How to Start a Podcast: From Idea to New & Noteworthy in a Month!
- Tom Hunt
With podcasts taking off like they have, it’s possible you’ve thought about starting one of your own. But then the excuses start:
“I don’t know how to record audio.”
“I wouldn’t know what to speak about!”
“I don’t have the network.”
And all of these excuses seem valid at first.
Well let me be the one to tell you… they are NOT.
I am here to show you how we took the Virtual Valley Podcast: “0-$4 Million – A Startup’s Bootstrapped Journey To A 7-Figure Exit” from just a tiny little idea to this:
… in just 30 days.
Though beware, this piece of content is NOT to be used as entertainment. As you read, I want you to be thinking about how YOU can use the tactics/strategies revealed to either launch or grow your podcast.
Below you’ll find three sections:
- Your Podcast Idea
- Your Podcast System
- Your Podcast Promotion (How To Get Into iTunes New & Noteworthy)
Let’s get started…
Your Podcast Idea
Before any recording, promotion, networking, OR selling can be done for your podcast, you need to decide upon the schedule, format, and topic of your show.
Your Podcasting Schedule
The MOST important aspect of your podcasting format is its sustainability.
I asked 12 top podcasters why I should NOT start a podcast and the majority of them said something similar to Chris Ducker:
“'You shouldn't start a podcast if you're not committed to serving your audience for the long-term.' @ChrisDucker”Tweet Me
Therefore, it is of paramount importance you set a podcast format that is sustainable e.g. not promising an hour long interview each day if that is not within your production capacity.
With “0-$4 Million,” we release at 10 minute daily episode on weekdays. Now this may sound like a lot, but as you’ll learn later in this post, if you have a system in place it may actually be possible to produce more high quality content than you thought possible.
Once you decided on your scheduling commitment, it is time to determine…
Your Podcasting Format
- Will you tell a story?
- Will you interview top influencers awesomely just like Danny?
- Will you give actionable advice?
There are pros and cons associated with each format but one concept remains:
“Your audience must see value in the audio content that you are creating.”Tweet Me
Take “0-$4 Million” for example, we are telling the story of our online marketplace from a 0 to 7-figure exit within 2 years and sharing what we learned on our podcast. The feedback so far confirms that we are creating value for our audience of entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts.
Your Podcasting Topic
And now for the most important aspect of your podcast idea:
What will you actually talk about?
There are a few questions you must ask yourself in order to make the right selection.
- What can you talk about endlessly with your friends on a Saturday night?
If your podcast is to last longer that 5 episodes, you need to be passionate about your topic. If you are not, this will be evident in your voice and it will be unlikely that you will be able to inspire your listeners to take action.
- Will this topic add value to your audience?
As mentioned above, the success of your podcast (and your business ;)), depends almost entirely on your ability to add value for your customers through your podcast topic.
- Will this topic educate and inspire listeners in purchasing your product/service and reaching their desired end state?
There are a number of steps your customers need to take in order to experience their desired end state. It is your job as a content marketer to facilitate this journey with relevant information.
Your Podcast System
“'A podcast takes commitment and consistency to be successful.' @AndrewWarner”Tweet Me
Listen to Andrew.
If your podcast is to be a success, you must produce high quality content consistently over a long period of time.
And I’m not sure about you, but if I have to perform the same time consuming, repetitive tasks each day/week/month required to publish the podcast, it probably would NOT last for a long period of time.
Which is exactly why I have designed a system that produces our 10 minute daily podcast with just 5 hours of my time and $30 of the Virtual Valley marketing budget per week.
Here’s how I did it.
Step 1 – Research
Spend 4-8 hours reading through all the blog posts on the internet that cover topics about starting a podcast.
You need to know the difference between Libsyn and Soundcloud, how to tag mp3 files, and why you should purchase the Shure Beta 87A mic over the Neumann KMS 105.
Unless you are going to completely outsource the whole podcast to a podcasting company, DO NOT skip this step. You will not be able to create a high quality podcast without knowing this stuff.
Step 2 – Document
Next, document everything that needs to be done to create one episode of your podcast in a step-by-step format with screenshots and videos.
Yes, this will mean you will have to perform each task necessary to produce the podcast once (apart from editing, if you do not have editing skills).
Step 3 – Assign
Now for the fun part.
Highlight the parts of the process that you:
- Are not good at
- Cannot do
- Do not want to do
For these tasks, you need to assign a suitable team member. With our podcast, we have three resources (including me) that participate in the process.
Here’s our assignment:
- Content Preparation – Tom/General Virtual Assistant
- Audio Recording – Tom
- Editing – Audio Editor
- Tagging – General Virtual Assistant
- Uploading – General Virtual Assistant
- Distribution – General Virtual Assistant
Step 4 – Hire
If you do not already have a General Virtual Assistant then head over to Virtual Valley where you can hire an awesome Virtual Assistant in 5 minutes and 7 clicks.
And as for a audio editor, we hired an awesome one through Upwork. Here is his profile if you would like to hire him also.
Step 5 – Perform
Once your new team is hired, simply share the documentation you produced that clearly shows the tasks assigned to each resource, answer any questions they may have, and then get started producing awesome audio content!
Your Podcast Promotion (How To Get Into iTunes New & Noteworthy)
You are ready.
You have some well edited episodes recorded that are bursting with value, all you need now?
Some people to listen.
And it just so happens there’s a billboard visited by thousands of hungry podcast fans each day that is FREE to list your podcast…
The iTunes New & Noteworthy section of course:
If you receive a certain number of downloads, ratings, and reviews within a certain time period, and your podcast listing is less than 2 months old, iTunes will advertise you to their audience for FREE.
I am now going to share the exact method we used to achieve this within a 48 hour period after our launch with no advertising budget.
1. Preload Your Episodes
One of the criteria that iTunes uses to determine who is featured in their New & Noteworthy section is downloads. And fortunately, when a listener subscribes to your podcast, they automatically download each episode as it is released AND more importantly… your previous episodes.
Therefore, if you have a number of episodes already loaded in iTunes when you launch your podcast, then you get more downloads and increase your chances of being featured.
2. Keep It Simple
We now move on to how we get the maximum number of people from your network (and beyond) to subscribe, rate, and review your podcast within this crucial 48 hour period.
In order to maximize this number, you must make it as EASY as possible for people to do so by creating a specific walkthrough (with images) on your blog showing the process for both desktop and mobile users, here is ours.
3. Launch With a BIG Episode
When you have 5-10 episodes already in your iTunes profile and have drawn up your walkthrough blog post, it is time to launch.
However, before you do, we need to mention an important fact: being featured in iTunes New & Noteworthy is a vanity metric.
While this doesn’t help with LONG term success, it does provide a sharp boost in download figures.
As we have already discussed, your podcast success hinges almost exclusively on you being able to add value to the lives of your listeners.
Thus, the first episode that your listeners tune into MUST be a big one. We launched with a live customer feedback interview with one of our first entrepreneurs (fortunately it was mainly positive!), a first for the startup world.
4. Promotion Hustle
And now it’s party time.
If you reached this part of the article and are looking for the one sneaky hack to land your podcast at the top of the iTunes podcast rankings, we’re sorry to disappoint you because it’s important to know that HUSTLE is the only thing that will get you to #1.
With that out of the way, let’s continue.
Everything is in place, you now just need to let people know about your podcast.
Here is a list of each of the channels we used to let people know about our podcast
Everyone who has willingly given you their email address would probably like to know that you are launching a podcast and be happy to provide feedback.
Here is the email we sent to our list:
Note that I provide a clear incentive for subscribing/rating and reviewing and provide simple links to share the podcast with their networks.
Everyone that has given you permission to share social updates with them (friends/followers/subscribers/connections) might like to know you are releasing a podcast and be happy to give you feedback.
So you need to give them every opportunity to do so by tweeting multiple times during the 48 hour launch period.
And then if you do make it to the front page of your podcast category in iTunes, make sure you update your followers just as we did on Twitter:
If you are part of any relevant Facebook Groups, reach out the admin and mention that you would like to post your new podcast to request feedback:
I then posted in Nader’s Group:
And many others which I am part of.
If you invested any amount of time marketing your business online the past few years, you’ve most likely realized that cultivating relationships plays a MASSIVE part in your success.
And if you’ve been doing so effectively, it’s time to call in a couple of favors from your network.
I spent a number of hours reaching out to connections to personally request a subscription, rating, and review through:
- Twitter – All active followers
- Facebook – All friends that I thought would be interested
- Email – Each influencer/follower I had interacted by email over the past couple of months
- In Person – All people with an iPhone that I interacted with over the 48 hours
If you take action through the above channels during the 48 hours, there is a good chance that you will achieve enough action on your iTunes podcast page to propel you to the top of the New & Noteworthy section of your category.
And There It Is
Here you have a summary of how we took “0-$4 Million” from just an idea to the top of iTunes New & Noteworthy in just 1 month. So unfortunately you no longer have any excuses…
I look forward to subscribing, reviewing and rating your new podcast, just drop a link in the comments below 🙂
And before you go, I need just one small favor…
You know your one friend that is always talking about starting a podcast?
Use the share icons below to send this over to them today, as they could hit iTunes New & Noteworthy in 1 month.