She has 1,000,000+ downloads for her podcast Young & Profiting, over 70,000 followers on LinkedIn, and a marketing agency with 30 employees. Hala Taha is a woman who owns her success story.
This is something we at Audry admire. By sharing these stories we want to inspire podcast creators. It doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie or a podcasting pro. Everyone loves reading a good success story. But remember: It doesn’t matter what success is for you, as long as you own it.
Now, let’s get back to Hala. Short introduction: she is the producer and host of the Young and Profiting podcast, where she investigates a new topic each week and interviews some of the world’s brightest minds. Her goal is to turn their wisdom into actionable advice that you can use in your everyday life, no matter your age, profession, or industry.
Hi Hala, when did you start with your podcast?
Starting a podcast was my new year’s resolution for 2018. I saw that podcasting was becoming more and more popular, and thought, let’s try this. I didn’t think it was that hard until I learned the hard way. First, you have to learn how podcasting works, how to launch and record an episode, and all the rest. In the beginning, I made the mistake of wanting three to four guests per episode. At the same time I wanted my guests’ standards to be pretty high. For me, it was normal to reach out to 20 people and only get a reaction from two, but I didn’t want to lower that standard. After all, the first impression is all you get. I thought I could achieve all of this in one week. It took me two months.
So you reduced the number of guests? How do you select the guests for your podcast?
It all depends on the topic I want to talk about. Everyone I invite has to be an expert in their field. When I started, I researched other podcasters I admired and would check to see who they invited on their shows. For instance, Tim Ferris is a big inspiration of mine, so I did my research on him. But as I mentioned earlier: In the beginning, I would contact about 20 people and only land two guests. The more you reach out, the easier it gets because you can see who was already on your show. Because of my dedication, it suddenly became a thing to come on my show.
In the beginning, people will ask you about your reach, be honest! Eventually, the more you post, the bigger your guests will be, and the more your audience will grow. Together with my podcast, my reach on LinkedIn also began to grow. It was in tandem. That’s when I decided to focus all my attention on LinkedIn and took advantage of that.
Talking about LinkedIn, is that how you promote your podcast?
Yes, at first. I also used the reach from the guests I invited. So I made sure that everything I created for them to share looked professional. But then I also started messaging my listeners one by one. Slide-in DM’s, copy-paste the message you want to spread. Hey, this is my podcast – here is the link. Take a listen.
On my personal social media, I started with Twitter because I had a decent following from an earlier project. But on LinkedIn, I was a nobody. Now that’s my biggest acquisition channel with over 70,000 followers. How did I start? I targeted followers from other podcasters and I just messaged them. Something along the lines of, “Hey, I saw you like this podcast, maybe you’ll like my podcast as well.” In addition to that, I made sure that every post I shared looked amazing. I used cartoons, comic styles, and audio files. It had to stand out. After a little bit of success, I started doing videos for my podcast. That’s when it started blowing up. And here we are!
As a last caveat: what are your best practices today?
- Make sure your show is perfect. Whenever someone listens to your podcast, they have to think: “Wow, this is amazing content.” This happens when you put your heart and soul into it. If you have a shitty show, nobody will come back to listen.
- Don’t waste your guests’ time. I get invited onto podcasts two to three times per week, and sometimes I’ll sit there and ask myself, “Why am I wasting my time?” If your guests don’t help you cross-promote your content, you might as well not invite them.
- Downloads, downloads, downloads! It’s all about the downloads. You can have all the subscriptions in the world, but downloads are a major key.
- Be consistent with your content. When I started, I had a one-woman-show, so I had to do everything myself. With the first format, I could only produce one episode per two months. Then, I decided to change the format and began making an episode every week. That’s when the downloads started to grow.
About Hala Taha
Hala Taha started her career in radio production at HOT97 on “The Angie Martinez Show.” After that, she launched an entertainment news blog site, “The Sorority of Hip Hop.” She led an all-female team of 50 bloggers, and together they ran the popular site, interviewed celebrities, produced radio shows, hosted parties/concerts, and nearly snagged a reality TV show on MTV.
When the blog site boom slowed down in 2014, Hala took a temporary exit from the entertainment industry to get an MBA. She currently has over 8 years of corporate marketing experience at HP and Disney Streaming Services. She started Young and Profiting Podcast and YAP Media as a side hustle and grew her following primarily by building her personal brand on Linkedin. Hala is an expert on networking, personal branding, Linkedin marketing, side hustles, entrepreneurship, and podcasting.