Class Introduction - Creative Bravery X Commitment
There are lots and lots of different ways to do this. There is no single step by step list of instructions. There is no formula. There are lots of different strategies and lots of different tactics that you can think about when you are planning to grow your own audience. My goal today is not to show you the one true way to do this but rather to give you a couple of examples that I've seen in my time working in podcasting that have been really, really effective. And the hope is that you're going to walk away with a few examples and some inspiration as you start to think about how you're going to either to continue to grow or start to grow your audience. Does that sound like a plan? We're good? Yes? Okay, I want to introduce you to two terms that we use all the time at our company, Pacific Content. We talk a lot about creative bravery and we talk a lot about commitment. I'm going to show you our blueprint for podcast success. It is not complicated, it is in fact perhaps the simplest grap...
h you will ever see. This is what it looks like. (audience laughing) So creative bravery and commitment. Let's start with creative bravery. What does creative bravery mean? Creative bravery means making a really great, high quality show that is designed from the beginning for audiences to love it. It is a show that adds value to people's lives. When you are creatively brave, you are making a show that is intended to be and presented in the spirit of a gift. You are making a thing for an audience. Creative bravery means making a show that is designed to stand out from the crowd. It is designed to stand out from the more than half million podcast series that are already in places like Apple podcasts. It's designed to stand out from the millions and millions of episodes of shows that are out there. And it is about making a show that is different. That is differentiated and making the show that only you can make. The show that only you can offer. So great question to ask yourself when you're thinking about creative bravery is what am I uniquely suited to do? What is the show? What is the viewpoint? What is the perspective? What is the angle that I have that nobody else has? What is the show that only I can make? And the great thing about creative bravery is that it's a scale. You can be very creatively brave. Or you can be not creatively brave. You can be creatively very safe. You can ask yourself some questions when you're looking at your show to gauge your own creative bravery. You can ask yourself questions, honest questions. Like is my show boring? The answer might be yes. If you have a boring show, it's probably on the lower end. Is this a safe format? Is this another two people talking to each other, unedited, low production value show? That is not particularly creatively brave. That is one of those things that sort of lets you slip down on the creatively brave scale. Here's a great question you're going to ask yourself. If I didn't make this show myself, would I listen to it? And this requires being candid with yourself. It relies on not asking your friends and family who already like you for opinions on your show. But looking deep within yourself and saying like am I making a show that I would listen to myself in my own experience? If you're a company or you're an organization and you're making a show. You can ask yourself questions like does my show sound like a brochure? Does it sound like an infomercial? If so, you are slipping down on the creative bravery scale. If you are working with a company, if you are a company, if you're making a podcast for your own business, is my podcast full of my own company's executives talking to our own thought leaders? Is this a vanity project or is this something that is designed for larger audience? These are questions that you can ask yourself. So creatively brave shows are innovative and designed to stand out from the pack and offer something that nobody else can offer. So that's the starting place. Creative bravery is table stakes. If you don't have a creatively brave show, nothing I'm going to tell you is going to make much of a difference. You need to have a really, really great show. What is commitment? Commitment is the other axis that we're looking at. And commitment basically means making sure that the right people know about your show. Commitment means using every single tool that you have at your disposal to make sure that your target audience actually finds out about your show. And I'm not just talking about finding out about your show once, because you sent out a press release. I'm talking about continually telling your audience that your show exists and that it is worth listening to. So it's not just at launch. It is every single episode. Treating each episode like a campaign. And you've got to make it compelling each and every episode, this is ongoing work. This is not set it and forget it. This is not one and done. This is ongoing work that needs to be done. Later today we're going to sort of break commitment down into a couple of different buckets. We're going to talk about paid, owned, earned, channels, also internal channels. And the thing about this graph that I love aside from its simplicity is that creative bravery and commitment work as multipliers. Right, if you have a creatively brave show but you don't have a whole lot of commitment, you're gonna have a great show that nobody ever hears. And that's fine if what you want is the process of making a podcast and doing it for your own fun or edification or doing a project in your spare time for its artistic merits. There's nothing wrong with that. But if you have a creatively brave show and very little commitment, you got a great show that nobody's gonna hear. The flip side of that is if you have a not very creatively brave show but very high commitment. You're probably gonna fool some people into listening to your not great show once. But if you were like me and you believe that podcasts are a medium based on loyalty and audiences build over time, if you are in it for the long haul. Low creative bravery, high commitment is a recipe for lots of initial drive by traffic and no long term relationship. So, creative bravery and commitment, what we want is to push as far up into the right as we possibly can and we need to be constantly evaluating our shows on these two metrics. Creative bravery by commitment is another way of saying this. And this sounds really simple. But you would be amazed how many people make great shows but don't tell people about it. And you would be amazed at how many people tell lots of people about their mediocre shows. And it only works, the only really successful, long term shows are the ones that are both great and are effectively marketed and that is what we are going to talk about next. I want to tell you a story. This is a tale of two podcast launches. I'm gonna show you a couple of charts from two different launches that I was personally involved in. Both of these shows were creatively very brave. The difference was in the commitment. One was very high, in terms of commitment. The other was kind of low. So, I don't know how many podcast charts we've looked at so far but this is the first month of a very high commitment launch. And what you can see pretty clearly is a pattern. And you can see the first month, this is a teaser episode. And then the first two full episodes that were delivered. What you can see is in orange, daily downloads over time for that first month and in blue you see the subscriber base growing up. So we're looking at downloads and subscriptions. And you'll notice a couple of things. It's fairly obvious where we drop the trailer. It's that first little spike of downloads. All right, very very early on in the left hand side of the graph. It's also fairly obvious where we dropped the first full episode and the second full episode. This is not surprising. We tend to see spikes when you drop new episodes. Usually within the first 24 or 48 hours. You see your biggest spikes of downloads. And with the first episode that we dropped, there's something interesting going on. Where the number of daily downloads greatly exceeds the subscriber base. And what this suggests to me is people are sampling. People are checking the show out and they're saying is this for me? Is this not for me? Do I like it? But again, high commitment drove lots of attention to the show early on and it's not a bad thing if your daily downloads early on in the life of your show greatly exceed your subscriber numbers. Because you haven't yet built up a subscriber base over time. You've had a lot of drive by downloads. And then we see over time the subscriber base grows and we see a second episode drop and if you add all these up, they tend to land in the total subscriber numbers. So, this is a high commitment launch. This is what this looked like from our perspective. Measuring downloads and subscribers. This is a low commitment launch. Again, it's the first month. It is a trailer and the first two full episodes. We're again looking at the daily downloads in orange and the subscriber base in blue. So it's a similar kind of thing. We see where the trailer dropped. We see where the first episode dropped. We see where the second episode dropped. Again, we see for that first episode where we're driving lots of attention to the show, we see those daily downloads exceeding the subscriber base. Again, not surprising, people are sampling. So these two graphs that we've looked at. High commitment and low commitment. The pattern looks remarkably similar when you look at trailer, episode one, episode two. When you look at, there's a lot of very similar stuff going on. What is the difference between these two launches? It's the scale. Pattern is exactly the same. But the high commitment launch in the first month did 150,000 downloads across a trailer and two episodes. Which is a good number of downloads. And the low commitment launch, we were measuring in the hundreds or maybe thousands of downloads. And the thing to keep in mind is the cost of these shows, in terms of the time that we put in to make them and the production costs associated with them. The cost was exactly the same. Minute for minute, these very similar budgeted shows. What was the difference? It was the commitment. So, this is why I like to say the commitment is a multiplier on great editorial. If you don't have a great show, it's hard to promote it in a way that will generate long term ongoing relationships. But, if you've got a great show and you do a good job of telling people about it, it makes all the difference.