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I actually think all of the organic podcast growth methods have had a bigger return than the money we have invested in paid ads.
Today, I'm sharing nine of the things that I've done to grow my podcast to 1.5 million downloads. It has been quite a wild journey and it's really interesting because, in the first six months of podcasting, I had a hundred thousand downloads and I thought that was huge.
And then what's happened ever since then is I've become a little bit more intentional with all of the activities we do around the podcast and it's become this growth that has become so much more exponential.
So I'm going to share with you today the 9 things that I did specifically that helped to grow my podcast to 1.5 million downloads in four years.
We started doing this before I even started my podcast and I still do this to some extent these days and that is asking for topics, suggestions in communities where my listeners hung out or who were my ideal listeners, people who I thought would be a good fit for listening to the podcast.
And what I would position it as was, Hey, I've got a podcast or before I started my podcast, I said, Hey, look, I'm going to be starting this podcast and I'd love to know what questions you have about marketing your business, about building an online business and about launching digital products. Hit me with all of your questions.
And then what I did was I recorded an episode talking about the content that they had requested and it might sound exhausting but actually what I found was a lot of people kept asking the same questions over and over again.
So I would record an episode answering the question and then I would go back to all of the people who asked for this question, asked for this particular piece of content and I said to them, Hey, I've recorded an episode about this. You can tune into this episode here.
So the communities I would be looking at would be particular Facebook groups, where people hang out on Reddit communities, and Twitter as well, to a certain extent, because any of those communities where you can be having a two-way discussion on Instagram. That's why I like Facebook groups and Reddit communities, and also Twitter a little bit.
Another strategy that I've started doing is surveying my email lists quite regularly. I used to do it just once a year. Now I've started doing it more than twice a year. This gives me endless content ideas for my podcast and it's giving my listeners what they want, which means happy listeners, which means more recommendations.
They share it with their friends. They tune in more often. They leave better reviews. All of these things ultimately lead to more listeners of your podcast.
What I started doing quite a lot last year and the year before was finding suitable shows. Figuring out what kind of angle I could pitch them with, what kind of value I could provide to their listeners, to their show in particular, not just like one generic pitch that I would send to all of these different podcasts.
But how I could provide the best value to their particular listeners and then I would pitch them. So start finding those shows that are suitable and start tailoring those pitchers to those shows.
And then what I do during that interview is I either give a call to action at the end to tune into my podcast or if it fits into a story that I'm telling, for example, while I'm being interviewed, I will mention my podcast and I'll mention the podcast name. That way, if somebody is listening to me being interviewed, they like what I'm talking about. They resonate with me, then they know where to go and find more from me.
If somebody has downloaded a free ebook or any kind of freebie of mine, in that email sequence, after they've downloaded it, they will get an email with a little brief summary of a recent episode and a link to tune into the podcast.
I have my daily biz boosters. There is an email that goes out every single day and in the footer, I always have a link to the podcast. If we're interacting in a Facebook group and you've asked a question and I have a podcast episode that answers your question, I'm going to be linking to that episode.
So I'm constantly giving those calls to action, to tune in to podcast episodes.
If somebody asks me a question, this happens a lot in my DMS, and I have a podcast episode that has covered it, I'm going to link them to the podcast episode rather than answering their question unless they are a paying client. That is an exception, obviously.
Now, when you think of an email newsletter, they're pretty boring. When you think of a typical newsletter, it's like, here's what's new in my business.
I don't do them like that. I tend to share a story and I add a call to action. I also sometimes repurpose these into Instagram captions and then give the same call to action. Go tune into the podcast. It's a great way to repurpose your content, right?
So I'm doing one podcast episode. I'm getting an email to my list and I'm also getting an Instagram caption rather than constantly having to go and create all of these new, different content ideas across all of the different platforms. I'm just seeding that same content across multiple different platforms.
As each episode goes out, I share Instagram stories, graphics with a link and a call to action to listen to the episode. The entire process now takes like five minutes. My team creates the graphic. I simply get a notification saying to upload it. I jump into Instagram and upload it. I copy and paste the link and it's there. That reaches a couple of hundred people.
That makes a big difference and that might be somebody brand new who has never, ever discovered my podcast before.
This was a bit of a new idea that we tested at the end of 2021 and it's something we'll be doing a little bit more, I think going forward. So what I did was I'd pick a particular theme, for example, growing your audience and I chose my favourite episodes that related to that theme and then pulled them into a single-page playlist.
When I was creating them, I thought, okay, what is the simplest way I can do this? Like, I could put them on my website and create a blog post around it, but then the formatting's going to be difficult and I'm going to be obsessed with trying to make it look pretty. I could make it a PDF, but then people can't listen to the PDF.
So, what I ended up doing was creating a simple notion doc. If you're not familiar with notion, it is a kind of note-taking app, I suppose that allows you to build out blocks and it allows you to make some nice formatting.
Thank you to rev.com. They're not a sponsor. I just love that you can pay a couple of dollars per minute and it transcribes the entire episode. And then my VA edits them into blog posts and some of these blog posts get really good organic traffic from Google, which means that people are finding what they are searching for and it's bringing them back to my website where they can read the blog version, but they could also click on the call to action to listen to the podcast version.
And while some people will always prefer reading, I think more and more people are starting to choose the podcast option and that's pretty cool.
Once we transcribed each episode and turned it into a blog post, sharing the blog posts to Pinterest help them to start getting organic traffic from Pinterest. Now, if you haven't used Pinterest, it is a pretty untapped resource. I think it's still one of the social media sites where it's pretty low maintenance and there's still so much potential for organic traffic from there.
Now, when I say it's low maintenance, we don't actively do much on Pinterest. I did for a while, work with a Pinterest manager. But what I actually found is that we can use an app called Tailwind to automate posting, and re-pinning is what they technically call it.
I'm not a Pinterest expert, but I do think that it has been an awesome traffic generator for my business and I think it has helped to generate quite a lot of downloads for my podcast.
I intentionally put this one last because I personally don't think this has been the biggest return on time and money invested so far. I know there's so much more we could be doing in this space, but I actually think all of the organic podcast growth methods have had a bigger return than the money we have invested in paid ads.
I like overcast ads because they tell you specifically how many people clicked on the ad and how many people subscribed. So you can kind of work out a cost per acquired listener, I suppose, CPL. Let's call it that. Now, what I've found is Facebook ads direct to the podcast, don't tend to work that well. That has been effective in more of a list-building sense.
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