I’m not going to lie, I didn’t know if it would work.
I decided to see what would happen if I combined…
- … zero marketing background…
- … with zero advertising budget…
- … a mighty email list of ZERO people…
- … a vault full of content that people want (and need) to hear…
- … and a competitive spirit that won’t fail.
The MWF Motivation podcast.
After my first 80 days of launching, I accumulated 100,525 downloads and a surefire strategy to successfully launch a podcast using iTunes New & Noteworthy for organic growth.
After figuring out the best strategy to grow, I sat on the top of six categories in iTunes for the majority of the eight weeks I was able to compete in it (more on that in just a second)…
- Higher Education
Today, I’m sharing with you the same fourteen organic strategies I used to achieve these rankings.
Let’s dive right in, starting with a brief rundown of your potential new best friend on iTunes…
New & Notewothy
New & Noteworthy is your goal for the first eight weeks — being featured is only attainable once, so you need to make those first eight weeks count.
RELATED: How to Launch a Podcast, Drive it to the Top of the Charts, AND Keep it There in Just 4 Steps
New & Noteworthy is the iTunes Podcasting “front page.” It is the first thing that people see when they click on the podcasting tab in iTunes, which offers a massive opportunity for organic growth.
iTunes algorithm is based off of a sliding scale of how many people have subscribed, listened, and rated your podcast over the past seven days, so you need to pay close attention to these numbers if you hope to make it to the top of New & Noteworthy.
Organic Podcast Launch Strategy #1. Pick the Right Name
Most people I have spoken to want the coolest name they can think of for their podcast.
I went for the dumbed down version: MWF Motivation. The name says everything about my podcast — it is a motivational podcast that comes out every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
This may seem “too simple,” but when I ask listeners how they found my podcast, 90% say they went to their podcast app on their phone, typed in “motivation” and it was the first podcast that popped up.
That’s easy organic growth, and the power of being specific.
Organic Podcast Launch Strategy #2. Launch with 3-5 Episodes
The iTunes algorithm works off of downloads, ratings, and reviews.
Therefore, if you want to spike the algorithm in your favor, the more episodes you have available the better.
Side note: keep in mind that these listeners are new to your podcast, so be mindful of content overload. These launch episodes will be your pillar content, the foundation of your podcast, so cap your launch episodes at five.
If you simply launch with only one episode on your first day, and someone subscribes to your podcast, then you only get one download. BUT, if you launch with five episodes and they subscribe, then you get five downloads, which will help to raise your rankings within iTunes.
After your first five episodes are launched, you need to have a CONSISTENT schedule the day(s) and the number of times a week you will publish a new episode. Like I said, mine is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and I have not missed a day in 11 months.
The reason you want a consistent schedule is so that your listeners expect and look forward to your episodes every time they are scheduled — this is incredibly important to the iTunes algorithm as well.
Commit to publishing as many episodes as you can consistently handle each week, because the more episodes you can publish a week, the more downloads you will get – giving the iTunes algorithm what it needs to rank you higher than the once per week podcasts.
Organic Podcast Launch Strategy #3. Get a Launch Team
Prior to the launch of your podcast, reach out to people you know you can count on to listen, subscribe, rate, and review your podcast.
This is your launch team.
I only had 20 people on my list, but would recommend 50 if possible. This will give iTunes’ algorithm the spike it needs to prove you have a valuable podcast.
If this sounds tough, think about your resources. Many of us have hundreds of Facebook friends, connections through business, and families that loves emails with cat pictures we can ask to give an honest review of the podcast on Day 1 to spike the iTunes algorithm.
Some of the top ranked shows in New & Noteworthy only have 10-20 reviews, so if you can get 50 you will be well on your way to ranking in the top of iTunes.
Organic Podcast Launch Strategy #4: Reach Out to Other Podcasters
This is one of the easiest things to do to help your growth.
Almost all podcasters need one of two things: a guest to interview, or the need to grow.
You can offer to be on their podcast, and they can be on yours, if they would be able to provide valuable content to your audience and vice versa, expanding your reach as well as theirs.
One of the greatest things I’ve learned about podcasting is no one sees you as competition (or, at least, they see you as friendly competition) and everyone wants to help each other.
Another strategy to keep in mind when reaching out to other podcasts is to ask if they would be open to exchanging honest ratings and reviews.
Here is what I did: I went to my Facebook, searched the keyword “podcast” under the groups tab, and joined as many groups as I could.
There are over a hundred podcasting groups with thousands of members, such as these…
I would count these as extra ratings and reviews, and not count them as part of your 50 people on your launch team.
This strategy made my podcast’s organic growth explode, and helped me gain over over 200 5-star reviews on iTunes in 4 months. Some reviews are from my launch team, some from other podcasters, and the rest from avid listeners!
Organic Podcast Launch Strategy #5: Have a Lead Magnet & Promote it Every Episode
My is a Lead Magnet 37-page eBook on goal-setting I wrote titled, Hack Your Goals: The Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving Success.
When you click on one of my episodes, no matter which one it is, the first thing you will hear is a 15-second promo directing the listener to my website, MWFmotivation.com, to download my free eBook.
RELATED: [DOWNLOAD] 9 Lead Magnet Ideas and Examples (And ONE That Generated 35,859 Leads In 60 Days for DigitalMarketer…)
This actually happens even before my podcast intro with music.
One of my main goals is to get an email, therefore, it is the first thing I want my listeners to hear. This is the only promotion I have ever done for my email capture, and has generated almost 1,500 leads in seven months…
Organic Podcast Launch Strategy #6: ASK Your Listeners for What You Want
After my Lead Magnet promo, the very call-to-action (CTA) they hear is…
“If you have not yet done so, please subscribe to us on iTunes, Stitcher, or Soundcloud, and also like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/mwfmotivation.”
I want listeners to download my eBook, subscribe to the podcast, and like us on Facebook, so I ask them to do all that within the first minute of every episode.
In the close of every episode I say…
“If you got value from this episode and know someone else that would get value from it as well, please share it with them.”
You may think that is a lot to ask but here’s the deal — 3x a week, listeners are getting valuable content for free from me. Also, if I didn’t ask, very few people would subscribe or like us on Facebook because people are busy and get distracted. Therefore, I make sure to ask for the next action I want the listener to take, which has helped me earn the rankings I have today.
My podcast continues to grow 20% per month, and at this point it is all organic growth from people sharing it with their networks — all because I ask.
Organic Podcast Launch Strategy #7: Drive All Listeners to Your iTunes
This might be against all marketing fundamentals, but if you want to maximize your first eight weeks, then you need to do everything you can to drive new listeners to your iTunes and not other media outlets.
Now, I do have a Soundcloud, Stitcher, Podbay, and Google Play account that plays my podcast for anyone who wants to listen, but in the first eight weeks, the weeks were I wanted to maximize my organic growth, every post or link to my podcast was a link to my iTunes page.
The reason for that is to drive as many people as possible to iTunes to listen to my podcast because iTunes is the only one of those platforms with the opportunity for organic growth through New & Noteworthy.
Organic Podcast Launch Strategy #8: Put Your Episodes on YouTube
Whether you decide to video tape your podcast or just put the audio up on YouTube, I would recommend finding a way to put every episode on that platform.
YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world, and will help put more eyes on your podcast.
Just make sure to always link back to your podcast and website in every upload.
Organic Podcast Launch Strategy #9: Pick The Right Logo
Here’s the deal…
Most people will judge your show based on your logo before anything else. If it looks cheap, people will assume the show sounds cheap.
For my logo, I wanted to stand out. I noticed that most people had bright colors, lots of font, and busy logos with a picture of something.
This is why I went for a white background with black and blue letters for my logo. In a world with busy logos, you can see that my logo pops out more than the others.
Organic Podcast Launch Strategy #10: Email Your List Every Time a New Episode Goes Live
This should come as no surprise to most, but I have heard of some hosts being afraid of losing people on their list by emailing them every time an episode goes live.
Riddle me this: If your list is made of people that have raised their hand to say they want to hear from you (by giving you their email address), why wouldn’t they want to hear from you?
If someone is going to unsubscribe because they don’t want to listen to your content, it weeds out the people who just hang around and let’s you find your true fans quicker.
Organic Podcast Launch Strategy #11. Use LinkedIn “Posts”
LinkedIn Posts are huge.
If you were like myself, and don’t have an email list when starting your podcast, then LinkedIn can work as your temporary email list. Every time you make a new “Post” on LinkedIn, anyone who is connected with you on LinkedIn will get a notification that your post went live.
This opens up new eyes to your podcast that may have never known about your podcast in the first place.
Organic Podcast Launch Strategy #12. Get Guests with Solid Social Followings
Influential guests can help grow your podcast quickly.
Invite guests on to your show that will both draw an audience and interest your audience. Also, the guest is likely to share the podcast with his/her audience.
Think about it, if your guest shares the link of your podcast to their 20k Twitter followers, then you have expanded your reach immensely with just one guest.
For instance, in Episode 44 of DigitalMarketer’s Perpetual Traffic podcast, they invited Amy Porterfield on to discuss how she launches products. After the episode went live, Amy shared this on her Facebook page…
Once you’ve developed a rotating schedule for sharing your podcast episodes, you’ll be able to interact with those guests every time you share your episode — encouraging them to share it as well.
On Twitter, most will retweet your show every time you tag them and their episode in a tweet as seen below. This is a huge tip that should be in every new podcasters’ plan.
Organic Podcast Launch Strategy #13: Use Amazon’s “New Releases” Category for Great Interview Guests
Often times new podcasters struggle to get solid guests on their show.
One place commonly overlooked is the New Release Book Section of Amazon. Most times, these authors have time they dedicate to interviews, mostly podcasts, that you can schedule them for — they want (and need) the exposure, badly.
RELATED: 13 Ways To Use Amazon.com To Pick Products and Niches, Craft Winning Offers, Increase Conversions And More
These can be great guests, and if they have a large following it can help get your show out to the masses very quickly.
As I was growing my podcast, I was able to have Jay Papasan, author of The ONE Thing, on an episode to help promote his new book and give my audience great content. During the time he joined me on MWF Motivation, he was featured on 37 other podcasts to get exposure.
Make sure you’re checking Amazon new releases when planning your podcast schedule to see if there are any authors that would be a good fit for you audience.
RELATED: [DOWNLOAD] Customer Avatar Worksheet: Finally, Get Clear on WHO You Are Selling To!
Organic Podcast Launch Strategy #14: Be a Guest On Other’s Podcasts and Have Them on Yours
Under the same umbrella as the last strategy, other podcasters are trying to get solid guests on their podcast — volunteer to be their guest!
Use the Podcasting Facebook groups to connect with podcasters who have a similar show and message, and use each other to gain a larger audience by being on each other’s show.
Call me biased, but I believe that if you have a message and you want to get it out to the masses quickly, then podcasting is the perfect platform to do so.
iTunes’ New & Noteworthy allows for a new podcaster to get their message out to a massive audience… absolutely free.
Remember, the clock is ticking and you need to make your first eight weeks count. Using these strategies will help feed the iTunes algorithm monster and you’ll watch your subscriber base grow quicker than you ever thought possible.