How to Launch a Podcast with Impact By Steph Hancock


How to Launch a Podcast with Impact

NEXT Canada’s Content and Social Media Manager, Steph Hancock, shares her insights debuting LaunchPod, a NEXT Canada podcast.

I’ve been at NEXT for just over two months now, and boy has it been a whirlwind (in all the best ways). During those two months we’ve launched our rebrand, revamped all owned channels, rejigged processes and implemented a new measurement infrastructure. To top that all off, we debuted LaunchPod, a NEXT Canada podcast that celebrates and amplifies the hardworking entrepreneurs in our ecosystem.

I would be lying if I said there weren’t some missteps along the way, but overall, launching our podcast is a big win that brings together one of the most inspiring communities I’ve ever been a part of. In hopes of inspiring others to take the leap and do the same for their brand’s community, I’ve pulled together some of my learnings on how to launch a podcast with impact:

1. Develop a concept and strategize

Like all great content, podcasts work best when supported by a strong strategy. Luckily for me, I work under a killer CMO, Jenn Patterson, who put in the hard work to develop the concept and strategy for the NEXT Canada podcast. She shares her process and thinking behind LaunchPod in her article on how to build a storytelling machine, one podcast at a time.

2. Plan your production around your podcast style

When gearing up for production, keep in mind that not every podcast needs the same equipment. Your production materials should match your podcast style. For LaunchPod, we want our listeners to feel like they are in the room with our guests. For these in-conversation style podcasts, having one mic that picks up everything in the room — from laughs to quick-witted banter — makes the most sense. The Blue Yeti Pro does the job perfectly. Some benefits of using one mic include:

  • Humanizes the output

If you have a larger team and a tightly scripted Q&A style podcast, opting for two microphones and a mixer can produce a crisper sound and more structured podcast style.

GarageBand is a great recording platform for both of these options. If you have a savvy sound editor on your team, they can edit directly in this platform. At NEXT, it made sense to hire externally, so we found a great sound editor to fine tune our episodes on UpWork.

3. Prepare for your launch

There are a lot of variables in producing a podcast that are capable of blowing up a workback or pushing out deadlines, so it’s important to fail fast and pivot to hit your launch date. Having a well thought out launch plan helps, but it’s equally important to have a malleable process with space for setbacks. Here are some tips for planning a successful podcast launch:

Make a flexible workback

Create a workback that includes pre-launch deadlines but is flexible enough to pivot if you need to. If you get in the habit of aligning on deadlines for content planning, production, editing and uploads, you’ll be agile enough in production to create space for any delays as you approach your launch.

Your workback should include:

  • Launch planning initiatives
Produce 3–5 episodes before your launch

You know when a series that you love ends and you have to wait a year to see the next episode? It’s the same feeling listeners get if they absolutely love a podcast, but it has limited episodes. To increase user-experience from the get-go, launch with 3–5 episodes. A BONUS of this tactic is that it increases your chances of getting on the iTunes New and Noteworthy list, a new podcaster’s dream. I found some useful information about getting on this list here.

Don’t share your launch date externally until all production and approvals are complete

Launching a podcast is exciting, I know. But try to keep the excitement internal until all production and uploads are complete. People and tech are unpredictable. Even if you do everything to ensure smooth production, editing and uploads, you may encounter some setbacks that force you to push your launch date, which leads me into my next tip…

Leave 10 days between uploading to your podcast host and launch day

Certain podcast platforms can take UP TO TEN DAYS (ahem, iTunes) to approve new podcasts, so make sure to leave some wiggle room between when you plan to upload your podcast to your podcast hosting platform and when you plan to announce your launch externally.

Get the most out of your launch day

If you launched with 3–5 episodes, you’re going to have a lot of content to promote on launch day. Be intentional and pick the most impactful content to share across your channels. For us, we chose to launch in the morning with a celebration post, share episodes snippets throughout the course of the day and support our channels by sharing the news to our network via email. Having pre-scheduled posts will ease the effort here and free up your time to double-check that everything is running smoothly on the technical end.

4. Amplify

Cross-promote but be creative

Launching with 3–5 episodes makes 2–5 hours of audio, over 30,000 words and a variety of video snippets. Leveraging ALL of this content by telling the story across a variety of mediums and channels not only makes it more accessible for your audience, but also optimizes the hours you put into planning and production. So, be creative and channel specific. Create a variety of assets that appeal to different audiences such as:

After creating your channel-specific content, push to the appropriate channels. For LaunchPod, we went for an always-on, everywhere amplification strategy across Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Medium.

Leverage your community

Your community can be a powerful tool for amplification. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your network and ask them to engage and share.

To extend the reach of each episode, we put together an email template that thanks our guests for contributing and provides them with pre-drafted social media posts to simplify sharing.

And guess what? They were just as excited about sharing as they were about participating. Keep in mind that the content they put into the podcast positions them as thought leaders in their industry. Chances are, they’ll promote their episode because it’s a great way for them to promote their personal brand.

All in all, podcasts are the perfect content marketing tool for brands looking to establish their voice. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and launch that pod!

At NEXT, we’ve locked in our process and are prepped to launch a variety of episodes on the ins and outs of entrepreneurship before 2020, so subscribe and listen to LaunchPod wherever you find your podcasts!