The idea of how to launch a podcast sounds deceptively simple – as simple as podcasting can be, anyways. Record your audio, open an account with a podcast host, submit your RSS feed, and you’re launched. Right?
While there’s nothing wrong with taking that approach, we’ve highlighted a few extra steps to take in your podcasting journey to ensure that your audience growth starts off on the right foot.
1. Talk About Your Podcast While It’s Still In The Works
In our interview with Josh Hallmark of True Crime BS, you’ll know that he spent years marketing and promoting his podcast before he ever published an episode. He bought space at conventions and passed out information. Also, he made appearances and networked in the name of this podcast. Josh pushed for the name to be as well-known as possible before the actual publication date of his first episode.
Spend a month or two before your intended release date hyping yourself up on social media. Also look into other forms of advertising. Use this time to check out your local conventions. Get a table for the weekend and hand out cards and stickers to remind people of your upcoming release. Use QR codes on your card so listeners can access your show with as few steps as possible.
2. Release Teasers and Promos Before Your Publication Date
While you’re working on creating your podcast episodes (because it’s recommended to have 5-10 episodes on deck for publication, and some even suggest releasing 3 episodes on your initial release date), you can drop clips from shows in progress. Maybe you said something funny or incredibly insightful. Maybe you scripted something completely heart-breaking and earth-shattering. Tt gives your audience a taste of your content to keep them interested. An interested audience will return when more content is available.
Also use this as a chance to post behind-the-scenes clips or even outtakes. People love to hear Freudian slips, the words you come up with when you can’t think of the right one (RIP to me as a podcaster when I forgot the word “fringe” and called them “dangles” instead). This creates a connection with your listeners. It humanizes you as the content creator and demystifies the man behind the curtain.
3. Make Sure Your Releases Have A Throughline
Whether you’re releasing teasers every week, posting pics of on-location shoots or guests, post with the intent of curating your brand. We mentioned in our promotion article to utilize a unique hashtag for your show. You can go even further by making sure that your podcast’s brand is present in whatever you do.
For pictures, make sure your album cover (or the centerpiece of your album cover) is present somewhere that’s visible. When selecting audio clips, include the intro/outro music so that your listeners begin associating that sound with your show/content. For video-based content, make sure that you utilize your title card and end card for each clip. Headliner is a great resource for making these kind of video/audio clips known as audiograms.
By developing uniqueness around you and your podcast, you are creating awareness for you and how you brand, which then unifies all the content you release now with the official content you release on your launch day and beyond.
4. Upgrade Your Website As Needed
Everyone’s got a website or a blog nowadays. It’s a focal point for you and your content. It exists as a source that anyone can utilize to find your podcast, social media, and contact info.
Ensure that your information is correct, all of your links work, and that nothing impedes anyone from getting your content. While most people aren’t so persnickety as to close a tab if something isn’t within two clicks on a website, it’s better to pretend that they are so you can streamline your site and make your most important info (links to your podcast, social media, etc) are as prominent as possible.
This is also the time to make sure everything is aesthetic and on brand as possible. It’s extremely important on your own site to make sure that everything’s cohesive, visible, and matches your podcast’s aesthetic. As long as they’re not clashing, of course – if your album cover is turquoise and candy-apple red, more power to you, but try not to make them the sole two colors of your website.
Having a website is also extremely important for search engine optimization (SEO). Having a website (especially if your podcast’s name is unique) will allow search engines to easily index your page. This will push you to the top search results when someone searches your keywords. This is especially true if those keywords are in the name of your podcast. Hosting with PodBean, you have your own custom website and can further optimize your SEO.
5. Make Your Launch Date A Celebration
While throwing a party might not be your first thought on the day of your release, it should be – and not just so you can celebrate yourself and your accomplishment. (Though, to be fair, that should be one of your reasons – you’ve put in a lot of hard work, and that should be celebrated.) With a launch party, it’s another method you can utilize to spread the word about your podcast.
When musicians release a new record, many will throw album release parties. They perform and play at the top of their game for everyone who had gathered to support them. A launch party gives you a chance to meet face-to-face with listeners and supporters of your podcast. You’ll even introduce your podcast to people who haven’t heard of it yet.
If you make the final decision and decide that an immediate party isn’t in the plans for your launch day, at least make sure that you include your listeners in on whatever celebratory thing you decide to do. There’s nothing wrong with doing a short video for your chosen social media platform, or posting pictures of your own personal celebration.
You can also celebrate in a more giving fashion, such as offering to do giveaways or shoutouts on your social media platforms. Make the celebration about your audience, and reward them for their support.
6. Keep The Momentum Going On Social Media
You’ve woken up the day after your launch, and now you’re wondering, What do I do now?
The answer is easy: you keep moving forward. Keep making and posting content, keep up with comments and interactions on social media, look for ways to keep making your podcast the best it can be. You made a lot of momentum with all your work leading up to the launch, but it’s worthless if you quit two feet past the finish line.
Be proud of what you’ve accomplished – not too many people start a podcast, despite what stats tell you. But while you’re patting yourself on the back, remember to keep your eyes on the horizon and think about your next steps.
Launching a podcast might seem easy, but there are plenty of ways that things might take an unwanted turn. But by taking these steps, you increase your podcast’s chances of a super successful launch.