How to Launch and Grow a Podcast to 1,000,000 Downloads

Launching a podcast is no small feat, but you can definitely make it happen. I’m going to tell you some key milestones you must hit to launch and grow a podcast to 1,000,000 downloads and beyond.


Have you struggled with identifying your podcast and how you will differentiate it in such a crowded space?

Do you have a cohesive plan to build a platform once you launch?

How will you continue to grow an engaged and loyal audience in order to pave the way to 1,000,000 downloads and beyond?

Allow me…

Note: this post is by John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire. In the past seven months he has launched his podcast and held some of the top spots in iTunes ever since. If you have a podcast or are looking to launch one soon you won’t want to miss out on John’s advice. 

Identifying Your Podcast

Before you do anything, be sure you can answer the following questions:

  • What is the topic of your podcast?
  • What niche are you trying to fill?
  • Who is your avatar?

Being able to answer these key questions is the foundation to building the best platform possible, which will provide your podcast with the support it needs and deserves.

With EntrepreneurOnFire, I knew the topic of my podcast, the niche I was trying to fill and my target audience very well. How?

I was my own avatar.

My own “aha” moment helped me answer all of the questions above, and it also helped me discover how I was going to differentiate myself in what is a very crowded space.

I realized there was a void when it came to daily podcasts that delivered inspiring, motivating and relevant content to an entrepreneurial audience. I was zipping through months of content in a single week. I found myself searching for interviews with Entrepreneurs who were willing to share their own journey to success. I knew if I wanted it, others must want it too.

So I set out to launch and grow EntrepreneurOnFire.

I would differentiate myself by being the only podcast that produced daily interviews with inspiring Entrepreneurs, sharing their failures, “aha” moments, and what was exciting them now. My mission was clear, and all that remained was execution.

Building Your Platform

Once you settle on a target market it’s time to begin building your platform. Here are four actionable ways you can start building awareness and an audience:

1. Attend a Conference

If there is a conference or gathering you can attend to meet people who are either in your industry or who are potential members of your audience, make it a point to attend. Meeting those who are already established, or who may be able to share advice and tips with you are invaluable. These are the types of relationships that will help build your name and your audience before you’ve even launched your podcast.

I attended Blogworld in NYC two weeks after I decided to create EntrepreneurOnFire, which was about three months before I launched. The connections I made and the information I gleaned from being present has proven to be gold. Attending this conference not only helped me meet those already in my industry, it also afforded me my initial interviewees who have contributed in major ways to my success today.

Action Tip #1: Find one conference in the next three months that is relevant to you and your niche. Book it and prepare yourself to rub elbows with those who may become supporters and mentors.

2. Create a Website or Make Your Current One Podcast Ready

It’s important to have a headquarters where your audience can gather and enjoy the content you’re going to be producing. A blog is a great home base for your listeners where they can:

  • Listen to your podcast (I recommend the plugin PowerPress)
  • Find out more about your podcast
  • Connect with you
  • Learn about your products and services
  • Sign-up for your email list
  • Gain access to your resources

Of the six items listed above, getting people to sign up for your email list is the most important because email is still the best way to stay connected with your audience.

Action Tip #2: Have a great giveaway for people who subscribe to your email list that’s relevant to your podcast. At New Media Expo, Pat Flynn called me up on stage and recommended I write an eBook detailing the top tips from past interviewees. Four days later, “10 Incredible Insights From 10 Incredible Entrepreneurs” appeared on, and my average subscriber numbers jumped from 15 a day to over 25. Thanks, Pat!

3. Use Social Media

When used properly, it works. Create a Facebook page so you can gain fans, start a Twitter account for followers, and reach out to like-minded people through LinkedIn and Google+ to let them know you’re launching a podcast. I went from zero Facebook fans to over 1,700 and from zero Twitter followers to over 10,000 in four short months, all driven by EntrepreneurOnFire.

Action Tip #3: On Twitter, when you post your Stitcher Radio link, a widget appears, and your followers can play your podcast right from their Twitter stream!

4. Build Your Content Library

Having content in the bank is very important. Before I launched EntrepreneurOnFire, I had 40 interviews recorded and ready to go. Don’t be scared off by that number – I went a little overboard because I’m doing a daily show – but most podcasters who are weekly can hover closer to 6 episodes in the bank.

At EntrepreneurOnFire, I dedicate every Monday to eight interviews. This allows me to focus the rest of my week on all other things EntrepreneurOnFire.

Action Tip #4: Consistency is KEY when launching your podcast. From the very start, let your audience know what your release schedule will be, and STICK TO IT! You will gain and retain loyal listeners by following this tip, and let’s face it: that’s what we are all looking for.

Grow Your Audience

The business model I built for EntrepreneurOnFire is based on releasing a daily interview with an inspiring and successful entrepreneur. My first task each morning is to email EntrepreneurOnFire’s spotlighted guest the link that will allow them to share their interview quickly and easily with their massive audience. This ensures that every single day thousands of people are being exposed to EntrepreneurOnFire for the first time, and hopefully, some will become fans.

In order for this tactic to really take off, I knew I needed to have some really big names on my show. Remember my mention of attending Blogworld in NYC and locking down some of my initial interviewees? Pat Flynn, Adam Baker and Derek Halpern were a few of them, all whom encouraged and supported my vision to create inspiring, motivating content.

With their help spreading the word to their audiences, not only was I able to build instant credibility in my niche, I was also able to grow an incredibly loyal audience who could count on me to provide consistent, passionate content on a daily basis.

Once I had the download numbers to accompany these big names, I was able to start reaching out to even bigger names. I very quickly found this tactic had an amazing snowball effect. When you’re talking about Barbara Corcoran, Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss and Gary Vaynerchuk, you’re talking about massive audiences.

So if you’re looking to launch and grow a podcast to 1,000,000 and beyond, buckle up, and get ready for a crazy ride. I launched EntrepreneurOnFire in September 2012, and currently, we’re getting over 175,000 unique downloads every month. I’m not quite at a mil, but I’m well over halfway there, and it feels insanely awesome.

If you have the focus, motivation and drive that it takes to hit the key milestones mentioned above, then I know you can launch and grow a podcast to 1,000,000 downloads and beyond.


What questions do you have about launching your podcast? I will answer each and every one, so let’s hear it!

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  • John Lee Dumas

    Thank you to the Think Traffic team for allowing me to share my journey and experiences thus far :-) I look forward to answering any questions that readers have!

  • Michael Chibuzor

    I like your strategy for growing an audience when you interview experts. I think that blogging all by itself is stressful and tedious when you’re the sole marketer. But when other people support you, it’d be a lot easier to actually get thousands of visitors and loyal readers daily.

    I also have used your strategy in the past. When I interviewed one of the super affiliates, I pleaded with him to share the post with his 43K email subscribers. When he did that, I got well over 1000 subscribers and made 12 sales instantly on my OTO page.

    Learn more here:

    • John Lee Dumas

      Hi Michael,

      Thank you for sharing your experiences with interviews. That is truly the reason EntrepreneurOnFire took off from the start. Every day my first email is to my guest who’s interview just went live, supplying them with links and a humble request to share their amazing journey with their massive audience. They happily share 99.9% of the time, and this exposes EntrepreneurOnFire to a new listener base every day of the week :-)

  • Jadah | Simple Green Smoothies

    This article is super helpful. I’m curious about how you approached the big names at the conference. What was your pick-up line? :-)

    Also would you interview a newbie entrepreneur? I’m a wife, a mom, multi-passionate 29 year old entrepreneur. I launched a blog in Nov. 2012. And in a very short amount of time, we’ve had over 1 million views on our website, over 52,000 email subscribers, over 113,000 Instagram followers, over 28,000 Facebook fans, and growing by the thousands every day. Just this week, we hit our biggest website visit day with over 60,000.

    We launched our first week of launching our first ebook (the week of Jan. 31 2013), we generated over $8,000 in sales with minimal start-up costs and no paid advertising. When I say we, it’s just me and my website partner who is a wife and mom too.

    I just discovered ThinkTraffic last week and I’m a huge fan!

    • John Lee Dumas


      for a “newbie” those are INCREDIBLE numbers :-) Email me at and we can talk some more about a potential interview on Great work and stay inspired!

    • Hector Cuevas

      Wow.. you ladies are awesome. I’m one of your Instagram followers and I love the smoothies you guys come up with. They taste great and make me feel like a million bucks.

      I’m so happy to hear of your success. Wish you many many more. Keep up the great work!

  • Hector Cuevas

    Great article. I’ve started 3 podcasts in the past few years and these actions steps are on point if you (1) want to get found on iTunes and (2) want to grow your audience.

    I have to agree 1000% with having a content bank. Podcasting is just like blogging. It comes down to consistency. If you’re not providing content, your susbcribers will begin to forget about you.

    One last thing I would suggest is to do a bit of iTunes SEO. Basically you want to use the keyword people are typing into google when you’re putting the podcast together. Your podcast name, description and categories are key to getting found when people use the little search bar at the top right hand corner of iTunes.

    Anyway, great piece. Thanks for sharing – and good luck to anyone starting a podcast.

    • John Lee Dumas


      Thank you for your kind words and GREAT advice :-) iTunes SEO is a totally underused tool and if you search “content marketing” in the iTunes store EntrepreneurOnFire is the #1 result as I employed this tactic and love the results I have seen from it.

      Stay consistent and provide great content Think Traffic reader…and great things will follow :-)

  • Drew Tewell

    Hello John,

    Just bought your book. Wow, a daily podcast. I recently interviewed Gary Vaynerchuk and on Tuesday, Penelope Trunk. I plan on starting a my podcast next week. I’ll be digging into your book over the next couple of days. Thanks for sharing your journey!

    Drew Tewell

    • John Lee Dumas


      Thanks for your support and kind words! Sounds like you are on a great path with your podcast…keep me posted!

  • Nick

    Hey John,
    First off, CONGRATS on your amazing success! I love your strategies and I have 2 questions…
    1. do you actually ask your interviewees to share the interview w their social platforms and email subscribers? (If so, how do you do it without sounding selfish or cheesy?)
    2. How does somebody differentiate themselves within the HUGE entrepreneurship niche?

    Thanks in advance John and keep doing what you do:). You’re inspiring many!

    • John Lee Dumas

      Hi Nick!

      Thank you for the kind words :-) I will post an email I sent out to my guest for today’s podcast, if anyone has suggestions I would love to hear them! I am always looking to improve.


      Your interview is live and is expected to get over 5,000 downloads…just today! That’s pretty sweet considering you rocked the interview :-)

      I would be honored if you would share with your audience.

      Your Show’s link!

      iTunes Link

      Also, we are starting a great conversation about your interview over at Facebook! Would love if you could chime in :-)

      Thank you again for sharing your incredible journey.

      ~ John Lee Dumas

    • Quinn

      Hey Nick,

      1. John answers your first quest in episode 150 – at about the 21 min mark – basically yes he does but it is worth listening to the followup comments for sure.
      2. John may have a better answer, but I recently got clarity on this question by defining my “one person” – if you can describe a person who you can provide massive value to – that is aligned with your passions and abilities – you have a winner. (Abilities can also be learned)

      Hope that helps, Quinn

      Here is the link to episode 150 –

    • John Lee Dumas


      You nailed it…and thanks for the assist!

      Find your AVATAR…then speak to him/her, and no one else. Your tribe will find you.

    • Steve Young

      John, maybe include the clicktotweet link in your email?

    • John Lee Dumas

      Love that Iiea Steve…you’re hired!

    • John Lee Dumas

      Love that idea Steve…you’re hired!

  • Quinn

    Hey John,

    I have been very impressed with what you have done and have your book – Thank you! Look out for my podcast later this year :-) I am igniting!

    Question – In one of your recent podcast episodes – I think it was the one where you were interviewed by a listener (awesome) – you said that having a mentor was a huge help. I am seeking a mentor and I would be prepared to pay for the privilege, but more importantly I need someone who is the right fit.

    I was at NMX too when Pat called you up and have since had my aha moment and gone on to produce a great giveaway that people are loving. However I think a mentor would help significantly at this point…

    I was interested in your thoughts on how to go about it. Could you share what you did or others do? Also wondering if I should offering to pay or would this actually do more harm than good…

    Keep up the great shows!


    • John Lee Dumas

      Hi Quinn,

      I am glad we both had our AHA moment at the same time!

      As for Mentors, I attribute my mentor (Jaime Tardy of The Eventual Millionaire) to all the success I have had. I would have wasted so much time and effort without her, and happily payed her a hefty sum for 3 months of mentoring, and the value I received in return was 10x.

      I have had great experiences mentoring others since and have been proud to have seen them go on to produce great podcasts since.

      So yes, find your mentor and know the value you are receiving is priceless.

      Best of luck and I look forward to subscribing to, rating and review (5-star of course) your Podcast!

  • Mohamed B.

    I think that what you’ve provided is a good overview, but if it were up to me I could use an entire follow up post on #4.

    The fact that you have a daily show is testament to the fact that you have no problems landing guests to interview for your show. Do you have any tips regarding landing guests for a relatively new podcast? It’s not something I’ve seen discussed in any real detail, as people seem to focus more on the technical aspects of setting up a podcast.

    Great tips though, and congratulations to you on your success.

    • John Lee Dumas

      Thank you Mohamed.

      I do go into detail on this subject in my book, Podcast Launch which is linked above or you can search the amazon store for.

      Getting great guests is like building a house, you need a foundation first, and then you can start adding the impressive artwork to adorn your walls.

      Translation…start with lesser known Entrepreneurs who are doing great things, build an audience so you can show the big boys and girls it is worth 20 minutes of their time to chat you your engaged and passionate followers :-)

    • Mohamed B.

      Thanks for your response John.

      I just bought your book on Kindle and can’t wait to get home tonight to give it a read. Judging from the reviews I have a lot to look forward to.

      Thanks again.

    • John Lee Dumas

      Wonderful Mohamed!

      The HUGE value lies in the 15 Video tutorials that come with the book. Readers have LOVED them (as you can see by the reviews :-)

  • Iain

    Great information.

    I a particularly liked the Action tips. Many times we read but don’t take action.

    By presenting those action tips, I hope that people will do more.

    On your point of attending a conference: unfortunately, doing that isn’t always possible due to various reasons. Do you have any alternatives to doing that?

    • John Lee Dumas

      Thank you Iain, I also hope people take action!

      Almost every conference has a virtual component. Attend the virtual conference, really watch in detail, and then reach out to the speaker you would like to contact and bring up something that only people who watched the conference would remember. This will be endearing and you can go from there!

  • Rick Mulready

    Thanks for this buddy! I had no idea about the Stitcher tip for Twitter. Brilliant! I’m off to tweet it right now. :)

    • John Lee Dumas

      Rick! You need to share your podcast in every way possible…it’s great! See you in SD soon :-)

  • Rob Leonardo

    Your post came to my inbox right on time! I am just toying an audio podcast for my small community. When you look at starting at doing a podcast, it is overwhelming especially the technicalities. I feel that ‘podcasting’ is similar to organizing a video or audio for your blog but the difference is of course you organize the podcast into a feed. If I would do a simple audio or video material for my blog, for a starter, I would be doing it with my existing gadgets. Shouldn’t that be sufficient as well if I decide to make it a podcast and register it on a feed?

    • John Lee Dumas

      Hi Rob,

      The key is to JUST START so yes, that would be sufficient. Podcasting is truly not difficult once you get the basic skills down, and once you submit your rss feed once…BooM.

      Best of luck and get ready for your community to grow Rob!

  • Steve Young

    John, thanks for the great content! Listening to your podcast has definitely inspired me to make the entrepreneurial jump! Been doing it on the side for some time, but now it’s time to make it a full time endeavor.

    • John Lee Dumas

      You know it Steve! I think a podcast is one of those leaps you need to make…if in doubt…remember how you rocked the mic at

    • Mans Denton

      Hey John, hate to be “that guy”, but I’m curious. I totally believe your podcast download numbers and the guests are obviously top-notch. What are you doing to remedy the fact that some of your posts with entrepreneurs have 0 Facebook likes, retweets, comments or any interaction whatsoever?

      As a marketer, it looks bad from a social proof perspective. Is it just because most listeners go to iTunes and don’t interact much with the site? If that is the case, what is the drawback of that?

  • Michael Vera

    Dude!! This is so awesome. When I read the title, I instantly knew this was either SmartPassiveIncome, or EntrepreneurOnFire…..and I was right! Well I had a fat chance of being right though. Lol!!

    I am a part of the fire nation!!! haha. I listen to the podcast all the time.

    Great post John!! Very great content and I bookmarked this article. I’ll see you around the FireNation LOL

    –Love Mike

    • John Lee Dumas


      FIRE NATION! Woot Woot! hehe

      Also, I love how you signed off…- Love Mike…classic :-)

      Thank you for your kind words and for being so awesome.

      See you around the hood!

      ~ John

  • Ian Dawson Mackay

    Any suggestion on where I can find out how to do the technical setup side of things? The whole, link your feed to this and do x, y, z is really holding me back. Any good resources as I don’t have a clue as to what I am doing.


    • John Lee Dumas


      My book Podcast Launch (linked at the end of the post above) has 15 video tutorials that walk you through most of the technical steps of the podcasting process.

      Hope this helps!

  • Jeremy McCommons

    I am beginning to look into podcasting as an addition to my regular blog posts. Your tips will definitely help me narrow down my ideas, goals & the overall purpose of my potential podcast. Thanks for the great advice!

  • Jake Hower

    Nice post, John! Keep up the good work, you’re rocking it :)

  • Hugh Culver

    Nice work. Not only sterling example of sharing your hard-earned smarts, but you responded to every comment! That tells me you are coming from the right place. I’m a fan.

    Now off to work on new podcast Expert’s Enterprise. See you on itunes!



  • Ben Krueger

    Thanks so much John!

    Some killer insights in here and I’m looking forward to publishing our interview shortly. I didn’t realize Pat had such an influence on how your 10 Incredible Insights From 10 Incredible Entrepreneurs ebook came about :)

  • http://NotYetLive Douglas Carlson

    Hi John,

    What are your feelings about audio vs. video podcasts?

    What do your analytics suggest? Also, what can you tell me about one-sided podcast interviews that capture video on only the guest’s side?

    Thanks for your work.


  • http://NotYetLive Douglas Carlson

    I know our friend JLD must be one successful fellow – I made the post above over two weeks ago, and he still hasn’t posted a response.

    We’re all impressed, John.

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  • Catherine Heeg

    Love the tip about playing a podcast right from Twitter. Great!

  • Sun Ho Lee Donovan

    Wonderful tips. I produce a terrestrial radio talk show to celebrate and connect small business. The podcasts are sort of a by product but reading your advice makes me realize that I’ve been ignoring a vital part of what we can be doing. Thanks! Would you consider doing a radio interview with me?

  • Andrew Fiebert

    I just want to add that these are incredible tips – from experience. Using much of what was detailed above we were able to go from about 200 listens a day to over 3,600 listens a day in 2.5 months with our podcast Listen Money Matters (

    The only thing I would add here in in attempting in every way possible to engage with your fans. We encourage every listener to email us and while it is starting to become a bit impossible to continue emailing everyone back, developing those relationships turned fans into super fans who trumpet our brand to everyone they know. Word of mouth is huge!

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