How Can I Make a Podcast Popular?

It’s safe to say that many of you know that Chris has been publishing content since 1996 and I’m sure you’d like to do this on your own in some capacity. You may be thinking, “he makes it look effortless and he was able to make a popular podcast that many have rated in iTunes.” Yes, Chris does make it look easy, but he’s been at it for a long time. You can make a podcast popular too, but you just need some confidence to start!

How Do I Build Up the Confidence?

As Chris would say, just do it! That doesn’t mean you have to do your podcast in a video format like he does.

That’s why I suggest audio podcasting to many beginners who want to start publishing. LockerGnome has provided tips on how to get started with an audio podcast; unfortunately, chances are, nobody is going to listen.

Sorry, guys. I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but you need more than just you ranting on a topic. The goal is to bring in well-known people on the Internet onto your podcast. This will give your show credibility and your guests might promote you, which is an added benefit.

Let’s Be Transparent About My Audio Podcast, First

You may be wondering… how in the world does this dude know anything about audio podcasts or bringing well-known guests on his show?

I run an audio podcast called the STZ Podcast where I interview well-known individuals on the Internet and pick their brains to see what they can share about using social media and new technologies.

I’ve spoken with people like Robert Scoble, Cali Lewis, Louis Gray, and Pat Flynn to name a few. Oh wait, I’m forgetting your very own Iowa-born Seattle resident, Chris Pirillo.

Anyway, enough about me. How I came to do this is what I’m sure you want to know.

Someone Needs to Give You a Chance

There’s no way around it. You need someone to give you a shot. There’s no magic potion or secret sauce here. So what you should do is get to know someone well-known on the Internet who provides value to you and truly helps you. You need to care about what they’re doing in order for them to care about you because that’s how you’re ultimately going to build a rapport with that person. Having a common interest is key!

Who gave me my shot? Believe it or not, it was Chris Pirillo. I’ve known Chris in an online capacity for four to five years now. We exchanged many emails and IMs before and we’ve gotten to know each other and trust one another. I was involved in his chat room back when he recorded videos through UStream.

If we go back two years ago, I asked Chris if I could interview him and he said sure. At the time, it was just going to be an interview for my blog and I never expected to turn it into an audio podcast like I have now.

Influential People Can Help Educate Your Podcast Listeners

How Can I Make a Podcast Popular?After talking with Chris, I wanted to see who else I could talk to. Whoever I would choose to reach out to, like Robert Scoble, for example, I would say something like (this isn’t the exact email):

Hey Robert,

I was wondering if I could interview about social media for my blog. I recently talked with Chris Pirillo and I’d like to get some different viewpoints of another influential leader in this space. I know you may be busy, so I understand if you don’t have the time. However, if you’d like to schedule something, just let me know.

Thanks,
Frank

You’d be surprised, but something as laid back like this worked and Robert said yes to me as well. The key to remember here is I wasn’t saying to either of them that I wanted to leverage their audience to build mine since I have nothing going for me. You’re going to sound like a spammer if you do, but you already knew that! As Chris always says, just be yourself. Hey, it worked for me!

After getting Robert to say yes, I was inspired to keep building off this success. I started reaching out to as many influential people as possible and most were saying yes. As I had more and more guests on, I thought to myself, “This is a podcast and I have to treat it that way.” That’s the next big thing. You need to understand when you’re doing something that’s working and keep building upon that philosophy. Also, don’t ask any of the guests you have on to promote you. If they enjoy talking with you, they’ll offer to do so on their own. (However, I’ll usually just email them a link to the interview when it’s live, but I don’t ask for a tweet or anything.)

Don’t forget, I did say “…educate your podcast listeners.” Just because you have a well-known person on your podcast doesn’t mean anyone is going to think it’s valuable. Think outside the box and ponder what you can ask this person that listeners could take and run with.

It Started with One…

Focus on getting one person on your show and then grow from there. Honestly, I’ve learned so much from each person I’ve spoken with and I want to give you a sample of what I’ve learned from some of them. Click the name of each person to listen to the interview. Granted these are summary details of what I’ve learned, not word-for-word quotes.)

Chris Pirillo (MP3 link)
Don’t try to compare yourself to others. People like Gary Vaynerchuk and iJustine have been doing this a long time before the Internet was the Internet.

Louis Gray (MP3 link)
Anyone can be an early adopter; you just have to use the tools that make your life easier before anyone else does. Look at this piece of advice in this light: You can do it; you just have to believe that you can!

Pat Flynn (MP3 link)
Be nice to people and don’t always market to them. If you share your personal life with them (not all of it obviously), it makes you more human and then, without thinking, your audience will want to do right by you as a way to say thank you.

Robert Scoble (MP3 link)
One thing I learned from Scoble is that he seems to have a good feel on which companies are going to do well and which companies aren’t. Chances are, taking his advice might do you good, otherwise you might end up like FriendFeed, which he tried to help. It didn’t see the warning signs.

Cali Lewis (MP3 link)
Cali is just that type of person to demonstrate that change is a good thing. She used to do a show called GeekBrief TV. Now she does a show called GeekBeat TV. It’s perfectly fine to reinvent yourself and try something new. Most people are afraid to let go of something that might not be working the way they wanted. My blog, by itself, wasn’t what I wanted it to be, so I started an audio podcast!

Referrals Are Where It Is

If there’s someone you’re dying to talk to, just let them know who you have spoken with before. I demonstrated this earlier in the post (see the email example). Having referrals makes it that much easier to grow your list of high profile candidates on your show and urges more listeners to pay attention to your podcast. Not to mention that you really never know which person you interview will choose to promote you and make your show take off.

Always remember how you got your start, though, and return the favor. I’m giving away this “secret” to you all because Chris gave me a shot and now I want his community to have the same opportunity, as well. Just keep in mind that what works for me may not work the same for you. Choose your own podcasting style and go with what feels comfortable for you.

But Frank, I Want Money!

Yeah, I know you do. We all do. That will come in time, but to break another secret: sponsors are mostly affiliate deals. Anyone can join affiliate networks for the most part, as long as you have a website and abide by the company’s rules. I’ve never made money with my podcast; I do it because I enjoy it and I like talking with new people. The money comes in time!

Remember, though, that money isn’t everything; if you’re only podcasting for that reason, you’re going to stop. It’s been proven. Don’t over promote affiliate deals, either, because it can ruin the quality of your podcast. You’ve been warned!

What Can I Help You With?

Most people who share their “secrets” and strategies on how they made a platform work for them will usually run away and not answer anything else unless they get paid for it. However, I’m going to answer anything you may still want clarified. Go ahead! Ask me in the comments. I’m responding to everyone. I mean it!

Article Written by

Frank Angelone is the host of the STZ Podcast, an expansion of his blog where he provides insight on new technologies to improve your social media strategies.  Frank has interviewed well known Internet personalities like Chris Pirillo, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Robert Scoble.  Subscribe here for new episodes!

  • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

    Thank you so much for sharing this information. We’ll have just as much fun in the webinar on Thursday!

    • http://www.socialtechzone.com/ Frank Angelone

      No problem, Chris! I can’t wait to go even deeper into detail with my own personal thought process (on podcasting) that has proven to be successful for me to date! Thanks for the opportunity to share this with everyone.

  • http://ironiclee.blogspot.com/ Jentylee

    Great content, Frank. Thanks for all information. Content is great.

    • http://www.socialtechzone.com/ Frank Angelone

      I appreciate the kind words and the feedback. Let me know if there’s anything you need help with.

  • Jadori

    What would you recommend as a good place to host your audio files for free? I am new podcaster who doesn’t have the money to buy super-expensive hosting.

    • http://www.socialtechzone.com/ Frank Angelone

      The problem with hosting your audio files for free somewhere is that you’re giving your content to someone else rather than hosting it under your own domain. You want your audio files to be in direct relation to your brand and show. However, I understand that money can be an issue. I use HostGator to host everything and it costs $9.95 a month, but there are cheaper plans available. There’s also limitations using free hosting which is something I used back in late 2007 and it turns out the way they get you is putting severe limitations on what you can do. Also, free hosting sites, credibility is a major concern and something I wouldn’t test. If I were you I would look for a hosting plan that is cheap enough and that you’d be willing to pay on a monthly basis so that you have full control and your work is under your name.