Growing Rupa Health’s Podcast from 0 to a 250K+ Monthly Downloads in 6 months

This case study is an origin story of how the Acclaim Podcast Agency came to be.

I was hired for a specific reason at Rupa Health — I’m good at finding marketing arbitrage.

When I initially joined Rupa they had just found product market fit, had a target audience, and needed to build distribution. These are the environmental factors I love to be in.

One of my initiatives was to take our podcast from zero-to-one. We hired a production agency to do the editing, and then in the next sixth months, I turned The Root Cause Medicine podcast into a top 10 medical podcast in the US. Below is a screenshot of the podcast’s growth.

acclaim_podcast_agency

Here is how my team and I accomplished this at Rupa, the learnings gained, and how we employ these strategies and tactics for our clients at Acclaim.

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How to Name A B2B Podcast

Podcasts are one of the best vehicles I have ever encountered to build thought leadership in an industry and create long-form content but it all starts with the name.

We landed on the “Root Cause Medicine Podcast” because the phrase ‘root cause medicine’ was growing in search volume, meaning there was a zeitgeist emerging we could surf.

I wanted people to think of Rupa Health every time they thought ‘root cause medicine’ — to own that mental real estate. To live in that same room in their mind.

I pushed hard internally for this name, and we chose it. It has served the company well and will continue to for the existence of the brand.

Learning Podcast Fundamentals

Podcasts are like email, they’re one of the hardest marketing channels but when done right they are a force of nature.

Podcasts are built on RSS, a protocol that just like email is inflexible, buggy, and built in a time before mobile computers.

To get up to speed on the fundamentals of podcasts, I read everything I could find.

I read about the tech.

I read about the protocols.

I read every case study I could find.

And I found the information, inadequate…

Metrics were all vague measurements like downloads, listeners, and subscribers with no consensus on their importance. Some people say downloads are unimportant, some say, listeners and others say subscribers. Every expert pointed in a different direction.

So I decided to discard all the info that was “best practices” and focus on the principles. Get down to the base elements.

How are podcasts measured in popularity? Downloads.

Ok, downloads influence listeners and subscribers — it’s a funnel.

How do you get downloads? A download happens when a podcast is called from your RSS.

How do you host an RSS feed? There are hosting platforms, just like servers.

It became clear that downloads are the most important thing, so my focus went on them.

It was starting to make sense, and then I struck gold when I synthesized two ideas.

One, that the top podcast charts are based on downloads, and two, if you got on the charts, you get organic distribution.

A growth flywheel showed itself.

The final piece of the puzzle I stumbled upon while talking with a friend: Apple Podcast links, when opened on mobile, actually are deep links. Deep links different than normal links, because they send users directly to an app and actually open the app on their phone.

So we need to get people to open the podcast on their mobiles. From there, I created the tactics below and had my team at Rupa ship on them.

Building distribution for a b2b podcast

So how do you get people on mobile phones to open apple podcast links? Here are the most effective ways we identified after trial and error. These three tactics are most effective combined together.

Facebook ads for b2b podcasts

We knew that if we got into the top charts for our target category, an organic flywheel would emerge.

To reiterate, Apple Podcast links opened on ios devices are deep links to the apple podcasting app, and create a download.

So we realized we could game the downloads chart to hit our tipping point.

With this in mind, I built Facebook ads targeting people with:

  • Functional medicine interest
  • We’re ios devices only
  • Listened to podcasts regularly

We then deployed a huge budget for 60 days and paired it with growing our email list so that when we turned off ads, cheaper emails could carry the team.

Creating a thriving podcast newsletter from a dirty list

You can scrape anyone’s email right now. Everyone in your b2b target audience.

But what content do you send them so they don’t spam trap you?

Podcasts.

Over the next sixty days, I scaled a newsletter about the podcast from emails I had scraped from Google Maps, directories, and lists we bought.

We had a newsletter at 40K+ by the end of it.

So when we turned off ads, we had a supplement to take its place.

And the craziest thing, the absolutely craziest thing is that this cold, dirty, scraped list was getting 35%+ open rates.

Repurposing Content

While at Rupa I created a new way of growing Instagram accounts. With my team, we took Rupa from 2K followers to 25K followers in 3 Months. Rupa is now at 100K+ followers.

The story about this is for another place, and you’ll have to ask me IRL about it, but it is important to understand.

The reason we created a podcast in the first place was that we needed a piece of long-form content we could use for content repurposing.

The knock-on effects that happened along the way were unexpected bonuses.

So for all the podcasts we recorded, we created clips from them and distributed them to our target social channels.

We turned our social media manager into a curator, not a creative.

This resulted in 5M+ in free organic impressions per month and another owned media channel.

Conclusion

To conclude, one of my core beliefs is that all companies MUST invest in owned media.

The law of shitty click-through demands it. You must own the rails.

And when you own the rails, you can turn your growth department into a revenue center, rather than a cost center.

I talked to my boss at Rupa and good friend Koby Conrad recently, and he told me our dream came to fruition. They had monetized the podcast.

The podcast is now sponsored by Athletic Greens and generates revenue for the company.

So the podcast creates leads, generates revenue, and creates source material for content repurposing.

Every. B2B. Company. Should. Be. Podcasting.

The Acclaim B2B podcast is an accumulation of everything I’ve learned about b2b podcasting over the last few years. My team and I are on a mission to grow as many podcasts as we can for b2b startups and companies because they are one of the most impactful forms of marketing I’ve ever encountered.

Reach out to get a proposal for your company. I’m excited to work with your business.


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