Have you ever wondered what it takes to make a successful podcast? Whether you are just getting started with your own show or you’ve had a podcast for a while, it can be frustrating to see overnight success stories. Today, we are peeling away the overnight veneer and exposing the time it takes to implement podcast growth strategies effectively.
We sat down with Rich Jones and Marcus Garrett from Paychecks and Balances to learn more about podcasting. They share how long the overnight success story took them. Plus, they offer specific podcast growth strategies that will boost your podcast exposure and grow an audience of true fans.
If you are ready to level up your podcasting game, you don’t want to miss this!
5 Smart Podcast Growth Strategies
With more than a decade of experience creating online content and seven years of podcast experience, Rich and Marcus understand what it means to be an overnight success. In short, there is no such thing.
The truth is that behind their “overnight” success story is a content pivot, a show name change, and countless hours of work. While their success was not instantaneous, they have built an award-winning podcast and a truly dedicated audience in the process.
If you are looking to start your own show, these five strategies can help you bypass some common missteps. If you already have your own show, these podcast growth strategies can take your work to the next level.
Let’s dive in!
Realize Podcast Growth Takes Time
Out of all the podcast growth strategies, this one might be most important. Podcasting takes time. The longer you stick with it, the more you increase your podcast exposure. As your exposure grows, so does your audience.
One of the first pieces of advice Rich and Marcus give is not to rush the results. Results are rarely instant. In fact, many people work in online industries for four to five years or more before their businesses really start to take off.
By allowing yourself time to find success, you also give your podcast time to grow. That is why it is crucial that you love the topic. Choosing to focus on a topic you care about will help you stay in it for the long haul. Understanding the evolution of what is important to you and what is important to your listeners can’t happen overnight.
While Rich and Marcus make an effort to not focus too much on their download numbers, they do know that their show has grown tremendously. In the beginning, two thousand downloads per episode felt like a dream. Now, they see 10,000 downloads per episode.
When they reflect on why they are experiencing this kind of success, they realize it’s because they continue to put out quality content over a long period of time. Staying in the game is a lot easier now because they niched down their focus and they are committed to having fun with the show.
Learn more about growing your podcast downloads over time with these tips from Jen Smith and Jill Sirianni.
Rich and Marcus know the importance of consistency from firsthand experience. While they originally tried to share a broader message, in 2016 they narrowed down their content.
Once they changed the podcast name to Paychecks and Balances, they decided to laser focus on personal finance and career advice. Those topics fit their avatar, so they realized it was time to ditch content related to pop culture, relationships, and the rest of their everything-under-the-sun approach.
While being consistent doesn’t happen overnight, it is a key component of podcast growth strategies. It can save you from focusing on topics and content that don’t bring value to your listeners.
Another way to build consistency within your work is to develop a process to work more efficiently. If your podcast involves a team of people, it is important to communicate clearly.
Rich and Marcus use Slack to keep lines of contact open. This allows them to understand what’s going on in each other’s lives despite living on opposite coasts. Real and straightforward conversations help to minimize disagreements and keep the focus on creating content, products, and services.
Division of Labor
In addition to clear communication, it is important to look at systems and roles. As a team of two, Rich and Marcus created an org chart to outline a division of labor for Paychecks and Balances. This structure helped them play to their respective strengths and interests. It has also yielded a much better output for their podcast.
Outsource if Needed
As your podcast grows, outsourcing could also become important. With increased podcast exposure comes an increase in tasks. Outsourcing is one way to keep moving forward.
Currently, Rich and Marcus employ a virtual assistant and a podcast editor. They estimate that they are currently saving dozens of hours a month and getting premium quality work. Their VA and editor allow them to focus on their own strengths and improve the overall experience for their Paychecks and Balances audience.
Throw it back to Rich and Marcus’s first Money and Media visit and find more tips for podcast success here.
Have Good Show Mechanics
Another one of the top strategies for podcast growth is to focus on your show mechanics. Take an honest listen to your intro and outro, and then spend some time doing your research.
Listen to other podcasts as a listener, not a fellow podcaster. Then, think about your own episodes the way a listener would. What do you notice?
Rich and Marcus say the most important consideration here is to set up each episode in a way that catches new listeners. You have a very limited amount of time to convert someone who is perusing an episode for the first time to someone who becomes part of your audience. Having a tight intro is one way to do that.
On Paychecks and Balances, they aim to get into the interview within the first two minutes of the show. That means that their focus is to dive into the topic without any fluff. However, you want to make sure that you still allow your intro to showcase your personality.
Click here for more tips on creating a hit podcast even as a new podcaster.
Promote Your Show to Boost Podcast Exposure
To boost your podcast exposure, you have to make it a point to promote your show. There are various strategies that you can use to do this. One thing that Rich and Marcus do consistently is to encourage their audience to share the show with family, friends, and other people. Bringing new ears to the podcast and new eyes to their online content is a powerful way to expand their listeners.
But Rich and Marcus don’t just leave it up to their audience to find new listeners. They take an active approach to promote their show as well and advise you to do the same.
Whether it is going to conferences in your niche or going on other podcasts that deal with similar topics, you can really boost your podcast exposure. The key is to meet your audience where they are. That is why it might be more effective to promote your podcast on other podcasts, rather than looking to blog and print spaces for help.
Another tactic is to do direct outreach. Many listening platforms, such as Apple Podcasts, have curated content sections. Rich and Marcus make it a point to find contact information and reach out to various platforms with ideas. So what might that look like for you? That might mean that you send an inquiry asking how your podcast can get featured. You can also pitch an idea that you have for a potential feature.
No matter how you start to promote your show, one thing both Rich and Marcus emphasize is not to wait.
Learn more about how to take advantage of conferences like FinCon as a podcaster with our guide here.
The final tactic in this list of podcast growth strategies requires pushing out of your comfort zone. Marcus and Rich have over a decade of experience working on online, but they have also found themselves seizing opportunities offline.
Their podcast has lead to numerous speaking opportunities. Plus, they said yes to opportunities from big media companies like CBS and Yahoo Finance. Whether it was participating in a panel or doing video interviews, they had to push beyond their podcast and blog to seize these opportunities.
Of course, podcasters need to maintain balance. Seeking opportunities is not about saying yes to everything. Instead, Rich and Marcus recommend being strategic with who and what you say yes to.
If you’re ready to say yes to speaking opportunities, don’t miss these tips here from Grant Baldwin.
Final Thoughts on Podcast Growth Strategies
One of the most powerful reminders for Rich and Marcus have for podcasters is to keep creating new content.
Don’t overwhelm yourself by focusing on downloads. Don’t beat yourself up expecting that overnight success.
Instead, keep pushing forward. You never know who will listen to your show next and what opportunities that will unlock.
What podcast growth strategies have worked for you?
Please let us know in the comments below.