The Download on Podcasts: A successful podcaster describes the “why” and “how” of a hit show

The Download on Podcasts is a weekly feature sponsored by PodcastOne.

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Farnoosh Torabi, host of So Money, talked to RAIN News in connection with her recent ad-repping deal with AdLarge (read here). The conversation lengthened well beyond that announcement, and dove into key practices and growth points that have led to Torabi’s success. So Money, an interview program offering personal finance principles, is currently number five in the iTunes list of business podcasts. Torabi told RAIN News why she started podcasting, how she balances resources, and key audience growth tactics.

The Right Time

“Podcasting was the next great opportunity to connect with my audience,” said Farnoosh Torabi, who came to into audio from a background of finance journalism and book-writing. She noted a richness and intimacy that writing lacks. “There is something magical and powerful about voice,” according to Torabi, who took radio classes while obtaining her journalism degree at Columbia. With a long-standing interest in audio, she had been stopped from striking out on her own because a radio deal seemed necessary until recently. “Podcasting didn’t have the momentum it has now,” she observed.

so money farnoosh torabiMother of a 15-month-old child, the convenience of home production also attracted her, as it does many podcasters who appreciate the relative ease of creating an Internet-ready audio program.

Smart Spending

Ease and quality often part ways, though. One key to Farnoosh Torabi’s success lies in her willingness to spend on professional-quality resources where it counts. She uses a professional audio editing service to whip her raw recordings into shape. A fast recording schedule (one 30-minute program each business day) encourages outsourcing technical help, and the high production volume helps build audience quickly.

When planning the show, Farnoosh Torabi looked before she leapt. She took a podcasting course (Podcasters’ Paradise), and built an archive of about three months of shows before launching. That cushion has helped her stay on schedule through over 250 shows in her feed. Torabi records a week of shows on Mondays; she lines up guests by herself for the most part, drawn from her extensive contact list of finance gurus.

Influential Guests

She also is fearless about inviting anybody, and recognized early that great guests can help market the show and build audience. “The kind of guests I get bring a lot of PR and attention to the show,” Torabi told us. “I knew before launch, that to make a splash I’d need to start with an all-star lineup of guests. So I started out with Tony Robbins, David Bach, and many others who are leading influencers online. Their support of the show with just a tweet or Facebook post really helped.”

Audience As Community

If one word describes Farnoosh Torabi’s audience growth success, it might be “social.” In our conversation she described a way of thinking and operating that is always about communicating with listeners and potential listeners. She unabashedly asks listeners to review her programs, and credits those reviews with landing So Money in the “New & Noteworthy” section of iTunes in the program’s early days.

Beyond chatting up the show in every way she can think of, Torabi cited one side product of the podcast which she described as “one of the biggest needle-movers” — written transcripts of the programs. “Having show transcripts gives you a library of content. Just this week Business Insider published an article on one of my podcast series, from the transcripts. Traffic went through the roof.” The editing service Torabi uses (WeEditPodcasts.com) also furnishes the transcripts.

“I built it and they came,” Farnoosh Torabi told us — every independent podcast creator’s dream. But the reality is more about careful planning, smart spending, sharp focus, aggressive social marketing, and influential guests.

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Brad Hill

One Comment

  1. Podcast production can easily be a “let’s wing it!” thing…or a well-written and planned effort. Ms Torabi demonstrates the intelligent approach.

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