After recording almost 350 episodes of my own podcast, I like to think I know a thing or two about podcasting. With the help of my podcast, I’ve been able to scale my business to seven figures without paying a single dollar for advertising, and connect with my audience on a much deeper level – which has been SO important for bringing in new clients.

But, trust me – it took me a long time to figure out how to run my podcast in a smart, savvy way. (Trust me — it was a mess…) Looking back, some of the mistakes I made sound silly, but I know that I’m not the only one who made them! Starting a podcast can feel hard, especially without a how-to guide that helps you avoid simple mistakes. But I’m telling you right now, it doesn’t have to be hard, and it shouldn’t be! You can build a successful podcast in no time when you are given the right tools and guidance. 

That’s why I decided to share the top three mistakes I made when starting a podcast – so you can start smarter, see results faster, and avoid wasting time on things that just don’t work.

1. I didn’t focus on reviews.

When I was first starting a podcast, getting reviews seemed more like an after-the-fact thing that would come along with success. However, what I didn’t realize was just how instrumental getting reviews is to finding success in the first place. Think back to the last time you chose something, whether it was a book, a movie, or even a restaurant. Did you pick the one people were raving about, or the one no one talked about at all? It’s the same for podcasts – if yours has no reviews, what is going to entice people to listen? It’s all about the engagement!

Not only do reviews help you get more listeners, but sponsors, as well! Reviews put you on the radar when people are browsing through the thousands of podcasts out there, giving you a better chance of coming up in their recommendations. Sponsors and other companies often care more about reviews than downloads, especially when you’re a new podcast! (When we’re evaluating podcasts for The Podcast Connector, we always look at reviews.)

You don’t have to feel needy looking for reviews – simply asking your audience to leave a quick review if they are loving your podcast can go a lot further than you think. Think about it – if they’re invested enough to listen every week, they’re probably invested enough to leave a review. There are so many ways to get reviews that go beyond asking – but at least start there! 

2. I didn’t promote my own services.

Yes, you read that right. I would always let guests promote their services, but I didn’t think to do it with my own. A lot of people fall into this trap because they don’t want to come off as “self-promotional / involved” but here’s the thing, it’s your show, you put out content and offer services others would be interested in, so why are you holding that back? The people listening to your podcast are interested enough in you and your business, they’re going to want to know what else you offer! Talk about a HUGE newbie mistake! I will tell you – if you are recording your own podcast, PROMOTE YOUR OWN SERVICES. By listening to your podcast, your audience confirms a few things right off the bat:

  1. They have an interest in your niche.
  2. They have an interest in YOU.
  3. They are interested in other things you have to offer!

I’m not saying your entire podcast episodes should be filled with self-promotion, but when you naturally reach a point where you can advertise a service that could help your listeners and relates to what you’re talking about, don’t be afraid to tell them about it! Not only can doing so get you more business, but it can help out your listeners who may be in need of a service from someone they know and trust.

3. I never checked my analytics.

I know, another rookie mistake I made when starting a podcast. To be honest, I didn’t really think my analytics actually mattered aside from seeing whether or not anyone was listening. What I didn’t realize, though, is that analytics could tell me so much more, and influence the way I actually ran my podcast to make it more effective. 

Actively looking at your analytics is a great way to determine which types of shows your listeners like (and don’t like!) so you can consistently produce content that does well and truly interests your audience. While it’s always good to have a variety of content scheduled, knowing that your audience really doesn’t care for X topic can help you reduce that kind of content and replace it with something more useful to them. Not only does listening to your audience’s wants and needs help you retain them, but it also helps each episode get more engagement (reviews, downloads), ultimately helping your audience grow. 

After all, why waste time preparing for and recording an episode no one is going to find helpful (or even listen to) when you could be investing your time and energy in a different topic that would do SO much better?! Checking your analytics weekly, monthly, and yearly to get an overview of your engagement is a great way to ensure you’re in the loop when it comes to your podcast listeners.

Have you made any of these mistakes when starting your own podcast? If so, don’t feel bad – any new project is a learning process. Your best bet, though, is learning smarter strategies that are guaranteed to work so your show can hit the ground running. That is why I have teamed up with Kelli and Conner of SoulFire Productions to create The Pod Course! We teach you exactly how to launch a successful, kickass podcast, and it doesn’t have to be hard! We have created this course to teach you everything you need to know to build a successful show – how to niche & brand, editing & production, pitching and getting sponsors, monetizing, and SO much more. Enrollment is now OPEN and the course starts November 2nd – spots are limited so head here to secure your spot now!

 

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