One of the helpful things about launching a project within a larger company is that one is required to report on successes and failures, often in quantitative terms. A solo project like The Anomalous Mind does not require that kind of disclosure. This post is basically a way to require myself to make that kind of honest assessment. It may also be helpful to others who are interested in launching a podcast to see what kind of results they might expect.
The Anomalous Mind was launched in the last week of December 2020: I signed up with my podcast host (Buzzsprout) on Christmas Day, and I sent my first invitation on 27 December 2020. My initial goal was to issue 25 invitations by the end of January 2021. I didn’t really know if people would respond to invitations, how long recording might take, etc. But invitations was a metric that I could control. I achieved this goal, issuing my 24th and 25th invitation on 30 January 2021.
I generally sent invitations via email, using other channels (Twitter, LinkedIn) when I couldn’t find an email address (these never worked by the way — email has been the only method that actually resulted in responses). Almost all these invitations were “cold”: one of my invites was someone I knew a bit professionally, but all other 24 were people I had never met or spoke with before. Most of them were relatively established figures in their respective fields, primarily academics, startup founders, and clinicians.
The numbers. Of 25 invitations, 10 have accepted an invitation and have either recorded an episode (5 thus far) or committed to a specific date for recording. That is 40%. My initial expectation was for a 10-20% response rate, so this is 2x to 4x the response rate that I have expected. Qualitatively, I thought recruiting quality guests was going to be the most difficult barrier to starting a podcast, but I think that I significantly overestimated this barrier. The moral of all this: thoughtful targeted emails were sufficient to attract some genuinely wonderful guests to agree to be on the podcast.