Launching or growing your podcast as a media brand to build your reputation, connections, network, and business starts with you, your story, and a powerful and appealing concept. Yet even if you’re somewhat tech savvy and feel comfortable talking to people and even doing interviews, turning that podcast into a highly popular and attention grabbing media vehicle in a vast sea of digital content already out there requires much more than a microphone, some cheap software, and maybe a podcast service.
You probably have listened to a few podcasts, and seen them featured on the app or platform you use. You may have wondered how did they become popular? How did they acquire that audience or get those big numbers of subscribers or followers on social media? Simply, how did they do it?
The reality is there is not one single ‘magic formula’ to make a big splash with any kind of media, whether audio or video based. Yet the good news is there is a process and a strategy that does produce great results and success — and I am about to tell you what that is. First, though, there are a few things to understand about the digital media industry before you dive in with some kind of podcast you think people would be interested in listening to in the first place.
I’ve been a producer all of my professional life. For the past 14 years I’ve been working in the digital media industry and developed more than 200 original podcasts for best selling authors, leading business personalities, influencers, celebrities, top speakers, and many other professionals. Some of my shows reach millions of listeners every year and a number of them are sponsored; which means their shows bring in advertising dollars. I started my career as a producer working in the entertainment media industry in Los Angeles; then worked as a journalist writing breaking news for mainstream media such as CBS, AOL, and the U.S. State Department media division. So my experience in the online media industry covers before the Internet and from when it started, until today.
When I am asked “the success question” I tell people that the digital Internet of today is a media business, just like the business world of movies or TV. It follows the rules of traditional ‘show business’. That means nobody “makes it big” without some kind of professional support — people who take care of the things you’re not an expert at doing, don’t have time for, or don’t want to spend time learning to do well. People outside the media business sometimes don’t understand this and think they can just DIY everything and sure, this works for some who don’t mind the learning curve and the time involved, and also usually also spend a lot of money to get there as well.
Simply stated, no one does it alone. The best and most successful media projects are created by a great team of experienced pros, or with expert help of some kind. If you are considering a podcast for yourself or your company to build your reputation, sell your service, or promote your organization — what would your goal be for it? Who would want to listen to it? How would you like the podcast to build the reputation and business you have established and go big? These days, its called developing a media brand and executing it is a media strategy.
So traditionally, as a producer, I am one of those professionals who develops an idea in collaboration with a passionate individual with an idea or a mission of some kind and creates that media brand supporting the goals of that person. One method is a podcast whose audience builds over time with content produced consistently (week by week is best). I’ve had some podcast hosts become ‘thought leaders’ in their space (like Brett King above) using that media brand approach. It takes knowing your audience, creating great content, and being very consistent in working your media strategy over a long period of time. There are of course, a long list of other marketing and social strategies that are also essential to attract, engage, and retain an audience — a network of dedicated followers, subscribers, buyers, connections…whatever your goal is.
Producers know how to help you tell your story and communicate your own unique value proposition, identity, expertise, or message. We help you define your audience — who your show will be talking to (your market). Or as we say in show biz, “who is this for?” This is where a media brand begins — with your story and your passion. And the”why” you are creating it — because it’s not about you — it’s about your audience. What will they get out of listening to it?
So what are the right ‘go big’ questions to ask? One of the smartest ones is “how do people find my show if they don’t know about it or have never heard of me? How do people find me across the Internet? The long list of other questions I usually get asked usually center around these general topic areas:
How can the show be recorded/produced and what are technical options?
What are the best ways to distribute the produced show?
What are the most efficient methods of promoting the show through social media channels, email, press releases, and more?
How long does it take to build an audience?
Is there a way to accurately track actual listeners or viewers ongoing?
How do I get high quality guests?
What if I also want to go live with my show — what are my options?
What are ways of making money with my radio show? Or ‘how do I monetize the content?’
How does one pitch advertisers and close deals for sponsorship that actually works?
Are there ways of incorporating video along with the podcast?
What equipment is required?
So the response I usually get from people when I give them this “media reality check”, goes something like this:
“So I don’t have time for all that…is there a way to get some kind professional media support where I can just drop in every week to talk and do interviews?” (or something like this)
Yes, there is — it’s where I hang out as a producer. It’s called VoiceAmerica. You may have heard of it.
The VoiceAmerica Network was an early pioneer in the podcast and digital live radio industry. They have been and still are the world’s leading live digital network for talk shows and have been online producing and distributing content for 20 years — longer than just about any other operation out there. VoiceAmerica started when the Internet started and its still running a successful platform — that in itself should tell you something.
Yes, before there were mobile apps, iTunes, Facebook, and You Tube, there was VoiceAmerica.
There are more than five million active listeners that tune in and hear VoiceAmerica shows every month all over the world. It’s a destination online that people actually go to looking for ideas, solutions, and answers and to hear what’s going on in the world. That’s an important point. It features some of the world’s leading experts in various fields and many influencers and change makers that do weekly live talk shows which are also distributed as podcasts through the latest digital technology.
These smart hosts also get creative, technical, business, marketing, education, media coaching, and other professional support from people like me. They don’t do it alone. And, yes, the reality check is if you are not willing to spend the time and money involved in learning everything you need to know to be successful to do your podcast, you’re going to have to have somebody produce it for you. That’s the business part in ‘show business’.
Like I said, I’m a producer. If you didn’t know what a producer actually does, now you know.
So now I think I’ve given you enough to think about. If you want to know more, visit www.voiceamerica.com.
And…you know where to find me if you want to know “how does it work?”.
Randall Libero, Senior Executive Producer. VoiceAmerica.com