Do you have a favourite episode hook waiting in the wings?
Promoting your podcast can be hard, especially considering people's attention spans these days. Because you may only have people's time for a very short amount of time, it is important that you make the absolute most of it. How do you do that? Well, in this installment of the HPP I'll be explaining to you one of the most effective and easy ways to get yourself out there. I have given it a fancy name of course, but in actual fact, it may be something you've sort of done already without even realising, so let's begin.
What is a 'favourite episode hook' ?
The question upon which this whole idea depends. As history podcasters, we need to be able to draw our audience in, and to do that, we need to make this art of the draw as painless and sensible as possible. We don't want to scare them off with big fancy words or pretend to be experts on something or another. Instead, we want to be able to show that we know what we're talking about, that we are capable of having a bit of fun while we do it, and that other people would tend to agree. This is where your favourite episode hook comes in, and it's as easy as it sounds.
Rather than unleashing a complex description of your podcast in general, you should prepare instead your absolute favourite episode, and you should be open at the same time to the opinions of others when it comes to making this choice. For example, don't choose an episode you liked, but other people didn't. Choose an episode or even a series that has been well recommended, and which you are proud to stand by. Have at hand some useful phrases and statistics; be able to prove that this episode has been 'recommended' or that others have enjoyed it. This can be as simple as finding an iTunes review which mentions this piece in a favourable light, but that's all you need to get started.
One you have your favourite episode hook, build your marketing around it.
By putting the absolute best you have right out in the open, you'll be in a position to make a brilliant first impression on anyone who happens upon your show, or who asks someone else where they should start. If your show is like WDF and is often not consecutive, it can be overwhelming for new listeners as they gaze in wonder at all you've accomplished. But it doesn't have to be intimidating. One of the easiest ways to bridge this gap is to write in the desc of your show (the description which will appear on iTunes, Podcast Addict etc) what you would recommend people start with if they're new.
Why wouldn't you want people to start at the best starting point? And as for the worry that they may listen to this one episode and never come back, is it not better that they hear something of yours, and have it stick in their head for its quality and depth, and perhaps even mention it to others, rather than not listening to anything at all because they're too afraid about the prospect of starting? We forget because we love our babies that, on occasion, we can scare people away with our intensity, and that nobody will care about our baby as much as we do. The best way to overcome this issue is to present the very best of yourself, so that nobody can find a flaw in what you do or say. Obviously, this is easier said than done...
Quality versus Quantity.
I've heard it said that one excellent episode is better than five passable ones, especially when you consider Hardcore History's runaway success - the two episode a year schedule would never work for most, yet Dan Carlin's method does work, and it is fortunate that it does! The reason why Dan draws so many in, and he spawns discussion threads about the next episode could possibly be, is down mostly to the quality of the work produced. Ask anyone where they would recommend you start, and most would say Blueprint for Armageddon, his WW1 series. The reason being, it contains everything great about the Hardcore History formula, and is recogised by most as Dan's absolute peak.
What is your peak? Maybe you haven't hit it yet, or maybe you haven't thought about what your favourite, and other people's favourite episode is. Why not ask, if this is the case? You may be pleasantly surprised by the result. On the other hand, you may not be in a position where you can say that you have a favourite episode. To you I would say - make one. Set out what you would like to achieve, and build your favourite episode or miniseries, what have you, so that you have something to present when the hordes of listeners come knocking, because if you don't prepare for them, you're letting go of what could be a major opportunity to get your show and name out there.
From that platform, once you are 'made' in history podcasting, you can make use of this profile to bring your show to brand new heights. Either way, it all has to start with that stand out episode, that piece which sets you apart from the rest. Everyone will have one, what's yours?
I hope you found this helpful and illuminating my lovely history friends and history podcasting friends. This post was originally shared in the WDF Newsletter, so make sure and click here to track that down if this stuff was useful for you - you'll get advice like this every week! I am on a mission to help make history thrive, so thanksss for being a part of that and sharing in this newsletter buzz! If you'd like to help further, be sure to share some of the ideas you encountered here with others - and tell them who sent ya!