This post is part of a series, based on the ebook 'Top 21 marketing channels for membership sites', written by The Subscription Coach Amanda Northcutt.
Start your own podcast
Starting your own podcast is a significant undertaking and your ability to follow through with it week after week should be carefully considered before committing. Many membership site owners struggle with the decision to start one or not because just like your SEO strategy, it's a marathon, not a sprint.
The podcast market is saturated at this point, but if you go narrow and deep within your niche, you're likely to gain a critical mass of followers who are qualified prospects for your membership site over time. Creating your own podcast is also one of the best ways to open doors to influencers and to become one yourself!
But, you need to make a 12-18 month commitment, releasing 1-2 podcasts per week, to give this marketing channel a fair shot. It's almost the polar opposite of running a quick Facebook campaign that's easily measured after a short period of time. And just as with any other type of content, I recommend batch recording episodes, 4-10 in one sitting, so you're not burdened every week, or multiple times a week to produce an episode.
Podcasting is one of the most personal ways you can connect with your prospects at any kind of scale – at times, even more so than the written word. Handle your audience with care. Be empathetic and show that you truly understand their pain and have a way to solve it: your membership!
The topics you cover in your podcast should appeal to people who have the potential to become power users on your membership site. No one else matters. Just like with your other marketing efforts, casting a wide net will attract unqualified prospects who will clog up your email list, or worse, churn out very early. Again, going narrow and deep within your niche is vital to success.
Don't fool yourself into thinking that the number of episode downloads is the most important metric you need to track, either. The questions you should be asking yourself to determine success include: Are my listeners following my CTA and getting into my marketing funnel? Are new members citing my podcast as a reason they joined or where they first heard about me? Is the authority I'm building through my podcast helping me build relationships and credibility with influencers in my space? Am I effectively using my podcast to network with others by having relevant guests on my show?
Promote your podcast to your email list, current members, through social channels, and influencers. A podcast should be a thoughtful part of your content marketing strategy, though because it's such an undertaking, it deserves a category of its own on my top 21 list.
Hosting your own podcast can be a powerful tool in your marketing mix. But don't start unless you can fulfill the commitment to see it through. Luckily, the next best thing to hosting your own podcast is to have a consistent presence as a guest on other peoples' podcasts.
Be a podcast guest
The same principles of guest blogging can be applied here pretty seamlessly. Those who have committed to hosting their own podcasts are faced with the same content production burden as bloggers. Reaching out to the right hosts with the right approach could land you a handful of great guest spots and ease the content production burden of the host.
And, if you do have your own podcast, being a guest on other podcasts will amplify the results you get with your own. After all, people who listen to podcasts, listen to...podcasts.
But, whether you have your own show or not, always include a CTA when you have a guest spot. CTAs could be to download your lead magnet, a special offer toward your membership, a quick consultation, or anything else that's relevant to your site. If you have your own podcast, certainly invite listeners of the podcast(s) where you are a guest to subscribe to yours as well.
Start by identifying a list of podcasts where you would be able to provide value and insight to the subscribers. These will likely be industry influencers' podcasts whose audience probably resembles your target audience. Guest podcasting can and should be part of your organic influencer marketing strategy.
Don't make the mistake of reaching out to the hosts with 100,000 subscribers first. Start small, get some experience and build a podcast resume of sorts, then start working your way up the influencer ladder.
Your outreach email to a host should include some kudos to them, credentials for you (in a non-braggadocious way), examples of other podcasts you've been on and/or links to your own blog posts, YouTube channel, etc., and perhaps some topics you'd be great to speak about in the interview.
Don't give up when you get rejections. If you get shut down by a key influencer in your field the first, second, or third time, refer back to the organic influencer section here to try to build social capital with them before trying again.