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Season 2 recap: how I doubled my downloads & what I’d do differently

June 30, 2021


Melissa Guller


Transparency Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may earn a commission if you make a purchase. This is at no additional cost to you, so it's a great way to support Wit & Wire. So thank you! Full disclosure here.

Join me for a behind-the-scenes look at the strategies I used to double my downloads (listens) this season compared to season one. In addition to sharing transparent numbers and stats, I’ll share what worked, what didn’t work, and a few announcements about the future of my business.

Top Takeaways

  • How I doubled my downloads in Season 2 compared to Season 1
  • Which underrated growth strategy I use that not enough online business owners are talking about (or utilizing)
  • A big question I pose to listeners: are you a podcast that earns money or a business that uses your podcast to market your business?
  • My changed opinion about podcast naming conventions
  • What didn’t work, and what I’d do differently in the future
  • Why I’m taking a season break and what I’ll be focusing on

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Episode References

  • Teachable: My (now former) employer, and the tool I use to create my Wit & Wire online programs. If you want to build your own online course, Teachable is my #1 choice.
  • Podcast Launch Accelerator: My signature program for new podcasters.
  • Wit & Wire Programs: All active programs we offer for online business owners.
  • @witandwire: Follow me on Instagram for more online business & course creation tips.

Episode Transcript

NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by a free AI tool called Otter. Please forgive any typos or errors. Melissa Guller 0:00 Welcome to the Wit & Wire podcast, where we help podcast hosts climb the charts, turn a profit, and make an impact. I’m your host, Melissa Guller, and in each episode, we share simple tips and creative strategies to help you create a binge-worthy podcast that listeners love. Melissa Guller 0:19 Welcome back to the final episode of season two of the Wit & Wire podcast. I can’t believe it’s been 40 episodes. In some ways it feels like it’s been way more, and others, it feels like way less. And even though this is my 40th episode of Wit & Wire, if you count all the podcasts that I posted, I’ve now hosted well over 100 episodes, and I think over 100 interviews, let alone all the other solo and co host formats that I’ve worked in, so it’s been a lot of learning over the last few years, and that’s exactly what I want to talk about today. Because before I go on my season break, I want to talk about a few things that went well this season. A few things but maybe didn’t go as well. And then I want to share just some personal updates about my life and my business here at Wit & Wire. So first up I want to talk about what went well this season. When I look back at Season One of the Wit & Wire podcast, I released 20 episodes throughout the course of 2020, and I tried a lot of different formats, I was experimenting and I started off with probably a smaller listener base than most people think. When I started my business Wit & Wire in 2019 I was starting an audience from scratch. So by the time I launched the podcast, I had, I don’t know like 30 to 50, listeners, per episode. This was in April of 2020. And by the end of season one. I had about 5000 downloads in total for the season, which I was really happy with, and I think more than anything, I was just happy that people were tuning in and giving positive reviews for the podcast and really learning from it, which was so rewarding. And then this season, I launched in January of 2021, and it’s running through or today, the end of June 2021. And this season has had 12,000 downloads. So compared to last season, I have more than doubled the number of downloads that I have. And just in case that term is new, a download is a listen. So if somebody listens to this episode for at least one minute, I count as a download. And it’s different from listeners because one person could listen to this episode five times and that would count as five downloads. So, it’s one of the most important metrics to all podcast hosts. And to me, it doesn’t matter what number you start with when you release Episode One, depending on what you had done previously if you already had an audience on another platform. I think you’re more likely to have a good starting listener base, but if you’re like me, you may just start with friends and family people who know you and want to support you. So it’s not about that starting number, it’s about how you grow over time. And I’m sure at this point the biggest question is, how did I do this, how did I double my downloads, and I think the answer will be different for everybody. But by far the biggest strategy that I’ve used to build my podcast audience, is to actually focus on building my business, and then telling people that I have a podcast. So I think there’s this misconception that the way to build up your podcast, the only way to build up your podcast is to actually promote the podcast itself, you know, getting your name out there saying hey I have a podcast tune in, and I definitely do that sometimes. But with Wit & Wire. I am a business that has a podcast, and so all promote my own business, whether it’s going on other podcasts as a guest, I run a lot of paid ads and give them a lot of use on me because I was promoting a free masterclass, or a free opt in or my new free quiz. And then once you discover me and you attend the free training where you get on my email list. Then I started talking about this podcast that I have. And I think that’s super important because even in every single touch point after that first opt in. I mentioned my podcast. So often when you download a freebie on my site, the last page actually talks about my podcast and it says here’s how you can listen when you’re on my email list and my welcome sequence I talked about the podcast in my weekly newsletter I talked about the podcast. And I think this is very different from how I imagine a lot of people go about growing their podcast because too often we only talk about Instagram and we focus on perfecting the grid, and maybe some of you did find me because of organic Instagram growth because is my main organic channel aside from Pinterest. But I think, by far, treating my business, as the primary thing that I market Wit & Wire where I teach people how to start and scale podcasts, and then mentioning that I have a podcast has been the biggest way that I’ve found listeners. I will say that Pinterest is also huge for my entire business, the amount of organic traffic, I get from Pinterest to key blog posts and podcast episodes is a huge factor in my organic growth. And I don’t know if a lot of podcasters, think about Pinterest as a great channel for that kind of growth. But if you are a blogger, Pinterest is so often, popular strategy. And so I don’t see why podcasters can’t use exactly the same strategy, and depending on your industry, Pinterest may or may not be a good fit, but in the online business world in fashion, art, food, there’s so many industries that do really well on Pinterest, and if you have a podcast related to any of those topics. I think it’s a great fit. That’s kind of my approach to doubling my downloads, it was putting myself out there as a business owner, and then making sure that all of those new leads know about my podcast, and then also of course there are still organic growth strategies and for me, Pinterest has been by far the number one option. Also since I mentioned it briefly, I will say that going on other podcasts as a guest has been huge. If you think about it, when you’re on another show. You’re putting yourself, not just in front of your ideal listeners, but people who are podcast listeners. And that’s why I think it’s so important for more podcast hosts to consider going on other podcasts, as a guest, because you’re already in front of people who know how to listen to a podcast, which is huge. So I think that’s a good tangible takeaway, too. No matter what your podcast is about, no matter how unqualified you think you are to be a guest. I promise. Just by being a host, you’re already so far ahead of the pack, because you have a microphone, you know how to talk, instead of microphone, and you do not need to be the number one Google expert in something to be a great guest, as long as you have a story to share or a little bit of expertise and you’re a few steps ahead of your ideal listener. I really believe that you can be a great guest. So, if you’re looking for ways to increase listeners for your own podcast, maybe any of those strategies from, including it in your freebies, mentioning episodes to your email list or in your evergreen sequences going on other podcasts, even considering Pinterest, if that makes sense for your industry, maybe one or a few of those tips can be useful. Now on the other hand, obviously not everything went according to plan for Wit & Wire second season. And I would say there are two big things worked out for me which is fine because I do think it’s so important to try new things, not just as a podcast host, but as a business owner, I see these as learning opportunities, because otherwise you would just stagnate. And so, I think it’s super important to continue trying new things. And so this season I tried running paid ads in podcast addict. This isn’t me running paid ads on Facebook or Instagram. This is actually an app that people use to listen to podcasts, overcast, does this as well, where you see promoted podcasts, at the top, while you’re listening to a related show. Now, the reason I say this didn’t work is because I looked on podcast attics site, and they don’t guarantee anything of course, but they say that if you pay for a month of promotion which is what I did in May of 2021, you’ll get roughly this many people to see your podcast, and then roughly this smaller number of people who will hit subscribe. The thing is, I didn’t get nearly the promised, exposure, like the impressions count, just how many people were supposed to see my ad. It wasn’t even half it was closer to a third of what I was promised. Now what I will say is that of the third like that smaller number of impressions, it was about 1000 impressions that I got the number of people who actually subscribed to my podcast wasn’t much higher than the anticipated rate. So to me that sounds but people who did find me. Hopefully tuned in and really loved the content, but I was a little bit disappointed because I felt like I paid for something, and didn’t get what I paid for. So would I recommend this strategy of running paid ads in podcast addict, probably not. I did a little bit of research to see just how prominent that section is, and I was surprised to see just how many podcasts, they promote at a time, so I don’t think that I would recommend it, per se, but in overcast or a different app, maybe it’s a different story. So if any of you have tried, promoting your podcast as a paid promoted show in an app, I would love to hear about it. Send me a DM @witandwire, and I would be super fascinated to hear how it went for you, good or bad. The other thing that happened this season that has actually never happened to me before, not just for Wit & Wire but actually for any podcast I’ve ever hosted, is that I didn’t use everything that I recorded with other people. So I had a couple of extra podcast coaching calls with somebody who were community members, and I didn’t get to use those. And I actually had one guest interview that I chose not to air, and I didn’t intend to be overbooked I don’t think anyone ever is. But after those were all reported. I ended up needing to make more space in my podcast calendar for all of Apple’s announcements, I think I ended up adding three solo episodes to the season that I did not expect to release. And so I had to make three decisions three hard decisions about three episodes to cut. And it is such an awful feeling to email somebody and say, Your episode is not going to go live, it does not feel good at all. But I knew it was the right decision because as a podcasting expert I couldn’t not talk about Apple subscriptions I couldn’t not talk about these things and you can go back a few episodes to Episode 44 I believe that Apple paid subscriptions, which was huge. So even though I knew it was the right decision. It definitely wasn’t the easiest, so I didn’t love that, I think in the future I would probably leave a little more space in my calendar. I had booked out all 20 episodes, and I think in the future, what I would do is maybe only book 17 of them. And as it got closer to the end of the season, then I could figure out what to do with the other spots. I’m not sure I like to plan ahead so that’s kind of where all this came from, but it was definitely challenging. I also wanted to just touch on the fact that my podcast Wit & Wire is part of my bigger business, and they have the same day right the business is called Wit & Wire and this is the Wit & Wire podcast, and I think it’s been interesting just to realize that although I chose it to build brand recognition. I used to be pretty opposed to people using the word podcast in the title of their podcast because I felt like it was redundant, and of course you know it’s a podcast that you’re tuning into, but about midway through this season. I started calling this the Wit & Wire podcast because I wanted to differentiate it from my overall business. I realized that when I was talking to just people in my life outside of work, a lot of people jumped right to the very logical assumption that I had a podcast that earned money. But the way I see it, I’m running a business that has a podcast that markets the courses and services that I sell. And I think it’s an important distinction because I identify as a CEO, as a small business owner, and I think that there is a huge difference, strategically, between being a business owner with a podcast, and being a podcaster trying to earn money, where the podcast itself is the product the way that Spotify keeps acquiring exclusives, the way that some people get paid a lot of sponsorship or even merchandise money for the podcast itself. That isn’t what I’m doing. And so I felt the need to say that this was called the Wit & Wire podcast, so that people might ask, Oh, is there a business behind it? So I have changed my tune a little bit on the word podcast in your title. I would say if you’re doing something similar to what I do which is that I have a business, or even your own name as the eponymous strategy for your show. It can make sense to include the word podcast. At the same time, my other show Book Smart I wouldn’t call that one, The Book Smart Podcast because there’s no Book Smart business, it’s kind of implied, so maybe there’s a small tip from terms of naming or the way that you refer to your show. That was something that I have. You don’t mind if that changed my mind about. I also wanted to share before we go, just a few updates that are not about podcasting per se, but that are about my actual business Wit & Wire. So some of you who have been around for a long time probably know that I work for Teachable, but as of this episode. Now I can tell you that I formerly worked for Teachable, because I did finally put in notice, and after working at Teachable for nearly four years, I am now full time on my business. I might be surprised if some of you didn’t realize I was already there, but a little bit of my backstory. I worked at Teachable for four years, and I really loved it, Teachable, is the only tool that powers my own online courses here at Wit & Wire and I’ll include a link in the show notes to check it out. But I have really enjoyed everything about being in the online course space from the perspective of to meet so many creators and see what was possible for their businesses. I got to pitch the concept of Teachable having a podcast, Everything is Teachable, which picked up the number two career podcast in America, which was amazing. And I got to meet so many diverse creators through just all aspects of that job. And before I went to Teachable I worked full time for a man named Ramit Sethi. He wrote the book I Will Teach You To Be Rich, and he was running his own very successful online course business as well. And between those two jobs – Teachable and Ramit’s company – and then also teaching in person classes at General Assembly New York, I’ve been in so many different positions in the online course and education tech space, that it’s felt like starting my own business has been a long time coming. It’s been a dream of mine to have my own business full time. And I just want to say that to all of my current and past students and clients. I am so grateful for you, not just because you’ve enabled me to finally go full time on my dream but also I just feel honored that you’ve chosen to work with me and to learn with me, and it’s been so rewarding to watch only watch podcasts and scale them, and I just can’t wait to continue to watch you grow and to welcome in and more new students overdue. So I just wanted to say a huge thank you because you are my motivation for having this business. Before we go, what is next for Wit & Wire? I’m going on a season break, so I won’t be releasing new podcast episodes, but I will be spending time doing a few things. So first isn’t I really want to focus on my student experience in my signature program, the Podcast Launch Accelerator. I love this program, it is a self paced program to help you launch a podcast, and I also have a coaching call so I really get to know the students inside the program, but what I love about helping students launch a podcast is just hearing all of the different ideas that people have about a topic for their shows, but they didn’t want to do it. I’m super inspired by all the students. And because Apple has released so many updates. There are just so many parts of the program, small places that I want to update because it’s important to me that my curriculum is always cutting edge and reflects the best current strategies. So I want to spend some time updating my curriculum and making sure that it is good for 2021 and moving forward. I also now have a lot of alumni I have students who have graduated from the program and they’re asking me about how to continue scaling their podcast, consistently find more listeners. And so I’m considering what you can do to help. And I do have a small beta membership. If you’re interested you can DM me at @witandwire and say I’m interested in growing my podcast or something similar, but I want to explore ideas to help students grow their podcasts. It’s also important to me though, that nobody feels burnt out, or overwhelmed. I feel like it’s so easy to think I have to do everything and I have to do what all these gurus say, but I think a big part of my own marketing philosophy is that you should know that you can say no to so many things, and not every strategy is right for every host. And what it comes down to for all of us podcast hosts, business owners, aspiring online business owners anything, is that you’re not going to be deciding between a bad idea, and a good idea. Instead, you’re going to be presented with more than one good idea or two great ideas, And then how do you pick between the two. So I don’t have it figured out, but I do want to figure out more ways to empower people to choose what’s right for them to simplify their podcast production, and to still make an impact and reach more listeners and share their message with a wider audience to build their authority to literally make more money in their business because of the podcast, just as I’ve been able to do. These are the things that I want to help more people do. So, again if you are interested in growing your podcast if you’re already launched, DM me at @witandwire and I’m trying to put a group together. In addition to programs, I’m also planning on putting out blog posts and content. There are some specific posts that I really want to write. And I just want to focus on one thing at a time that’s always been huge for me I can’t do everything at once. While maybe. I’m going to do some other piece of content, and I never thought I would say this, within the next year as a podcast, I actually don’t think it’s a great strategy and other experts, it’s not a great strategy to just post your full podcast episode on YouTube unless you have a bigger YouTube strategy and and that’s a whole topic for another day. But I really love to teach, and I feel like YouTube for that, so I’m considering, maybe. No rush, but maybe within the next year, definitely. To wrap up this episode and really throughout this whole season, the biggest thing on my mind, is that I’m on a mission that I think is bigger than just podcasting. It’s so important for me to help diversify voices in podcasting and help people get their message out there without feeling so stressed by all the tech, and the logistics and the things that could be taught, but bigger than the podcast world my people are all my business owners or aspiring business owners or people who have great knowledge, and maybe don’t even realize that that knowledge has value, a monetary value. I believe so deeply in the creator economy, not just because I’m a part of it. And because Wit & Wire has enabled me to have a lifestyle and a business that I truly enjoy, but I’ve just seen so many people throughout all of my career and walks of life who are talking about the handpan an instrument I had never heard of that looks like a UFO, or helping kids sleep at night, or watercolor painting or reading drone flying. I mean, just working in Teachable exposed me to the fact that people are earning money doing what they love. And I really want to be a part of helping more people do that. Melissa Guller Thank you so much for tuning into today’s episode! To catch up on the rest of the season, visit witandwire.com/podcast, or take a quick browse in your current app to see if any other episodes catch your eye. And to stay in touch, follow me for more podcasting tips on Instagram @witandwire. If you’re thinking about starting your own podcast, I have a new free masterclass called, “How to launch a podcast in 60 days without feeling overwhelmed.” In the class, I walk through my signature Podcast Launch Playbook method, plus I share three of the biggest mistakes I see new podcast hosts making. Learn more and save your spot at witandwire.com/register. Thank you again for joining me, Melissa Guller, in this episode of the Wit & Wire podcast. Happy podcasting!

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