Sexual Harassment Is Rampant in Health Care. Here’s How to Stop It.

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Many factors make an organization prone to sexual harassment: a hierarchical structure, a male-dominated environment, and a climate that tolerates transgressions — particularly when they are committed by those with power. Medicine has all three of these elements. And academic medicine, compared to other scientific fields, has the highest incidence of gender and sexual harassment. Thirty to seventy percent of female physicians and as many as half of female medical students report being sexually harassed.

As we wrote in a recent New England Journal of Medicine article, “Imagine a medical-school dean addressing the incoming class with this demoralizing prediction: ‘Look at the woman to your left and then at the woman to your right. On average, one of them will be sexually harassed during the next 4 years, before she has even begun her career as a physician’.”

The efforts of many healthcare organizations and medical centers tend to go little further than avoiding litigation. This needs to change. We propose a number of actions institutions must take to eliminate sexual harassment and create a safe environment that allows everyone in the health care workforce to do their best work on behalf of their patients.

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Quantitative and qualitative assessment.  The first step is for healthcare organizations to commit to understanding the problem. They must thoroughly and repeatedly measure the nature, prevalence, and severity of harassment and discrimination. Since this is unlikely to happen spontaneously, boards of directors and trustees should require open reporting of aggregate data, forums where employees can share ideas on how to reduce or eliminate harassment, and tying compensation of executives, deans, and chairs to outcomes.

Organizations should use standardized and validated instruments to survey their employees and do so annually, and anonymously. (You can find one such survey available from NASEM and another from the AAU. Our company, Equity Quotient, also offers one.) Survey data, along with aggregated data on reports of harassment, should be reported throughout the organization. Measurement will allow each organization to ascertain where exactly it needs to improve, test hypotheses and solutions that fit its culture and needs, and track progress.

Policy improvement.  Every health care organization needs to promote a clear, comprehensive policy that conveys a firm commitment to safety, respect, inclusion and equality. It should contain guidelines for standards of behavior, employee reporting of sexual harassment, and institutional responses to offensive or abusive behavior, discrimination, and retaliation. The Association of Title IX Administrators have examples of such policies, as does the National Council of Non-Profits. Organizations can use these for reference, modifying them as appropriate for their own needs.

In addition, secure methods of reporting harassment should be readily available to employees and supported by initiatives to keep the reporting options visible and familiar to the entire community. Targets of harassment should have ready access to counseling and support, even if they choose not to pursue formal reporting processes. These resources should be available outside of the institution itself, to increase the comfort of people reporting harassment and to remove potential biases that may occur when counselors are employed within the same institution where the harassment occurred.

Follow through. Organizations need to pair policy with clear and consistent action. The NASEM report stated, “Too often, judicial interpretation of [anti-discrimination laws] has incentivized institutions to create policies and training on sexual harassment that focus on symbolic compliance with current law and avoiding liability, and not on preventing sexual harassment.”  The key phrase here is “symbolic compliance”: nearly every healthcare organization has a policy, but whether that policy is merely a checkbox or actually functions well in practice is a distinguishing feature of organizations that are serious about the problem.

Human Resources commonly takes the lead in crafting and enforcing a strong policy. HR should be responsible for ensuring, among other things, that leadership has clearly communicated a zero-tolerance position; that employees trust the current procedures; and that reporting mechanisms are easy to understand. A useful list of key questions for leaders to ask themselves about their approach to sexual harassment, from the law firm Cleary Gottlieb, can be found here. It asks, for example, how well senior management communicates its zero-tolerance stance and who should oversee investigations of harassment allegations. While internal processes may provide efficiency, independent external investigations should be undertaken when there is any question about the objectivity of the internal inquiry.

Finally, organizational responses need to be applied with consistency. Victims will only come forward if they feel safe doing so and know their report will result in a rapid, thorough, and fair investigation, and, if misconduct is discovered, that their harassers will be punished, no matter their rank or reputation. Perpetrators must not be allowed to go on “extended leave,” quietly retire, or accept reassignment at another healthcare system through an under-the-table arrangement: all “cover your ass” practices that communicate tolerance of egregious behaviors do nothing to discourage further misbehavior. These provisions will reduce the possibility of retaliation, impediments to professional advancement, and further trauma.

Calculate cost and report.  The economic, reputational, and human costs of harassment are huge. The University of Southern California (USC), for example, has faced allegations of sexual assault among its medical staff, in addition to allegations of sexual assault of patients by a USC staff gynecologist, for which USC recently offered a $215 million settlement to the victims. In another case, despite knowing there had been a $135,000 settlement with a woman who had reported sexual harassment and retaliation by Dr. Rohit Varma in 2003, USC leadership installed the ophthalmologist as dean of the School of Medicine.  Dr. Varma resigned under a cloud less than a year later when leadership, responding to previously undisclosed information, acknowledged it has lost confidence in his ability to lead the school.

Even aside from the impacts of litigation and restitution of harms, the economic, health and psychological consequences of harassment are grave and have reached crisis levels in medicine. Sexual harassment and discrimination undermine women’s physical and mental health, resulting in increased risk for anxiety, depression, burnout, PTSD, and a host of other negative personal and financial consequences. The negative effects of harassment also affect the well-being and productivity of colleagues and entire organizations. In healthcare, this ripple effect is particularly serious, as it may threaten the quality of patient care. Organizational leaders should strive to calculate actuarial costs of sexual harassment in their institutions — in terms of accumulated absences, lost productivity, compromised hiring and retention, legal costs, and reputational harm, and report those costs to their board of directors/trustees. Leaders’ compensation should be tied to decreasing these costs. To the extent possible, executive teams need to make these costs transparent, so that investments in prevention of harassment are understood to be cost effective.

Clearly it is a challenge to put hard numbers on some of these — how do you measure the dollar value of reputational harm? — and indeed no organization that we know of is doing this yet. Nonetheless, such accounting is an essential element of addressing harassment and every health care organization must start making the effort.

Leadership. Harassment thrives in settings dominated by men. Thus it is essential to increase representation of women in leadership roles and assure accompanying equity in salary and power. Among the initiatives that can help are mentorship and sponsorship programs, which are essential to career progression. For example, Drexel University’s Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program, a year-long fellowship for women leadership in the schools of medicine, dentistry, public health, and pharmacy, provides skills training, mentorship and a network of ELAM graduates who provide support after the completion of the fellowship year. Health care institutions might also take look at successes in other industries; at Eli Lilly, for example, with a mandate from CEO David Ricks, leadership has embraced mentorship, training, and promotion programs that have dramatically increased the percent of women in the company’s senior ranks.

Sexual harassment in medicine undermines an abiding principle of our profession: First do no harm. This year marked the first time that women outnumbered men entering medical school. Medicine cannot sustain a culture that systematically undermines the authority, physical and mental health, and success of such a large portion of its physician workforce. As a profession, we know a little bit about healing. It doesn’t happen in the dark, without data. It doesn’t happen by protecting or fencing off disease-ridden parts of the body. It happens with scientific precision, objectivity, decisiveness, and consistency. We must take down the traditional hierarchies in medicine that provide a fertile ground for harassment, survey ourselves, and ask the difficult (and sometimes painful) questions about how our culture fails our employees. We must support and strengthen women physicians, and build a climate where transgressions are unacceptable. The time to heal ourselves is now.

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Alyssa Mastromonaco is no stranger to tough conversations: she served as White House deputy chief of staff for operations under President Obama, was an executive at Vice and A&E, and is Senior Advisor and spokesperson at NARAL Pro-Choice America. So when Mastromonaco switched to a new antidepressant, she decided to tell her boss.

“I told the CEO that I was on Zoloft and was transitioning to Wellbutrin,” Mastromonaco said. “I can react strongly to meds, so I was worried switching would shift my mood and wanted her to know why. I talked about it like it was the most normal thing in the world —it is!”

Her boss was supportive. “You got it,” she said.

When Mastromonaco goes to work, she and her mental health struggles do not part ways at the door. “You want me,” she said, “you get all of me.” Mastromonaco brings tremendous talent to her workplace — but she also brings her anxiety. The same is true for high-performing employees everywhere: one in four adults experiences mental illness each year and an estimated 18% of the US adult population have an anxiety disorder. And yet we’re loath to talk about mental health at work. If we’re feeling emotional at work, our impulse is to conceal it — to hide in the bathroom when we’re upset, or book a fake meeting if we need alone time during the day. We’re hesitant to ask for what we need — flex time, or a day working from home — until we experience a major life event, like a new baby or the illness of a parent. We would more likely engage in a trust fall with our boss than admit that we have anxiety.

Mental illness is a challenge, but it is not a weakness. Understanding your psyche can be the key to unleashing your strengths — whether it’s using your sensitivity to empathize with clients, your anxiety to be a more thoughtful boss, or your need for space to forge new and interesting paths. When we acknowledge our mental health, we get to know ourselves better, and are more authentic people, employees, and leaders. Research has found that feeling authentic and open at work leads to better performance, engagement, employee retention, and overall wellbeing.

Still, less than one third of people with mental illness get the treatment they need, and this comes at a cost — to people and to companies. Failure to acknowledge an employee’s mental health can hurt productivity, professional relationships, and the bottom line: $17-$44 billion is lost to depression each year, whereas $4 is returned to the economy for every $1 spent caring for people with mental health issues.

So what needs to change? In the twenty-first century, human capital is the most valuable resource in our economy. And though much has been done (rightly) to promote diversity at work, there’s a giant hole when it comes to understanding how temperament and sentiment play into the trajectory of success. As we recognize neurological and emotional diversity in all of its forms, workplace cultures need to make room for the wide range of emotions we experience. Professional support needs to get better. We need to have the option to ask for help, and feel safe doing so (depression screenings are free under the Affordable Care Act, and some companies offer an Employee Assistance Program). In short, we need more flexibility, sensitivity, and open-mindedness from employers. The same treatment and attention they’d give to a broken bone or maternity leave. We’re not there yet, but some companies are trying to bring conversations about mental health to the forefront.

EY (formerly Ernst and Young) launched a We Care program two years ago to educate employees about mental health issues, encourage them to seek help if they need it, and be a support to colleagues who might be struggling with mental illness or addiction. They started the program out of a demonstrated need. “Our Employee Assistance Program was starting to hear more conversations about anxiety,” said Carolyn Slaski, EY Americas Vice Chair of Talent. “They told us that it was very taboo — something that people don’t normally talk about — but they were seeing more activity, so we decided to schedule a session to talk about anxiety. Just talk about it and see what would happen.”

Since the advent of the We Care program, 2000 EY employees have attended these sessions, which always have a senior-level sponsor and a mental health professional on hand. Someone in leadership kicks it off by sharing their story. This sends the message that anxiety is not toxic and attendance is not a career-dampener.

The company also has an employee assistance hotline that offers confidential support — calls related to anxiety have increased 30% over the last two years. “You have to notice first if someone is struggling,” said Slaski, “and ask them if they’re okay. Learn how to listen to their concerns, and then act. Our company has 47,000 US employees, and 250,000 globally. If I can get my team comfortable just noticing when someone has an issue, then there is so much more we can do for them. These are people reaching out for help. We want to help. We don’t want to have a stigma around it.”

Other companies, like Michigan-based furniture store, Herman Miller, offer free onsite counseling sessions to employees and their families, and courses on mental health first aid that teach them how to recognize signs of mental illness in others. The goal is to empower people to achieve their optimal state of well-being.

What organizations like EY and Herman Miller realize is that, given the right support, employees who struggle with their mental health can do great work. Most people who suffer from chronic anxiety or depression are excellent at faking wellness. We put on our makeup, get dressed, and show up on time. But we never know when an attack might be around the corner. This is why a work environment that is open and understanding is so important. Anxiety is a lingering expectation that something bad is going to happen, and if we don’t talk about it, it’s harder to recognize our triggers and learn healthy ways to cope. But when we do talk about it, we can actually teach ourselves to harness it in ways that play to our strengths.

Christina Wallace is a Harvard Business School graduate, a three-time startup founder, and an accomplished executive and creator of an innovative STEM education program. She also has panic anxiety. When asked if she ever considers her anxiety a strength, she didn’t hesitate to answer, “Absolutely.”

Christina had severe childhood trauma, and has done a lot of work to manage the after effects. “Even still,” she says, “situations where I feel like I can’t trust the other person, or the rug has been pulled out from under me, throw me into a fight-or-flight mode.” For her, this means panic attacks and crippling anxiety. To cope, Christina has taught herself to communicate openly with her managers and colleagues. For example, she has asked both her managers and the people she manages to give her written feedback on important projects before they meet in person. This way she has time to process it and prepare instead of feeling blindsided.

According to feedback from direct reports, Christina is an incredible manager. Because she has openly acknowledged her anxiety, she has learned not only how to manage it, but also how to communicate and share her needs —  a skill that helps her stay attuned to the emotional needs of others, and navigate difficult situations with grace and ease. “I’m much more aware of how to help my team show their best selves,” she said.

The good news is that times are changing, and people like Christina, along with the millions of others who struggle with mental illness, are more likely to get the help they need at work than ever before. Stew Friedman, professor at the Wharton School of Business and founding director of the Wharton Leadership Program, says “the next great sort of liberation movement in our society is about mental illness.” He sees shoots of awakening in corporate America. “Look at the huge growth in wellbeing research, practice in the private sector, and society at large. That’s one really good indicator of change.” It’s much more understood and accepted that people have emotional and mental health needs. Yet Friedman still acknowledges that there are costs to the digital revolution and how it’s affecting communication, identity, and the amount of stress we regularly experience. “There are trends that are incredibly worrisome. Rates of suicide, depression, anxiety, and drug use are all on the rise. So, our response is clearly inadequate.”

Along with employee assistance programs, conversation and education are fundamental if our goal is to increase understanding and reduce the stigma around mental health. Friedman notes the importance of conversation in his own experience: “Twenty years ago, in 1987, I started talking about what it was like to become a father and how that changed my career and my life. It was taboo for a man to talk about children at the Wharton School back then, and it got a lot of attention. I was part of a wave of change. The conversations you instigate and your awareness in choosing topics of discussion are an important piece to the process of change. Openness encourages executives to share more about their own experiences, and that normalizes the experience of others.”

In the spirit of being open, I will share that I cried in many workplace bathrooms as I cycled between anxiety attacks and clinical depression throughout my career in corporate America. It never occurred to me that I could share my struggles or create a schedule that allowed me to manage my anxiety, such as working from home or managing the flow of meetings in a day. So I just quit, over and over again. Now I know that when an employee leaves a job, the typical cost of replacement is three months of salary. Think of what the cost is — for the people and the employer — when a whole slice of the population struggles to express their most basic needs.

The burden of depression and anxiety is shared by all members of a workplace, and it’s a vicious cycle. Change starts with managers and HR professionals recognizing the ambivalence and inner conflict many insanely talented people feel, and doing something about it. Because when people get the space and the support they need, it can change their careers, and their lives.

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The 5 Biggest Financial Mistakes Small Business Owners Make (and How to Avoid Them)

One thing you'll hear over your lifetime as a small business owner is that there's no template for success. That is certainly true. The experience of being a business owner – and succeeding as one – is unique from company to company.

With that in mind, there are certain things that are pretty true universally. Certain mistakes can tank businesses across the board, regardless of your industry or how much experience an entrepreneur has. The following five financial mistakes that small business owners make put their companies in jeopardy. Make sure you avoid them to stay solvent and start thriving.

1. Not monitoring your business credit score.

Hopefully, by now, you know that you have a business credit score. It's a number entirely separate from your personal credit score that tells the story of your business's history with debt. Many of the factors that affect that number – your payments history, your debt utilization ratio, your length of history – are things that you have a great deal of control over.

As you scale your business, this number becomes immensely important. Not only will it help you in the future with things like securing business financing, but it's a public record too. If another business is considering extending you trade credit and your business credit score is low, they could decline to extend you net terms, or offer you less-favorable ones.

Factors like your business credit card payment history can help boost your score. Staying on top of this number – and checking it often – is key to keeping your business in the best possible standing.

2. Waiting too long to apply for financing (or taking out too much).

As long as we're talking about small business funding, let’s mention the mistake of waiting until you're in the midst of an emergency before applying for a small business loan.

There are many uses for business funding: You can use the money to seize an opportunity, bridge a cash flow gap, boost your working capital, or, of course, help you out in an emergency. The last part is the trickiest situation. Sure, you never know when disaster will strike. With that in mind, many business owners wait until the last moment to apply for funding. That generally makes loans more expensive, with higher interest rates and shorter repayment periods, which can put a big financial strain on business owners already in dire straits.

On the flipside, just because you can get a loan doesn’t mean you should. Business financing is not free: There are fees and costs associated with each loan you take out, so it’s essential that you absolutely need the money before signing on that dotted line.

One alternative is having a business credit card or a business line of credit at the ready so when you need access to funding, you're not scrambling to get an application together. Plus, you'll only pay interest on the money you actually use.

3. Not keeping a close eye on cash flow.

Which leads us right into our next point. Cash flow is one of the most consistently reliable indicators of a business's health. It gives you a sense of your survival in the short term, and through cash flow projections, you can see whether or not you'll be able to make your fixed-cost obligations, for instance.

Business owners who aren't in the weeds with their finances every day are at a major disadvantage. It's like saying, "Well, I'm alive – I don't need to know if I'm healthy, right?" Which you'd never do. Sure, you can leave the nitty-gritty paperwork to your accountant, but it's a big mistake to not understand whether or not your business is cash flow negative, or if you're getting dangerously close.

Understanding cash flow has a substantial bearing on many other elements of your business. It's a major financial mistake not to know how to read your income statement and balance sheet, both of which are directly tied to your cash flow.

4. Putting off investment in marketing, sales, and research.

It's very easy to feel like marketing is secondary. If you build it, they will come, right? Absolutely not.

Many small business owners make the mistake of pushing off investing in marketing and sales, assuming that if they build a good product, it'll sell itself. Although you might have a very sticky product once you get people on board, it's wrong to assume people will find you naturally. You have to meet people where they are and invest in customer research.

Additionally, don't assume anything – the assumptions you make about your consumer base's desires and habits might not be true. Confirm them. You didn't quit your day job just to build a cool product or service that only your friends and family know about.

To make marketing worthwhile, do some homework. Talk to other entrepreneurs and dig to find out which campaigns can give you your best marketing ROI. The world exists far beyond just Facebook ads – explore your options and pick the path that is likely to reach the customers you want.

5. Ignoring the sunk cost fallacy.

You will make some mistakes. (but not these, right?) The best thing you can do is understand that, as a small business owner, you'll put some time and money into ideas that just aren't going to work. However, you have to cut your losses.

That's the idea behind the sunk cost fallacy, an idea that because we have invested so much in something, we have to keep pursuing it, even when it's not working. It's the principle behind why a gambler who's down stays at the table, thinking he will win back his money, or why an investor keeps her money in a dwindling stock, waiting for it to go back up.

Perhaps you try a new product or offer a new service. You've spent a lot of time and money developing it, but it isn't gaining any traction. Instead of sinking more money into making it work (when it still won't), read the cues and move on. You'll wisely save yourself a lot of frustration and trouble in the end – and you will avoid a big mistake that puts many entrepreneurs out of business.

As your business grows, you'll learn many lessons. And one way to learn is from your mistakes. That said, if you can avoid mistakes – especially big ones – all the better. Knowing these five common but catastrophic pitfalls can set your business up for success.

How to Get the Most From Your Small Business Loan

Whether it's expanding your small business, improving your offerings or growing your market share, a small business loan can lay the foundation for long-term growth and success. But with more money comes more ways to spend it. Consider your viable spending options and create a strategic loan-spending and payback plan to ensure you're maximizing the ROI on your small business loan.

Find the right loan and lender for your business.

Before applying for a loan, do your research. The best loan for your business will be based on your unique situation, but you're going to want to look for a lender with the lowest interest rates and best terms. There are several different types of loans, including SBA loans endorsed by the Small Business Administration, standard term and fixed-rate loans that you pay back over a set period of time, and alternative financing options

If you have a great credit score, some lenders may lower their interest rates to compete with other lenders, so knowing the market and your worth is critical to negotiating the best loan for your business. Consider some key preliminary steps that will help you obtain your small business loan, including compiling your business's cash flow projections and organizing essential documentation.

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Save money before taking on and spending your loan.

Before you start spending your loan, make sure you have the cash flow or cash reserves to begin making payments. Set money aside into a business savings account, so you have some cash to start repaying your loan from the get go.

Look at your current and projected revenues, and from there, write out a realistic repayment plan that shows how you'll use your loan money to increase your revenue and how you plan to pay back your loan balance over the loan's term. You can always take out loans with asset collateral, but it's better not to risk your personal property in the event that you can't repay the loan.

Invest some loan money in marketing.

More than likely, if you're in a position where you need a loan to support your business, you'll ultimately need to acquire new customers to grow your profits and increase your market share. Set aside some loan money to invest in strategic marketing initiatives. Get creative with it – expand beyond local television and radio advertisements, and your marketing efforts don't have to be expensive, grandiose undertakings. 

Consider growing your social media presence, joining community organizations, and giving your website a refresh, as potential customers are always searching on Google for "near me" businesses and services. When it comes to using your loan to invest in bettering your small business, make sure you're making an effort to get the word out. 

Hire extra help.

We know how hard small business owners work. From balancing your own books to managing everyday operations, and still trying to sell your products or services, you have to wear a lot of hats. With some extra cash from your loan, consider bringing on experienced help. Hiring doesn’t need to mean a full-time employee with benefits and long-term implications. You can hire contractors, part-time employees, or freelancers to help you manage tasks more efficiently and let you get back to managing your business. 

If you already have great talent on your team, consider investing in training and professional development. Investing in your staff is a win-win: They'll feel more valued and connected to your business, and the training will improve their expertise and productivity.

Consolidate your debt.

If you qualify, it may be a smart move to consolidate your debts and simplify your financial obligations. If you obtain a business loan with a better interest rate and terms, use some of the money to pay off outstanding loans or debts with higher interest rates or less-favorable terms.

Consult a professional, whether that's your personal loan officer or a third-party financial expert, to determine whether consolidating your existing debt is the best move for your small business.

Purchase needed inventory and equipment.

Whether you're selling goods or services, keeping your offerings up-to-date is important to sustaining business growth. Your small business loan can give you the flexibility to buy new products that existing or prospective customers may be interested in, or it can give you the extra cash needed to buy inventory at the right time and price. If you plan to bring a new product to your offerings, start with a small order to mitigate risk in the event the new product doesn't sell very well. If it's flying off the shelves, that's a good indication to increase your order volume. 

Even if you're not a service-based business, investing in new equipment can help keep your business running smoothly and efficiently. Consider investing in technology to enhance your customer service, upgrading critical equipment or performing costly maintenance on equipment that your business needs to fulfill customer demands.

How to Boost Your Podcast's Traffic

We live in a day and age where podcasts are more popular than listening to the radio. Considering that 50 percent of people in the United States listen to podcasts and 26 percent of people report listening to a podcast every month, it's not surprising that more people (and businesses) are entering this arena.

The time has come, you've weighed the pros and cons, and you've decided that you want to start a podcast. Perhaps you've started recording episodes when you realize that you have no idea how to market your podcast to a general audience. There's nothing to worry about. Boosting traffic to your podcast is almost formulaic.

We are going to delve into how, exactly, you can increase the number of listeners to your podcast.

Leverage your social media presence.

First, start advertising on social media. There are 2.23 billion active Facebook users and about 336 million unique visitors that go to Twitter every month. You'd better believe that many of these people regularly listen to podcasts.

Depending on how often you broadcast your show, whether it's daily, weekly, or monthly, start planning ahead and drafting posts on your primary account that advertise the show. You can spotlight special guests, talking points or even cite quotes from the podcasts to entice potential viewers. 

It's important that you post frequently in case someone forgets about the show or if they missed your previous posts. If you don't have time to draft social media posts, use a scheduling app to prepare them in advance so they go out on time even if you're busy and don't have time to do it.

Finally, consider advertising on social media. Facebook Ad Manager and Twitter Ads are just two of many tools and resources available that can help you set up your ad campaign. Both platforms make it easy to target your listener demographic, upload your custom ad and share your ad to tens of thousands of potential listeners. Make sure your ad campaign is flashy, informative and clearly shows what you're advertising.

Send out marketing emails.

Now is a great time to take advantage of your leads list. Most podcasts have a website with a link where visitors can provide their email address to receive updates and news. You can use this sign-up list to your advantage with an email marketing program. Once you have your list established, develop a high-quality email that advertises your podcast's broadcast time and date. Much like your social media posts, advertise special guests who will be on the show and highlight quotes from the podcast as a teaser to listeners, or, better yet, include a sound byte to give them a taste of what's to come if they listen.

To secure a high conversion rate, it's vital that you create a subject line for your email that draws in listeners. Your subject line should be short, sweet and flashy, and it should draw people into reading your email once they read the subject line. In fact, a good subject line is responsible for every single click-through.

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Put your podcast on iTunes.

Obviously, your podcast will be available on your website or Facebook Live, but that's not enough. You have to ensure that people can access your podcast from their smartphone. One study showed that a stunning 70 percent of people who listen to podcasts do so through iTunes.

iTunes is the most popular platform for viewing podcasts. Seventy percent of people who listen to podcasts do so through iTunes. You might think it's hard to get a podcast on such a huge outlet, but it's quite easy. Follow these five steps:

Have at least one published podcast available for upload. Have one graphic image that has a resolution of 1400 by 1400 pixels and 3000 by 3000 pixels in JPG or PNG format. Create a unique title. Use a valid iTunes email address. Select one category that best represents your podcast (business, health, kids and family, etc.)

That's all there is to it. Once you have completed all of the above, go to iTunes Podcasts Connect and follow their steps to submit your podcast. Most requests are approved within three days.

Use Youtube and SEO.

To drive even more traffic to your podcasts, you absolutely cannot ignore YouTube. YouTube has 1.3 billion regular users. There are 5 billion videos viewed each day. Why shouldn't you have a piece of that sweet visual real estate?

The truth is, you can. Uploading videos to YouTube is as simple as making an account, filling out some information, and uploading your podcast when you're done recording it.

But, wait, it gets better. Because YouTube is in the Google family of products, it follows the same search engine optimization (SEO) rules as any website. What this means is that you can craft your titles and metadata so your podcast ranks higher in the search results.

If you need help browsing for good keywords to use, there are YouTube keyword analyzer tools available to help you make smart decisions. A general rule is to pick words that have a medium to high degree of popularity with a low degree of competition.

Another excellent benefit to using YouTube is that it adds in closed captions, which could expand your traffic and make your podcast available to an audience that might otherwise never consider tuning in.

In conclusion

Podcasts are becoming more popular by the day, and it's easy to see why. They are a great, affordable outlet for individuals and businesses. Now that you know how to drive more traffic to your podcasts, remember that these are not overnight success tips – they provide a great start. The only way to truly become successful is with hard work and dedication.

It's worth noting, too, that the more podcasts you publish, the better chance you have of being noticed. Keep planning and recording your daily, weekly, or monthly podcasts, delivering quality content, and marketing like a pro, and you'll soon see professional results.

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