I've had quite the journey with my podcast.
I started recording the Niche Pursuits Podcast on April 23rd, 2012. I'll be honest, that I didn't put a lot of thought or effort into recording my podcast.
I started publishing a podcast simply because it was something that other people were having success with and felt like was a natural extension of my blog. I thought if it could bring a few new readers to my blog, then great!
I had no publishing schedule. I had no grand vision. I don't even think I had a good microphone. But I did have a professional voice-over from Fiverr!! So, that should make up for everything…right?
Despite my lack of vision and effort, my podcast did…okay.
A few months ago, I started debating whether I should even continue my podcast. I unintentionally started a hot debate about whether or not people should start a podcast with that post.
Cliff can be very convincing with his level headed statements, witting banter, and hug-able personality. As a result, I decided to not only continue recording my podcast, but to get on a WEEKLY schedule!
I began with renewed vigor recording my podcast starting on May 9th, 2014 with Episode 28. Through the end of October, I have now released a podcast each week for the past 22 weeks and reached my 50th episode overall.
I want to take moment to pat myself on the back for that accomplishment of 22 weeks! You have not idea what a monumental task that is until you realize most of that was during the summer when I had all 4 children at home rather than in school.
I released podcasts while we were on vacation. I had to shew my family away and lock them out of the house (but only if my wife gave me permission 🙂 ). In fact, there were a few moments that live recording had to be stopped and edited out due to “family” circumstances.
So, after releasing an episode for 22 straight weeks, was it worth it? Did my audience grow? What was the overall impact on my business?
Today, I'm going to dive into the stats and of course share my thoughts on what happened in my business after I started recording my podcast on a weekly basis.
The Podcast Numbers
I have plenty of number to share today, so straighten your bifocals and tighten those suspenders because it's about to get nerdy up in here.
As mentioned, I released a new podcast episode for 22 weeks from May 9th to October 28th. This will be important to remember as we start looking at the numbers.
First, let's look at how many downloads the Niche Pursuits podcast was getting before May 2014.
Daily Numbers – April 2012 to April 2014
Here's the same time frame in monthly totals:
As you can see from the trend lines, my podcast was indeed growing at a slow rate for the first 2 years of its existence.
Average Downloads Prior to Change – 7,626
Overall, the average number of downloads per month I was achieving from April 2012 to April 2014 was 7,626. This is either really impressive or not impressive at all depending on who you talk to or compare to.
Let's just say it hadn't changed my life yet.
Now let's take a look at my downloads after I started publishing a weekly podcast starting in April 2014.
Daily Downloads – April 2014 to October 2014
I left the stats from April 2014 in the above screenshot to show the increase that started when I began the weekly episodes.
Here's the same time frame in monthly totals:
As you can see, clearly the number of downloads have increased significantly. I wouldn't call it a mind blowing increase, but still a nice increase for sure in downloads and listens.
Average Downloads After Change to Weekly – 19,106
So, my average number of monthly podcast downloads before the change to weekly episodes was 7,626 and after the change it increased to an average of 19,106
So, I'm now getting over 2.5 times as many downloads per month as I was before!
Now, let me show you the entire stats from beginning to end to give you a clearer picture of what is going on.
Here's the daily downloads from the inception of my podcast until end of October 2014:
You can clearly see the permanently increase that came after May 2014 when I started releasing the weekly episodes.
Here's the monthly stats since the life of my podcast:
What are the Business Results?
Overall, the number of downloads are way up and significantly so since I started releasing a weekly episode.
However, as you may have guessed, I want to dig a bit deeper about what this all means.
I'm a numbers guy, and I want the numbers to tell me how the podcast is impacting my business. As I mentioned 6 months ago in my why you should not start a podcast post, it's not easy to get a direct correlation between podcast downloads and business income.
Did the traffic to NichePursuits.com increase? No.
Overall, I have not noticed any increased traffic to my blog due to my podcast. In fact, my traffic has been fairly consistent for the past several months (I should probably try harder to improve that…).
I included March and April 2014 to show a couple months before the weekly podcast. The amount of visitors to NichePursuits.com has been about the same every month.
September did see an usual spike in traffic to my blog. But that was directly due to the blog post I wrote about PBNs, which gained quite a bit of popularity and mentions.
Did I make more sales of Long Tail Pro or anything else? No.
The short answer is no. I have not seen any impact on the bottom line of my business due to increased sales of Long Tail Pro or anything else that I can tie to my increased podcast downloads.
The traffic to LongTailPro.com has been fairly consistent as well with no increase due to my podcast.
Did my podcast jump in the rankings on iTunes? No.
I don't have the exact ranking of my podcast on the management and marketing Itunes page; however, I know from memory that it was ranked around position 155 or so.
Now my podcast is ranked 142 on that page (as of today). So, I've moved up 10 or 15 spots, but I wouldn't call it a jump in the rankings.
Did it Improve My Business?
I'm trying to reconcile all the effort and the clear increase in number of downloads to what the impact has been on my bottom line. At this time, I can't find any solid numbers that I can point to and say, “Look, that improved my business!”
However, I've continued to realize more and more that a podcast audience is very different than a blog audience. Some people may never read my blog that listen to my podcast all the time.
Podcast statistics and conversions are just harder to track by nature. In fact, I may never know how many sales I can tie back to my podcast or how many email subscribers I gained from the recordings.
2 Positive Impacts on My Business
One thing that having a podcast is definitely good for is networking and building relationships with readers.
This is a less tangible results usually. So far I've networked with some great people and learned from them by asking whatever business question I want.
I don't see sales directly from these…just yet. Depending on the relationship, these are people that I may stay in touch with and eventually do a business deal with.
I agree, that tremendous things can happen when connecting and building real relationships with people. This is one of the biggest tangible benefits of running a podcast for me.
The second positive impact is allows listeners to get to know me better; which builds trust. Again, there is no trust meter out there for me to look at, so it's tough to know if I'm building better relationships with my audience.
However, I do know that many people are listening to my entire episodes which last up to an hour sometimes. This is much more time than people spend on my blog on average (a few minutes usually).
Again, its somewhat of a soft metric, but I know that people are listening to me for longer periods and that builds trust.
In addition, I have heard back from several people both in person and via email that have stated that they either found me through my podcast or thoroughly enjoy my podcast and hope that I keep it up.
Is it Worth It?
So, these are some great benefits and perhaps enough for me to carry on. However, am I crazy to wonder, Is a weekly podcast still worth it?
Perhaps my overarching flaw has always been to think that having a podcast would increase the traffic to my blog or increase the overall sales of my core business.
At this point, I can't point to any stats that show me that my income has increased due to my podcast.
I can point to increased downloads and clearly people are enjoying the podcast. I can point to additional relationships built with both industry leaders and my audience.
But the stats junkie in me is struggling to see the direct impact to my business.
Don't get me wrong though, I DO believe that the podcast is building my overall personal brand. I do think that overall the long term impact on how people view me and my personal brand has been greatly enhanced by having my podcast.
However, if I start to think about my podcast as a separate entity from my blog; perhaps that is the more interesting discussion.
Podcast Listeners are a Different Audience
First of all, I'm fairly convinced that the die hard podcast subscriber is a different audience than the die hard blog reader. I have 2 audiences. Yes, there is some overlap…but I think its a healthy discussion to think about them separately.
When I start to think about them as 2 audiences, then I realize that I've actually asked my podcast audience to do very little. I usually mention my blog at the beginning of the podcast, but I rarely ask them to take any kind of action.
I have no calls to action for my own products.
I have no advertisements or sponsorships in the podcast.
I haven't asked my podcast audience to really do anything!
Perhaps I should be doing the same thing if I want to see a direct impact on my bottom line with this part of my business.
As you can see, after 2 years of running my podcast, I'm still not 100% sure how it fits into my business or even if its had a significant impact on my business at all.
I have plenty of indirect evidence that it has led to more business from emails, blog comments, and others that I've talked to; but unfortunately, these “sales” don't really show up in any statistics that I can check.
At the end of the day, I'm extremely pleased that my downloads numbers have increased since I start doing a weekly podcast, now I just need to figure out what to do with all the additional listeners.
Plans Going Forward
As you can see, I actually took last week off from releasing a podcast episode. After 22 straight weeks, I decided to take a break and do some analysis on what the impact has been.
Now that I've analyzed the numbers and shared those results with you, I will indeed continue on with my podcast.
Will I release a weekly episode? Probably a good portion of the time; however, I'm going to feel free to take weeks off whenever I need a breather. If I start to see some real earnings or other stats that show me the podcast is increasing my bottom line, then I will get even more ambitious about doing weekly episodes.
I can now clearly see that I have a large podcast audience, and they are different from my blog audience. The podcast is a standalone business in a way; and if I want to make money from it, I need to change my approach.
Because of this, I will start exploring sponsorships, advertisements, or other ways to monetize my podcast. This will be an ongoing experiment. This may be as simple as doing a better job of trying to direct people to my email list or blog. Or it could be more involved such as offering special discounts on products or booking sponsorships for the show.
Right now the stats are telling me that my podcast is growing; but it's not directly impacting the success of my business. Yes, perhaps it IS impacting my business in a big way with higher trust and relationships I've built; however, I have very little hard evidence that I can point to that proves that is the case.
Overall, the Niche Pursuits podcast will carry on!
The stats are telling me that I'm doing something right, but perhaps I need to pivot slightly to make the impact greater.
I share all these stats and my open internal thoughts to hopefully benefit you. I'm a real person that struggles with many of the same issues that you may be having in your business. Both of us need to decide where our time is best spent and what is having the greatest impact in our business. I struggle with those questions just like everyone else.
I'd love to hear any thoughts, comments, or questions that you might have below.