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Marketing | Sep 21
Jessica Malnik on July 9, 2021 (last modified on July 7, 2021) • 12 minute read
One of the most challenging things about growing a podcast is there is no built-in discovery mechanism like you have with blogs and videos.
You can’t rely purely on ranking well in Google or Youtube’s algorithm to get found.
On top of that, the number of podcasts has grown exponentially over the last few years. In fact, there are now over 2.6 million podcasts just on Spotify.
Because of this, podcasters have to be resourceful and creative if they want to stand out and attract a large following.
Despite being podcasters ourselves (Note: You can listen to the Metrics and Chill Podcast here), we turned to a few dozen podcast enthusiasts to learn how they are promoting their shows.
But, before we dive in and share all the details, here is some background on the people we reached out to. 86.27% of our respondents stated that they have a podcast.
And, of the folks who have their own podcast, 40.91% have been podcasting for 1-2 years.
So we can say these are mostly fairly experienced podcast marketers. And how do they advertise their show?
From promoting a podcast on social media and sharing clips on Youtube to aggregators and partnerships, there are many tactics you can use to grow your podcast.
Now let’s dive into the podcast marketing tips shared by nearly 50 pros.
It sounds obvious, but it is worth repeating. No amount of marketing will save a poor podcast concept.
“Confirm Uniqueness: Your UVD (Unique Value Distinguisher) is essential,” says Ben Richardson of Development Academy. “If you don’t have one, take some time to look for one. Your listeners will have a reason to Subscribe, Rate & Review your podcast, and come back to listen every time you post an episode if you have something that sets you apart from the thousands of other podcasts available on Apple Podcasts. My UVD was my podcast, which was an Audio Blog, which there aren’t many of. Furthermore, in my podcast, I am completely upfront, which is something you don’t see very often. I reveal dollar figures, percentages, and a detailed “behind-the-scenes” look at how we run a multi-million dollar company. I concentrate on tactics – HOW to do something rather than WHY to do it. My UVD was exactly what I needed to keep reminding my audiences why they should keep listening.”
The simplest way to market your podcast is to leverage social media.
“I would suggest using social media to distribute and promote your new podcast episodes in a variety of ways,” says Sam Browne of Find a Band. “Videos, photos, teaser clips, quotes from interviews, and more can all be promoted. Instagram alone has a plethora of tools for expanding your following, such as Instagram stories, live videos, and posts.”
Editor’s Note: On the topic of Instagram, if you plan to market your podcast there and want to see how your posts are performing, you can use this Instagram Business Post Performance Dashboard.
In addition, if you have an interview-style podcast, encouraging your guests to share the podcast on their social media feeds can also increase reach and engagement.
Kenneth Burke of Text Request says, “Tag your guest and their company on social media when sharing your podcast episodes, and comment on those posts. That initial engagement gives you a bump, making others more likely to see, share, and engage with your content. Do this for every episode to build your reputation and following.”
If you monetize your podcast through your own products and services, then leveraging pay-to-play methods like paid search and paid social ads can be an effective strategy.
For example, James Pollard of The Advisor Coach LLC says, “I am the host of the “Financial Advisor Marketing” podcast. At this point, we have more than 100 episodes designed to help financial advisors get more clients and it is one of the most downloaded shows in the space.
I used to have another podcast, called “The Advisor Coach” podcast that was also one of the most downloaded in the financial services industry. That means I’ve been fortunate enough to not only have success once, but twice.
My favorite tactic for growing a podcast is to leverage paid ads. However, most people get this wrong because they will create an ad that sends people directly to their podcast download page. This is a mistake. The way I’ve made it work is by “piggybacking” my podcast on top of an already successful ad.
For example, if I have an ad that’s promoting a specific product, I will go back and mention the podcast.
Suddenly, I have a profitable ad that is referencing the show and essentially promoting it for free.
I would be willing to break even on ads as long as they promote my show because I know that the show will eventually produce the profit. Far too many people try to advertise the podcast itself when they should advertise their products and piggyback the podcast on top, as I’ve done.”
Recording both audio and video not only gives your listeners the option to consume the content in their desired format, but it also gives you more ways to promote the podcast. (We’ll share more on that later in this post!)
“Record the podcast with a platform that will also record video,” says Robert Rand of JetRails. “Leverage the video in social media and other platforms, where it will gain more interest than simply sharing a link to listen to the audio version of the episode.”
Editor’s Note: If you also syndicate your podcast on YouTube, you can use this YouTube Top Videos Dashboard to see your top-performing episodes and clips.
When you also have the video recording, this means you have more ways to repurpose and extend the shelf life of each episode.
Jered Martin of OnePitch explains, “Repurpose pieces of content from episodes into blog posts and roundups, or reports.”
Kyle Smith of BrandExtract adds, “It starts with quality conversations and a tight edit. From there, it’s all about promotion. That’s why recording video is such a valuable tactic. That video recording can be uploaded in its entirety to YouTube. It can be cut into bite-size video clips to use on social media. It can be transcribed and put on your website for SEO benefits. Video is one extra investment, but it gives you a huge library of content to help your podcast grow.”
In fact, nearly 75% of the podcasters we reached out to are repurposing the video recording in their podcast promotion efforts.
In addition, one full-length video recording can be repurposed in a variety of ways, including:
You can also offer exclusive content for podcast listeners.
“Personally, I think one of the best ways to keep growing my own podcast is by having a strong CTA (Call To Action),” says Lara Schmoisman, “What do I mean by this? Your listeners are probably already into your content, so by providing them with a strong CTA you are giving them a little extra added value. It gives you the opportunity to continue to engage with your audience even after the episode ends. In order to do this, you can have them: – Go to your website and check out the show notes. – Offer a freebie that is directly related to the episode. – Ask them about their opinion or share their experience about the topic you just discussed and have them leave you a comment on your social media. – You can even make a collaboration with the guest and share even further their expertise with your listeners.”
In the same way that authors go on speaking tours to promote their new books, the same principle works for promoting a new podcast. You can launch a podcast tour and do interviews on a bunch of podcasts in your industry. It is also a great way to build your personal brand.
“We’ve found that one of the best ways to effectively grow our podcasts is through being featured on other podcasts or publications,” says David Ciccarelli of Voices. “Promotion via other related mediums, especially when those mediums are on-topic or on-brand with what you’re creating and putting out there, is an exceptional tactic for growth and reaching target audiences.”
Depending on your podcast and your network, landing big-name guests in your industry can help you reach new listeners.
“The tried and true method of growing your podcast is having guests with large audiences,” says Alex Birkett of Conversion.AI. “Outside of that, it’s truly a slow burn where you want to keep plodding and having interesting episodes or conversations (whatever your format is). It took Joe Rogan years to develop an audience. When he started, it was like 100 people listening. Slowly, over time, word of mouth kicks in and you pick up steam. Continuing to put out your authentic voice will pay off, so long as you’re actually having interesting and/or useful conversations. (Follow this rule: entertaining or useful. Has to be one. Best be both).”
Jeremy Goldman of FUTUREPROOF adds, “Pick The Right Guest I host FUTUREPROOF podcast one of the most important things I consider is bringing the right guest is important in targeting my audience. So, we discuss the topics that matter to the audience, answer their questions, get the insights and information that the audience asks for. Also, it’s better if the guest has K followers on social media platforms especially Twitter. This is an effective and practical way to market the podcast.”
When you have guests on your podcast, make it easy for them to share the episode. It doesn’t matter if your guest has 50 followers or 50,000. That’s still new listeners you can reach.
For example, Nelson Jordan of Obodo says, “The biggest growth lever for my podcast was to create social media assets for my guests to share. By providing the posts, images, and links, I made it simple for the guests to copy and paste to the social media platform of their choice. This made it far more likely that they would do it.”
Similar to building local citations for SEO purposes, submitting your podcast to local aggregators and directories should help you reach a broader audience and ultimately get more listeners.
Harriet Chan of CocoFinder explains “This will enable you to have your content listed on the right platforms, meaning that the right people get to listen to it. They can also promote it if they find it useful.”
This tip is controversial. Some podcasters swear by launching your podcast with a bunch of episodes all at once. Others prefer to start with one episode, and then drop a new episode each week.
Edward Mellett of Wikijob.uk says, “I would suggest whenever you launch your podcast, you should have at least three episodes ready to go. If a listener stumbles into your podcast, they’ll have more episodes to dig into and discover. Otherwise, you risk losing a new listener since the first episode wasn’t memorable enough.”
Most podcasters throw in the towel by the 7th episode. The reality is that most podcasts don’t amass a following until they produce 100 or more episodes.
“As someone who has produced nearly 500 podcasts for our own podcast audience, I can definitively say the most effective strategy for growing your podcast is consistency/frequency,” says Nate Nead of SEO.co. “The more often you are producing quality podcasts that people want to listen to, the more podcasts you will have indexed and the more opportunities for your podcasts to show up in search and get noticed by more viewers.”
In addition to being consistent, it is important to listen and apply feedback from your audience.
“Always Listen: In my opinion, continuous improvement is one approach to ensure that you’re not just keeping your current listeners satisfied, but also that you’re producing the greatest material available for your audience,” says Michael Robinson of Cheap SSL Security.
“When I created a podcast series about systems and processes, my download statistics skyrocketed, and my listener engagement skyrocketed as well. The positive response I was getting was fantastic, and it proved that I was on the right route.
Listening to my audience gave me the idea to launch a series about systems and processes. The audience expressed an interest in learning more about it. I listened, I created, and as a result, my podcast has grown.
Topics, focus, niche, and avatar are all things that can and will change over time. Don’t be afraid to attempt something new just because it’s not what you planned on doing on day one. You’ll continue to expand your podcast as long as you’re offering great content to a specific group of people who want and need it.”
In sum, podcasting can be a great publishing medium to build your personal and company brand. However, as more podcasts are created each month, it is tougher to stand out. The most popular podcasts are the ones that are the most consistent. They consistently produce a high-quality show and promote it regularly to your audience.
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