As a podcaster, you probably know that the work associated with your show doesn't end the minute you hit "publish." Social media, list building, PR, and community management are another huge part of running your own podcast! How do you know all the time you're spending on marketing is paying off? Downloads are a great place to start, but they're not the be-all, end-all. Below are a few other, softer metrics to keep in mind when you start assessing your marketing plan.

You get your first piece of fan mail

Marketing is all about expanding your audience–but good marketing is also about honing in on an audience that you can turn into raving fans. The first time someone actually writes in to you is a big deal, and is a great marker that, not only are you attracting listeners, but you're also attracting people who are super passionate about the stories you're telling.

Other podcasts start mentioning you

Word of mouth is always going to be one of the most powerful marketing tools, and having other podcasters talk about your show is just that. Being mentioned on their show means that, not only are you attracting a new audience, but they're enthused enough about your show to want to share it to their audience! You can capitalize on your first in-podcast mention a few ways–by asking to guest on their show, inviting them to yours, or sending out some love to the show that mentioned you over social media.

You're invited to guest on someone else's podcast

Congratulations! You're seen as an expert in your field. No, really–if another show invites you on, it's because they either think you're wildly entertaining, or that you can bring some new knowledge, perspective, or experience to their audience! Not only that, but it also points out that you're well known enough for other shows to sit up, take notice, and want to leverage your audience.

You get your first piece of press

That press kit you put together? It's doing its job! If you've been actively pitching press for reviews or mentions, this obviously shows that all your hard work is paying off. This might be a good time to follow up with the author and let them know you're always open to an interview or being a source for quotes.

Your first opportunity to speak publicly about your podcast

Your first recognition in the industry (i.e. a “buzzworthy podcast”, a “top 100”, etc.)

It's one thing to be mentioned in an article–it's another thing entirely to start making Top 10/Most Notable lists! Take a minute to bask, then spread some love on Twitter or Instagram to the other shows listed–gratitude looks good on you!