Top 5 Podcast Strategies

The creator and host of "Startup Story" unpacks the five strategies that helped his podcast appear on the Apple Podcast charts after just two months.

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By James McKinney

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There are more than one million podcasts in Apple Podcasts. But simply hitting "record" and starting a podcast will not lead to long-term success or being ranked highly on the Apple Podcast charts. In this video, "Startup Story" creator and host James McKinney unpacks the five strategies that helped his podcast appear on the Apple Podcast charts after just two months.

With Spotify's acquisition of "The Joe Rogan Experience," podcasting has become more popular than ever. That said, less than 50 percent of the 1.1 million podcasts on the Apple Podcast platform have released new episodes in the last 90 days. While there might be many factors leading to this, poor execution is undeniably one of them.

Employing these strategies won't guarantee a successful podcasting journey, but they will provide you the clarity you need to ensure your show starts in the right direction.

The five strategies for podcast success

#5 Be a listener

Listen to podcasts to understand their nuances. Think about your three favorites podcasts. What do you enjoy about them? Is it the audio quality and production? Or do you prefer something raw and gritty? Is there explicit language or you can listen to it around your kids?

Related: Now Is the Time to Gain Market Share

The content of a podcast matters, but there's more to what makes a podcast your favorite. Think through the elements you like about your favorite podcasts and make a list of what you want to bring into your own.

#4 Be consistent

User experience is important. Your audience needs to know what to expect and when to expect it, so deliver a consistent experience to your listener. Nail down your format by addressing these elements:

  • Serial or evergreen?
  • Your thoughts vs interview-based?
  • How will you spend the first 15 minutes of each episode?
  • What's each episode's flow? You should aim to have the same format every time
  • Ads: where and how many per episode?
  • What days will you release your show? Your audience will expect a schedule so they know when to find new episodes

As to scheduling, create a backlog of episodes before launch so you're not scrambling to put something together last-minute.

#3. Be social

Your audience will want to interact with you. One way to engage your listeners is by offering to read Apple Podcast reviews in future episodes. This achieves three things:

  1. Quicker growth, as listener reviews are important to ranking
  2. Shows listeners that you care
  3. Demonstrates that you follow through on what you say you will do

Leverage social media for promotion and engagement. Consistently mention your social accounts during episodes. The people who continue to listen will listen to connect with you in some way.

#2 Be clear who your listener is

Spend time thinking through the personas of your listener. Be specific about your intended listeners, whether male, female, or both. Name them and ensure you're delivering maximum value to that listener. Give them reasons to keep coming back.

#1 Be authentic

Be intentional about being authentic. Most likely, you like your favorite podcasts because of the host or something the host does — something authentic. Don't mimic. Personas will burn you out and are unsustainable for the long-haul. Be yourself. You'll find your audience as long as you remain authentic.

Related: How Building a Black Hawk Relates to Running a Startup

James McKinney

Creator & Host, The Startup Story

James McKinney is the Founder & Host of The Startup Story, a multi-channel brand platform that brings the lessons of highly successful founders directly to the everyday founder. Whether it is through The Startup Story podcast or via the Startup Story LIVE event series, entrepreneurs everywhere can receive tactical and practical guidance from founders who are a few steps ahead.

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