Prepare Your Podcast for Success in 2017
The first step in preparing for the new year is to evaluate the previous 12 months. Are you happy with the progress you've made over the past year? In what areas have you failed and where have you succeeded? Be honest with yourself and identify areas where you can make improvements.
What are the big-picture goals for your podcast? Are they still relevant and important to you? Is what you're doing now moving you closer to those goals or do you need to pivot? It's vitally important that you are still moving toward a goal that matters to you. The new year is a great time to pause and make that assessment.
Come up with one to three main goals you want to focus on in 2017. Then reverse-engineer the steps you can take to achieve those goals. These step the actions that need to focus on during the next 52 weeks.
It's also important to put deadlines on these steps. Tasks tend to drag on forever without specific deadlines.
Here's an example:
Let's say you want to start making $500 per month through your podcast. You could lay out the following steps [deadlines in brackets]:
- Get to know your audiences struggles and desires [January 31]
- Brainstorm products (eBook, course, physical product, etc.) that can address those struggles and desires. [February 3]
- Identify which product idea is the most accessible for you to create. [February 5]
- And so on...
Of course, actually creating the product will have it's own long list of required actions, but you need start somewhere. The point is to come up with a challenging goal that is important to you and lay out a detailed plan to accomplish it. And please, do yourself a favor and WRITE IT DOWN.
We are often afraid to put our goals in writing because that creates the possibility for failure. I am speaking from experience here. It's important to remind ourselves that failure is OK, not trying isn't. You will make much more progress striving toward a goal and failing than you will by floundering without clear direction.
Brainstorm Show Topics
We've talked about big-picture ways to get ready for the new year, now it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty.
Ideas are the starting point of every episode. Time to brainstorm and give yourself a headstart on the next 365 days of podcasting. This list of topics is for your future-self, and he or she will thank you so hard. Everyone has times when writers block hits or they are crunched for time. That's when your magic list of topics will come to the rescue.
Instead of aiming for a certain number of ideas, I would dedicate a set amount of time to this brainstorming. Set aside an hour or two to coming up with as many ideas as you can. If you're inspired, feel free to jot down a rough outline to give your future-self some direction.
The main focus here is to generate a ton of episode ideas.
To get the most out of this exercise, set aside some extra time to organize these potential episodes. Depending on your show, you may want to categorize topics or order them in a way that episodes build on each other. You can create an intentional flow to your podcast episodes and even plan some series.
All this work will pay off in the future and allow you to focus on creating great content throughout the year.
Make a List of Potential Guests
Guests can provide a lot of value to your listeners with fresh ideas and a different perspective. Hosting guests on your show also creates great promotional opportunities to grow your audience. If your podcast lends itself to hosting guests, start making of list of people you would like to have on your show.
This list can include people you've already built a relationship with and even folks who have been on your show in the past. People who know and like you are more likely to take the time to appear on your podcast.
You should also target some people who you haven't met. If you think they would appeal to your audience, put them on the list. It might be helpful to include mutual acquaintances who could put you in touch. You are asking them to help you out, but remember that you are also offering them access to your audience. Attention is a valuable commodity.
Finally come up with a few longshots to include in your list. Swing for the fences by contacting a couple of people whom you consider to be way out of your league. Their expertise would be incredibly valuable to your listeners and their influence could be a huge boon to the growth of your podcast. Worst case scenario, they say no. No risk and a huge potential reward means that it is definitely worth asking.
I would not recommend contacting potential guests right now. This is an extremely busy time of the year for most people and you have a lower chance of getting a response. Just make sure you have your list ready to go when things start to calm down next month.
It's a hectic time of year for everyone, but taking some time to strategize and plan for the coming year can pay huge dividends. You owe it to yourself and your audience to set aside some time to ensure that 2017 is a great year for your podcast.