Podcasting Secret Training: What I’ve Discovered from Three Years of iTunes Podcasting (Using LibSyn and PowerPress) to Increase Sales and Traffic (And What You Can Do Too)

Just like anything in life, it's a good idea to know WHY you're doing something, as opposed to only "going through the motions"…

And if you're only dabbling, if this "internet marketing" thing is only a hobby to you, then it's likely you haven't found very much success because you rarely finish the things you start. If you actually want to make money, it's time to stop dabbling and actually create something. Don't "start" to create something. Actually make that single membership site, add that affiliate program to it, and get some traffic…

You need to go all-in. The first problem I see with people going all-in is that they keep changing what they're going "all-in" for, which really isn't going "all-in." You probably know what I'm talking about. Changing to a new niche every month. Only focusing on Pinterest marketing one month because "everyone's" talking about it. Only focusing on Kindle comic books the next month because "everyone's" talking about it…

Let's separate the forest from the trees: the only things you need to focus on in your business are your list (so setup an opt-in page and follow-up sequence), traffic (setup a retargeting pixel, run Facebook ads and have an affiliate program) and offers (promote affiliate products and sell your own products).

When it comes to list, traffic and offers, there's the MUST-HAVE's (sales letter, email autoresponder) and the NICE TO HAVE'S (blog, podcast, Facebook fan page, etc.)

You "could" run your business without a blog (the website you see here) and you could run your business without a podcast (an internet radio show where you post audio episodes on your blog and they also appear in places like the Apple iTunes store).

BUT, if you already have SOME kind of sales letter and opt-in page in place, your blog is the TRAFFIC method to get more clicks onto your webpages and a PODCAST is a really easy way to consistently update that blog even if you have just a few minutes every week…

I highly recommend our Podcast Crusher course to get your podcast setup. You use your existing blog (or setup a new one) and use a special plugin called PowerPress and a file hosting service called LibSyn. You don't want to host your podcast audio files on Amazon S3 or on your own web host for a number of reasons. The biggest one is that it's easier to look at your stats. You can tell which episodes get the most play and that tells you what kinds of podcast episodes to create in the future.

The Robert Plank Show premiered on September 13, 2012.
I'm not a super prolific podcaster but I've published 56 episodes with exactly 41 hours of audio content in those three years.

I want to get you into podcasting (or BACK into podcasting if you've neglected it) because the traffic is steady consistent, as long as you publish consistently which is probably the #1 most important thing when it comes to podcasting…

Podcasting is just audio blogging that happens to get listed on Apple iTunes. Let's just call it what it is. In the past, when I had something to say, I'd spend a couple hours typing out some big long post (kind of like I'm doing to you now). When I want to put out a new podcast:

  1. I spend about 10 minutes figuring out some bullet points (if that), and I hit record
  2. I speak out my podcast "episode" in one single take, about 30-40 minutes. The "ideal" podcast length is 20 minutes, but that's a little short to cover the things I want to cover, although I don't want to go over 60 minutes
  3. After recording the audio, I spend about 1 minute adding intro and outro music. Important: I don't edit out any "um's" or "ah's" or anything like that
  4. It takes another 1 minute or so to properly "tag" the file for podcast players and add things like my cover graphic into the file
  5. About 1 more minute to upload the audio file to the special hosting service (just wait for a simple file to upload)
  6. Finally, I go to my WordPress blog at RobertPlank.com, click Add New Post, paste in the podcast title and "show notes" – basically, the bullet points I created to structure the show. This is a 30-second process. More recently, I've hired a person to listen to the podcast and type more detailed notes that I'll paste in later…

It's a 6-step process that takes 33-and-a-half minutes. Most people don't have a podcast even though it's easier to create than a blog post. Just speak your thoughts and then go through the checklist to publish it.

What I Didn't Do Correctly In My Podcast

Getting "some kind" of podcast online, even with just one quick 5-minute episode with zero music (that's how we have you create your first podcast episode inside Podcast Crusher) is more than most of your competitors will do.

BUT! Since launching the podcast, I've noticed many other internet marketers start podcasts, and they've done what I can only call a "podcast launch." I'm not sure if someone's teaching it in a course, but here's what I'm seeing new podcasters do:

  • Launch about three 5-10 minute podcast episodes the first day, and then another quick 10 minute episode after two days, then another 10 minute podcast another two days later
  • Get about 200 reviews to their iTunes podcast that very first day. It's very important that all 200 reviews roll in within those first 24 hours
  • With any luck, this will get you in the New & Noteworthy section of iTunes and possibly in the top 20 of your podcast's category (internet marketers use the "Management & Marketing" Business subcategory)

Wait a second... how do you get 200 podcast reviews within a 24 hour period? The internet marketers I've seen have been paying for them on Fiverr which I consider a blackhat technique. I'd be worried about getting banned from iTunes, and it will set you back a couple thousand bucks to hire all those reviews, but that's how many marketers are doing it. 200 reviews in 24 hours.

The next thing I didn't realize until recently was that you should be checking your rankings in iTunes. Open up the Podcast app on an iPhone or iPad and click on the "Top Charts" button, then browse to your category.

It's huge if you get into this "top 300" in a category even if you're near the bottom. My podcast has steadily climbed the rankings, then fell back down, and I've seen others rise fall in the rankings as well.

At the very least, when you check out this list you'll know what a successful podcast looks like.

Mistake number three: I wasn't consistent at first with my podcasting. Here's my podcast posting frequency:

  • 11 new episodes in 2012
  • 17 episodes in 2013
  • 15 episodes published in 2014
  • 16 episodes published in 2015 (so far)

There were no new episodes between November 2014 and March 2015, but other than that, I've posted "just under" one new episode per month. In 2015, I've been posting weekly from July and now well into September.

What I Did Right With My Podcast

There are a lot of things I did correctly with my podcast that you can learn from. First of all, I didn't start posting podcast episodes every day and then burn out after a month like many bloggers. I recorded a handful (five episodes) and only published a few.

There's something encouraging about being a couple of weeks ahead on your podcast. I'm not saying you have to plan and film an entire year's worth of podcasts or anything like that. Actually, if you did that, you'd probably record a lot of bad episodes. But I want you to record podcast episodes close to TWICE as quickly as you publish them.

That means if you're planning on publishing a new podcast episode every week, record a quick one on Monday and another quick one on Friday BUT only publish one of those two. That way you can keep building up a "pool of content" and you have one in your back pocket if you don't feel like recording that week.

Next, hire someone to listen to your podcast and type up some shownotes. The "show notes" are the text that appears on your blog for that podcast episode. It's also viewable in most podcasting apps when someone listens to your show.

Posting "just" the podcast audio player alienates the readers on your list, but when I pay to get it transcribed, I end up with a transcript that sometimes 5,000-plus words… too long to put into a blog post. I put it all into a PDF document but that's still a lot for someone to read.

The answer: pay someone on Fiverr.com (the cost is $15 to $30) to listen to your podcast, and not type up a transcript, but take "notes" so you can post your summarized content as your show notes.

Another thing I did right: recording one-take content. Just imagine if you left edit-points throughout a 20 minute podcast, or you spent 3 hours removing the "umm's." Treat it like a radio show. You're allowed to stop for a second and say "umm" if you want. It's your show. Record all your podcast episodes in one-take. It's great practice for future products and webinars.

I'm also glad I created a Facebook fan page for The Robert Plank Show which has now grown into nearly 15,000 fans. You should have a fan page for your podcast as well.

Something most people miss out on is SEO with their podcast episode titles. If you publish a podcast and your blog post title says something like, "How to Record a Video" … that's one thing.

But what if you titled that podcast episode, "How to Record Screen Capture Videos with Camtasia and Upload Them to YouTube?" Now when someone searches iTunes for the terms "screen capture" or "Camtasia" or "YouTube", you'll show up in those search results.

As far as I can tell, iTunes only counts your blog post titles in these results and not the contents of your show-notes. But it amazes me when people put out podcast episodes that are only one or two words long, when they could be showing up in more places.

I'm not the kind of person who wants to run an "interview show" where I have a new guest on my podcast every week, but this is why interview shows (besides being easy to create) are an easy podcast traffic source. If you interview a Michael Gerber type of celebrity, then that podcast episode where you interviewed him shows up when someone searches for his name.

Heck, even if you're too chicken to have guests on your show, review their products and books. You can create an episode talking about Seth Godin's latest book and show up in podcast searches, for example.

Podcast Format & Formula

Our Podcast Crusher course shows you all the fancy details, like how to record and properly tag your podcast episodes, where to host them, what settings on your WordPress podcasting plugin to customize, how to promote that podcast, and more.

When I first created my blog, I noticed a handful of people always reading the blog at any given time. With the rise of attention-stealing sites like Facebook and a few Google slaps, I noticed the traffic drying up. Good news: now that I've been podcasting consistently, I always see a handful of people browsing the site. The traffic came back!

Numerous studies show that 20 minutes is the ideal length for a podcast. I've listened to podcasts on a 5-minute format, and that's not enough time to make more than one or two points. 10-minute podcasts are a little better, but as a listener, I find myself waiting for 2 or 3 to pile up, and then I listen to all those in a row.

On the other hand, when someone pumps out 60, 90, 120 minute podcasts… it takes me at least 4 separate sessions to get through them all, and the number one reason I unsubscribe from a podcast is because too many unplayed episodes pile up.

20 minutes is the ideal length if you can manage it. Most of my episodes unintentionally last about 40 minutes, but I do my best to keep them from getting any longer.

My personal formula for the best podcast episode possible:
Three sets of three bullet points each.

Just like with any content you create, you should be solving a problem which means either answering a common question or explaining an obstacle you overcame. If you can channel the frustration of others doing the wrong thing in your industry, even better. It will be impossible to shut you up in that case.

What do I put into those three sets of bullet points? We have three bullet points about the problem we're setting up and the alternatives or solutions that didn't solve that problem. Then, three more bullet points detailing the steps you'd take to solve that problem. And then, three additional bullet points on the actual case study of yours that used those steps to solve the problem.

Here's how I mapped out my 51st episode of the podcast, "Rise Above Being a Geek"…

What Problem Are We Setting Up?

  • How to complete projects instead of "chipping away" at them and get "something" for sale?
  • How to avoid being an "upsell hell" marketer who sells at $17, $27, $37?
  • If you give a mouse a cookie problem, going down a long path where nothing is complete

What Steps Can We Take to Solve That Problem and Rise Above Being a Geek?

  • Avoid OR
  • Tell and show what they'll do once they take your training
  • Superhuman demonstration w/ easy button

What Does This Look Like in the Real World?

  • Checklist Marketing: WP Notepad
  • Internet Marketing Basics sounds boring: Income Machine is a better system
  • Real life demo: Podcast Crusher

(There are other types of podcasts such as 10-part and 14-part list posts, but those are simpler... just go through the list.)

When I actually talk during the podcast, the length of each section gets pretty uneven, which is okay, because I can spend more time on the interesting stuff.

Ideas for Podcasting Content

If you've setup your iTunes podcast using our Podcast Crusher training, and you're still stuck, here are some starters for your at least your next six episodes:

  1. Interview show: have a real conversation about something you genuinely want to know about, ask them questions they don't normally hear
  2. How did you get started online?
  3. What tools do you use in your online business?
  4. Compare two schools of thought (i.e. Dave Ramsey vs. Robert Kioysaki) -- which is the best?
  5. What's a common "saying" you can use to make a point? (i.e. The Mom Test, Self-Recharging Bank Account, Copycat Marketing)
  6. What have you been up to in the past 30 days of your business? (live case study) -- i.e. backing up your website and what tool you used (not a list of possible tools)

The bad news about all this is, the information I've just shared with you is useless unless you setup your own iTunes podcast using Podcast Crusher. The good news is that once you have a guide, it's easy to setup your podcast and you could be listed on iTunes by this afternoon.

If you want to win at the content marketing game, have something setup, keep it online and update it as often as you can, once a week if possible. What's also great about building your own website and creating your content is that you can do it on YOUR terms. If I decide I want to decode a 5-minute, or 40-minute podcast, I can.

If I type out a 200-word or 2500-word blog post (like this one) I can do that and no one can tell me otherwise. However, I'll use the TEMPLATE or the GUIDE for a successful podcast to ensure I knock that "nice-to-have" task out within one sitting, and get back to the "must-haves" that bring me all my online income.

Filed in: Archive 1: 2012-2016BloggingTraffic

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