How To Create a Thriving Series—Plus, When it's Time To Call It

January 30, 2024

We knew we couldn't close out our Series Masterclass with anything less than the best of the best. We wanted to leave you with something to remember—a conversation about how to make sure your series is not just surviving, but thriving—and to do that, we needed folks who are actually out here in the trenches, producing amazing series that keep folks coming back.

Entering the chat now are:

You probably already know (and love) Lindsay and Belinda, who are two pillars of the amazing team here at Goldcast. Lindsay hosts the series, Donuts and Demand, and Belinda hosts Event Marketers Live, in addition to her work overseeing all in-person field events.

Logan has experience running event series across multiple industries, from customer support to tech (he was previously at Zendesk). Travis, on the other hand, has been known to don a panda suit if the occasion calls for it; he runs the company's ongoing podcast series.

Read on to learn:

  • Are you annoying people with your promo efforts yet?
  • Finding a continual pipeline of guests for your series
  • Try to think of different ways to promote your series
  • How do you know when it's time to begin or end a series?
  • Series Masterclass may be over, but the fun doesn't have to stop here

And for all the overachievers among us, the full replay is also available for you to view below!

How to create a thriving series - watch now

Are you annoying people with your promo efforts yet?

It can be scary to think about how you're going to draw attention to your first few episodes. When Travis first started out, he did two things that he credits for his eventual success.

First, he was an internal cheerleader for the series—to the point that he even annoyed people 👀 He worked with a CRO who told him, "By the time you're annoyed from hearing the message, that's probably the first time it's actually resonating with anyone else." Travis took this to mean: Keep going. Even if it means you annoy everyone!

During this time, he also showed off anytime the show experienced success. It could have been as small as a positive comment or a DM, but Travis would screenshot it and share it, whether that was in the slide deck of the recap or just flashing it to others on his phone screen. That helped build momentum in the early days.

The second major thing he did was to make it easy for people at the company to promote the series. Make it fun for other people to share! Bring on executive staff to your show and feature them, so they have a big reason to talk about it with their networks.

Belinda recommends making it as simple as possible for people to attend the series. When people register for a Goldcast series, they can sign up for just one session, multiple sessions, or the whole enchilada, all at once. After a person signs up, they get a confirmation email, as well as calendar holds for the individual events. This ensures the events stay top of mind.

If you've been to a Goldcast event, you know that we're a big fan of giveaways. Who doesn't want to win a sweet at-home webcam setup or a DoorDash gift card?! Incentives draw more people to sign up and attend.

We even take it a step further and require folks to complete actions within our events to attend—this gets more people talking in the chat and responding to polls, which is a nice little engagement boost.

Finding a continual pipeline of guests for your series

When you're running a show regularly—whether it's weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or something else—you've gotta figure out how to get people to say yes to being on your show.

Ask for warm intros

When Travis started out, he didn't know anyone in the space he was working in. Luckily, he had a co-host who was well-connected on LinkedIn, and he asked him to make some warm intros, which turned out to be game-changers. "Don't sleep on the warm intro." - Travis Tyler, Senior Digital Content Producer, PandaDoc

A warm intro can take you very, very far. Once the intro is made, you can invite people onto your series. When you're sending those first messages, think like a salesperson! Make it easy for people to say yes, and stand out from the crowd.

One way Travis stood out was by recording a video of himself drawing a recreation of the potential guest's LinkedIn profile picture. (Note: He's not what you would call a traditionally talented artist.) Then he held up the drawing and told the viewer, "I promise your time on the show will be better than this drawing. I hope this made you smile. We would love to have you!"

Travis was only turned down twice out of the 77 episodes he did. He used the drawing method for the first 35 invites, at which point people were reaching out to him to ask whether they could come on the show.

Ask for recs from guests

You should also ask your favorite guests if they have anyone they could recommend. That's doubly powerful: a warm intro from someone who's been on your show already!

It's always helpful to highlight the benefit to the speaker of coming on your show. Many times, people say yes because they're building their own brand, and they want more exposure and speaking opportunities. Let them know how many followers and attendees you have, so they can see the upside of saying yes. Tell them who's been on the show before, if you've had some big-name guests.

Set expectations upfront

Finally, set expectations with people so they know what they're agreeing to. You might even include a couple of on-demand recordings of your favorite episodes so they can trust the series is high-quality.

One important note: Don't take it personally if someone says no or doesn't respond. Of course it doesn't feel good, but you never know the external factors that are at play. It is hard to do cold outreach in particular, so don't feel defeated if it takes you a while to get your first yes. We've been there, too. Remember how Travis didn't mind being annoying? Keep going, and you'll get there!

Try to think of different ways to promote your series

Once your series is launched and off the ground, you'll fall into a regular cadence and start to see what works for you. When things are feeling pretty stable, you may find, to your surprise, that you're actually feeling kinda stale when it comes to creating content for your series or promoting it so new folks show up.

What can you do to keep momentum high in these instances?

For Logan, it's all about thinking of new ways to promote the event. While everyone sends out promotional emails, he tries to think of a different spin on it. Say he's running an event on AI in the healthcare industry. He'll still send out emails and post on LinkedIn, but he's also going to think about channels that he hasn't used before that will attract new people.

In this example, Logan might go on LinkedIn and search through the platform's groups to find healthcare AI groups. He'll join a few and start talking about the series in those groups and see who's interested. This isn't a typical "to do" on your list, but finding different ways to promote can really keep things fresh and bring new people to your series.

Other things to try:

  • Keep your branding and design modern and new.
  • Switch up the format of your events. If you watch Event Marketers Live, you know we recently revamped the look and added in a couple of fun new segments!
  • If you notice demand slowing down after you've presented on the same topic a few times, consider changing up the subject of your series a bit and see if that helps.
  • Pay attention to any and all customer feedback! People are often quite willing to tell you what they want, so be sure to ask and then listen.

Remember that promotion never has to be super fancy to be effective! Check out this hilarious video Travis threw together to promote being on the Series Masterclass:

How do you know when it's time to begin or end a series?

You're probably only thinking about starting a new series at this point, but it's equally as important to know when it's time to say farewell.

"When you set up a series, it's important to establish from the very beginning what the runway is, and to get that buy-in from executive leadership." - Travis Tyler, Senior Digital Content Producer, PandaDoc

First, be clear on the fact that things take time. You probably won't go viral overnight and blow your goals out of the water. Travis suggests about six months of runway so you can have some data to analyze and see if your show is gaining any traction.

Speaking of goals, make sure you know the benchmarks for whatever it is you're launching. You can get this info by asking your peers or working with an expert. When Travis started his podcast, PandaDoc worked with an agency who told him that around 75% of podcasts don't make it past episode six. This gave him his first goal: to make it to episode seven and beat the odds!

When it comes to ending the show, Travis recommends a balance of listening to your gut instinct and analyzing what's going on with your budget. If you're spending a lot on a show and you're unhappy, that's an almost-certain sign that it's time to pivot. It also might be worth sunsetting the show if you're the only person in the org who believes in it, and you're constantly swimming upstream to defend it.

At Goldcast, we made the decision to pull the curtains on our CMO Diaries series, which was a weekly show geared toward CMOs and hosted by one of our co-founders. If you're thinking a weekly series is a lot of work, you're absolutely right—and over time, we started to wonder if it was worth the time investment.

For one, it's hard to catch executives' attention and hook them into a weekly event. We started to see a decline in attendance. Then, our co-founder voiced his concern around his own capacity to continue hosting a weekly show. At that point, it was obvious that the team needed to have an honest conversation on what to do next.

While bidding adieu to CMO Diaries was sad, we were able to introduce Donuts & Demand, a series that made more sense for our audience and was more targeted to where we want to go, strategically speaking.

Every time one door closes, another opens, right? Ending a series does not mean that series was a failure; it means you tried something new, and you now have an archive of content you can use in different ways (like our CMO Diaries on-demand library!).

Series Masterclass may be over, but the fun doesn't have to stop here

It's only appropriate that we talked about how to say goodbye in this session because we have, in fact, reached the end of the road for the Series Masterclass. 🥺

We hope you learned everything you ever wanted to know about series and are inspired to start your own, or try new things with an existing series!

And don't forget you can drop in on the on-demand replay anytime you like!

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