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Zero to 130k downloads in less than 12 months - the blueprint & AMA

Hey! First time posting... So I started a show last year called Female Startup Club. It's become a popular resource for women building ecommerce and CPG brands. We've interviewed women like Sarah Paiji Yoo (Blueland), Bea Dixon (The Honeypot Co), Rebecca Minkoff, Sarah Lee & Christine Chang (Glow Recipe) and more than 180+ others in 12 months. We rank in the top 100 charts globally for Entrepreneurship and sit in the top 1% of all podcasts globally.

Here's my 10 step basic blueprint to getting started:

  1. Be clear on the category/niche that you want to be part of, so everything you do sticks to that north star and compounds over time.

  2. Get the right processes and documents set up from the beginning that make it easy for you to get everything out of your head and able to manage your workflow seamlessly.

  3. Pay for the tools and platforms that help make your life easier and automate wherever you can.

  4. Make your life easier by having built-in distribution with the guests who are coming onto the show. For every episode create a suite of posts, tiles and captions that they can easily post to their own Linkedin, IG, email and brand channels etc (make it so easy!) and specifically ask them to post.

  5. Be clear with communications in your outreach that answer all the questions someone might have to avoid any back and forth. I set up a specific onboarding page and bookings through Calendly that answers every single question a guest or their PR agencies had in the beginning. I rarely get questions / back and forth now.

  6. Your design template and social assets should be set up and ready to go, so you can post easily on your own channels but also create easy assets for your guests to share.

  7. Connect with the top PR companies in the industry so you start getting more and more inbounds (this will make your life so much easier!). Every time a brand connected me to their PR agent I made the effort of introducing myself properly, telling them more about the show and letting them know they could always pitch through their other clients.

  8. Ask for a guest referral at the end of every episode, again this makes your life easier by getting connected to others. I also have this added to my onboarding questions.

  9. Work on partnership opportunities from day one. You want brands to buy into your vision and you only need to hop on a call to make it happen. It's almost easier to do this when you haven't launched!

  10. A super clear title and cover art so you’re ready to capture someone’s attention if they’re served your show in apps or Google. When I interview my listeners they always tell me they were attracted to the name and the art because it was super clear immediately what the show is about (and it looks more fun!)

And here are my top 6 tips expanded:

  1. Identify your goals of why you're doing a show in the first place, commit to that goal and just get started: I had no experience in reporting or journalism, I was not confident in public speaking (literally terrified) but I decided to tackle podcasting and got to work. It wasn’t until around the episode 70 mark that I started feeling confident and could breathe a little easier before hopping on the calls. The point is, if you’ve decided podcasting is what you want to do or it makes sense for your business strategy, you need to get started and deal with the uncomfortable bits — and eventually, you’ll become comfortable.

  2. This is a really important one!! Pick a name that has some of your keywords in it. I didn’t do this on purpose, but in hindsight, my podcast name has served me well. Every time I speak or connect with a listener I ask them how they found the show, and 9 times out of 10 they were searching something related to ‘female entrepreneurship’ or ‘female startups’ in Google or via the podcast apps and were served Female Startup Club (YAY for me). It’s been an absolute game-changer and allows me to really focus on those channels to find new listeners. Unless you’re someone who already has credibility or authority in your niche, I wouldn’t self-name a podcast because you won’t win any keyword searches and you won't be discoverable. IMO it's a totally missed opportunity. Find a name that’s immediately understandable for someone browsing, super relevant to what you’re doing, and has keywords in it. The other thing I found is that people are easily able to align with my show due to the name, whereas they wouldn't be able to align with some nobody they've never heard of. I really believe that's how I got a lot of early traction.

  3. Consistency is key. It’s hard to think this in the beginning but you have to try and avoid the numbers, commit to how often you’re going to record, and just start showing up time and time again. I’m a big believer in the 1% effect: just give that 1% every day and the compound effect over time will make all the difference. In 1, 3, 5 years’ time, you’ll look back and realize it was that 1% every day that got you to where you are now.

  4. Start looking for sponsors before you even launch. My approach to sponsors was to get people interested in what I doing before I even really got started. Get buy-in from the get-go from brands or companies who see your vision and want to reach the same audience. I did this from day one and landed my number 1 partner that I wanted to work with and who I thought was truly aligned to my vision; Klaviyo. Klaviyo is the top email marketing provider for all sized businesses and they immediately saw what I was doing and knew that they wanted to speak to a) the guests I was having on the show and b) the small business owners and entrepreneurs who would be tuning in. It was a win-win for both of us and has been a dream partnership since we began working together almost 12 months ago.

  5. Pay to set up systems as soon as you can. The sooner you can set up and automate your processes the better. There’s software and tools out there that can make your life much easier, and set you up for success. Especially if you’re publishing a lot of content like I am (3 times a week), it wouldn’t be possible without the support I have. For recording I use Squadcast, Headliner for captioned audio & video snippets, sonix io for transcribing, I host with Buzzsprout, Calendly for scheduling into my diary, Google Drive for file management, and then I have an amazing team who help bring the show to life and keep everything on track. In the beginning, I also reached out to any software companies I was using to ask if they had a discount for educational platforms, like mine. Every single one said yes and gave me a discount or waived their fee in the beginning and that really helped get me going. If anyone needs killer VA or a podcast and video editing team - happy to intro you to mine. for almost the whole first year I used the Rodes interview kit ($179) and only just recently upgraded to the Shure mic mv7. Also, I still record in my bedroom - nothing fancy required to kick goals.

  6. Reviews! I have no idea if it helps -- but I like to think it does. I ask every one I meet / friends / strangers / people on the internet to review the show, I ask in the episodes for people to review and share on social. I also ask other podcast hosts (at scale) for podcast review swaps. (If you'd like to leave me a cheeky 5 star review in the apple podcast app, I'll be eternally grateful!)

Feel free to ask me anything. If you're a woman in the CPG/ecomm space you might like our weekly newsletter.

:)

  1. 1

    Hey Doone, congrats on the huge number of downloads and great advice. I have some questions:

    1. How did you start the Female Startup Club?
    2. How did you find the audience? Which channel works best?
    3. (optional) Your podcast is about female founders, anything more specific it focuses on?

    P/s: I think it helps if you add links to your podcast (don't hesitate 😛). Besides, I saw many great AMA sessions. I read all questions/answers then write stories based on them.

    1. 2

      Hey! Thanks a lot. You can check us out here: https://femalestartupclub.com/ &
      https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/female-startup-club/id1488434209

      1. It was very organic, I had been chatting with gfs about building their businesses and thought other people would get value from the conversations. At the same time I was reading Tools of Titans and wanted to hear the same energy but from a female perspective.

      2. Again, it's been completely organic to date. I have inbuilt distribution through the women I interview and post organically to our own channels but that's it. When I ask my audience how they find me it's through being recommended in the podcast app or a google search. Next year I might begin looking at whether there are paid marketing strategies that would work to grow the show.

      3. We are direct in our approach when it comes to money, finance and tactical strategies which my audience loves. At the end we ask a series of 6 quick questions to add our own twist.

      Hope that helps :)

      1. 1

        That's very nice Doone, organic growth is a blessing. Thanks for the detailed answers, they're helpful.

        1. 1

          Indeed! I now need to figure out how I can accelerate that growth. Any ideas?

          1. 1

            I think you did very well, nearly 200 podcasts are impressive.

            Maybe trying to podcast that related to trending topics? (I think you don't have many of those)

            Recently, I wrote a small extension related to a trending topic. Got lucky, people started sharing, and it got featured on a few websites (some have 1M-6M monthly visits)

            I think that could boost the brand in a short term

            1. 1

              wow that's really cool. I hadn't thought of that! Where can I see that one?

                1. 2

                  wow, go you!! super cool stuff thanks for sharing

  2. 1

    Thanks so much for sharing this detailed write up! It gave me a lot to think about. Right now, I have a paid membership community that includes a private podcast feed. I have been thinking about launching a free podcast, and this seems to be a great playbook!

    Have you thought about launching a community for your audience?

    1. 1

      and yes - a free podcast would be great to add discoverability and bring more people into your funnel

    2. 1

      So welcome! I hope it helped :)
      Yes actually, we're launching our paid private network on Monday!! We have 100 on the waitlist to become founding members while we're in beta / testing the waters and then expanding to the next round of members. How's your paid community going? What do you think makes people stay subscribe / the magic of the group? What do you charge? How did you grow the group? Would love to get any tips or insights you have!!

      1. 1

        That’s great! Congrats on building the waitlist for founding members. My paid membership is going well. It’s grown to a few hundred paying members in about 4 months.

        In terms of staying subscribed, I don’t have enough data to know for sure. However, there’s new content posted every week for members only. I don’t have a free podcast, so if a paid member leaves, they no longer have access to anything. Fresh content every few days has been important. When I started out, it was 1 episode a week, and I’ve seen churn reduce in half by increasing to 3 episodes a week.

        And today, the pricing is $9.95/mo or $99/yr.

        Pricing plans are here: https://parents.club/plans

        1. 1

          Wow that's awesome! How did you actually grow and find new subscribers? Thanks for the insights :) really appreciate it. Would be keen to jump on a zoom and share learnings if you are!

          1. 1

            Would love to meet sometime on Zoom. I’ll email you my Calendly link.

            For growth, about 2/3rd of the members came from FB/IG ads. The other third was organic from Instagram with the @joindadsclub account.

  3. 1

    And if you're a podcaster and have some growth tips or hacks for me, I would LOVE to connect !

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