How long does it take to see results from a podcast?

Written by
Sam Floy
Published on
January 4, 2023

This is a question we get all of the time when we speak with people interested in starting a podcast.

Here's what we say.

It'll probably take 6-12 months of weekly episodes before audience numbers "take off"

Below is a representative graph of listener numbers from one of our shows that has been running for 2+ years.

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Ramps up in the first ~6 months; builds from this foundation

Podcasting is a compound interest game.

The more you can consistently put out high-quality episodes on a regular schedule, the more you'll demonstrate to listeners that you are competent and professional, as well as having a bank of interesting and informative content for people to listen to.

6-12 months, however, is a long time to "see results", especially with competing demands on marketing spend. Even then, attribution is hard to fully quantify direct new customer acquisition from a podcast.

Focus on the guests, not the audience

We therefore recommend designing a show where you get value from day one.

By treating the primary value as the relationship that you build with the guests, the podcast can pay off immediately, and the outcomes are much more in your control.

The show is a success even if no-one listens to it

Of course you do want people to listen it so that new listeners can discover you/ your brand. But this value is an added bonus to meeting with high value people in your industry, rather than being what the podcast lives or dies by.

Most organisations are exclusively long-term when thinking about podcasts

It's obviously important to be doing things for the long-term. But it doesn't need to be "either or".

A lot businesses we speak to about podcasting initially view it as:

  1. A medium for thought leadership: "We have a lot of expertise and so we'll do a podcast where we share our insights"
  2. Only consider speaking on the show people they already know: "We'll speak with some of our big ticket customers who can (implicitly) talk about what it's like to work with us which will become good marketing material"

Both of these are great for creating supplementary content, however its main value is a still a function of the audience size that will take time to build. Of course you can (and should) use this content in your sales enablement, but both routes are quite passive in terms of generating action from your potential customers.

We'd absolutely advocate having existing customers and thought pieces as part of your episode mix, however by using the show to speak with prospective clients/ industry influencers, you are able to drive your business development much more directly, effectively and quickly.

What's the playbook

We advocate the following:

  1. Identify the top 30-50 accounts you'd like to target (i.e. Account-Based Marketing)
  2. Develop a concept that means you to interview leaders at these accounts
  3. Wow them with a thought-provoking conversation and your general professionalism
  4. If relevant, use this opening as a way to introduce your services

Done well, the content you create will also have all of the other long-term benefits of brand-building, SEO, sales enablement, however done this way, you'll also have built 52 high-value relationships within your indsutry in the next 12 months.

Some questions that sometimes come up

Isn't this a bit... sneaky?

It depends on how you choose to interpret it. Our stance is that you should always be genuine in your interactions and if something positive comes from the relationship, great. But the reason you're speaking with the person is not to "book a sales meeting", but instead to build a relationship with someone influential in your industry. About 50% of the time, this naturally leads to a follow-on meeting, or a referral to someone else, but if it doesn't, it's still a valuable use of both your and their time.

What's in it for the guests?

Even if, at the beginning, your podcast subscribers are low, you will likely have other channels that you can share the episode with that will help to promote your guest/ their business.

What's more, you should be making high quality content out of the podcast episode which their marketing team can use to share with their followers. Seeing a business leader speak eloquently about their industry (which your show will do) is great content for their channels.

How much time will it take to do this

It depends if you try to do it in-house or use a partner. There's probably 10 hours of work between 4-5 different roles that goes into making each episode (sourcing the guests; interview prep; recording; audio production; promo content production), along with general project management. With Cofruition, all you/ your team need to do is show up to interview interesting guests that we've booked for you and have the occasional strategy call to ensure we keep the show fresh.

Sounds great, but I don't have time to do a show every week!

If you're going to be doing this in-house, then 10+ hours/ week might well be too much. If, however, your involvement becomes turning up to speak with someone who you'd have *done anything* to get a meeting with, then you probably could spare the ~1 hour to speak with them?

I'm in! How long does it get started?

Again, it depends on whether you get in expert help. Our typical launch takes 6-10 weeks to prepare which involves getting 3-4 episodes in the bag.

Next step
Curious to learn more? Speak to Cofruition about whether podcasting could be a good fit for your business
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