editing, and producing of individual episodes. But there’s also the podcast launch, marketing, distribution, analytics, branding, monetization, artwork, show notes, content strategies, guest outreach… The list goes on.
That’s why Ike has created a product to help our clients with this specific problem. He calls it The Podcast Playbook. And it’s now available to all Leverage clients.
What is a “Podcast Playbook”?
A Podcast Playbook is a comprehensive document that contains specific advice on how to launch and grow your podcast. This is not an “out-of-the-box” solution — we custom make each playbook for your podcast idea.
If you’re committed to launching a podcast—regardless of whether you have an idea on what it’ll be about — this playbook will help you make it a success.
The problem with most podcasts is that no one takes the time to actually think about how to position their podcast in the market or within their niche. Most podcasters start with an idea that they like and want to talk about. Then they create their podcast, only to find there’s too much competition or not enough interest in the topic to make it worth their while.
Our Podcast Playbooks are designed to show you how to position your podcast, what to focus on, and what you need to do before, during, and after you launch the podcast itself.
Think of it as a roadmap for starting your own podcast.
How does this work?
Each Podcast Playbook starts with a discovery call led by Ike. This allows him to find out more about your business, podcast idea, and goals.
We want to get clear on what your ideal results are first, so we can figure out how to get you there. Ike and our media team will then do all the leg-work to figure out what type of podcast strategy will achieve your goals and provide the results you’re looking for. The end result is that you’ll have a step-by-step list of what you need to do to make it happen.
On our end, we conduct extensive research on podcasts in your niche to discover what’s working and what isn’t. Then we take that data, adapt it to your podcast idea, and create a plan for creating, launching, and distributing your podcast. This is something that the vast majority of podcasts fail to do up front, so this playbook alone will put you miles ahead of the competition.
And while each Podcast Playbook is different, here are a few things we’re always focusing on…
Discovering your “WHY”
The first thing anyone needs to do when starting a podcast is to find their “why.”
But this isn’t “why” you want to start a podcast or “why” you are invested in your podcast topic… This is why someone would want to listen to your podcast!
What do you have to offer that will attract people to the podcast and get them intrigued? Who are you trying to serve? And how can you deliver the most value possible?
Too often, people start a podcast about something they’re interested in without thinking about whether or not other people are interested in that same thing. That’s okay if it’s a passion project, but when you’re trying to use it as a marketing tool for your business, you need to think a little deeper.
And when you are using it as a marketing tool, you need to figure out where your podcast sits within your value ladder. Where are your listeners at? Are they cold? Do they already know your brand? And what, specifically, do you want from those groups of people, and how does that affect your “why”?
These are all things you need to consider before deciding on a topic and strategy for your podcast.
Branding & positioning
Like any marketing tool, branding and positioning are incredibly important for podcasts. The podcast space is crowded beyond belief, with well over one million podcasts available at the time of writing this. You need to be intentional and strategic if you want to stand out from the rest.
That means the name of your podcast, the artwork, and your episode titles need to be strategically positioned if you want to have a chance at competing (and beating) everyone else in your niche. And that’s just the start.
Since every niche is different, we conduct extensive research of similar podcasts that have significant followings. How do they position themselves? How do they style their artwork? How do they structure their episode titles?
By looking at other podcasts, we can see what’s working and what isn’t. We’ll then give you a set of guidelines to follow for creating your artwork and a format to use for your episode titles that will guarantee results.
The other benefit of this research is that we can see what’s lacking in your space and craft a plan to fill that void.
Just like the “why” is based on what your audience wants, so are your content themes. If you’re not serving up content that your audience wants, you’ll never be able to cultivate a following.
If you want to create a podcast that people will listen to, you need to understand what your audience wants and build content themes around those ideas. These content themes generally develop from a combination of your “why” and the branding and positioning research we’ve already done. By looking at your “why” and what’s lacking in your space, we can come to some conclusions about what your ideal audience is looking for.
We also look into searchable content. What topics or questions is your ideal audience searching for? By finding high volume search topics with little available content, we can develop topics and episode themes that are virtually guaranteed to bring in consistent traffic over time.
Clear content themes will take all of the guesswork out of creating a podcast. Once you know what your audience wants, all you need to do is create it and you’ll see the downloads start pouring in.
Marketing, launch, and distribution
Having a solid marketing and launch strategy in place for your podcast is the ultimate key to success. This is easier said than done, but you can get a big leg up on the competition by following a few basic principles and implementing what Ike refers to as “The Launch Method”. This is a method he’s built after launching dozens of podcasts—including a few that have hit top 10 in the iTunes charts—and seeing what the best in the business are doing to rank above the rest.
As soon as the launch is over, everything shifts to generating subscribers, ratings, and reviews to continue to drive traffic toward your podcast. We have a number of strategies that we advise using for this, as well as a comprehensive scorecard of metrics for you to track. Tracking the right metrics and understanding what they mean will allow you to gauge the health of your podcast and steer it back in the right direction if things start to go off course.
Creating your Podcast Playbook
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably interested in starting your own podcast. Maybe you have a specific idea of what you want to do or you just know your business needs one. Whatever your situation is, we’re happy to help.
If you’d like to learn more about our Podcast Playbooks or have one created for your business, email Ike directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’ll gather some basic information and get you started on the next steps!