How to PodcastYesterday, we started the two-part series on how to podcast.

We talked about how to get started and the tech set-up you need.

Today, we’re going to discuss how to gain listeners, how to work with sponsors or advertisers, creating the actual podcast, and how to measure your efforts.

How to Gain Listeners for Your Podcast

Just like anything else, your podcast will grow organically if you produce it and distribute it like you would anything else.

Blog about it, distribute on your social networks, include it in your email marketing, have it in your email signature.

Doing that will easily gain you 1,000-5,000 downloads per episode.

Not too shabby!

But, if having sponsors is a goal, you need to get closer to the 20,000 downloads per episode mark before they’ll pay attention to you.

To do that, invest in paid digital marketing, such as mobile ads and social media advertising.

When we discussed this section during our panel at the PRSA International conference earlier this week, Deirdre Breakenridge suggested working with a podcast network that are experts in this.

Home Grow Your Podcast

If, however, you don’t want to go that route and want to “home grow” your podcast, I suggest the following:

  • Learn Audacity (the production software we discussed yesterday).
  • Take Scott Oldford’s LeadCraft to learn truly how to create Facebook ads that make you money.
  • Invite guests who are influential in their own rights so they can help you grow.
  • Market the heck out of it so you can get to your 20,000 downloads. This includes asking people for reviews so you show up in iTunes.

And when I say “market the heck out of it,” I truly mean it will feel like your full-time job.

At this point, you have to make a risk/reward decision.

I am spending more than $5,000 a month in my time to learn how to do all of this and market it?

If the answer is yes, then you really do want to consider a podcast network (which is about $3,500 a month).

How to Create Your Podcast

Now that you’re all settled and ready to get started, you’ll want to think about how your podcast will be set up.

You could do a two or three co-host program such as Inside PR and For Immediate Release or you could host guests such as Social Pros, Women Worldwide, and CoSchedule.

And now it’s time to think about how often you’ll podcast.

For you to gain 20,000+ downloads per episode and to have interested sponsors, you really need to produce a show once a week.

Anything less than that won’t get you to the numbers you need to attract dollars.

If, however, you’re not interested in that and this is purely a brand awareness and lead generation play for your organization, you can do bi-weekly or once a  month.

Working with Podcast Guests

Now it’s time to think about your guests.

These could be subject matter experts within your organization or they could be influencers in your industry (or both).

The most important thing you can do for your podcast is prepare your guests.

Here are two ways, as a podcast guest, I’ve found to be most useful:

  1. Send a form that gets all of the information you need (social network handles, website URL, photos/logos) and asks pertinent questions. For instance, the form for Social Pros includes things such as “what is something people don’t know about you,” “what are you working on right now that you’re really excited about,” and “give us three things you’d like to discuss.”
  2. Require a “get to know you” call ahead of time. As a guest, I don’t really love a pre-call that takes up another hour of my time, so try to limit it to 15-20 minutes. During that call, you’ll ask your guest some of the questions I listed above. Nathan Ellering at CoSchedule does a great job of this. He approaches it like a non-taped interview to find a nugget of information his listeners will like. Then he sends his guests a list of questions so they are prepared when it comes time to record.

The key is to take the time to prepare your guests.

This way, you won’t have anyone who is boring and you’ll know how to guide the conversation.

What Are My Podcast Metrics?

And last, but certainly not least, the measurement question.

Just like anything else, it depends.

When it came to Q&A time during our panel discussion on this topic, we found many in the audience want a podcast purely as a brand awareness play.

You can definitely do that, but it’s A LOT harder to measure and will have to be incorporated into your larger communications plan to be able to prove any efficacy.

Preferably, you’ll have some calls-to-action in your podcast, such as go to this URL and download this content.

Even if you decide not to go the traditional sponsorship avenue, you can definitely have live reads for your own organization.

If Spin Sucks had a podcast, for instance, we might do a live read to encourage listeners to check out The Modern Blogging Masterclass.

So your goal should be to gain a certain number of downloads—or email addresses—from each episode.

Once you have an email address, those people can go into your super valuable, super interesting (to them) lead nurturing campaign.

And you’ll be able to say, “XX people came to us from the podcast and it generated $XX.”

What is the Total Investment for My Podcast?

As we discussed yesterday, you have a one-time fee of buying a microphone ($99+).

I would also consider adding a filter to the microphone, which is $20 or less.

If you want to take LeadCraft to become an expert in Facebook advertising, that cost (I believe) is $1,000.

So your one-time costs are about $1,120.

Then you’ll have your monthly fees, which are:

  • Zoom: $14.99/month
  • Libsyn: $5/month
  • Facebook advertising: $150/month ($5 a day) to $1,500/month ($50 a day)
  • Podcast network: $1,000-$3,500/month

Of course, the more downloads you receive your podcast, the more your costs increase.

But, by then, you’ll have a sponsor(s) to offset the costs and even generate you some revenue.

So there you have it!

Now it’s your turn.

What questions do you have? What other advice do you have, if you podcast regularly?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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