AskPat 286 Episode Transcript
Pat: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 286 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. We have a great question from David today.
But before I get to that I do want to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks.com, a super easy to use and the best cloud accounting solution for your small business. You could join over 5 million other small businesses who are using FreshBooks to help them organize their finances from the money coming in, money going out, and also professional looking and easy invoicing for their clients. So go ahead and check it out, a 30-day free trial is waiting for you if you go to FreshBooks.com/AskPat and enter “AskPat” in the “how did you hear about us?” section. Again, FreshBooks.com/AskPat and enter “AskPat” in the “how did you hear about us?” section. Sweet, let’s get to today's questions from David.
David: Hi Pat, my name is David and I host an Xbox One podcast called XOneBros over at XOneBros.com. My question for you today is about the podcast and about listeners of the podcast. I have been fortunate enough, since last March when we started, to experience success in gaining new listeners every week, and every month since we began. We have been able to grow, and grow at a steady rate and it's been fantastic.
However, when the holidays hit we saw a big dip in our numbers and we've yet to recover from that big dip. My question for you is: Is this normal? Is it normal to experience a dip during the holidays and when typically do you get out of that dip? I worry that perhaps my podcast has ran it's course and I'm not going to grown any more. I know it’s only January 12 and my patience . . . I probably just need to be a little more patient, but I want to know what your experience is. Have you found that this dip is normal during the holiday seasons and, on top of that, when have you found during the year that most people are listening to podcasts? When is the best months for growth? Is it during the spring, during the summer, during the fall? I'd be interested in what your experience has been with this. And is podcasting cyclical in that respect? Are certain months, do they peek out with listeners, more people listening to podcasts then say during Christmas time when obviously there's probably going to be more of a dip.
Any insight to this would be helpful. Thank you so much for all you do. You're an inspiration. It's because of you, really, that our podcast exists and our community exists. You've affected a lot of lives that way. Thank you so much. I look forward to hearing your answer.
Pat: David, thank you so much for the question today. I think it's funny when we all look at our stats because some of us go stat crazy. I know a lot of us can agree with that and understand. Especially, when we're first starting out or we seem to be gaining momentum. We just check those stats every single day and the moment something happens where they're not going the way that we're used to, we freak out. I'm not saying you're freaking out, David. It's important to keep track and consider these options, or these scenarios, and try to understand what is happening. So I think it's really smart of you to ask this question. This is a question we should all be asking when we notice different trends, or something that's different in our analytics.
It's not okay to freak out and react though, that's the thing. I think you had mentioned patience, and that's really important. Sometimes there's just an anomaly, or something might happen in the industry that you didn't know, or there might be just an error in the rankings, or something . . . sort of an outlier case that just seems to adjust the analytics for a short period of time. You don't necessarily want to react right away, and I know this is a mistake that a lot of people make, especially with website traffic. They see a sudden drop or a sudden dip, and then they'll potentially account it to something that they did recently which didn't even have to do with it. It was just something else. You want to fully understand the story, but also understand if this is going to be a long-term thing as well. You can dig deep into the analytics when it comes to website traffic. However, with podcasting, unfortunately us podcasters we aren't as blessed to have all of the analytics that we would like to understand what's going on.
It would be amazing if we knew exactly where every single a listener was listening from, for example. Or, for example, a person who listens who drops out. When in that episode do they drop out the most? So we can learn from our mistakes and not do those things. Perhaps, that's a software solution that somebody can come up with, but for now we have simply downloads and regions, and we're able to segment based on timeframes.
I will say, David, that there is a season for podcasts. Not in general, but for every niche out there. There's going to be times of the year where there's more people who are going to grab onto the show, and there's going to be seasons where less people are going to grab onto the show. I know from my experience, at least in the podcasts and the niches I'm in, the holidays are actually a great time of the year.
The reason for that is, well, a lot of people are getting new iPads and new iPhones and things like that. New devices where they can then search for podcasts. If you are ranking fairly high, you will see, typically, a surge of downloads during that time of year. I find the time between December and February to be the best times of the year. That is reflected in my analytics currently in this year as well. I don't want that to scare you, David, so again, it depends on your niche. Maybe something happened in your industry where there, for some reason, was a dip, but it might come back.
Like I said, you want to be patient, but you also want to understand what it is that you did during that time. Are you doing anything different that may have an effect on your decrease in downloads? It could be anything from a new website design to the topics that you talk about to . . . perhaps, maybe it was because it was the seasons of the holidays and you didn't want to market as much because you didn't want to bother people as much, or maybe you just didn't have time because you were busy with family or other things. Therefore, you're not getting as many downloads. There could be a lot of variables. You want to pay attention. Maybe backtrack and look at your schedule, look at your editorial calendar, look at the posts and the episodes that you published to see if there's any patterns.
Another thing you want to check out is: Are you fluctuating in the rankings at all? If you were ranking at all to begin with. Rankings can have a huge effect on the number of downloads because those are things where people will find your show without having to type in keywords related to your show. They find it there, and because it's ranking, it's social proof and people will begin to download those. It just so happens, obviously, that when you climb the rankings more people are going to download. The more people who download, the more subscribes, the more ratings and reviews you're going to get, which means you're going to rank even higher.
The best thing you could do, David, to recover, if you need to recover, if you haven't done so already, or at any moment in time, is you could go into two or three weeks worth of episodes, maybe a month worth of episodes. And I see, David, that you've been consistent with one every week which is great. That was another thing I was looking for, to see if you were actually posting on a consistent schedule, and you guys are which is great. One thing you could do to increase your rankings is really focus on increasing the rankings in the next few episodes.
How do you do that? Well, rankings are determined by the number of downloads, but more so the number of subscribes and the number of ratings and reviews within a short period of time. If you can get a hundred reviews, for example, it is much better to get them within two days than it is to get them in the span of two months. You're going to have higher rankings if you get them in a shorter period of time. The strategy here is to approach the next few weeks as a promotional sequence of events to help your podcast rank higher. I just checked. At least in the US, David, your show is not ranking in the top 200. So there's an opportunity here.
What is this sequence of events? Well, when you publish your podcast episodes, the next ones that come out, make sure you provide calls to actions, especially at the end of the shows. You can sprinkle it throughout the show as well to leave a rating and review. Also, to subscribe to the show too. One thing that Chris and I—Chris Ducker and I—we released a new podcast within the past month called 1-Day Business Breakthrough. We were able to get 236 reviews within the first three days. We did that by actually holding a contest. The contest worked like this . . . And this worked amazingly and we've seen this on other podcasts that have come out and ranked really high as well. So this is something that we can all do to increase the rankings whether we are starting out for the first time, or whether we are just . . . “we have a podcast and we're looking to climb higher like you guys are, David.”
So it worked like this, we had said at the end of each of those episodes and also on our blog and in our emails which is something you should do if you want to promote this sort of promotional sequence of events to rank higher. Make sure that you hit your list, you hit your social media streams and all those things to help get more subscribes, more rankings, and ratings.
But the contest that we were doing was specifically to help drive more ratings and reviews. We kind of put the subscriber part just kind of on auto pilot. Just said, “Subscribe and then leave a rating and review by doing the following: Leave a rating and review and before you hit submit on that, take a screenshot of it,” which is really important because when you leave a rating or review on iTunes, it doesn't show up right away.
So, specifically, the instructions are to leave a rating and review, an honest rating and review. It’s good to say honest. And take a screenshot of that review before you hit submit. Then, insert that image on Twitter and use the hashtag #onedaybb. That way, we can track. That was really cool because it allowed us to easily track these ratings and also just thank those people right away. Also, that would be their entry into a contest where every day for the first five days during that launch week we would give away a t-shirt, but they would also be entered into a grand prize drawing to get a few other goodies including some consultations and things like that.
So, I don't know, David. You might be able to find something to give away with. Either partner with another company and have them be mentioned every time you talk about this contest within the first . . . it's not really a contest because they don't have to, there's no . . . somebody can't leave a better review than somebody else. You don't want to call it a sweepstakes either. Sort of a random drawing is what you might want to call it. There's some rules specifically with contests and sweepstakes and things like that. I just like to call it a random drawing. It is a random drawing, and so you want to make sure that, when you select your winners, that it is random. So you could assign a number, for example, to each of them and then pull up a random number generator and use that to select a winner each day. Maybe it's just once at the end of the week or something like that. So that could help as well.
Another thing that we're currently doing to increase ratings is to, in every episode, read a review. So we read a review at the beginning of each episode. I mentioned that we do that just so it encourages people to do so. Also, we give away a t-shirt for people whose reviews are read. You don't have to do that. Again, any sort of incentive. I mean, we understand how important the rankings are, and that ratings and reviews are just a huge part of the algorithm. We don't know what the algorithm is; nobody does exactly unless they work at iTunes, but we know that that's a huge chunk of it.
So those are a few things you could do, David. Maybe it's just access to, it doesn't have to be a physical item. Maybe it's a month free of Gamefly.com. For those of you who don't know, Gamefly is sort of like Netflix for gamers. I think it's called Gamefly. Anyway, there's a lot of things you could do there, David, but the primary motivation here is to get people to act to leave you a rating and review. Again, within a short period of time so have an end date on this. Have the ability to say, “Okay! One more day to do this.” Things like that. That's going to help push these ratings and reviews, and your show higher in the rankings. And hopefully get you back where you were before if you aren't already.
So, David, I hope that answers your question. It is absolutely normal to fluctuate, but you also want to keep growing over time as well. It's important for all of us to keep track, but also not react. I mean, this contest, this isn't a reaction. This is something anybody can do even if you're growing. It will just help you grow even faster.
Thank you, David, for your question. I appreciate it. An AskPat t-shirt is headed your way for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured to hear on the show, all you have to do is head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there on that page thanks to the widget from SpeakPipe.
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Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of AskPat. To finish off, here is a quote from Confucius. He says, “I hear, I know. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.” So do! Cheers, take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.
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