Yesterday the podcast was 90 days old so I figure it’s time for an update. I’m going to make this as transparent as I can to give you a look inside the process. When I started thinking about doing this podcast, it was mostly as a hobby that dovetailed nicely with my career as a voice actor. 90 days in, it’s become a business. I settled on labeling it a ‘hobby’ because I wasn’t completely committed to it when I started. I felt like I could do a dozen or so episodes and they would stand on their own and be useful to people who managed to find them. Turns out more people have found it faster than I thought they would, and now I’m committed to growing it as a business. Watching this unfold has been super interesting, so I’ll give you a brief rundown of the progress so far.
First up, the one metric to rule them all: downloads. Podbean, my hosting company, uses fairly tight definitions for downloads (1 download = any request for the same file from a particular IP address over 24 hours) so I’m pretty sure these numbers are solid. I started from zero with no mailing list or previous group to promote to other than my 100 or so personal Twitter followers and a few hundred personal Facebook friends.
First 90 Days by downloads
July 13 to Aug 1: 250
October 1 to 12: 1264
Total in 90 days: 4869
Compared to podcasts that start with a promotional push or spin off from other successes, these numbers probably wouldn’t be all that exciting, but starting from scratch, I think they’re great. The projections I’ve made if things continue at this rate put it at around 5400 downloads a month by December and over 10,000 downloads a month by the 12 month mark in July. These numbers assume the word-of-mouth marketing it’s had so far will continue at the same pace and nothing with no dramatic increases, such as recommendations by folks with large audiences, though I think that will probably also happen at some point. My fans are doing a great job of spreading the word so far. Seems the people who like it really like it.
The marketing I’ve been doing so far involves Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook accounts only. I post a weekly trailer video to all platforms with footage I shoot myself and a short clip of the week’s episode. On Twitter, I post about sleep in general and the podcast specifically 5-10 times a week. Facebook maybe 2 times a week. I’ve spent $30 on Instagram promoting posts, but found that to be not worth doing. The profile visits and likes were not converting to follows. I promoted a couple posts on Facebook and those seemed to do a little better by getting people to like and follow the FB pocast page. I think I’ve spent $40 there so far and may do that again. I normally let a post sit for a day or two and then boost it after it’s original run through people’s feeds is over. I also invited all my Facebook friends to like and follow the page and about a third of them did. Almost forgot that I also started an email list. It’s growing slowly and I plan to use it mostly for bonus episode notices and sharing promotions and discounts with my listeners.
I had considered when I started this that many listeners might just start at episode one and listen to all the episodes and this seems to be happening. The most downloaded episodes are episodes one, two, and three. I’m excited by this because it feels like I’m creating a library of useful content for my listeners who can jump around and revisit the stories they like. This makes it different from a more topical podcast or one that you may never listen to again after the first listen.
I’m bringing on my first affiliate this month and will be doing a 12 week set of testimonial ads for them on the podcast. It’s a mattress and home goods company that I love and they seem like a very natural fit. This came about through a cold call I made to them inviting them to partner with me, so don’t discount the power of reaching out to the sponsors you’re interested in. They may just be dying to meet you and not even know it. I’ve also lowered the prices for the ad-free premium subscriptions to extended versions of the podcast in the hopes that it will make it more affordable and attractive to more listeners.
That seems like a good wrap up of the first 90 days. It’s been an incredibly fun ride. I’m very much looking forward to the coming months and years of Listen To Sleep and I’m already planning my next podcast as a spin off of this one. Shhhh. It’s a secret. :)