This is it: The moment you and your fans have been waiting for. It’s officially time to launch your show!
You’ve probably spent a ton of time, money, and effort creating your show—but you’re not quite done yet. Before you go live, you need to have a plan in place for your show’s launch and promotion. A huge part of that plan is making sure to target the specific audience who will be most interested in your series and what it covers.
Let’s break down the work that goes into promoting a video series or podcast, from launch and beyond. This topic is pretty top of mind for us as we’ve been through this entire checklist quite recently with the launch of our latest series, Show Business.
Alert! Want access to our shareable checklist? Register for Show Business to access over two hours of video content and several free show planning resources!
On a scale of pencil dive to cannonball, how big of a splash are you trying to make with your show’s launch?
Poolside analogies aside, the scale of your launch is the first thing you’ll want to nail down before you get into the specifics of your show’s promotion strategy. Here you’ll want to consider things like budget, resources, and bandwidth and how each of those will impact your launch goals.
Speaking of goals—what exactly are you trying to achieve right out of the gate? A large launch designed to reach as many relevant eyeballs as possible in order to drive leads will require a different approach than a soft launch intended to test the waters and gather feedback. Knowing what your primary initial goal is will help you as you plan.
Here are a few major things to keep in mind:
- Assets: What will you need to have ready to go for launch day? This might include your show’s trailer, creative assets for social media or email, a dedicated page or Channel to host your content, and a segmented list of contacts in your database.
- Format: Is your show a reality docu-series with gripping hooks at the end of each episode? Or perhaps you’ve created an interview show featuring industry leaders? The format will shape how you promote and talk about your show.
- Release: Are you dropping all of your episodes at once? Or will you keep folks coming back each week for new content? An ongoing cadence could require more effort and promotion over time to keep viewers engaged.
“Your release cadence will impact how you promote your show. If you launch your entire series at once for your audience to binge, then you’re going to want to promote the entire series. Think about the broad messages and what you’ll be talking about to get people excited to watch all of it. If you’re doing a release cadence that’s ongoing, you’ll want to promote the series as a whole—but also the specific episode that’s available now, as well as a teaser for what’s coming next.”
Dan Mills, Head of Wistia Studios
Tip: Planning your show’s release can be tricky—but we’ve got you covered. Check out our guide to episodic content release to set your strategy.
Once you launch your series, it’s time to flip on all the switches, set the phasers to blast, and go all-in on your show. So, how are you going to do that? Start with your owned properties.
When someone visits your website, they should know immediately that you’ve launched a show. You should give your show top-level placement, marquee billing across your website. This might include a banner or pop-up on the homepage, launching a dedicated webpage for your content, and adding the show to your navigation menu so folks can easily find it.
Next up is your blog. If you run an active blog, you should create posts that support the launch of your series. Introduce the series with an announcement post, interview guests about their experience, go behind the scenes, and share content that will spark conversations with your audience. And don’t forget to add video to your blog posts! This can be a great place to repurpose existing clips and snippets to introduce readers to your show.
Finally, we can’t forget about email as a promotional tool. You’ve got to let your existing customers and fans know that your show exists. Send an announcement to relevant email lists; many times, this is a warm audience who will be excited to learn about what you’ve got going on.
You should also continue building a dedicated list of subscribers. One cool way to do this is by collecting emails using teaser content for your series. You can reach out to this new list when you have new episodes or even sweeten the pot with exclusive content. Whatever you do, and no matter who you’re emailing, make sure you provide value and put a smile on their face with the content you’re sending them.
Now that your show is out into the world, it’s time to focus on ongoing promotion and audience engagement. Here are a few of our favorite channels to consistently promote show content.
Social media is a natural place to promote your show. Social platforms are highly engaging, which pairs nicely with video and audio content. And many platforms offer advanced targeting capabilities, which make it easy to get in front of a niche audience.
However, you’ll want to be mindful of how much you give away on social. Take a note from the Netflix promotion playbook; the company generally leverages social only to create initial awareness and drives people back to the company website to learn more and watch the full trailers.
“The way to get the best of both worlds and really leverage your social media accounts is to use platforms like YouTube and Instagram for your clips and trailers and then drive your audience to your website where your audience lives. This way, the shorter content, your clips and trailers, do all the hard work for you. By not requiring a huge attention span on social media, you’re not losing audiences who might otherwise drop off, but you’re getting the full value of a long engagement in an environment that you control on your website.”
Phil Nottingham, Brand Strategist
On your actual launch day, be sure to go BIG on social media. We recommend making your channels all about your new show on launch day—and even for a few days after to keep the momentum going! This lets your audience know how excited you are about the launch and keeps your new show on their radar.
After your initial email announcement, focus on building and nurturing a dedicated subscriber list. As we said earlier, you can reach out to these people when you have new episodes. Just make sure that the content you’re sending is always relevant and of interest to them.
“Behavior-based drip campaigns are especially helpful if you drop all of your episodes at once. Automation helps you to keep track of where viewers are in the series to ensure you’re sending relevant and timely content.”
- Evanna Payen, Growth Marketer
If you have a marketing automation solution, you can take promotion a step further by feeding your video data into your contact database. This will allow you to set up behavior-based drip campaigns to encourage viewers to finish your show. For example, you could set up a workflow that emails people to complete an episode if they watched less than 75%. Or you could set up a workflow that nudges people to watch the next episode if they finished an episode and dropped off.
Set your team up for success with dedicated sales enablement materials. This could be as simple as a one-pager with high-level messaging, top takeaways, and sample copy for folks to easily share the show across their own channels.
To prepare for Show Business, we held a virtual training session with our entire sales team to walk everyone through our full promotion plan. This helped them understand the customer journey and better understand what their prospects and customers would be experiencing. We also answered questions they had upfront to better prepare them for conversations.
If you’ve got a little bit of budget to play with, experiment with paid campaigns to drive folks into your show experience. Advertising can be a great way to reach net-new audiences or to re-engage existing viewers through retargeting.
“One of the best ways to do this is through display ads that are hyper-targeted to the folks that you’re trying to get to watch your show. We did this when we developed our show Rev Ops and Hops, whose audience we didn’t have in our email database. By using display and social ads, we were able to track an audience to a piece of content and start targeting a very specific niche.
As a result of these efforts, we were able to pick up an entirely new audience that we could sell our products to but also who could consume our content, and we never would have been able to do that without a show that was specifically targeted for them.”
- Patrick Campbell, Profitwell
Guest promo kits are a surefire way to expand your reach beyond your own audiences. We created custom promo kits for each guest on Show Business. The kit contained custom artwork, pull quotes, and sample copy for social media. The hope is that your guests feel like part of your team and will be motivated to use that copy on their own channels. If they do: Voila! There’s a whole new audience for you.
Here’s an example of a promo asset we created for our podcast Talking Too Loud.
While the heaviest of the lifting may now be done, show promotion doesn’t stop after launch! Measure the success of your show promotion over time with these handy tips.
Urchin tracking module codes (or UTM for short) are custom strings of text that you can add to the end of a link to track things like source, medium, campaign name, and more.
Here’s an example of a UTM code for this post:
ForShow Business, we created custom links for different promotional channels including social media, email, our internal sales team, external show talent, and public relations.
If you’re sharing your show on multiple channels and through multiple campaigns, UTM codes can help you easily segment your data in Google Analytics to track show performance. The key to making the most of UTM codes is to be consistent. You’ll want your entire team to use the same naming convention and letter case for the various fields.
We highly recommend building a dedicated analytics dashboard to track show performance starting with your launch. This can be a dashboard in a free solution like Google Analytics or something more robust like Databox that pulls in data from multiple sources. Talk to the teams involved with the launch and figure out what metrics are important. Then, figure out which tool will pull all of that data together into one place for easy monitoring and greater transparency.
The best marketing campaigns include multiple touchpoints to keep your content top of mind. Think through all of your available marketing channels and take the time to plan meaningful and engaging communications that will bring people in starting on launch day and continue afterward.
“People have to hear something over and over again before they actually pay attention to it, so don’t be afraid to cross-promote things. Your content should really be 20% creation, 80% promotion. 80% of your energy should be on how you promote it. How do you promote it the first time, how do you promote it to different audiences, how do you get people to care about it inside your company as well as outside of your company, and how do you keep doing that over time?”
- David Cancel, Drift
There you have it—our complete guide to show promotion! Hungry for more? Be sure to watch Show Business for access to our free, standalone show promotion checklist.