Wondering how to promote a podcast so that your audience grows in leaps and bounds? Here are some winning strategies.
Podcasting is one of the easiest ways to deliver content, and it’s among the most popular because there’s nothing to watch, only hear. So you can listen to your favourite talks, shows or stories while you’re doing whatever you want — working, driving, running or just chilling at home.
And these in-demand audio presentations are a great way to connect with consumers and businesses and grow audiences and followings — and possibly customers and clients too. When you showcase your unique industry expertise in a professional podcast format that’s available to anyone with an internet connection, you open up vast opportunities to present your business as a leader in your field.
We know that interest in podcasting is high and growing, with around 104 million Americans regularly listening to various podcasts in 2020, according to media-research firm Edison Research. It says that 75% of the American population aged over 12 — about 212 million people — is familiar with the term podcasting and what it means. This is a dramatic increase of 70% compared to 2019, and 37% of those surveyed said they listen to podcasts every month.
“Podcasts now reach over 100 million Americans every month,” Tom Webster of Edison Research said of the findings, “and are attracting an increasingly diverse audience. Also, with 62% of Americans now saying they have used some kind of voice assistance technology, audio is becoming a bigger part of our everyday lives.”
Who said audio was dead and video was king?
What Exactly Is Podcasting?
Podcasting can be likened to a radio show that’s recorded and then distributed to the public via a number of popular channels, such as apps on Apple and Android devices, as well as specific podcasting apps like Player FM, Podbean and Castbox, among many others. It’s been described as an “audio revolution”, and it largely came about due to the introduction of smartphones and their rich and growing app ecosystem.
Podcasting was like blogging, but there was no writing involved, unless you used a script and also transcribed a podcast on your site, so many wondered what to call this emerging new form of content. Terms like “audioblogging” were bandied about until “podcasting” was mentioned — early broadcasts were downloaded onto iPods — and the term took off and entered the cultural lexicon.
Just like the internet revolutionised communications and allowed anyone to publish anything — taking authority away from once all-powerful newspapers — so too did podcasting allow anyone to create their own audio show and broadcast it on the internet via a privately owned programme without the need for a radio station. All you need is a solid concept, a format for your podcast, a microphone and a recording and editing app and you’re good to go and broadcast to the world.
Starting Out with Your Podcast
Once you have your podcast idea and concept worked out and have the facilities to create it, it’s a good idea to record a number of episodes before launching your new media venture. And before you even do that, record a few trial podcasts so that you’re happy with the audio and your presentation style. If you’ve never been on the radio or heard yourself speak, it may take a while to get used to it. Doing some trial runs will enable you to iron out the kinks in your podcasting and get used to how you sound — and don’t be afraid to ask friends and family to listen and give you some valuable feedback.
Decide on the frequency of your podcasts, and stick to a schedule, so your audience will know when new episodes are available and won’t be disappointed. Weekly is a good way to go, while monthly might be too long a wait, and people might forget about you. Open up a spreadsheet and make a weekly content schedule for the next three or six months, and get cracking on the research for it.
Do you want to invite guests on to talk about a certain subject? Now’s the time to investigate and send those emails. All your episodes should be well-researched, whatever the topic, so that you come across as professional and polished and as an authority in your area. That means giving yourself plenty of time to research — just turning on the mic and winging it is not the best of ideas.
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How to Promote a Podcast
One of the best ways to get the word out about your great new podcast is to go to where the majority of the podcast audience is, and it’s mostly on iTunes — up to 70% of podcast listening, according to research by journalism analysis site NiemanLab. There are lots of other platforms you can distribute your podcast on as well, such as “podcatchers”, which are podcasting aggregation sites and apps that can pick up your new episodes and make them available to listeners.
One of the simplest ways to promote a podcast is to post each episode on social media. Pin your iTunes link on your Twitter and Facebook accounts, using relevant hashtags that you’ll have researched beforehand and including a quote from your episode in your post — it could be something interesting a guest said or a statistic you unearthed as you researched the show.
You can create attractive imagery for your post using services like Canva, and a big benefit of using an audio distribution platform like SoundCloud is that you can embed your episodes on Twitter so that people can listen directly from your tweets. With 330 million active monthly users, the microblogging service is one of the best ways to promote your podcast and attract listeners.
Getting the ‘Word’ Out about Your Podcast
Another effective way of promoting your podcast is to use words — blog posts. If you don’t have a blog, set one up, either as part of an existing site or a standalone blog. Transcribe all or parts of your episodes, write a compelling introduction to each and sprinkle relevant keywords you will have researched into them, thereby giving your blog and your podcasts a sizable search engine optimisation (SEO) boost.
Also, consider converting your audio files to video, integrating some visual elements using a video editor and uploading to YouTube. This will help to snare you new listeners and gain more SEO traction, potentially landing your blog higher up in the search engine results pages. Another advantage of using YouTube is that it automatically transcribes videos, including in preview mode, using machine-learning algorithms. While some parts of the transcriptions may be questionable, viewers will generally get the idea. And then you can share your YouTube links on social media for further exposure — what a Ninja!
Something else to consider when working out how to promote a podcast is to run a giveaway or competition, as people just love free stuff. Popular giveaway items include t-shirts, tote bags, coffee mugs, water bottles, USB drives and headgear like scarves. You can order some with your podcast logo on them for advertising purposes. You might also want to consider putting a swag bag together and giving away a dozen or so when you launch your podcast — a surefire way of building an audience from scratch.
And because reviews on iTunes and other podcasting platforms are important for social proof, if there aren’t any, people might think your podcast is not worth listening to. Set up your giveaway by asking people to first review your podcast, assuming you’ve already published a number of episodes by that stage.
Branching Out to Promote Your Podcast
One proven tactic in building a podcasting audience is to tap into someone else’s. Invite relevant podcast hosts onto yours and chat about a certain topic or interview them about their success in their area, and you can be sure they will promote the episode on their own podcast as well as their social media and other channels. Some listeners may then be curious about your podcast and start downloading your episodes.
In marketing terms, this is known as leveraging your guests’ audiences for your own benefit, and it’s an entirely legit way to promote your podcast. It works the other way around too — try being a guest on other people’s podcasts. Find the podcasts that are a good fit for you and pitch them an interview, making sure you have something of interest to say. For example, you may want to talk about some new statistics, comment on a new development or something else that may be of benefit to the podcast host.
You can use services like PodcastGuests.com, RadioGuestList.com, Facebook podcast groups and r/PodcastGuestExchange to get on podcasts as well as to find guests, and make sure to follow #PodcastGuests on Twitter.
Once you’ve built up a relationship with fellow podcasters, do some cross-promotion. Ask them to mention a particular episode of yours on their podcast, and in return, you’ll promote one of theirs on yours — simple, and you may notice a growth in listeners. Another tactic in promoting podcasts is if you feature a brand or mention a person on one of your shows. Reach out to them and say they were discussed and that they may want to listen. Most, if not all, will be curious about what was said, so try asking them if they wouldn’t mind sharing the podcast on their social media channels.
There are many other creative ways to promote your podcast, including making an audiogram for easy sharing on social media — using services like Headliner and Audiogram. But it’s best to focus on a few that work for you so that you don’t spend all your time promoting and less time podcasting.
Our own podcast promotion: Don’t forget to check out the awesome Exposure Ninja podcast hosted by Head Ninja Tim and featuring business chiefs and marketing wizzes — also, get your own free website and marketing review to help you win more business online!