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10 Ways to Create a 'HIT' Podcast Episode from Pat Flynn

Pat Flynn

I recently made a somewhat last-minute decision to attend the Podcast Movement Conference in Chicago. To be frank, I was coming off of a Tony Robbins event, and I was mildly concerned that I wouldn’t be dancing, hugging, or high-fiving nearly enough, but I figured there had to be other perks, right? So I dropped the $500 on the ticket, cashed in some airline points, and I was on my way.

Since The Bold Life Movement Podcast is less than 6 months old (but already at 29 episodes!) I was confident there was something valuable there for me to learn.

Enter, Pat Flynn and his incredible breakout session. 

If you’re not familiar with Pat, he’s been in the entrepreneur and podcasting game for awhile. He’s an OG, and best known for his podcast, Smart Passive Income

It’s easy to get fomo during breakout style sessions because there’s so many interesting things happening at once! Should I learn about monetization, or is storytelling more important? Would it be more lucrative to learn about systems and automation or how to drive more traffic to each episode?

You can see my dilemma. Fortunately, I knew that Pat would deliver, and deliver he did. For anyone interested in Podcasting, read on. For I give you the 10 tried and tested, Pat Flynn methods for creating a HIT (Highly Intentional & Targeted) episode. 

Before we dive in, it’s important to understand the #1 rule for creating HIT episodes. If you don’t follow this rule, then you can’t be assured that each style of episode will achieve its potential.

The Golden Rule: Treat each of these episodes like an EVENT. 

What this means, is that you plan ahead. Pick a launch date and market the episode ahead of time. The goal is to create BUZZ around these episodes. You want to tease people about what’s coming. 

One way to do this effectively is to leak clips from future episodes at the end of current episodes. People love a good teaser. 

Utilize your email list, and tap into your network (and the network of your guests) to help promote. 

Share out to Social media, talk about it in FB videos, and really treat it like it’s something special. 

So, now that we know we all mean business here, on to the meat of this post. Here are the 10 ideas for creating a HIT episode, courtesy of Pat Flynn: 

1. Round up Episode
A Round up episode is a great way to engage listeners, or other podcasters for more exposure.

The concept is that you pick a central theme or topic, and have experts and/or listeners provide their perspectives. They can send in audio using something like Speakpipe.com, or submit answers via a survey. 

By engaging listeners, they feel involved and are more likely to listen to the episode and share it out. If you choose to elicit the thoughts of other podcasters, they’ll likely share the episode out to their list, which gives you more exposure. 

To beef up the episode and help it flow together, add your thoughts in between answers. For creative marketing around this episode, you can put the submitted answers on social cards for easy sharing. 

Here’s an example of this type of episode: Patflynn.com/227

2. Interview a Forum Owner
Pick the brain of someone who has a built in following, by interviewing a forum owner. These can be individuals with large FB groups, or leaders of Linkedin Groups, membership sites, etc. Chances are good that these guests will share the episode out with their communities, and engagement is likely to be high since those members have proven interest in the topic, and trust in that individual. 

It’s a win-win for everyone. More free content from someone the members trust, added credibility for that forum leader, and increased exposure for you! 

My recent episode with Jill Stanton from Screw the Nine to Five is a good example of this: theboldlifemovement.com/029

3. The Burst Strategy
The burst strategy is fun, because it’s like a mini series! People love binge watching or binge listening, and your show should be no exception.

What this looks like: instead of releasing one episode, you release 2 or 3 at once. Each episode is connected by a central theme or guest. 

I’ll be utilizing this strategy with my release of the two-part interview I did with Nat Eliason, coming out August 10th. Nat had so much great content to offer, that we recorded two separate episodes. The first focuses a lot on building a lifestyle business, and in the second episode we dovetail into writing, specifically about writing things that can be considered taboo. He shares his vision for the book he’s currently working on, about how men can have better sex. It’s such an interesting and personal combination of interviews and I love the idea of releasing them back to back. 

Be sure to subscribe on iTunes to get access to them when they are released on August 10th: bit.ly/tblmpodcast

4. Share-for-Share
Share for Share is kind of a quick win strategy. The concept is that you have someone on your show, and they return the favor. You both gain access to the others’ listeners and email list by promoting the respective shows. It’s valuable for your listeners because they get access to someone who you clearly share values with, AND they get to experience you in a different context as a guest on the other host's show. 

5. Contests
Promoting contests is a good way to help your episode go viral. With an app like KingSumo, listeners are motivated to share the episode with more people, because the more entries into the contest that they drive, the more entries they earn. 

You can swing this one of two ways: Promote the contest before the episode is released, and announce the winner on the show. Or promote the contest after the episode to increase how many shares you get. 

6. The Challenge
Challenges are a growing trend when it comes to community engagement and growing your following. Simple Green Smoothies is one of the best examples of the Free Challenge method. Multiple times a year, they create buzz around their free 30 day smoothie challenges, where they give away 30 different smoothie recipes for free via instagram.

Their followers increase, and engagement is epic because people love to share the beautiful images, the valuable content, and most of all, they love to share with their friends that they’re accomplishing something difficult. 

If you can cultivate a challenge around one of your episodes, then you can drive listenership because people will want to share their progress publicly. 

7. The Poster Boy Episode
The Poster Boy episode is pretty simple. Emulate someone you admire, and then talk about it. For example, I’m releasing a 2-part series next week, a la Pat Flynn, and I’m writing about it in this post. 

Another, non-podcast-related example would be the JP-Sears inspired video that I created recently. This appeals to my audience because they get to see a different, more playful side of me, but it also appeals to lovers of JP (and Tony Robbins) and that encourages shares and exposure from a new audience. 

Poster Boy episodes are also a great way to gain the attention of those people you admire, because tagging them in the social shares could catch their eye. If you can emulate your mentors AND have them share it out to their followers, even better.  

8. Podcast Carnival
The Carnival method, or the “mash up” method, is a bit more intensive logistically, but has the potential for a big payoff. For this type of episode, you join forces with other podcasters, and you release 4 different episodes over the course of 1 month (this is assuming there are 4 of you total). 

The intention is to pool together the hosts of similar podcasts to tackle the 'burning questions' of the collective listeners. This type of episode requires some pre-lim marketing and planning as you want listeners to submit their questions, register for the call series, and subscribe to EACH show. The result? Each of you get access to this new list of subscribers, and each show now has additional listeners subscribed on iTunes. 

Check out Pat's slide to see what I mean: 


The listeners get exposure to different show styles, and get added value in that particular genre. A possible example would be joining up with Business Podcast hosts to answer questions on all things marketing. 

9. Round Two - The Follow Up Episode
The Follow Up episode is great for a few different reasons. Listeners love a good “where are they now?” story, so bringing back an old guest is great for your long-time listeners, and encourages newer listeners to go back and listen to old episodes. This can also be really valuable for listeners if the original episode garnered a lot of questions and engagement. Bringing back a particular guest, or elaborating more on a specific topic, provides answers to listeners’ questions and gives them more of what they’ve proven to like. 

This is great for topics or niches that have a lot of layers, or require a lot of explanation. It can also be beneficial for past guests who are now launching a new project or book, or who want to provide updates on the projects they discussed last time they were on the show. 

10. Niche Specific Show
While you may think that going super niche will alienate a lot of your audience, you’d be surprised. By sporadically offering super-niche episodes, you’re showing love to a subset of listeners who may not have otherwise tuned in. Most people have a variety of interests so by attracting listeners based on one topic, you may be able to convert them into long-time listeners, and simultaneously show your broader audience that you have layers and a breadth of knowledge to share. 


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