All businesses are in the media business, whether or not they acknowledge it (or like it).
The Internet has rapidly changed how customers discover, research, and interact with companies.
You are no longer in business to sell products or services; you are in business to find your audience, create useful content that draws them to you, and then create products or services that benefit them.
You can achieve this through the intimate nature of on-demand audio content — or as they’re commonly known, podcasts. This is why Copyblogger Media is betting big on podcasting.
Whether you are trying to build a thriving personal brand or create a business bigger than just yourself, it is essential to understand what makes a podcast get the attention it deserves.
Of course, this is not as easy as it sounds. It never is. And even smart podcasters make avoidable mistakes.
After creating podcasts myself and helping countless others do the same, I have discovered five common mistakes that hinder the growth and potential of promising podcasts.
Here are the five reasons that good podcasts fail to reach a wider audience and get the attention they deserve.
Reason #1: A lack of unique positioning
Prior to launching a podcast, you need to consume as many podcasts as you can within your market. Doing so will enable you to figure out your unique position.
Even the biggest markets have holes in them where you can enter in a unique way. It is from this place that you can build and grow an audience of raving fans.
Think about the end result you want your listener to get. If that end result is unique, then you have the potential for a winning show.
Now work back from this unique result. Develop a podcast that will take your listener from where she is now to this end result.
You don’t necessarily need to narrow your focus, either. You’ll just need to perform more research in order to position your show within a bigger market.
Reason #2: Failing to develop your authentic voice
Creating a show that’s a natural extension of your personality is essential to getting noticed and building an audience.
Authenticity is so rare these days, yet it’s something that audiences crave.
Contrary to what you might think, it’s harder to be yourself and find your voice behind the microphone than it is to copy other podcasters.
The radio DJs and podcasters who stand out in our minds are those with unique voices — not the timbre or sound of their voices, though those can be contributing factors. I am talking about the authenticity of their voices.
How do you find your voice?
If you have yet to record even one episode, then do that right away — and delete it. Yes, delete it.
Now that we have that out of the way, record another episode and send it to five of your closest friends or family members. The reason for this is not to get feedback, but simply to overcome any fears or anxieties you may have about other people hearing your show.
In order for you to find your voice, you need to be comfortable behind the mic. This takes practice, patience, and many deleted recordings.
Only after achieving a reasonable level of comfort, can you begin to find your voice.
Reason #3: Inconsistency
When you decide on a publishing schedule for your podcast, you need to stick to it.
When you tell your audience that you will be publishing a new episode every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, you need to follow through on that promise.
Podcast listeners have many options. If they expect a new episode from you on a certain day and it’s not there, they’ll move on to another podcast. Once a listener moves on to another show, it’s more difficult to win him back as a member of your audience.
While there are definite benefits to publishing frequently, it’s imperative that you not over-commit and under-deliver to your audience. Weigh the benefits of different publishing schedules, make an educated decision about how frequently you should publish, and then stick to it.
When deciding on your publishing schedule, keep in mind that it will take more work than you expect to properly produce a podcast.
Reason #4: Not enough momentum
The only time you can be included in the New & Noteworthy category on iTunes is within the first eight weeks after launching your podcast. This distinction on iTunes can get you in front of a lot of new listeners very quickly, but only if you launch with enough momentum.
Apple does not disclose the algorithms it uses to rank and feature podcasts, but we can make an educated guess about the variables that impact rankings — subscribers, downloads, and ratings and reviews.
You need to ensure that your launch plan focuses solely on increasing each of these three variables from the day of the launch, and doesn’t let up until your eight weeks is complete.
Another part of launching your podcast properly is the three-episode rule.
If you want to launch with maximum impact, you need three episodes published the day your podcast goes live on iTunes. This helps your podcast’s rankings in several ways.
Podcast listeners want to have more than one episode to listen to before they commit to a new show, so give them three.
Because it’s hard to make an impact on a listener after only a single episode, a new listener may have forgotten about you by the time your next episode goes live.
If a listener sees three episodes versus one, he’s more likely to automatically subscribe to your feed to download all three episodes. There’s less incentive to subscribe when there’s only one episode.
Subscribing is a positive action in iTunes and it also triggers another positive action, which is the downloading of not just a single episode, but three episodes from each subscriber.
More subscribers means more downloads, and more downloads means better rankings.
This leads us to the final, and related, reason good podcasts fail to get noticed.
Reason #5: Weak reviews and ratings
Yes, it can be difficult to get a lot of five-star ratings when you are just getting started, especially if you don’t have an existing audience.
Consider this: Why is it that the President goes into a voting booth and votes for herself or himself, but podcasters rarely leave themselves a rating and review?
Although it won’t directly change your rankings, it seems like a tough sell to your friends, family, and listeners if you are not even willing to leave yourself a review.
After leaving your own review, you need to reach out to every single person you know, on social media and in real life. Every single person.
Now is not the time to be shy; now is the time for getting everyone to spend three minutes of their time to help you and your podcast.
After you have reached out to everyone you know, it’s time to add a call to action to your episodes. At the end of each episode, state a single call to action and make it a request for ratings and reviews.
Listeners also tend to respond well if you read their reviews on air. This acknowledgment of your listeners’ feedback encourages other listeners to leave reviews as well.
A growing podcast landscape
The number of podcast listeners is growing rapidly and so is the competition amongst podcasters. This fact is not meant to scare you away from starting a podcast, though.
In fact, my goal is that it will do the opposite and encourage you to not only start a podcast but start a podcast the right way.
Podcasting is a lot of work, whether or not it’s done correctly. Put in the extra bit of work it takes to do it right by ensuring that you don’t make any of these five mistakes.
This post originally appeared on Copyblogger.