Are you a podcaster struggling to achieve success in the seemingly saturated world of podcasting? You’re not alone.
The ease of podcast production and distribution has led to a flood of shows, making it increasingly challenging to stand out, attract listeners, and drive growth.
That’s why I want to address the biggest challenges and frustrations faced by podcasters when it comes to marketing and driving sales, authority, and growth. These are the proven practical strategies that we have seen work time and time again to help you break through the barriers and achieve podcasting success.
Podcasting has undeniable benefits. It’s a rewarding medium, a powerful networking tool, and an effective way to build trust with your audience. However, these advantages can only be realized if you can consistently produce high-quality episodes, grow your listenership and have a positive ROI on your podcasting efforts.
Starting a podcast is easy. Building a profitable podcast is hard.
Many podcasters fail to recognize that successful podcast growth and monetization requires more than mimicking popular podcasting trends. It demands a strategic approach tailored to your unique goals and audience. By understanding the reasons behind podcasting failures and frustrations, we can uncover the secrets to success.
In this guide, I’m going to break down:
- The importance of defining your target audience.
- Why consistency really is key.
- How to ensure your show is worth listening to.
Each of these is crucial in overcoming the obstacles that hinder your podcast’s profitability. By implementing these strategies, you’ll be able to navigate the competitive podcasting landscape and carve out your own space of authority and influence.
No more guesswork. No more frustration. It’s time to take your podcast to new heights and unlock its full potential.
Mistake #1: The Wrong Message, To The Wrong Audience, With The Wrong Offer
Buckle up for a mind-blowing revelation because here’s the hard truth: The #1 reason why people fail to make money in podcasting is they don’t deliver the right message to the right audience, with the right offer.
Yes, I know, it doesn’t seem that profound.
But what I’m about to reveal is something that 99% of podcasting courses overlook. This is the important stuff they’re not teaching you.
Podcasts crash and burn because hosts neglect a crucial step: ensuring BEFORE they start their podcasting journey, that their show is strategically designed to deliver the right message to the right people with the right offer.
Most hosts don’t even know that a podcast requires the “right offer” to thrive. Because of this, they make uninformed decisions about the type of podcast to create, the target market to pursue, and what compelling offer will convert listeners into a loyal audience.
Many aspiring podcasters encounter a familiar pattern: starting off with excitement and investing significant time and money in creating a podcast from scratch. Hours are spent researching the right technology, and they exhaust their networks and email lists to gain traction. However, the results often fall short of their expectations, leading to frustration and at times, financial losses.
Occasionally, the concept does show some promise, generating a few hundred dollars a month, which helps offset the costs and time invested. Unfortunately, more often than not, the lack of immediate results causes energy and interest to wane rapidly.
In some heartbreaking cases, individuals spend countless hours and months building a dedicated podcast audience, only to discover that their listeners show no interest in purchasing their products or services.
Reality sets in when they realize the operating expenses that need to be covered, the responsibilities they have towards their families, and the looming financial obligations they can’t meet. So they decide to stop.
They stop because they come to the realization that their podcast may never generate the sales and growth they anticipated for their business. They stop because they are paralyzed by the fear that it will never take off. Some even conclude that podcasting is a deceptive practice, reserved for “sponsored” shows or a fortunate few who happen to strike it big.
The tragedy lies in the fact that it didn’t have to end this way.
A long time ago there was an ancient warrior named Sun Tzu, who wrote the legendary book “The Art of War.” In this book, Sun Tzu shares a valuable insight:
“In war, the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.”
Surprisingly, this concept applies directly to successful podcast marketing. In our context, Sun Tzu might have said:
“When embarking on podcasting, the successful marketer starts a podcast only after ensuring adequate success, whereas the one destined for months of fruitless toil creates a podcast first and then hopes it will drive sales.”
You see, the reason why most podcasters fail is that they don’t position themselves for dominance before starting their podcast.
Mistake #2: Lack Of Consistency
Consistency is key.
This holds true whether you’re about to launch your show, have recently started, or have been podcasting for years.
Consistency is not only one of the most critical aspects of your show, but it’s also something within your control as the host.
Consistency plays a pivotal role in growing and maintaining your audience in both the short and long term. It often surprises me how many people underestimate its importance, thinking that skipping episodes or taking extended breaks is no big deal.
I’m here to tell you that the most successful podcasts consistently show up for their listeners. Regardless of your normal publishing cadence, maintaining consistency serves both you and your audience best. By consistently meeting their expectations of regular episodes, you strengthen the connection and trust between you and your listeners.
On the flip side, inconsistency can have detrimental effects on your show’s growth. I’ve encountered numerous podcasters who wonder why they’re not getting more out of their show, only to discover that they haven’t published an episode in months.
Here’s what’s wonderful about podcasting: you have the flexibility to do it on your own time. The key is to pick a consistent day that works for you and stick to it. When you establish a consistent publishing schedule, you create an expectation for your audience.
Take our client Stacey Brown Randall. She has released an episode of her podcast, Roadmap to Referrals, every single Tuesday for the past 5 years. Does this mean she never takes holidays? Absolutely not. This means when she plans to be away from her recording gear, she plans out and records episodes for the weeks ahead.
Podcasts that consistently show up week after week, month after month, or year after year gain the most traction and develop the most loyal listeners. People keep coming back to listen.
By embodying consistency, your show will eventually achieve significant success within your niche and reap the rewards.
You’ll be rewarded with a larger listenership, increased website traffic, and more engagement from your audience. Your show becomes a magnet, attracting people who resonate with your content and eventually, will want to buy from you.
So remember, when it comes to podcasting, consistency is not just a virtue; it’s a powerful catalyst for success.
Mistake #3: Poor Quality Content
One critical mistake many podcasters make is underestimating the importance of content quality and neglecting audio clarity, and here’s why:
Audio quality remains crucial as it directly affects the listener’s experience. Crystal-clear audio ensures that listeners can easily understand the podcast’s content without constantly rewinding or adjusting the volume. By eliminating distractions caused by poor audio quality, listeners can fully engage with the podcast’s message.
Audio quality also serves as a reflection of the podcast’s professionalism and attention to detail. Subpar audio can create an impression of amateurism and undermine the trust listeners place in the content. Conversely, high-quality audio instills confidence and trust, encouraging listeners to return for future episodes and recommend the show to others.
You don’t have to invest in the most expensive microphone and rent out a sound-proof studio. In fact, we often recommend the Blue Yeti to our clients as it is portable, sounds high quality, and can plug into your laptop or audio recorder – and it’s under 100$.
Recording in a quiet and acoustically treated environment can greatly enhance the clarity of the audio too. You can learn more about this in our blog How To Optimize Your Podcast Audio Quality.
Our clients, Brad Gotto and Matt Stahl from Every Day is Saturday are a great example of this.
They always record in a quiet room, with headphones on and high-quality microphones. And with the help of our audio editing team, their podcast sounds high-quality every time.
Remember, you don’t have to aim for perfection but doing as much as you can to improve the quality will definitely take you far.
While audio quality is definitely important, the content itself plays an equally vital role in attracting and retaining listeners.
It’s essential to ensure that your podcast offers valuable and relevant content.
Are the topics you discuss interesting and engaging to your niche?
Do they showcase your passion and authority?
Focus on keeping the conversation centered around subjects that will genuinely intrigue your audience.
Share captivating stories, whether they come from you or your guests. Listeners enjoy narratives that are engaging, relatable, and provide unique perspectives.
Another crucial aspect of content quality is providing actionable content. Encourage listeners to participate and continue the conversation by incorporating specific calls to action. This can involve inviting them to explore a relevant hashtag or encouraging them to engage with your podcast community.
Don’t forget to actively seek your listeners’ opinions and feedback. Their thoughts and insights can be invaluable for improving your podcast. Consider their suggestions, preferences, and any changes they recommend to make your show even better for their listening experience.
Remember, your audience’s perception of your podcast matters greatly. Delivering high-quality content will keep them captivated, returning for more, and sharing your podcast with others.
As we briefly mentioned above, a strong call-to-action (CTA) is crucial for your podcast’s success. It prompts your audience to take action, such as sharing episodes, leaving reviews, visiting your website, or engaging with your content.
Without a CTA, it will be very difficult to keep the conversation going with listeners (new and old).
Here’s how to create an effective CTA:
Keep it concise: Keep your podcast CTA short and to the point. Grab their attention, deliver your message, and get back to the show or wrap it up quickly.
Create urgency: Incorporate deadlines or limits to create a sense of urgency. For example, offer a free gift to the first ten people who complete a survey, encouraging prompt responses.
Be clear and simple: Clearly explain what you want your audience to do, why they should do it, how to do it, and why it matters. Avoid complex requests that might confuse or discourage action.
Utilize show notes: Provide additional information or resources in your show notes, including external blog posts or links. This saves episode space and allows you to track the impact of your CTA using short links.
For example, Justin Harvey from the Anesthesia & Pain Management Success Podcast consistently ends his episodes with a compelling CTA.
He encourages listeners to visit his website for free resources and to leave reviews on Apple Podcasts. This direct and actionable CTA enables Justin to drive traffic to his website, gather valuable reviews, and engage with his audience effectively.
We break this down even further in our blog, How to Make Money With a Podcast.
By addressing the common challenges and frustrations faced by podcasters, you can break through the barriers and achieve podcasting success.
Defining your target audience, maintaining consistency, and delivering high-quality content are key factors in overcoming obstacles and growing your podcast. Understanding the importance of delivering the right message to the right audience with the right offer is crucial to avoid failure.
By implementing these strategies and principles, you can take your podcast to new heights, unlock its full potential, and achieve the success you desire.