Q: How can I start a successful podcast?
A: I consulted personal-finance expert Farnoosh Torabi, who launched her So Money podcast in January 2015. From the get-go, she was tweeting big-name guests such as Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss. Her show has 1 million-plus downloads, and Inc. magazine dubbed it a top podcast for growing your business. Here are Torabi’s winning tactics:
1. Be patient.
“A podcast—particularly a daily show—can feel like an absolute grind, because it is! This is a marathon, not a sprint.”
2. Set clear goals.
Torabi spent the last quarter of 2014 planning the launch and studying successful podcasts. “A daily podcast differentiates [hosts] and helps them reach high download numbers faster.”
She aimed for an audience that could be monetized, “justifying to myself and my family the 10-plus personal hours a week and thousands of dollars a month it takes to create this show.” Her goals included creating a professionally executed show with high-profile guests, gaining media visibility to enhance her credibility, racking up reviews by critics, and winning fans.
She sought iTunes’ ranking as “New & Noteworthy,” which ensures a top spot in the iTunes store in your selected categories for several weeks. Reviews help; shoot for 12 the first week. “I was selected my first week, and my traffic rose about 50 percent.”
Torabi aimed to use her podcast to increase her email contacts for marketing herself, and she did so by 50 percent as of Sept. 30, 2015. “If your podcast draws an average of 3,400 listens 30 days after its debut, it is in the top 10 percent of all podcasts. Earn roughly 5,000 listens, and you’ll attract sponsors.” Mission accomplished: She has paid advertising on her podcast and a greater media presence, plus more paid speaking gigs and book sales.
3. Go for the best guests out of the gate and listen to followers.
From her research, Torabi knew high-caliber guests make a huge difference, so she went after them. “Guests with major social followings were particularly helpful because they shared the show with their fans,” compounding her listens.
She also paid attention to fans’ feedback and catered to their requests. “I dedicate an episode each week to answering their questions to have the show be as much for and about them as possible.”
4. Ask for what you want.
Best-selling business author/podcaster Chris Ducker taught Torabi the importance of listener reviews for iTunes’ rankings, which boost her audience. “He told me that you don’t get what you don’t ask for. On every episode, I ask listeners to leave reviews, and I have over 300.” (She thanks listeners for their comments and reviews every day.)
Torabi also requested votes after GOBankingRates.com nominated So Money for Best Financial Podcast of 2015. “This award would offer instant credibility and recognition, so I rallied hard for votes during the show and on social media.” So Money—up against Dave Ramsey, Freakonomics and other titans—won.
5. Repurpose content.
Torabi orders episode transcripts that she turns into articles published on Money.com, Business Insider and Yahoo. She embeds links in the articles that drive traffic to her website, bio and ultimately back to her podcast.
6. Be social.
She schedules her posts and provides podcast guests with suggested posts to share with their fans. She says her Twitter following has grown by about 2,500 since the launch.
7. Maintain momentum.
Torabi celebrates every major milestone, and she hopes to reach more in 2016 after partnering with an agency that connects advertisers and digital content.
This article appears in the January 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.