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How to Start a Podcast That’s Successful

Are you wondering how to start and maintain a good podcast? Today we are learning from Jenny Suneson, an amazing podcast manager coach who helps other female business owners who run and want to launch podcasts effectively. We’ll cover everything regarding podcasts as she’s so knowledgeable in the whole podcast world!

About Jenny Suneson

Jenny has been in business since 2016, just not in this current iteration. She started as a VA/social media manager. And then, in 2019, she ended up niching down to podcast management. She worked with one podcast client and also the VA client. She started doing podcast tasks, and she loved it. 

So she thought, “Is this something you can do, just work on podcasts?” And then she realized it was! So from there she decided to burn her other business and go all in with this podcast management, which was in early to mid-2019. And now in mid-2022, she has a full-service podcast management Agency with 10 to 11 team members. She grew a lot over the past three or four years!

Podcast Manager Power Hour Podcast

Jenny started her podcast first before getting a podcast client. And that’s when she realized how much she liked it. She managed her show for the whole year, leading to when she got her first podcast client in October 2018. 

She started her podcast in January 2018. Ten months before, she started doing it for other people. She likes being a guest and it was natural to just flow into it. As a host, she could learn the ins and outs of it. 

This experience with podcasts helped her get familiar with it and empathize with the host of podcasts because she went through the same things they go through when they’re starting their podcast, including the mindset issues. What do you even record? What equipment do you need? She went through those things to figure out how to launch her podcast. So that puts her on the same playing field as her clients because she’s been there. 

Early Stages of a Podcast

People think about what equipment they need; while that is important, that’s a tiny portion. The huge thing to get over is the mindset; even when people launch, they still go through those mindset issues. They’re not going to go away if you decide to work with someone to help you launch your show, but it does minimize it because you have someone to talk you through everything. So many things people go through are; they hate their voice because they go through that impostor syndrome. 

They wonder if they’re qualified to talk on this topic and if it’s your business surrounding the topic. This is what you do with your clients, how you sell courses and programs and things like that. Why are you not qualified to have a podcast? A lot of the mindset stuff comes up that you normally wouldn’t do. The big piece is working through your mindset, figuring out why you don’t feel qualified, why you are so hesitant, and why you don’t like your voice or whatever that is. Work through that first before you even start thinking about what microphone you need.

Get over that hurdle and what is important. Set a solid foundation for yourself. Many people don’t launch with healthy information on things, they don’t do as much research. Many shows are fun and great, but it doesn’t end up being something that goes hand in hand with their business. It can often end up being completely irrelevant.

Figure out your content planning and pillars before you even hit the record button or purchase a mic. It’s important because if you don’t have that foundation, you’ll put in all this time and effort and fall off the wagon. After all, it’s not making sense. And those are the key things you need. Stop worrying about the equipment. Stop worrying about a few tiny details. Think about your long-term vision and what you want your podcast to do for you and your business because otherwise, you’re going to call this time and effort in for no reason.

Structuring your podcasts

It depends on your podcast focus. Jenny primarily works with online service providers, coaches, and course creators. She works with people who have their podcasts tied to their business because it makes sense. And their focus is to use the podcast strategically to grow their business, not to get at sponsors.

They can get them, but that’s not their main goal. So looking at it from a business perspective, how do you want your podcast to fit into your business? That’s important. 

Suppose you want it to be some fun side thing; that’s totally fine. That is somewhat semi-related to your business, that’s fine. But if you want to use it to make an impact, not just grow your audience and nurture people, but also get them in the door. Like bringing them to your bigger offers, whether that’s courses or services or programs or whatever that may be. You need to think about someone going to buy your products or services.

What do they need to know before buying? That’s a big thing. You don’t want to give them too much because that’s not going to be what drives people to your products and services. Figure out and hone in on what you help people do. What do you want people to learn from you? 

That is going to lead up to your paid programs or your services. What do your customers need to know before they make that investment, whether it’s services or products? That’s kind of what your podcast content should be centered around.

That doesn’t mean it should only be your solo episodes; you can have guests. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities to have guests, but your core content, AKA your solo episodes, should lead people to what they need to know before hitting the buy button and working with you directly.

Marketing your podcast

Marketing your podcast is important; many people have podcasts but don’t even know how to get more listeners. And that is one of the best things about having a podcast is you have a constant stream of content to share on social media. Before you start your podcast, you go through phases. Sometimes you don’t even know what to post on your socials. If podcasts are tied to your business, you can always have something to post about if you’re posting weekly episodes. 

Just repurpose your podcast content to social media, email, or YouTube. If you want to do YouTube, make short-form videos about the episodes, reels, TikTok, etc. And just giving that content the most bang for its buck that you can give it. It makes it easy to market because you’re not just sitting there trying to sell your services like every time you post on social media and feel achy about it. You have value to provide. Don’t give away the whole episode; you want people to go and listen to the episode when they’re finding you on social or through their email. 

Do five tips to XYZ and share only three, then direct them to your episode to get the other two. Or only share one or two tips! Here’s what’s in this episode; listen on the platform. So there are a lot of things you can do with your podcast. There’s a goldmine of things that you can do with it! There are so many ways to repurpose and just utilize it that people don’t even think about. You already have content so use it!

Creative blocks with podcasting

Plan your content ahead of time. It doesn’t mean you must have recorded every episode or outline. Just have topic ideas. That’s where people start hitting a wall and don’t know what to post. They turn around and say, crap, it’s been six weeks, and wonder if they should return at that point.

Have your content ideas in advance, so you’re not wondering what will happen this week or when it gets busy for you. One big thing is batching your topics, so you know, when you’re starting, you have no shortage of topics.  Have at least 52 topic ideas ready to go for a weekly show. Add in some guests. Don’t be worried about topics being basic. It might be basic to you, but it isn’t for your listeners. 

Don’t be afraid to see what other people are doing and not necessarily copy your competitors but just check out and see what they’re doing. Sometimes look at a competitor’s podcast and see the most recent episode that they did. Sometimes that will help you create other content ideas that aren’t similar. 

Dig into all your analytics, see what episodes were popular, and see if you can do a part two or a follow-up on that topic. Sometimes ask your audience for suggestions on what to talk about on Instagram stories. Have them choose what kind of episode they want for the week. Typically they’re already recorded, but that allows them to choose. That gets them involved. Also, do a listener’s survey at least once a year or every six months.  You can even ask your previous guests what they think is better on your show. These ideas get your memory jogged and ready for more content if you’re feeling mentally blocked.

Getting your audience involved

Use your podcast to see what people are interested in learning from you. Sometimes even with your podcast, using your podcast content on social media and your email,  you can get stuck.

So sometimes, use what they’ve downloaded the most and see what you can do. Use that to create more content for clients to like.

Open the doors to the behind-the-scenes of your process. Let them help them decide and see your process. Or, let them help with picking an episode you want to release this week. Behind the scenes is fun. Do a little screencap of your recording with a guest, or do a little screencap of you just recording a solo episode. Figure out what’s beneficial to you and what’s going to work for your audience, and stick with that.

Video Podcasting

This is really beneficial to marketing. Short-term videos like TikTok and Reels are useful because you’re meeting people where they are all the time. These people may also like podcasts. 

They may not discover you via the podcast apps because the search functionality on podcasting apps is not a pot of people’s vibe. So video podcasting doesn’t hurt!

But interviews of video podcasting on youtube to Jenny kind of defeat the purpose of an audio podcast. If you had solo episodes, you could record your talking head and maybe insert little callouts. That can be useful. Pull some pieces for shorter-form marketing material to drive people to your podcast episodes.

 Consistency plan

It is quite important to have a consistent day. Having a schedule and following it as closely as possible is important. You should post on Tuesdays at 10 am or whatever time suits you. That’s the best time to post. Avoid weekends because people are often busy with their families. Or they’re out and about and not listening to podcasts as much. Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday are sweet spots. 

Staying consistent is as important as committing to a weekly podcast every Tuesday or every Wednesday or whatever your drop day is. That’s crucial. If you can commit to bi-weekly, that’s fine too. Just make sure you’re doing it every other week. And not forgetting to do it twice a month or skipping. If you post once a month, people will forget about you fast.

When it comes to podcasting, for consistency purposes and to keep your audience engaged, you have to do it twice or every other week. Bi-weekly. That helps you build trust too.

Monetization for your podcast

That’s something people jump to when they want to start a podcast. Monetization depends on your business. If you’re a business, there are better ways to monetize than if you’re one of those big crime podcasts.

Business podcasters will monetize with ads, and they get downloads that warrant ads. For a typical podcaster, that isn’t a small business. They’re not going to get those kinds of downloads. So for an ad to be lucrative, you will need your downloads.

A typical podcast gets about 1000 downloads per episode, which is on the higher end. If you’re not getting 1000 downloads per episode, that’s okay. But it’s like $25 an episode for 4000 downloads which is silly. It’s like you’re selling your soul for $25. 

Rather have or share your products and services to make more than $25. The best you can monetize as a business with your podcasts is through self-hosted advertisements. That’s the best way.

If you’re familiar with that, it’s a quick advertisement of you talking about your product or service and leading them back to it. Do free products here, free list, free masterclass, free ebook, or any valuable free thing you know. Start on the path to getting results. 

The free exchange of some kind of freebie will be the better way to get people further into your funnel, as opposed to talking about joining a free or paid product, even if it’s a small one. There are also ad segments. There are plenty of places that will do ads. They’re not lucrative. And they will not bring you tons of money, so they’re not likely worth it.

You can also do affiliate marketing which is a nice middle ground because you’re not going to make money if someone doesn’t purchase. But if someone does purchase from your recommendation, then you can make money. 

One piece of advice

Just don’t be afraid of starting. Don’t let your fears conquer you. Various fears like you hate your voice, don’t know what to say, or impostor syndrome stops you. Let nothing stop you from starting. Don’t get so hung up on the equipment. You don’t need any crazy equipment! You can start on a budget. If your first episode is as good as your current one, stop worrying about the audio quality. Start worrying about the quality of content. 

Done is better than perfect. You’re probably going to look back and cringe, but you must push through and keep going!

The best place to find Jenny is at www.savvypodcastagency.com or you can find her on Instagram at @jenny.suneson.

how to start a podcast

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