Denise Wakeman is famous for her Adventures in Visibility show and when she caught wind of my podcast launch party, she hit me up for an interview. She was very interested to hear about the lessons learned from this adventure and I was glad to share.
I hope this interview helps you get some ideas about how you might use a party to promote your next product launch.
Notes on the How to Successfully Launch a Podcast interview:
First things first, why did I host a launch party? Because I needed proof of concept. What I mean is that many people will tell you that this will work or that will work, but they’ve never tested it out themselves.After all: I am hard-pressed to show you how and why to do something, if I’ve not been successful at it myself.Click To Tweet
You see, a primary function of my own business is to help others develop their business. And I can’t do that unless I have seen the marketing in action personally.
For me, the real adventure is in learning how to go through the steps of something, so I can then help others along the way. That’s what spurred my first podcast, several years ago, and that’s why I re-launched recently.
My primary aim, this time around, was to investigate something there is plenty of buzz about right now: The iTunes New and Noteworthy list.
My approach to business is “scientific,” if you will. I like to test theories before I add my voice to the chorus of praise about something.
My clients deserve no less. I wouldn’t think of leading them anywhere I haven’t already been.
Why I held a podcast party in the first place
One of the best things you can do – before setting up a website, getting active in social media, launching a podcast – before you embark on ANY new project at all, is to first ask one very profound question of yourself: “Why?”
If your reason is “Because everyone else is doing it,” you’re already off to an iffy start. The best thing for your business is the best thing for YOUR business and YOUR customers.Never put time and effort into something that doesn’t warrant a sufficiently strong Why.Click To Tweet
My own reason was, as I have already mentioned, to develop proof of concept. I wanted to compare the second launch against my first launch to see whether a podcast party could help me achieve New and Noteworthy (N&N) and then to observe whether or not the coveted N&N status was of sufficient benefit to warrant the efforts taken to achieve it.
My friend, Ryan Hanley (Content Warfare Podcast) says “velocity of reviews and subscribers” plays a huge role in getting noticed in the iTunes store.
I used the podcast party to provide incentives for people to subscribe to the On Track Tips podcast and leave reviews – that gave me velocity, since the party brought people together during a focused period of time.
That buildup of speed is an example of fluid dynamics at work: substances are forced to flow faster through a constriction (think of a stream going through a narrow gorge).You see, Apple, like Google, is secretive about its algorithm, but there are some indicators of factors that seem to help one gain N&N status … things like reviews, subscribers, and the number of downloads in a month.Click To Tweet
Why is getting listed in iTunes’ New & Noteworthy so important?
Remember this: Your marketing success will be determined by your mindset from the outset.
If the depth of your mindset is simply to get into N&N, you’re missing most of the picture, and you are likely to be perceived as simply a marketer trying to make a splash.
Ask yourself WHY N&N will help you accomplish your purpose – THAT is the mindset you want to have. When you have vision and purpose, others are more likely to get excited about joining you on the journey. You can then achieve powerful results.It’s a funny thing: run a search for “new and noteworthy,” and you will find article after article telling you HOW to get listed there … but no one tells you WHY you should want to make the list.Click To Tweet
I guess it’s a little like asking why an author would want to see a new book make the New York Times Bestsellers list – some questions really don’t need to be answered.
Let’s think about it, though. Let’s speculate a bit.
- The little fish get to swim with the big fish. I was able to hit position #9 in New and Noteworthy’s marketing and management category. For one day, I was not only swimming with the big fish – but I was outranking them.
- You get high visibility in New and Noteworthy. You get exposure to those who are not yet members of your audience. Podcast listeners are fierce loyalists. Once you engage them, they will be with you forever.
- Because there are so many podcasts available, the boost you get from ranking high on the New & Noteworthy list can help you get traction right at the start – when it is most needed.
The first time I launched the On Track Tips podcast, I didn’t know about N&N. I launched with 10 podcast episodes, and I pulled a few hundred downloads each month. After the re-launch – using a podcast party and making the N&N list – I was getting a few thousand downloads per month.
So it could be surmised that the launch party and N&N listing gave me 1000% better results.
10 points about holding a podcast party for launching
I planned the On Track Tips launch party over about a two-week period. If I had it to do over, I would have given it twice the amount of preparation time and consideration.
Here are some of the lessons learned:
- My budget was too small by 50%. Even forgetting something that seems negligible (like shipping fees for the prizes) can bust a budget quickly. Give it some thought and include every little part of the party plan in order to prepare a realistic budget.
- Remember there is also a time cost to a launch party. At the outset, determine whether you can allot sufficient resources (budget and time) to the project.
- The landing page is extremely important. It should be dedicated to the process and it needs to be very simple. There should be nothing else visitors can do on your landing page, other than to sign up for the party or help advertise the party or whatever your clearly define Call to Action is.
- If you make leaving a review on iTunes part of the award system for getting visitors to take the steps you want (sign up, subscribe, download your podcast, leave a review), it will be difficult to track who is who – since many people use nicknames on iTunes, rather than their actual names.
- Figure out a sequence that allow you to gather new signups for your email subscriber list and get people involved. I used a “secret question” approach that insured recipients would actually read the email in order to know the answer that would allow them to enter a drawing to win a prize.
- How to determine who to award prizes to can be really difficult. It isn’t always easy to know who (for instance) typed an answer into the HOA stream first.
- Because of all of this, I found that my call to action became quite scattered. A good strategy is to map it all out in advance. Know exactly what you want to accomplish and focus on that deliberately in everything you do. Keep going back to your WHY.
- Use a process map to determine all the pieces that lead to accomplishing your WHY and refer to it often.
- Consider the prizes you offer and choose something that encourages winners to share a photograph of themselves with their prize. This can be an excellent branding and marketing opportunity. I found that people loved to take selfies while holding up an On Track Tips coffee mug – but only a few wanted to be seen wearing a bright red On Track Tips tee shirt.
- You don’t have to use an expensive prize to get people to write a review for your podcast. In most cases, all you have to do is ask.
How to repurpose an HOA for use as a podcast
Denise said many of her guests wanted to know about how to turn an HOA into a podcast. The short answer is “You can do that, and it is fairly easy.”
Here are the steps:
- HOA’s are automatically populated over to YouTube, so begin by logging in there.
- Go to your Video Manager and to the video you wish to convert
- Download it as an MP4
- Strip the audio down to MP3
- Use Audacity (or another audio editor) to put a intro and outro (bumpers) on the audio file
- Upload the MP3 to all the major podcast players … not just to iTunes
Further thoughts about podcasts and launch parties
I learned plenty from my podcast party and launch. I made the New and Noteworthy list, I discovered how loyal my subscribers really are (and how widespread they are), and I definitely accomplished proof of concept.
Are you considering getting a podcast packed and ready to launch? Do you want to hit the N&N list? I’m here to tell you that it is absolutely possible – and actually not all that difficult. That said, there are plenty of hoops to jump through. That’s for sure.
I am preparing a “No Headache Guide to Podcast Launching.” It will line out the basics of getting your podcast off to a promising start. It will help you avoid many of the mistakes that tripped me up.
If you would like a copy, just follow this link to get weekly On Track Tip updates: Click Here.
I’ll be sure you’re among the first to be notified when the guide is ready.
If you’re itching to get do something about building your audience RIGHT NOW, here’s something just released – a WordPress plugin that gets your visitors to share your information the way you want it to be shared.
Check it out here: Social Warfare.
Okay, I closed with a pitch … but that’s because I care about you and your business. I WANT YOU to succeed.
Let’s talk soon. Here’s my contact link; let me know if I can help: Jason Wiser