Successful launch: COMPLETE. Now the really fun part begins – sharing the fruits of my labor with all of you, and growing my audience!
So far, the response has been amazing. I’m so grateful to everyone who has shared the show on social media, reviewed it on iTunes or Stitcher, and otherwise helped me spread the word. It was hard enough to leave my job and steady paycheck to toil in isolation for 8 months to get my work published, but it will be just as challenging to get How It Began to rise to the top of the fray now that it’s out there. I simply can’t do this alone – it’s got to be a social force for sure. And that’s why I’m so appreciative of all your feedback, encouragement, and positive social media engagement 🙂 Keep it coming! It really makes a difference!
Since releasing the first three episodes of Season One last Friday, I’ve had several listeners send in questions about how I plan to market and monetize the show. The two most popular questions along these lines have been:
- What’s the best way I can help you spread the word?
- How will you make money, and do you plan to run sponsor spots on the podcast at some point?
So, the two most effective ways you can help me spread the word are to leave positive reviews of How It Began on whatever podcast platform you use (such as iTunes and Stitcher), and to share the show on social media (such as Facebook and Twitter). The more positive reviews I receive on iTunes, for example, the higher up in the iTunes index How It Began will appear when people are browsing for podcasts. And if I get enough positive reviews, How It Began may even show up in iTunes’ New and Noteworthy section, which will make it visible to millions of people! Sharing the show on social media, likewise, is an amazingly powerful tool to grow the show’s audience. If even 1% of your Facebook friends, for example, click on the How It Began link you share, and then 1% of their friends click on it, and then 1% of their friends (etc.), we suddenly have an exponential growth trend in audience engagement! Good old fashioned word-of-mouth is great, and can organically grow an audience by hundreds, but the unprecedented power of social media sharing can grow an audience by thousands or millions in the same time frame. Also, personally Facebook posting and Tweeting directly to influential people you happen to follow or know is big time awesome! If you think they’d be interested in the show, send it their way! So keep an eye out for How It Began’s Facebook and Twitter posts, and share them!
Making money… yes, it has to be done at some point to sustain the show. But How It Began is free to download and listen to, and it always will be. So what am I planning to do? Well, as you might already know, the way nearly all podcasts make money is through sponsorships. Just like television and radio, a podcast will pause its content for 15 or 30 or 60 seconds at some point to advertise a sponsor’s product or service. I will probably do this too at some point, but I’m going to be very thoughtful about the kind of sponsors I work with, and I need a lot more data about my audience before I can make a good decision on what kinds of products or services you would truly find appealing. I refuse to flood the show with frivolous announcements that you won’t care about, and that wouldn’t do my potential sponsors any good anyway. Instead, over the coming months, I will watch closely how my audience develops and try to team up with a sponsor who’s advertisement is something I personally would genuinely want to hear about. The only alternative to the sponsor model I’m aware of is fan-based support through something like Patreon. There are some podcasters out there who manage to remain add-free, but to my knowledge they can only do this because they have millions of listeners, and even if a fraction of their listeners donate to the show that’s still a lot of cash. If I get there, awesome – add free it will be. But until then, I’m keeping my radar up for sponsors that will add value to your experience of How It Began.