Jake Ludington works with Chris Pirillo on Lockergnome and also has his own site, MediaBlab. He has an email newsletter with about 50,000 subscribers, and recently introduced a premium subscription for $30/year. About 1,000 people upgraded to the premium subscription, converting to about $30,000/year that he didn’t have before. Not bad.
Before you can even consider a premium subscription, you need a subscriber base of at least 5,000. So how do you build an audience?
- Make your podcast search engine friendly. Have a web site with show notes and other material. It’s much more searchable.
- Create an email list. Notify subscribers each time a new podcast is published. Email drives action.
- Press releases are a great tool, not for every podcast, but maybe if you interview someone notable.
- Subscribe to your podcast. Add your podcast to all the big directories, and subscribe to it through them.
- Tag your text. Use Technorati style tags (rel=”podcasting”)
- Social bookmarking. Use del.icio.us and IceRocket — add your own content to del.icio.us and tag it for discovery.
- Interview interesting people (duh)
- Comment on other podcasts and blogs
- Guest blog on other sites
- Affiliate with a network. Remember that people still use text-based search, even to find podcasts (yes, the podcast directories suck).
- Get listed in directories
Build relationships with your listeners
- Have a voicemail line for feedback. K7.net offers free voicemail, Skype or Gizmo Project also can work, but with an external phone number to reach the non-geeks.
- Email feedback.
- Giveaways. Ask for free stuff to giveaway from companies who might want to reach your audience.
- Care about production quality. Normalize the audio. Jake prefers using an Edirol R1 audio recorder, which has a limiter that actually works (eliminating background noise).
- Value listener time. Don’t meander or ramble with worthless junk.
The bottom line? Add value. Offer something worth paying for.
Trivia tidbit – The Chris Pirillo Show nets well into six figures using a sponsorship model (Microsoft Windows Media sponsors their show).