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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.

Question…

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 EntrepreneurOnFire.com, 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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