It quickly became a #1 Bestseller in three separate business categories and climbed into the Top 150 Rank (hitting 133) of ALL books on Amazon.com – woot!
In short, the launch was a big success, selling thousands and thousands of copies in it’s launch week alone.
I did many things to skyrocket the initial (and on-going) success of Virtual Freedom, such as being a guest on every major entrepreneurial podcast, guest posting on some of the biggest blogs online, running a private Facebook group, mailing finished copies to major influencers (both on and offline), speaking engagements, building out a dedicated website for the book, and much, much more.
However, the one thing that I’m most proud of is deciding to publish podcast episodes directly and exclusively dedicated to the book, it’s message and the type of people that would be buying it, via a brand new, limited release podcast.
In this post I’m going to let you in on why I decided to do this, how I put it together, the execution involved to make it happen the right way, and results on how the podcast affected the initial launch success of the book itself.
Why Use a ‘Nano Podcast’ to Launch a Book (or anything)..?
There is something about podcasts that are just so, so different to any kind of other content medium that is distributed online today.
The ability to be, literally, inside someone’s eardrums is second to none. When someone reads a blog post they often skim it (you won’t skim this one, will you?!). When they watch a video on YouTube, they often lose focus because of all the other bells and whistles that are decorating the page.
But, when someone inserts their ear-bud’s and hits that play button they are ultimately opening the floodgates to their undivided attention.
I wanted – strike that… I needed that attention from people to get the word out about Virtual Freedom. And I knew that even if only a few thousand people discovered the podcast it would make all the difference, because of the undivided attention that listening to a podcast creates in someone.
Why I Decided on a Limited Release, ‘Nano’ Strategy
Coming up with podcast content ideas is tough – anyone that podcasts regularly knows this.
Although I wrote Virtual Freedom to help people for many, many years to come with their virtual team building, I decided that this podcast was going to be a limited release – meaning, I went into it knowing that I was only ever going to publish just 25 episodes in total. There were a few reasons for this:
1. I have a successful podcast already – the New Business Podcast. This has always been my main podcasting focus, and for the foreseeable future I want it to remain that way. I didn’t want to take my eye off of that podcasting prize and let my loyal listeners down.
2. I get a lot of recurring questions – questions that relate to virtual staff and team building. This is because it’s been happening for years, and will continue to happen. To have a set of audio tips and tactics that answer those questions is a value-added bonus for my followers that come to me for help – however, I wanted to ‘close the door’ on the questions somewhere, to make sure that they come back to me for additional help and support, too.
3. iTunes ‘New and Noteworthy’ rankings last 8-weeks. After that, you drop into the regular podcasting rankings and unless you have a humongous following online, it’s tough to stay at the top – which is fine, I accept that. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t and shouldn’t maximize that New & Noteworthy exposure period.
As you can see, Virtual Freedom hit that special section in the
‘Business’ category quickly, after launch!
The ‘One Thing’ Episode Publishing Strategy
People are busy, I know this – it’s one of the main reasons why I wrote the book in the first place. So, right from the outset I knew I was going to create short, sharp episodes for this podcast.
Besides, I’ve spoken at length regarding the subject of outsourcing and virtual team building, as a guest on other peoples podcasts, that I knew I didn’t want to have an ‘all-in-one’ type of episode, or one-off piece of content.
I wanted to break things down into simple, consumable chunks of brilliance.
I decided that each episode was going to answer an individual question, or solve an individual problem for the listener. For example:
Episode 5 – Where to Find & Hire Your First Virtual Assistant
Episode 9 – How to Pay Your Virtual Workers
Episode 12 – How to Set-up Your VA Reporting System
Episode 22 – How to Leverage Your Virtual Staff with Content Marketing
Although I decided to set a time limit of 10-minutes per episode, there were a few occasions that I went a little over – however, on the whole, I stayed within that boundary to make sure that the information was digestible.
Batching Recording is Key is Productivity
As I’ve discussed this podcasting strategy with a few friends recently, they’ve all asked me “How the hell did you find the time to record 25 episodes of a brand new podcast, edit them, publish them and then market them – all in the middle of a book launch?!!” – the answer is simple… batching and delegating.
I recorded all 25 episodes over the period of two full days of work. That’s right, I blocked off 2-days on my schedule and did nothing but record these podcast episodes.
After I recorded them (first batch was 1-10, second batch was 11-25), I dumped them into my Dropbox folder and my usual podcasting process took over (click here to find out, step-by-step, how my team handles my podcast publishing for me), with the publishing of the individual episodes happening, as we planned.
Launching – Timing is Everything!
With my official book launch on April 1, 2014 I wanted to make sure that I was utilizing the podcast enough beforehand, as well as in the middle of the launch and after it (for a certain time), by publishing new content regularly.
Therefore, my team and I timed it so that the first five episodes went live (click here to discover why you should launch a new podcast with five episodes) on February 5, and then regularly published a new episode every 3-4 days or so, until April 18 – a couple of weeks, post launch.
This meant that people were discovering, listening and sharing the episodes before, during and after the official launch, all helping to drive traffic to the book’s website and help sales. It also got download numbers moving right out of the gate, getting some brilliant early traction, as you’ll see to the right in the ‘Top Episodes’ listing for the Business category on iTunes.
Was it All Worth It?
You bet your bottom it was!!!
As I hit the publish button on this post over 27,000 people have downloaded and listened to all the Virtual Freedom Podcast has to offer.
And as the sessions have come to an end, I’ve actually had people reach out and tell me they are sad about it, such as Jason, below:
— Jason Billows (@jasonbillows) April 24, 2014
Of course, it’s impossible to directly correlate exactly how many copies of the book were sold due to the podcast as an individual part of the overall marketing strategy for the book – however, I’m more than happy with the buzz the podcast created for the book, and as far as I’m concerned it was all 110% worth the effort.
In addition, some other really cool things have happened as a direct result of the podcast being published, such as being invited by Michael Stelzner to come onto the Social Media Marketing Podcast, which is hugely popular, along with Copyblogger founder, Brain Clark (who is using a podcast to promote his new online service) to share the ideas and strategies behind utilizing a podcast to launch something new.
However, the biggest success indicator of the podcast has been the huge response I’ve received by existing and new subscribers / followers online. To hear from people directly, saying that this and that session was a major help, or created a big breakthrough for them made all the work involved worthwhile – much like writing the book in general.
Overall a brilliant experience.
‘Nano Podcasting’ Simply Works!
So, the next time you’re thinking about launching a new product, service, book, course, event – anything at all – think about the potential of introducing a Nano Podcast into the marketing mix, so you too can experience the benefits it might bring.
It’s possible that for some launches is doesn’t make sense, or isn’t really needed – however, now that I’ve ‘been there, done that’ with the launch of Virtual Freedom, I’m certainly going to consider it with each and every ‘thing’ that I release into the world, going forward.
I’d be mad not to – and so would you!
Question: Would you consider incorporating a ‘Nano Podcast’ into your next launch? If so, how many episodes and what length would you look at working with? I’m a curious sort. Comment below!