Andrea Heuston, an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member of the US West Bridge chapter, is a speaker coach to leaders at Fortune 100 companies, a best-selling author, and CEO of Artitudes, a full-service design firm specializing in executive presentations, branding, and visual marketing. We asked Andrea, host of Lead Like a Woman podcast, about her strategy for launching a successful podcast. Here's what she shared.
My podcast recently celebrated its 100-episode milestone.
In just over two years, my Lead Like a Woman podcast scaled to become a major revenue source and ultimately transformed my business. I've had the opportunity to speak with countless top women leaders, generate new business leads, and inspire an audience I could never have dreamed of--all because an article of mine went viral.
I hadn't expected to amass 8.1 million impressions when I sat down to write about female leadership. I was simply trying to offer the woman leader's perspective. But when my LinkedIn article became one of the top 10 most-read news items on the internet that year, one thing was clear:
People wanted to hear from empowered female leaders who were changing the world. I had the power to scale those voices, and I knew a podcast could provide the perfect stage.
Yet, I still had my doubts:
- How would I handle the technical setup?
- Could I commit to a long-term project like this while I ran a business?
- Who was I to speak on this subject matter, really?
Now, 100 episodes later, impostor syndrome has yet to recede. Despite that, I've still managed to build a stage for women across the globe. Beyond its success and business growth, the most rewarding aspect of all is that the podcast has become an integral part of the way I live out my mission.
Here are four key steps I've learned about launching a successful podcast with the power to move audiences:
1. Identify Your Purpose
"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything."
Alexander Hamilton said it, and I've learned that a proverbial "stake in the ground" is key to launching a compelling podcast.
Before launching, identify your big purpose--the mission you stand for. A bigger purpose will help sustain your podcast even when it begins to occupy precious calendar slots. When energy and motivation wane, your original purpose (the reason why you did this thing in the first place) will always get you back on track.
Lead generation cannot be your only motivator. To transcend the noise of the crowded podcast marketplace and inspire people in a real way, audiences need to know what you stand for. The strength of your stage depends on it.
2. Find Your Angle and Style
Every successful podcast employs its own unique style, tone, and angle--all of which help it stand out in a sea of comparable shows.
Finding your perfect "style" doesn't happen overnight; often, it develops over time. Yet the best thing I ever did was what most hesitate to admit: I listened to other amazing podcasts, noted the things they do really well, replicated them--and made them better.
Be clear on how you want to sound, how you want your audience and guests to feel, and what unique value proposition you bring to the table. If you can nail down those elements in advance, you'll be the hardest act to follow.
3. Create a Formal Structure
The more streamlined and replicable the structure of your podcast is, the easier it becomes to execute and the quicker it will scale.
Mine is predictable: Guests know what questions to expect, and audiences appreciate the consistency.
It also goes beyond the episode itself. I've learned to be structured with the research I do before recording any interview. Usually, I'll spend one to three hours on research per guest, but I might dedicate more time if, for example, I want to read a book they've written.
From a great workflow with your editing partner (the team I use, Rise 25, are phenomenal at providing done-for-you podcasting services) to how new episodes are shared on social media, I recommend you process-out everything. My structure helps remove the burden of making a thousand small decisions so I can actually enjoy the podcasting experience.
4. Be Authentic
While a formal structure is important, nothing matters more than authenticity.
Asking your guest questions on the fly often leads to the most revealing answers--and audiences appreciate candid moments over robotic discipline.
Flubbing lines, technical fails, forgetting a thought mid-sentence--I've made all the mistakes. I spent my earliest episodes fretting over re-recording mistakes to appear "perfect." Today, I've learned that it's in those slip-up moments that we're often more relatable to our audiences and guests.
I encourage you to choose authenticity over perfection every single time.
From new business opportunities and clients, boosted entrepreneurial credibility, and meaningful connections, my podcasting journey has been incredibly rewarding.
Above all, launching a podcast allowed me to shine a spotlight on the world's most inspiring individuals so they'd never be left waiting in the wings while the curtain closed on them. Today, my mission still rages on: To build a stage for inspiring women everywhere.