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Today we’re chatting about podcast Growth From the Ground Up with Founder of the Christian Podcaster’s Association, Eric Nivens! (Click below for show notes).
Christian Podcaster’s Social Media Summit
The Early Stages of Podcast Growth
Using Facebook to Promote Podcast Growth From the Ground Up
3 Steps on How to Experience Podcast Growth From the Ground Up
A Posting Plan to Aid in Growth
Instagram Post Engagement: Quality Over Quantity
Keeping up Momentum For Podcast Growth
Podcast Growth from the Ground Up
Ruthie: Today we have Eric Nevins, the host of the “Halfway There” podcast and founder of the Christian Podcaster’s Association. Halfway There is packed with years of experience walking with God and features people in a variety of stages of life in Christian maturity.
Eric, why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you got started podcasting and how long you’ve been doing this?
The Early Stages of Podcast Growth
Eric: It’s great to be here discussing Podcast Growth From the Ground Up! I love what you do with the show, it’s really cool. I got started in podcasting about five years ago now when I used to be in a job where I would read blogs all day working in a call center, and then I couldn’t do that job anymore, so I moved to a job where I had to actually work and click links all day.
This is when I had discovered podcasting and that really did change my world because I’m more of a verbal processor, so when I tried to blog, it didn’t work quite as quickly for me. However, podcasting really did! It took me two years to actually get started.
I had the idea in 2014, then in 2015, I started making some recordings, and it took me a whole other year to get over that imposter syndrome and actually work with the technology. I had to hire a coach who helped me and is a good friend of mine now. Then, I launched it on June 6th, 2016.
We just published episode number 211 this week, and I couldn’t be more excited!
In 2017, I started Christian Podcasters Association as a little Facebook group and a couple of months ago, we passed a thousand members! I decided to take that to the next level with a membership site where I can really invest in people who are Kingdom-minded using podcasting to change the world for the Kingdom.
Using Facebook to Experience Podcast Growth
Ruthie: My podcast is basically business and Instagram marketing, so I’ve found kindred spirits there. We want to share that we’re all believers, through the different facets that we’re broadcasting. I think you said you had a coach?
Eric :I did, although my coach really was there for the mental game of putting myself out there because that’s one of the hardest things. I don’t know if you struggle with thinking about deciding, “okay, I’m going put it out there.” Sometimes, we hear our own voice and we think, “that’s not really very good.” It’s hard to get through that. My coach really helped me with that particular aspect.
Ruthie: Is that kind of what you’re doing then with your membership level of the Christian Podcasters Association?
Eric: Correct, it is. I think of our membership with three levels. There’s a free level, which is Bronze, a Silver level where we help you promote your show on our various social media feeds like our Instagram, which I’m learning from you how to do. Then, we have a Gold level, where I talk to people who are in the podcasting industry like Cliff Ravenscraft.
I’ve talked to him and others about Facebook ads, I’ve talked to my buddy Michael Woodward about how to get great guests, and we have a conversation that you can watch later at your own leisure to learn how to take your show to the next level. Usually if you’ve been podcasting for say, 60, 70, 80 episodes, you’re going to keep going with it, but you want to take it to the next level. That’s where Gold is really good. We also do a Mastermind where we get together, twice a month, to just talk about the things we’re struggling with.
Is it technology? Is it our message? Is it a strategy? Whatever it may be regarding social media, we kind of help each other through that.
The thing I love most about the Christian Podcaster's Mastermind is the whole group contributes. Click To Tweet
I don’t have to be the genius in the room cause I’m not, I’m just a guy who has been studying this. Other people experience other things, and they share their expertise so we can all benefit.
That’s a really beautiful thing! I think it’s a very supportive group and everybody has questions when they’re starting out. I know I still have tons of questions about software or publishing or streamlining or promoting. Going back to what you said at the beginning about having imposter syndrome,
I think it was my third episode that I taped, it’s about what to do when you are struggling with imposter syndrome or fear of hosting on Instagram. Any time that you’re out there in the public, I think you struggle with that unless you’re somebody that just has a super abundance of confidence, because we think that we have to know everything before we actually do anything, whereas really, podcasting and Instagram are a lot alike in that you just need to get started.
How to Experience Podcast Growth from the Ground Up
1: Just start!
The most important thing to remember in growing your dream podcast is to just start! That will get you on the track for truly experiencing podcast growth from the ground up. It can’t be done perfectly until you start doing it. You just have to get going! No one can steer a parked car, you have to get going so that you can. Podcast growth is as much about personal growth as it is about audience growth.
Maybe Instagram is the same way! Think of it as you’re learning something about yourself. You’re doing it for you as much as you are doing it for your audience. I think that God’s put something in our hearts to share.
So, we have to go with it. It’s just like God told Joshua when he was supposed to take over for Moses and conquer the land, “Be strong and have good courage because I’m going to be with you, so just go.” Imagine following that, right? Moses, who led them through the Red Sea and all those things.
I can see why Joshua, even though he was very capable, might’ve had a little bit of imposter syndrome and God encouraged him. It’s such a great example. We want to talk about podcasting as an audience building tool, and I am excited to delve into the secrets you have.
2. Keep Going – Even When it Feels Arbitrary
There are 400,000 people who started podcasts this year, I think because they were home due to COVID-19, that finally some had time and were working on it, which is why all the podcasting equipment has been sold out for a while.
When you look at the actual numbers of podcasts that have produced more than 10 episodes, it actually drops to less than 300,000 podcasts. It doesn’t matter what category you’re in, even if you feel like your category is already saturated, all the business podcasts have been done. All the social media podcasts have been done. All the Christian podcasts have been done. That’s probably not the case.
There are a lot of those that have started and stopped and some people do that on purpose. My friends that focus on family will create podcasts on purpose that are just six episodes, and they’ll release it and that’s their strategy and that’s great.
Other people start and they never get past episode seven. That’s just how it goes sometimes. But, even though it seems like everybody’s got their own podcasts these days, the reality is it’s wide open. We may not be on the ground floor, we might be on the second floor of podcasting at this point, but this building is going to go high and you may as well be in now!
Ruthie: I agree. I think it’s just, a terrific way because I don’t think people are sitting down and reading anymore. They’re trying to consume as much content as possible as quickly as possible, while they’re doing other stuff, and that’s exactly it.
Let’s talk about some ways you promote your podcast!
Eric: First of all, I committed to showing up every week – you probably see this with Instagram – you have to actually post and you’ve got to choose a schedule and just stick to it. Showing up and posting is probably the key to growing a podcast from the ground up, same thing with making a podcast. Just show up.
For me, doing my best meant every single Monday morning, there was going to be an episode of Halfway There, regardless of whether or not I had a guest. My show is guest-based, but there were times in that first couple of years where I would run out for whatever reason, and I would sit down and record on my own.
I would take a Bible story and tell it as a spiritual formation tool or something like that, because I was just committed to doing it. Sometimes, that meant I was up until 11:30 at night on a Sunday evening, and I’d have to be at work at six in the morning, which meant I had to get up at five and I wasn’t getting a lot of sleep, which makes Eric a very grumpy boy, like all of us.
Still, I had to stick to the commitment I made to myself. To really promote your podcast you’ve got to do 3 things. Show up is the first one. The second one is to make sure you share your work. This is a whole other topic, but I share on nine different social media platforms every single week.
That includes Facebook, Facebook groups, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and some others that are much lesser known and probably not as important. Because, I may not know that my audience is there, but if they ever blow up, I will already have my presence ready to go.
The last one is I just have great guests. I have people that I think are amazing and who can share. So, not every guest has their own audience, but a lot of them do. This week we actually have a lady named Amy Bird who wrote a really interesting book, so she’s got her own audience. She’s going to share it with her friends and I believe they’ll listen.
A Posting Plan for Promoting Podcast Growth From the Ground Up
Ruthie: Let’s talk a little bit about your Instagram account that you’re trying to grow over there. Why don’t you share with me what your posting plan is right now?
Eric: Okay. This is for Christian Podcasters Association. One of the things we’re doing is if you’re in one of our membership levels, we’ll promote you. What I’m trying to do, particularly with Instagram, is I try to translate it to others and share one post about the Christian Podcasters Association.
Then, I share another post. It’s a picture of the podcast room. We talk about who they are. I do another post about trying to create some conversation around the idea and then I share their show art. I have been trying to do that all in one day.
Ruthie: It’s a little overwhelming, as it is a lot to do in one day. We’re talking about four posts per day, one about CPA and then there’s three that relate to the other person. For example, I looked up your account and you have roughly a little over 500 followers. When you have that small of an audience and you’re blowing up their feed, it’s almost like you’re bombarding them.
Looking at a previous post, I can see it got 30 likes, and one comment. The one where I was trying to create conversations only received seven likes and one comment. The last one, I can see 11 likes and four comments.
Ruthie’s Advice on Podcast Growth Via Instagram Post Engagement:
Think Quality Over Quantity
Ruthie: Imagine this, what if you cut four of those down into just one? You could decide you’re going to post once a day and/or maybe only five times a week or four times a week. This way you put more time into that– crafting that one post. With one goal in mind, instead of asking your audience three and four times a day to talk about this, read this, or engage with this, you would consolidate your efforts.
This way, you’d be done in about an hour a day. I recently heard that whatever time you spend crafting a post, you should spend twice as much on engagement. You have to engage with others in your followers and reach out to new people in order to get engagement on your own posts and you want engagement on your posts.
The more engagement you get on a post, the more Instagram boosts to show others! Click To Tweet
That means you could just consolidate that into one post with one clear call to action. Then, add targeted hashtags for the post. Next, you can expand on that post in your stories to make about 1-3 frames or even expand to five frames. In those stories, you could talk a little bit more about what you were doing and sharing in all four of those posts.
We’re finding that on an Instagram post, especially the video ones like Live or Reels or IGTV but even your feed posts, can live up to 36 hours. So, why would you mess with that? I’m posting four times a week, sometimes five, but I know that I have to spend time engaging with my audience and going out there and looking for new folks.
Keeping up the Creative Momentum for Podcast Growth
Eric: I just did my 15th episode and I have a bunch in the hopper, so I’m pretty proud of myself for that. I think I’m going to make it! Most of the time, people don’t understand how hard it really is. There are hurdles to get through whether it’s the technology, knowing your message and voice, or figuring out how to grow the show.
If you’ve got a bunch in the can and you’ve gotten the 15, you’re doing great, and you’re gonna make it. It’s a long game, which I think is why people quit because they go, “Oh, I had nobody listened to my episode six or seven.” That’s all right.
You’re not here for today, you’re here for three years from now! It’s going to grow and when I go back in and listen to these early days I’m going to say, “Wow, I’m glad I kept on going because I didn’t know what I was doing.” You’ll notice that you’ll be a lot more confident about how you say things, what you say, and you’ll understand your voice. It’s great.
Ruthie: It really is a personal development tool. And that’s how you experience podcast growth! Thank you Eric, for your time, and for sharing wisdom with us about this. Where can folks find you?
Eric: The best place to find me is at my website, Ericnevins.com. You can look in the archives for Halfway There, if you want to listen to that, or if you’re a Christian podcaster and you’re interested in joining us, just search Facebook for ‘Christian Podcasters Association’ and join.
Eric Nevins is the podcast host of Halfway There as well as the founder of the Christian Podcasters Association. You can learn more about Eric and his many helpful podcasting resources by visiting his website.