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School of Podcasting - Plan, Launch, Grow and Monetize Your Podcast

Jan 11, 2021

If Ron Howard Uses Focus Groups...

Ron Howard has been in the entertainment industry since he was a little boy on the Andy Griffith Show, Later he was on Happy Days and since then has been making phenomenal movies. He's been nominated for 114 awards and won 39 times for a percentage of 34%, In 2002 he won with A Beautiful Mind for Best Picture and Best Director. One might say, "Not too shabby."

Rob was on the true stories show on Satelite radio talking about always screens his movies and checks in with the audience to see how the content is connecting with his audience.

In the interview, he said, "We did our first previews, and I was so defensive about it and against it, and I wound up learning so many important truths about our story, that to this day, even the Beatles documentary, even though I have Final Cut, I screened the movies and I know how to ask the questions and I ask people to fill out questionnaires.

I find it very, very useful. It's difficult but I always think that it's like the playwright getting to see the show out of town before you take it to Broadway. I don't think it's really any different than that.

I have the confidence of having done it a lot, and the power of Final Cut, so that this is about me understanding how the movie works. It's comforting on the one hand, but I think it's really important to understand how the movie is communicating with an audience.

That's what entertainment is: Is something is communicated to you and do you enjoy it?

Why Podcasters Skip The Focus Group

If this is your first podcast, you probably spent much more time on their episodes than they originally planned, so the last thing you want to hear is that you need to go back and do some work.

While understandable, if the goal is to grow your podcast, constructive feedback is something that is essential to growing your podcast. Most of us are familiar with the story of Thomas Edison doing 1000 attempts at the light bulb that didn't work. When asked about it these "failures" Edison replied, "I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."

In some cases, people see their episode as art. If that is you, then skip this episode. Your goal is to not grow your audience but to just put the podcast out there. The podcast is not for your audience. It's for you.

Just Like Your Podcast, Creating Your Survey Starts With Why

Today you will hear from Glenn the Geek who runs the Horse Radio Network. His primary income is sponsorship and a membership site. We will hear from Scott Johnson from the What Was That Like? podcast that has been steadily growing since it launched. Scott was looking for feedback on his content.

The Process of Creating a Survey

  • Identify why you're doing your survey (and what you're trying to learn)
  • Choose your questions
  • Deliver your survey
  • Collect your feedback
  • Organize your data and look for trends
  • Implement changes based on feedback.
  • Follow up to ensure you've achieved your goal.

Potential Questions


This is where you ask age, sex, income.

Where they hang out:

Where else do they get information like yours? What other podcasts, forums, magazines, etc do they consume?

By knowing where your audience is you can go to where they are and make friends.

Content Questions:

How long do they listen?

Favorite parts of the show?

Parts they wish would be different?

Audio quality?

The top thing they've gained from listening?

Advertising Questions:

Have you purchased any products from sponsors on this show?

Who do you think would be a good sponsor?

Do you skip the ads?

What was the last thing you purchased?

If You're Just Launching

Take the episode you feel is ready for the public and get specific. As about the audio quality, and how far people listened.

If they say they listened to the whole thing, give them a quiz to prove it. If they didn't listen far found out why.

There is no sense going any further until you get your content resonating with your audience.

Special Thanks to:

Scott Johnson from What Was That Like? (a great podcast)

Glenn Hebert from the Horse Radio Network

Jack Rhysider from the Darknet Diaries (Check out  episode 27 about hacking the Apple Charts)

James from the Dog Podcast Network

Need Help With Your Podcast?

If you need help with:






Gear Selection

It is all there at the School of Podcasting

Mentioned in this Podcast

Video on Using Google Forms

episode 27 of Darknet Diaries about hacking Apple Charts

Profit From Your Podcast Book on Monetizing Your Podcast

School of Podcasting  - Plan, Launch, and Grow Your Podcast