How do you start a successful podcast? We asked experts in the field to chime in with their best responses to this question. Below, we’re sharing what they had to say!
14 Tips for Starting a Successful Podcast
From collaborating with podcasts that cater to your audience to being a little less professional, here are the 14 answers experts submitted to us to the question, “What are some tips you have for starting and growing a successful, money-making podcast?”
- Collaborate With Podcasts that Cater to Your Audience
- Launch Your Podcast With a Few Episodes
- Go Niche and Build From There
- Create Content that Provides Value to Your Listeners
- Ask Listeners for Reviews
- Sell Merchandise
- Invest in Good Podcasting Equipment
- Offer a Premium Content Channel
- Brand Yourself
- Focus on Podcast SEO
- Research and Prioritize Audience Pain Points
- Be Passionate
- Avoid Inconsistency
- Remember Your Listener’s Familiarity Level
Now that you know the rough idea of our expert tips, let’s break them down further in hopes of helping you start a podcast that is super successful!
Collaborate With Podcasts That Cater to Your Audience
Growing a podcast boils down to how you spread the word and get more and more listeners interested in what you have to say. And what better way to reach your target audience than find them on podcasts that are in a niche closely related to your own?
It’s a foolproof strategy that ensures you’re reaching the right people, on the right medium. In fact, catching them on the right platform really matters because users scrolling through short-form content may not be interested in a podcast at that moment, but someone who’s already listening to a podcast definitely will be.
Harry Morton, Founder, Lower Street
Launch Your Podcast With a Few Episodes
On the launch day of your new podcast, publish a few episodes instead of one. This way, your listeners will have the content to engage with during the first days and won’t forget about your podcast so quickly, and you will reach better results with your promotion.
For example, a paid campaign for a single episode might have little to no results, while promoting a podcast with three episodes will interest more people and give you more followers.
Eventually, it would be best to publish your episodes regularly. For example, every Wednesday at 5 pm—this will help your listeners remember when to look forward to them.
Natalia Brzezinska, Marketing & Outreach Manager, US Visa Photo
Go Niche and Build From There
If you think you can start a podcast about true crime or sports talk and make it big, I want a hit of whatever you’re on. For major thematic topics, like sports, cooking, and crime, the podcast market is insanely saturated.
That is why I would say if you are dead set on starting a podcast and making some money doing it, get niche.
You absolutely have to find a specialty where there is little to no competition. I’m not saying you have to create a podcast on insects found in the American southwest. Let’s not get ridiculous. But you need to carve out a niche where you can build a name for yourself as a thought leader and voice of expertise. Start narrow and build up from there.
John Ross, CEO, Test Prep Insight
Create Content That Provides Value to Your Listeners
One tip for starting and growing a successful, money-making podcast is to focus on creating content that provides value to your listeners.
Make sure you’re covering topics relevant to your niche and providing valuable advice or insights in each episode. By doing that, people will recognize your expertise and be more likely to support you financially.
Additionally, make sure that everything you produce looks and sounds professional. Invest in good equipment, work with a professional editor if necessary, and put out content that is consistent in quality.
Amira Irfan, Founder & CEO, A Self Guru
Ask Listeners for Reviews
At the beginning and end of each podcast episode, ask your listeners to subscribe and review your show, as it positively impacts your reach. You will also see that some subscribers who find a lot of value in your podcast will feel compelled to leave a review of their own accord. The more reviews you have, the more likely other people will notice and give your show a listen.
Cesar Cruz, Co-Founder, Sebastian Cruz Couture
Selling merchandise is one solid way to grow and make money through a podcast. Fans love merchandise and having a lot of options for it is a great way to raise brand awareness.
Merchandise is also a win-win for marketing because when a fan wears a t-shirt or hat, they are advertising the podcast for free. This gives the podcast some free exposure to whoever sees them wearing it.
Kevin Callahan, Co-Founder & CEO, Flatline Van Co.
Invest in Good Podcasting Equipment
While you don’t have to spend a fortune on innovative recording hardware or software, you need at the very least a good microphone to begin with. After all, a podcast with subpar audio is probably not going to be very successful. Nobody wants to strain their ears just to hear you and your visitors. A good microphone, a headset, and some simple audio editing software can significantly improve the sound quality of your podcast.
And whether you will be successful in your new career as a podcaster will depend on how professional you seem. It is a simple decision because the initial investment is negligibly small compared to the potential rewards.
A microphone is the most crucial component you need when creating a podcast. There is typically at least one USB port on desktop and laptop computers, allowing you to connect accessories like an external microphone. The good news is that a USB microphone with respectable quality is available for less than $50 USD.
Raviraj Hegde, Head of Growth, Donorbox
Offer a Premium Content Channel
My one tip to make money from podcasting is to release premium content. Although premium material can really be anything, some typical ways podcasters provide premium content include a look behind the scenes, ad-free versions of the content, early access, and live content. It could also include the ability for listeners to ask the hosts questions, allowing their personal queries to be heard and answered by professionals they trust.
I think that live content is best paired with a Q&A, as listeners can have their questions answered live. As well as this, it also feels much more personal as it allows them to hear you unedited.
This is great for the travel industry, as getting to know who you are listening to and their personal tastes informs you of their personal outlook and helps you to know that you can trust their opinion.
Aiden Higgins, Sr. Editor & Writer, The Broke Backpacker
Even though it might initially appear contradictory, your best bet may be to stick with something more straightforward when branding your podcast.
This stage is like search engine optimization (SEO); most of your audience will find you through a Google search or via iTunes/Spotify, so going with a straightforward name and logo while incorporating a few keywords might not be such a bad idea.
Just be careful not to go overboard with the ton of hashtags and phrases, because that will probably have the opposite effect.
Kurt Uhlir, Chief Marketing Officer, Kurt Uhlir
Focus on Podcast SEO
Unless you belong to the Kardashian family, you must focus on the visibility of your podcast on search engines.
It is interesting to note that 13.6% of today’s listeners search Google for new podcasts to listen to. Therefore, you want to boost your SEO to take into this delicious Google cake.
Aside from strategically integrating keywords into your podcast episodes, you want to maximize your podcast metadata. Ensure relevant and high-volume keywords are inserted into the meta titles for your podcast pages.
After this, it is crucial to invest in building a healthy portfolio of backlinks to your site. Get quality linking from some of the most reputed podcast directories and strive to appear on other top-notch podcasts.
Lotus Felix, CEO, Lotusbrains Studio
Research and Prioritize Audience Pain Points
If you already have a niche, congratulations. Now you need to use platforms like Quora, Reddit, and Twitter and filter the searches to see what topics or issues keep your potential audience up at night. After that, prioritize the cases/pain points in order of urgency and create podcast episodes.
The monetization part starts when your listeners identify with the pain points you address. From there, you can begin doing product tie-ins and affiliate marketing.
For example, besides making natural placements in your recordings, you can transcribe each episode, optimize it for SEO and publish the text as a blog post at the bottom of each recording. In the article, you can then place your affiliate links.
Ernest Bio Bogore, Content Strategist, Creatory
To have a successful podcast, speaking about something you’re passionate about is crucial. Choosing to embark on topics you care about illuminates your energy, a necessary factor to draw in new listeners.
You build an engaged and loyal listener base by tapering your podcast towards a niche audience and delving deep into the content you’re passionate about. And as your podcast grows in popularity, so will your opportunities to generate revenue and influence an even larger audience. And the best part is you won’t get bored!
Mina Elias, Founder & CEO, Trivium
People are attracted to consistency; they want to know what to expect out of their interests. Therefore, a podcaster should stay as consistent as possible by establishing an obvious message from the moment of the podcast’s first air date.
It’s crucial to remain as consistent as possible with your podcasting style, schedule, and theme. Consistency means that you stay on topic, you stay true to your beliefs, and you stay true to your brand. This will help your listeners know what to expect from your podcast as a whole, and what to expect from new episodes.
Being consistent also helps you connect with your listeners. Listeners that understand who you are and what you talk about will form a connection. While it may not be a face-to-face connection, it’s a connection nonetheless.
Listeners who feel connected become regular listeners, effectively driving up your number of listeners and building brand awareness, two very important elements of a successful, money-making podcast.
Ana Codallo, CTO, Key Opinion Leaders
Remember Your Listener’s Familiarity Level
With setting up a podcast that is about something professional, such as a specific type of business or industry sector, I think it’s really important that you don’t overfill the podcast with industry experts.
While this is a good idea for you to engage people you would have already engaged, it may end up turning off the more casual listener, or somebody who is not at the same level in your industry.
Having a co-host who is not as much of an expert can be extremely beneficial for that podcast, as they will ask the questions that the typical viewer might want to be asked, allowing them to understand more of what is being discussed and making the podcast more human and engaging for everyone.
For example, in a legal podcast, having somebody who might interject asking for more information about the words being used can really help the listener gain more from the podcast than two experts assuming their listeners know all the official lingo.
Martin Gasparian, Attorney & Owner, Maison Law