Celebrating My Podcast on International Podcast Day 2017

blog post - Celebrating my podcast on International Podcast Day

International Podcast Day is the 30th of September. It falls on a Saturday this year but no matter, there will be a lot of chatter about it over social media over the weekend. Last year I wrote a blog post about International Podcast Day and was talking about it as a launch pad to add some inspiration and impetus to our podcasting projects. I’m very happy to report that I did exactly what I said I was going to do a year ago. I launched my podcast. Did you ever launch yours, or are you still thinking about it? By the way, I can help you get that project launched.

Anyway, I thought it was a great time to celebrate my own podcast along with podcasting in general. It always feels a ‘bit wrong’ to be blowing our own trumpets doesn’t it – or is that just ‘cos I’m English? But I’m so very happy at what I have achieved with my podcast in the 2 months since I launched it.

A Documented Process

Firstly a lot of strategic thought went into the planning, implementation and launch of Stitchery Stories, my textile art podcast. I documented each of the major steps I took along my personal podcasting journey, and they are all on this blog, however today’s post includes some of the story in a nutshell. I also used my own podcast launch project plan and production process.

Why I Wanted A Podcast

As someone who provides a variety of podcasting services, I thought it important I have my own podcast too. It stopped me feeling like a plumber with no water in their house, or a barefoot shoemaker! But more than that I wanted it to be a professional showcase which was entirely of my creation – no client compromises, just clarity. It was also going to take time, effort and money, so I wanted it to be enjoyable. I didn’t feel called to create a podcast about podcasting or online marketing.

SO, what about my hobby of textile art & embroidery? I looked around and discovered there were not many podcasts at all about those subjects. Plenty about knitting, crochet, quilting and general sewing. Plenty from North America. NO podcasts based around UK textile artists and embroiderers. YIPPEE. That was it. I decided on a guest based podcast having friendly chats with textile artists and embroiderers, I knew plenty, of course, personal friends I have met whilst being a member of The Embroiderer’s Guild. I had a niche, and a great interest in the subject, and an excellent starting point.

Working Towards Podcast Launch

It took me longer to get going than I had expected and planned for – I had plenty of client work on and life has it’s way of keeping one busy too, doesn’t it? It took a while to gather enough interviews to launch with, I didn’t want to worry about trying to organise any chats during the school summer holidays, for example.

I launched 27th July 2017. I did wonder about waiting until after the school holidays when I could concentrate more on it but decided to just get on with it. I am so glad that I did.

10 Episodes Later…

… and steady momentum is developing. All the very positive points about having an ‘indie’ podcast are developing. I’ve discovered that I LOVE being a podcast host – who knew? Excitingly, Stitchery Stories is already global, with listeners from Alaska to New Zealand and plenty of places in between – haha the A to Z of the embroidery listening world. Not bad to say I started with 3 Yorkshire friends who happily agreed to be my first guinea pigs. A massive ‘spike’ of listening and growth happened when Stitchery Stories was featured in world famous embroidery blogger Mary Corbet’s blog. That was a truly organic link that happened due to guests and listeners sharing their enjoyment of the podcast. I had to go hunting around to discover why there had been a massive spike that weekend whilst I was busy gardening!

Guests

For my guests it has been a positive experience too. They gain a lot of organic traffic too, as new listeners discover their textile art and beautiful embroidery. I am now seeing a lovely snowball effect, as the sharing and interest grows, and listeners strengthen their interest in each guest.

Easy Listening

I wasn’t sure how much my typical listener would be using iTunes, so that dash for iTunes glory was never part of my strategy. I focused instead on making it very easy for my listeners to actually listen to the podcast. I set up a specific website, using a specific podcast oriented theme so it really is as easy as ‘Visit Website, Click Play’. I have made use of several automation elements to cut down on duplication of effort and they are working well. More on that another time, I think. With that being said, I have been surprised to feature in the UK iTunes Top 200 podcasts in Visual Arts regularly since launch, and also have episodes featured in Top200 episodes in Visual Arts too.

I also set up a simple newsletter using Mailchimp which listeners can subscribe to via a form on the website – I call it the ‘Fan Club’. I send it out weekly to inform the subscribers of the new episode that week, again with information and images and links which are all clickable and they go to the specific episode on the website, so they can just press play. This newsletter gets exceptionally high open rates. Current subscriptions now stand at over 150 which is pleasing.

Podcast Distribution

Each episode goes into iTunes of course, and is posted as a ‘video’ on YouTube using a wide screen version of the square episode artwork.It is posted on the Stitchery Stories website. I have submitted it to IHeartRadio podcasts, but I can’t submit to GooglePlay because that is only for US based podcasts at the moment ūüôĀ

It has automatically turned up on some other podcast directories. It is included in Player.fm and ListenNotes.com and also on TopPodcast.com.The episodes are getting shared, but also are being featured on blog posts, so more links are being created.

Of course since I am talking with artists, about a very visually varied and appealing subject, then there is no struggle for interesting images. Each artist provides me with 3 or 4 relevant images, which I put into my standard image format, and make sure I add their key website onto the images of their work, and also the stitchery stories website on the episode artwork that I share. So for each episode I usually have 4 or 5 images to share on social media during the week each guest’s episode is the new one.

Podcast Sharing On Social Media

In addition to the episodes being distributed as above, I share them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In fact Instagram is proving to be an excellent place to share my episodes. It is driving traffic and listeners to my podcast, and to my guests. So with all that sharing and distribution it’s not surprising that things are growing. What is delightful, from a personal satisfaction point of view, is the varied lovely messages of support and encouragement that are popping up in iTunes reviews, direct emails to me, comments in Instagram, Facebook shares and re-tweets. I got a message from a lady in Instagram this morning saying how inspired she was by a particular episode and she was looking for her closest branch of The Embroiderer’s Guild to go and join. Brilliant! I didn’t expect I would be acting as a recruitment outlet for the Guild, so that is lovely because we are looking to increase membership.

Unfair Advantage With Pretty Pictures?

Ok I can hear you muttering, it’s easy to get people interested about their hobby with pretty pictures to share – what about a podcast for insurance or pensions or something like that. It can still be interesting, by telling stories, but it does need that important thought and creativity at the start and consistent marketing and sharing. Just like anything else online.

We all like numbers, although it is wise to not obsess about downloads. There are plenty of meaningful measures of success that you can apply to your podcast. My measure of success is developing an engaged listener base and for my guests to see growth and quality traffic to their sites too.

Here Come The Stats!

Here are some basic stats that I am very pleased with. They are great for my podcast and my goals.

All time downloads to date: 3297

There are plenty of other things that I can do to actively grow my podcast but please remember that I have client work to do also, as well as being a single mum of a busy 13year old boy, and of course, I am active in my local Hull and East Riding branch of the Embroiderer’s Guild. I do like to escape the computer and actually pick up needle and thread myself occasionally too!

Personal Podcasting Thoughts From An ‘Ordinary’ Podcaster

This has been a very personal post about the personal aspect to podcasting, and one that is being repeated over and over again as ‘ordinary’ people discover the pleasure and challenge that having your own podcast can bring. The satisfaction of developing your own voice on things that are important to you and which you want to share with others. That is a great thing about podcasting – that feeling of community that can develop and it certainly is true for Stitchery Stories. Whether it’s for business, or pleasure, a podcast takes effort and is not a path to instant riches, but It can be very rewarding in many ways.¬†I hope you find other stories about the personal aspects of podcasting in amongst the high profile events and personalities all celebrating International Podcast Day 2017.

P.S. If you want me to help you create and launch and support a successful podcast then give me a shout and let’s have a chat.

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About The Author

Susan

Creating Podcast Progress For Busy Entrepreneurs