A Content Company Origin Story, Lessons & Optin Experiments | #001

In this episode, we start with the origin story of The Podcast Host. If you’re interested to see how a content business begins, then here’s the genesis of this one. The lessons include timescales, testing methods and practical steps. Finally, we fire up the first official Numbers Game experiment. Right now, we’re doing a lot

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In this episode, we start with the origin story of The Podcast Host. If you're interested to see how a content business begins, then here's the genesis of this one. The lessons include timescales, testing methods and practical steps.

Finally, we fire up the first official Numbers Game experiment. Right now, we're doing a lot of work on our email marketing, so it makes sense to start right there. Head down to see what we're testing and how you can join in.

Story Segment

How the Podcast Host Started. The Inception of a Content Company

The Podcast Host, as it's own entity, started officially in 2011. That's when I registered the domain name. Really, though, it began years before that, my fascination with Podcasting sparking thanks to a magazine coverdisk. Since then I've navigated as many dead-ends as fast-tracks, but it's been far more fun than fear.

The story in this episode covers from the very beginning right up until the end of 2014. It shows how I built a content-based website to 4-figure earnings in that time, and gives you an idea of how long it takes to achieve that. Let's be honest, you could do it faster, but this shows how I took the long game and built the business on the side.

Lessons Segment

Real Growth Timescales, NOT just ONE THING & Getting OOTB

Here's a summary of the lessons for this week:

  1. You've got to give content time to bed in.
    It doesn't matter what you're doing – blog, podcast, video – if you're starting from zero audience, then it takes time to build. It was 3 years from inception before The Podcast Host started to make a significant income. You could do it faster, but you're still talking many months, not weeks. Listen to the show for exact timescales and stepping stones along the way.
  2. ONE THING is only useful once you've found the thing.
    I experimented with MANY things over the years, and I believe that brought me to the business I have today, and one which stands the best chance of all my ideas to be really successful. It would be easy to concentrate too narrowly, too early. You need to test MANY things to find the ONE thing where your interest crosses with audience demand. Once you've found it, then focus!
  3. Get Out of the Building!
    It was when I started to go to events and build my network that momentum really started to build. You can create the best content in the world, but as long as it's just you shouting about it, it's really hard to gain traction. You need partners, and that takes real human connection. In-person, not just online.

The Numbers Game Email Experiment

Week 1 – Custom Leadmagnets

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In the past year, I feel like it's become accepted wisdom that custom lead magnets are the way to go if you want to increase your conversion rate.

A custom lead magnet is a ‘giveaway' that you create which is really directly related to a particular post. The principle is that if the person completes the post, then they'll be really likely to give you their email in exchange for something that's related, giving them the ‘next steps.'

The alternative is to give them a generic lead magnet which relates to your wider topic, just like our ‘How to Podcast' ebook. That works OK, but it's so generic that conversion rates can be pretty low.

So, we thought we'd do a 2 month experiment around this – creating some new custom lead magnets and testing them out. Just because something is conventional wisdom doesn't mean it works for everyone after all!

I tend to think that post-specific custom lead-magnets are unsustainable. Who's got the time to create a new lead-magnet for every single post!? Instead, I wanted to start by creating a custom lead-magnet for some of our most popular categories. Those category based lead magnets should be far more relevant than a site-wide generic optin. So, we'd hope the opt-in rate would grow.

To give you some context, with our generic ‘How to Podcast' ebook, our best conversion rate was 2.2%. If we can beat that, I'll be happy!

Here's what we're going to do:

  • Create 3 custom lead magnets and place them on relevant cateogories.
  • Create a/b tests to compare headline types
  • Compare new custom lead magnet conversion rates to generic lead magnet.

For example, we write a lot about recording Skype interviews. So, to see if we could increase our email optin conversions, we created a ‘Skype Interview Checklist.' That's now been placed on every one of our articles which talks about recording Skype. We also have a ‘How to Make a Fiction Podcast' leadmagnet to deploy and an ‘Ultimate Kit Bag' lead magnet in the works.

Your Task

Your task for this week is to create your first custom lead magnet.

  1. Choose a blog post you wrote this week which is quite tutorial based and actionable.
  2. Create a Checklist based on the blogpost – “The 10 steps to doing this right every time.”
  3. If you can, create a cover for it – attractive designs make for a good opt-in form.

Next week we'll look at creating the opt-in form to deliver your brand new lead magnet. That's what'll entice in your readers and start to grow your opt-in conversion rates.

Get in Touch

This is a brand new series and, as you can see, we're trying a few new things with the format.

In future, the story will be related to the week just past, and the lessons based on that. The experiments will be on-going, giving you something to do every week to convert a few new fans.

Let me know what you think of the show so far. What do you like? What don't you like? I'd love to know!

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