James Carbary founded and is the Executive Producer of a full-service media company, Sweet Fish. They own numerous podcasts, including Crafting Culture, B2B Growth, and The Manufacturing Show. They also produce 90+ successful podcasts for different B2B companies. James was only able to do this because of the extensive knowledge and expertise he’s cultivated over the years. So how does he get his podcasts discovered? How has he built them from the ground up? With these simple and effective strategies.
There’s still room for growth
The podcast space is growing like crazy. James points out that there are over 700,000 podcasts, which seems like a lot. But there are 70 million YouTube channels. With that in mind, he believes that we are still in the early days of podcasting. When James typed “cyber security” in Apple podcasts, there were only four shows in the search results—and they hadn’t posted in years.
As time becomes more valuable to people, they don’t want to sign up for webinars or watch a video. They’d rather play a podcast while driving. Where else can you get a dedicated audience? You can create a show for next to nothing.
Hosting platforms are falling short
The issue is that discoverability in the platforms is just not there. But Spotify recently introduced a form of discoverability. When you listen to an episode, they’ll give you recommendations for other podcasts based on what you’re listening to.
The problem? 93% of podcasts are consumed on Apple. The UI for Apple is not what it needs to be. Hopefully, Spotify forces Apple to make some changes. Spotify has shown that they’re invested—so innovation is happening in the space. It’s an incentive for creators and marketers to get on board.
So how do you format your podcast for discoverability?
Up until 2–3 months ago, their strategy was to just interview someone and turn it into an episode. Sweet Fish is moving toward formatting shows as mostly solo episodes with interviews dispersed throughout. They’re training their team on the front end to identify specific keywords to rank for. Because podcasts are getting indexed in Google, they base outlines for a show on what’s currently ranking for a keyword. Then you make a piece of content better than what’s currently ranking.
James poses a hypothetical: Google “How to get more women in sales” and look at what’s currently ranking. You look at the first three articles, and they’re around 1,500–2,000 words, so you create a piece at 2,500 words. If they talk about data and numbers, 4–5 ways to get more women in sales, etc., you map out what other insights you can add to that. You can also see what Google autosuggest says what people are googling. What are people actually interested in?
So you set an outline for the episode, and then you do the interview. You get it all on video, bust it up into segments for social, then send it to your writing team. Because they’ve strategically outlined the episode, they can create a piece of content that outranks what’s currently ranking.
It becomes a three-headed monster that is really effective. You have great video content to promote the show. You have the podcast episode for people to listen to passively—on their own terms. Then you have long-form written content that you’ve planned well. As long as you focus the content on what you know people are searching for, it will be an absolute gamechanger.
Should you invest in PPC campaigns to drive subscriber growth?
If you’ve got the budget to do it, James says to go for it. He recently subscribed to a podcast that he saw on an Instagram Story ad. The creative was compelling, so he swiped up and subscribed to the Breaking Brand show. Ads are a great way to target people that you know will be interested in the show. But what’s more important? The creative side. Someone has to want to click and subscribe. So your ad has to be compelling.
SEO is essential, as well. James had to change a lot of their show names. Why? Apple has started penalizing you if you keyword stuff your headlines. Shows were getting shut down for doing it. So they place keywords strategically throughout the show description. But Apple is a closed box on how their ranking works. No one knows how to rank for specific keywords.
How do you start a podcast? What mistakes should you avoid? What analytics tools are helpful? To learn more about building a podcast from the ground up, listen to episode #20 of the Content Callout podcast!