Getting to 1 million downloads is a dream many podcasters have and my guest yesterday was able to get there in only five years.
In yesterday’s episode, Sheena Yap Chan broke down how she got to 1 million downloads while staying true to her mission and gave us some great tips on how to get to that level organically and authentically. In today’s episode, I have some more ideas on how to boost your stats.
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Why do you want 1 million downloads?
While getting to the 1-million download mark is an amazing accomplishment, it’s important to remember that downloads aren’t everything. Even if your episode gets 10 downloads, you may have impacted 10 lives and that makes you an accomplished podcaster.
As we’ve talked about in earlier episodes about strategy, reaching 1 million downloads is only the success marker if the goal of your podcast is to get 1 million downloads. Achieving this level of downloads does not necessarily mean you’ve monetized your podcast. You can have 1 million downloads and make $0 from your podcast, but you can also make $10,000 while having only 500 downloads. Sheena’s rise to 1 million downloads is really impressive and she’s been able to monetize her podcast along the way, but don’t think that you have to make it to that level in order to see a revenue stream from your podcast.
How to find guests when you don’t have a large following?
When Sheena started her podcast, getting 1 million downloads was not on her radar. Her goal was to provide more representation of powerful, Asian women. Since her very first episode, she has spotlighted the women that she wanted to see herself in the media growing up, but she didn’t have a large following to tap into.
Like every new podcast, she started from zero. To find guests for her show initially, she started with her circle of friends and then moved on to reaching out to people through social media. Her requests were rejected quite a bit in the beginning, but she didn’t let this derail her. She kept reaching out and a handful of initial ‘yeses’ turned into 1 million downloads.
Be persistent and consistent
One of Sheena’s philosophies for podcasting is to be persistent and consistent. Throughout her 5-year podcast journey, she has been consistently releasing episodes. This is a huge accomplishment and where many podcasters go wrong.
So often, I see someone start a podcast and they’re super excited in the beginning. They release 5-10 episodes and everything is going well initially, but then life gets busy. The podcast starts to go down on the priority list until it’s at the bottom and they take a break from podcasting until whenever ‘life settles down.’ How many times have you gone to a podcast page and it suddenly drops off after a few episodes and it’s been 6+ months since the last episode?
When I started this podcast, I didn’t do a big launch and it was a slow start. I chose not to have a big launch because I was working on other stuff but it was demotivating initially when my numbers weren’t what I was hoping for. Of course, everyone’s numbers drop after a few episodes because the initial excitement has worn off, but this is when you need to be persistent and consistent. This is the point where you can make the decision to go to 1 million downloads, or to stop podcasting. It’s a critical moment in your podcast’s life.
There will be times that it will feel like you’re podcasting and standing still. That no one is listening. This can be the most challenging part of podcasting, to just keep going when things are slow. One thing Sheena said yesterday that I think is great advice is to avoid looking at your stats for the first three month. Create a schedule, record your episodes, and just keep producing new content.
The power of social media
While having a large following on social media doesn’t mean you’ll have a large audience for your show, it is a great platform to give your show visibility. Sheena believes social media played a big role in getting her show to 1 million downloads. For social media to be an effective platform for your podcast, your audience needs to be there. The first step is identifying which platforms your audience is using. If your audience is primarily 50+ males, you shouldn’t focus on Instagram promotion because they aren’t there. Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube would be better options. Think about where your ideal listener hangs out and then be present there.
Having guests on your show is a great way to get exposure to your guest’s social media audience if they are willing to share the episode on their pages. You can also be a guest on other podcasts to boost your visibility as they promote your guest episode. Ask the host to share your links in the show notes so their listeners can click right over to your platforms. If you’re looking for more ways to increase your visibility, check out episode 2 of the second season for more out-of-the-box ideas.
The importance of being authentic
Sheena’s final tip was the importance of showing your audience your authentic self. This is a term thrown around social media all the time but so many people have no idea how to do it. To start, tell your audience a little bit about yourself and show your personality in your episodes. This is something that I am working on this season of the podcast and I struggle with it but it’s important to show your listeners that you are human. Talk about your own journey or maybe the project that you’re currently working on.
Ready to monetize your podcast?
If you feel like you’re plateauing and not sure how to get your podcast onto the next level, there are a lot of professionals out there that can help you. I see a lot of podcasters struggle to convert their listeners into clients. They are consistently putting out new episodes, but not hearing anything from their audience.
If you’re looking to monetize your podcast and could use some help making that happen, book a free 15 minute podcast strategy call with me.