Have you ever thought it would be better to remain in hiding, and to “quietly” launch your show?
Unfortunately, I hear people mention this way too often in podcasting and entrepreneurial circles.
I understand and empathize that this might be your very first time behind a microphone, or recording an interview. However, if you have a goal of leveraging your show with your business… Hmm… How do I put this? Don’t do a quiet launch!
Buying into the myth of practice until perfection is a recipe for self-doubt, frustration, and limited success.
So what’s the antidote for a “Quiet Launch”?
Make an event out of it.
When I decided to launch ReLaunch, our current show, I had the sole goal of hitting #1 on iTunes “New and Noteworthy” in all of my categories, multiple times. That goal was, for me, a MUST; because I knew if I could pull it off, it would be a barn-door opener of opportunity.
And, to our delight, almost immediately, it was. I was invited on stage for my first national speaking gig, one day after I hit my first #1 on iTunes.
Here’s the thing though, while I was clear on my goal, I simply didn’t have a big “list” to pull off a multiple #1 on my own.
However, because I was serious about what I wanted to accomplish and believed in my own possibilities, there was absolutely nothing quiet about my launch.
Frankly, I couldn’t afford to be quiet. Can you?
Fact: Once your show is approved by iTunes, they (Apple) give you an 8-week window to rise to the top in the “New and Noteworthy” categories. (disclaimer: some experts have mentioned that, podcasts can still be in “New and Noteworthy” after 8 weeks. However, this is definitely NOT my personal experience. We were #1 in all 3 categories on the last day of the 8-week window, but not found in “New and Noteworthy” the very next day. We are now found in “What's Hot”, which ranks ALL podcasts, not just the new ones.)
Truth: A successful launch starts with a plan.
Step One: Set a SPECIFIC blast-off date.
Most of us realize that without a deadline, not much happens. That’s why setting a date is so critical.
Your blast-off date is the day you’ll begin promoting your show and asking people to take the action steps needed to hit #1. (Don’t confuse this important date with the day you submit your show’s feed to iTunes or the day they approve it. While extremely important, those two events will happen a few days prior to your blast-off promo date.)
Step Two: Recruit your promoters.
Borrowing from some of the strategies I learned from my book promotion training, I tweaked an idea that had worked for me when I launched my #1 bestselling book, “Finding your Voice”, and created a podcast launch team. This launch team strategy has, without a doubt, been the #1 difference-maker for me and my show.
If you don’t know exactly what a launch team is, you’ve come to the right place.
It’s that group of people who know you, like you, trust you, believe in your dream, and are ready, willing, and able to help you.
Is there a time commitment involved? Of course.
Will it challenge you? Yes.
Is it worth it? Absolutely!
Step Three: Record your shows.
Do as many as you can before launching. This is important for two reasons.
- The more frequently you release your shows, the more likely you are to stack up downloads, increase your visibility, and maintain your #1 spot in the New and Noteworthy.
- By having your content already created and developed pre-launch, during the eight-week window, you’ll be able to focus the lion’s share of your time where you should, on marketing and promotion.
Grab my 2 email templates if you plan to have an interview-based show. It took me a long time to learn how to communicate with experts, so they are willing to say YES to be on my podcast, even before our launch. You can also check out my article on the 3 do's and don'ts while conducting a podcast interview.
Step Four: Submit your show to iTunes.
While we have detailed tutorials dedicated to how to launch a #1 podcast, this particular step is pretty cut and dry – submitting your podcast feed URL (you’ll get this from your audio host) to iTunes. You will then get an approval email from iTunes. This can take 3-7 business days.
If you are still deciding on an audio host – for all of our clients (new podcasters and experienced broadcasters), we recommend www.LibSyn.com. Their online dashboard and interface are incredibly user-friendly, the customer service is US stateside and fairly quick, and they provide the statistics you need to track your growth. If you use the promo code “relaunch” at checkout, you’ll get the remainder of the month for free and the following month as well. A pretty sweet deal.
Step Five: Give CLEAR instructions to your “Launch Team”.
So here’s where the rubber meets the road. Remember the team I had you put together in step two? Now you get to let them know exactly what you want them to do and how they can help.
While we may not know exactly what the iTunes algorithm looks for and measures, we are sure of a few things. The three ingredients in the iTunes secret sauce (that we know of) are – subscribers, ratings, and reviews.
While most people are happy to help, it’s your responsibility to make it 3rd grade simple for them to do. The less brain power that is required from them, the easier it will be for everyone. We made screenshots like this to illustrate the process.
Step Six: FOLLOW UP with your team and supporters.
This is big-time important for you to do! While most people want to help, life gets in the way. They sometimes forget, or they don’t know how. As a podcaster with a big goal, it is your responsibility to not only make it 3rd grade simple, but also to make sure people follow through on what you need them to do.
Follow-up, by phone, with your entire team in the following two-three days after your scheduled launch action plan. This will give you the opportunity to thank them for their support, and walk them through the ratings and review process if they haven’t done it yet.
Word to the wise here. Put your kid gloves on and be extremely patient. Most people are neither tech nor iTunes savvy. There was quite a bit of hand holding involved for my own personal podcast launch in 2014 and even today, with my current clients. So don’t be surprised if, when you talk to your team members, they haven’t been to iTunes yet or have seen your show.
Step Seven! Monitor your status in your podcast category in the iTunes store.
iTunes updates podcast rankings a few times a day. And what you will quickly learn is that it doesn’t take much to move the iTunes needle and your show’s standings can jump dramatically during an update. Truth be told, it can also drop pretty quickly also. Here’s the good news though, if you follow these steps and promote heavily to your team, and through your team, you’ll develop strong momentum that will keep you at the front of the race.
Once your podcast hits #1 in a category, grab the screenshot! This is the social proof you have worked hard for. It is yours forever and can, and should, be used in your marketing and promotion materials.
IT WORKS! This is the same process we trained numerous podcasters to land a #1 status on iTunes, from people who barely had any online presence, to experts who already have a huge following.
One of our clients deleted his old podcast and “re-launched” just so he could take advantage of being #1 on New and Noteworthy.
Confession time: ReLaunch is not my first show.
In fact, when you add up all the shows I have done through the years, radio and podcast, it’s actually more like the ninth. Yes! Crazy huh? My ninth.
How many people know about my other shows? HARDLY ANY. Why? Because I didn't take the steps necessary to market, promote, highlight, and leverage my show's success.
This is the year of the podcaster
Don't let yourself get away with keeping yourself a secret any longer.
Share your voice and build your business.
Until next time… Podcast on!