All too often we’re so focused on achieving that next milestone or landing that client or investment … we can easily forget to truly appreciate and honor our accomplishments. Because when we allow ourselves to bask in the gratitude for what we achieved … we attract more where that came from.
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we celebrate a big milestone for this podcast. This is… Episode 500!
500 interviews with many of the most inspiring women entrepreneurs on the planet.
Millions of dollars in value created by the #LiftAsWeClimb mission of Wings … whether:
- Promoting the businesses of badass women entrepreneurs
- Providing practical tips and inspiration you can put into practice to grow and scale your business;
- Precipitating connections between women resulting in many new lucrative business opportunities, strategic partnerships and investments; or
- Propelling me to launch my 5th business, Podopolo – the world’s first socially interactive podcasting network on a mission to put power in the hands of content creators and their communities.
All of that, and then some, has happened since I launched Wings two years ago. And there I was thinking back then it was a simple passion project. Today we’re going to talk about the power of podcasting to enhance your life and enhance your business … and I’m going to share my 8 steps to launch a sustainable and profitable podcast…
Now I have a special invitation for you today to join a live Zoom video call with me and some of my favorite guests over the years. It starts at 2:30pm Eastern / 11:30am Pacific – you can sign up at wingspodcast.com/500.
Today we’re going to #LiftAsWeClimb and celebrate this 500th milestone together with some inspirations, incitements, revelations, and practical hacks from some of the best female founders out there:
Natalie Ledwell from MindMovies. Allison Maslan, the 10-time serial entrepreneur and author of Scale or Fail. Lauren Flanagan, leading investor and principal of Belle Capital. Wealth and mindset expert Dame Doria Cordova, energy healer Lisa Thomas, multitalented multi-preneur Kathryn Kemp Guylay, communications expert Mary Shores, serial entrepreneur Laura DiBenedetto, and mompreneur expert and Stretch Marks podcast host and author Amber Trueblood … among them.
We’re getting real and raw over 90 minutes to talk:
- How to pivot and prosper in business during Coronavirus
- Ways to “have it all” without “doing it all” – even when you have to cook, clean and homeschool as you scale your business
- Messages from the virus and what it is showing us as women
- Selfcare, healing, health, mindset and momhacks
- And much more … including your questions!
Again, sign up – we’re live on Zoom at 2:30pm Eastern / 11:30am Pacific – and you can save your seat here at Wingspodcast.com/500 – and hurry because spaces are limited! There will be a replay for those who sign up … come live though so we can take your questions.
I put on my Wings at a vulnerable time in my life.
I was healing from a catastrophic marriage to a verbally abusing narcissist that had robbed me of my confidence, along with all my financial assets, leaving me broke, confused, struggling to support two young children with a startup, and full of that inner bully voice that kept taunting me with, “how could you have let this happen to you”?
We all have struggles, setbacks and challenges to overcome in our lives – and all of us have the power to “alchemize” those moments … transforming pain into profound learning, fear into love, lack into abundance … and along the way becoming the lighthouse guiding so many others to that healing path.
Wings is personal to me.
I grabbed my wings so I could help other women grab theirs.
They say the best books and the best podcasts are created by people who need that book or podcast themselves.
And yes, Wings is the podcast I wish I could have listened to when I was coming up as an entrepreneur – all that time I had spent isolated, in my masculine energy not knowing any other path, burning out trying to “do it all”…
I dreamed of another way.
I dreamed of what it would be like if we were all truly heard.
I set out to affirm and acclaim the entrepreneurial journeys of female founders like me, who I believed were “succeeding in silence.” We didn’t fit the stereotype of a 20-something dude in a garage wearing a hoodie eating ramen (too many carbs!) And tech founders like me with scalable opportunities weren’t getting a fair share of the venture capital funds out there – to this day only 2%.
I wanted to change the game for women in business and ignite an ecosystem where women help each other to soar to success.
I imagined a world of abundance where women mentored each other, promoted each other, bought each other’s products and services, and invested in one another.
So, I simply decided to BE the change I wanted to see in the world.
And I picked up a microphone. Plugged it into my laptop. Set up a Zoom line. Emailed some inspiring women founders like Hint Water’s Kara Goldin, 3D printing inventor Ping Fu, advertising legend Sally Hogshead, and USA Networks founder Kay Koplovitz among them … shared my mission … got them talking … and well, here we are.
I didn’t really expect anything from it. I just wanted to give.
I started promoting women entrepreneurs through my podcast.
I started opening doors to by connecting women to each other.
I created mentoring programs, online summits, and a membership site for women starting and building scalable businesses.
I co-created a successful luxurious retreat and mastermind for successful women entrepreneurs called Wings of the Empowered Woman.
I started buying women’s products and services.
I set an intention to invest $10mm+ in women-owned businesses in the next 10 years.
And magic started to unfold in myriad ways in my life.
It’s incredible what happens when one takes massive action in alignment with a clear mission … your true purpose and talents … and let inspiration (or what I like to call the “divine downloads” I get walking my golden retriever in the woods or in my morning meditations…) guide you.
My gratitude on this 500th episode milestone for Wings truly knows no bounds.
Gratitude for you for listening
Gratitude for my inspiring guests who share their best hacks, “aha’s” and secrets of success – honestly it’s like a personal mastermind for me too.
Gratitude for all the recognition – especially Entrepreneur Magazine naming us #8 of its Top 20 Business Podcasts for 2020.
Gratitude for the lessons, connections and dharma I get from hosting it.
And gratitude for how it led me to Podopolo!
I never planned to launch in the middle of a pandemic. Yet here it is … Podopolo, the world’s first socially interactive podcasting network. Podopolo is live in beta now on the Apple and Google app stores. Download Podopolo now … and discover some new favorite podcasts, interact with hosts and each other, and best of all … win prizes, freebies, special discounts and more … as you share content, put lessons into action in your life, and engage in mission-driven quests to improve the world. That’s Podopolo on the Apple and Google app stores. And if you’re a podcaster – join us! There’s still time to join our free beta program, so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve learned firsthand the power … the possibility … and potential profitability of being a podcaster.
I also know firsthand the challenges of succeeding with a podcast …
I know what it’s like struggling to be discovered.
I know what it’s like trying to grow and engage a community.
I know how frustrating it is to be locked out of sponsor and ad revenue.
Along the way I learned that 85% of podcasters don’t make a dime. And many “pod-fade”.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
The number one mistake most podcasters make when they launch their podcasts …is not having a clear strategy for marketing and monetizing their podcast. Many too skip over the key step of truly digging deep to understand their target avatar and how they plan to attract and engage that audience. “Build it and they will come” doesn’t work well for tech entrepreneurs either … podcasting is all about serving your audience with exactly the content that will resonate with them … and making it easy and rewarding for them to find you.
Launching a podcast is like launching a product or a new business line … or even a new business. It needs operational systems, marketing strategies, a business model, budget, and investment – of your time and money.
Your strategy will be different depending on your current circumstance, needs and desires. Perhaps you have an existing business and you’re looking to podcasting as a marketing and lead generating channel. Perhaps you have a hobby or a cause you’re passionate about and you simply want to share your insights and expertise with the world – and your podcast is unattached to your business … much like how Wings of Inspired Business started.
Perhaps your revenue will come from converting your listeners to your online courses and products. Maybe you’ll do deals with your guests. Or maybe you’ll rely on tips and donations from Patreon … or maybe you’ll be looking for sponsorship and advertising. Perhaps like Wings you’ll do all of those things.
So, what are the 8 steps you can take to launch a magnetic podcast that turns your million-dollar message into a sustainable and profitable podcast?
Step 1: Know Your Why
The best podcasts have a mission – and most podcasters launch the podcast they need for themselves. Podcasting works best not as a transactional media … rather as a transformational one. What is the transformation you have experienced in your own life? What is the transformation you want to see in others? Even if your podcast is all about growing your business – have a mission that brings people together and elevates them in common purpose.
Step 2: Know and Understand Your Target Niche
Podcasting is an intimate medium – and perfectly suited to developing the magic elixir of “know like trust” marketers dream of. The best podcasters put their audience first – and know their hopes, dreams and fears and what keeps them up at 3am. They make sure their podcast addresses those needs and enables transformation of some kind … even if it is badly needed laughter or distraction.
It’s also important to know your audience well so you can make money from podcasting.
Problem is, download data simply doesn’t tell the full story – making podcasting a guesswork game for advertisers and sponsors. That’s why advertisers seek podcasters with 10,000+ downloads an episode – something only the elite
1-2% of podcasters achieve … and all the more impossible while serving a niche audience.
Something I learned along the way as a media executive for many of the world’s largest media brands … and building my own media businesses … is that you can monetize even a small audience (say 250 listeners per episode) if you know a lot about them. Problem is … Podcast networks and distributors on the market now keep all the data to themselves. That’s why I’ve created Podopolo™ – the first network to openly share listening data and deep audience intelligence with podcasters along with highly targeted and interactive advertising and sponsorship.
Once you know and understand your target market with this detailed data, you’ll be able to address your avatar’s needs and fears and you’ll be assured that your content solves their problems and improves their lives. That means you’ll know exactly how to engage and what products to sell to your captive audience.
And this is vital to any monetization strategy as you ponder …
Step 3: Know Your Business & Monetization Strategy
Decide what you want this podcast to do for you or your business. What would be wild success? What milestones do you want to reach? How will you monetize? Will you be using your podcast as a marketing funnel? Will you be seeking sponsorship and advertising? You can do both – and more besides … and it helps to be clear at the outset about your intentions. Once you know where you are going … you can create a strategy and tactics to get there.
Step 4: Be Your Own Sponsor
Your podcast will become the best lead magnet you’ll ever have. Because with every episode, you’re deepening your relationship with your listeners or viewers … you are priming them to become your customers … or perhaps your team members, mentors, investors.
Think of how you can use your episodes to direct listeners to a special offer you know will benefit them.
When I first launched Wings, I created a 5-day online summit called Wings of Success with the teachings of 50 of my most popular guests. They were all women founders with multi-million-dollar businesses sharing their specific strategies for scaling their business and creating a magnetic brand. Wings of Success became a six-figure product. First, when people paid to download the video trainings, and second, when it evolved into the evergreen membership site and the online mastermind it is today. Then, I created two more highly profitable business lines which I also promoted on the podcast: The high-ticket Wings of the Empowered Woman transformational mastermind retreats and my Podcast Accelerators for business owners and entrepreneurs wanting to launch or optimize magnetic and profitable podcasts.
We’re going to dig into the rest of the steps in a moment – and you can also take advantage of my podcasting resources.
Now let’s go back to this Episode 500 Podcast lesson and:
Step 5: Other ways to drive and capture value
Other ways to make money from podcasting include simply asking your listeners to buy you a virtual coffee once a month with a $5 recurring revenue plan. You can leverage Patreon to drive such donations and memberships. Think of things too you can upsell – perhaps people subscribe to receive your transcripts. Another thing you can do if you are using your podcast to promote the businesses of your guests … is to sign up for their affiliate programs so you earn something when someone buys their product as a result of hearing it on your podcast. There are many more such ideas and it one of my secret superpowers to teach my podcasting clients all the ways they can maximize their revenue profitably.
Step 6: Create a Foolproof Launch and Marketing Plan
What if you create the best podcast of all time – and no one knows about it.
This is more common than not. There are great undiscovered podcasts, and overplayed mediocre ones. You need a launch and marketing plan that gets you in front of your exact target audience… with a value proposition that intrigues and motivates them to listen … and better yet, also tell their friends. This means leveraging the lists and social media followings of your guests and your wider network and incentivizing them to promote you. Think too about news releases, and PR to get “earned media” placements. Work your social media – groups on LinkedIn, Facebook… and more.
You’ll also want to use your podcast to build your list … so it is important to have systems in place to capture names and email addresses when people subscribe. Make sure you are driving them to your website to subscribe there, and create a magnetic podcast email autoresponder that keeps your listeners engaged. You may also want to get them into a group on Facebook or LinkedIn – or better yet Podopolo, where you “own” your group and incentivize them with rewards and recognition, and monetize them … More on that a little later, and first …
Step 7: Reverse Engineer your SEO
To grow listeners (and potential customers) use your podcast to answer the questions that keep your audience up at 3am. In the Google search bar, type in the first few words of a common question you think is relevant to your listeners, and then let the search engine autofill the rest. You’ll see which pain points are most popular and how many people are searching for answers to the questions your podcast can answer. Then focus on answering those questions in upcoming episodes—especially in your website “show notes” for your episode.
You can also use the language of the specific question so Google crawlers will find and reward you. You’ll want to make sure your keywords are popular—but not too popular—so you’re not competing with too many others so you can dominate a category. Consider also creating short audio snippets or ‘vignettes’ that answer the question because Google Search is increasingly focused on audio questions and answers—a massive and underutilized opportunity right now.
Step 8: Incentivize Engagement with Gamification
It’s possible to grow an avid and loyal audience quickly with contests and challenges. When Wings of Inspired Business first launched, we created a contest for those who subscribed and reviewed the podcast on iTunes. One winner was picked by a draw each month for a one-on-one VIP day with me. Each recipient advanced their business significantly and then joined me on the podcast to review the ‘before and after’ – attracting more listeners to the podcast and more customers.
You can “gamify” engagement and incentivize your listeners by rewarding them when they suggest topics and guests for your show, share episodes with their audience, put lessons learned on the podcast into action or join in a social mission that you’ve highlighted on the show. Besides free services, rewards might include mentioning them on your podcast or social media, a physical gift or even a gift card.
We’re making all of this easier with the Podopolo app – because listeners and viewers unlock prizes, freebies, discounts and more as they listen, comment, share and engage with your content … and as they put learning into action in their lives … or engage in mission-driven quests to improve the world.
I think Great content IS conversation – and magic manifests when people join together around their favorite podcasts. Ideas turn into action and learning transforms lives.
The next 500 episodes on Wings will all feature ways you can join and engage in our interactive community on Podopolo – and the wider podcast network. You’ll be unlocking rewards, putting learning into measurable action to enhance your life and your business, making new friends, boosting your influence, and much more.
I hope to see you there. You can download the beta version of the Podopolo app on Google Play or the Apple App store – check it out. The first 10 women to listen and comment on a Wings episode will win a $25 Amazon card – and one will win a 2-hour VIP session with me.
Meantime don’t forget to sign up for today’s special Live Wings Event – go to Wingspodcast.com/500 – to save your seat. We kick off today Tuesday May 19th at 2:30 eastern, 11:30am pacific – that’s Wingspodcast.com/500 – and your opportunity to interact with some of the most inspiring and successful female entrepreneurs in the world.
Thank you again for listening – and I’m Melinda Wittstock, and I look forward to having you in our growing community for the next 500.