Podcasts aren’t a new phenomenon. They have been around for more than a decade. However, in the recent years, they have seen an immense surge in popularity which is evident from the latest data. More popularity means more competition which makes it a compulsion to have a clear and well thought out plan to promote your podcast.
The latest data on podcast says,
- In total, 112 million Americans have listened to a podcast in 2017.
- Around 67 million Americans listen to podcasts every month.
- Podcasting continues to rise, with Monthly listeners growing from 21% to 24% year over year.
- Podcast fans listen to 5 shows per week.
- The average listener subscribes to 6 podcasts.
- In the early years, Americans under the age of 25 comprised the largest fraction of podcast listeners. Recently, however, the 25 to 54 year-olds have become the largest percentage of monthly podcast listeners than any other age group.
- Portable devices such as smartphones and tablets have become increasingly popular as the podcasts listening devices with almost two-thirds people using them in 2017.
- Almost 40% people listen to the entire podcast, while 45% listen to most of it. That’s a staggering 85% of people who listen to the podcasts carefully.
The above statistics prove beyond any doubt that podcasts are a potential goldmine to promote your brand and build a loyal customer base. However, there is, of course, a catch.
Building a loyal podcast audience base is easier said than done. Podcasts are like books. Lots of people want to start one, but only a few will execute. That’s why you need to promote them aggressively.
Prior to Promotion
Before you start promoting your podcast, however, make sure it is perfect. Listen to the most popular podcasts in your niche to get the feel of what makes them so attractive. You don’t need high-tech equipment to create a highly successful podcast.
- Keep the title track as short as possible, preferably no longer than five seconds.
- Avoid taking long pauses and insert pre-recorded messages between the conversations.
- The podcast should have unparalleled context, sound quality, and length.
- Provide value for money. If your podcast sucks, no amount of promotion can turn it into a success.
Here’s a useful video I found on Youtube that can help you out.
Promoting Your Podcast
Once the podcast is ready as per the prescribed quality standards, you can start promoting it right away. It’s not rocket science. So, you don’t need to hire professional podcast marketing services. You can do it on your own. The following tips will help you in this regard.
1. Choose the Right Podcast Hosting Platform
A podcast hosting platform is designed to host audio files. You need a hosting platform because you can’t upload your podcast directly to iTunes and even though you can upload it your website, it is not recommended. A hosting platform allows you to add and edit all the details including title, description, keywords, suitable category, metadata, and cover art. It also allows you to download crucial analytics.
There are hundreds of hosting platforms out there. Considering the following points will help you choose the best podcast hosting platform.
- Pricing plans, bandwidth, and storage space limits. What are the costs now and how will your growth affect them in future.
- Is there a minimum number of downloads required prior to registration? You should prefer a platform that allows zero downloads registration.
- Make sure it supports different plugins, embeddable players, video podcasts, and comes with the ability to map directly to your own domain or website.
- You should be able to host more than one episodes or shows. It should also offer dynamic advertisement insertion.
- User statistics such as such as location, number of downloads and frequency, age group, the types of listening devices, and location. This statics will prove helpful in your podcast promotion.
- It should be able to generate an RSS feed automatically and be compatible with various online podcast players including iTunes and Google Play among others.
Here are some of the Podcast Hosting Platforms.
If you still feel it tough to find a right hosting platform, leave is for professional agencies to find the perfect podcasting platforms for you.
2. Promote Podcast on iTunes
While you can use a hosting platform to store your podcasts, it is not the right medium to share it with the world. You will need an online podcast player to get your podcast across to your listeners. Among the several different podcast listening services, iTunes is the largest and the most popular one.
Nearly 70% of podcast listening happens on iTunes or the native iOS Podcasts app. The new update in iOS 11 will also allow podcast creators to track when users start, stop, and skip within an episode. However, just publishing your podcast on iTunes isn’t enough. You need to promote it actively.
- First, you need to make sure you have optimized your RSS feed title, podcast description, and the cover art. Make sure to use the right keywords.
- You should also create a cover photo that resonates with your brand. Use your headshot, if you are branding yourself. Keep it simple and clutter-free.
- Podcasts with positive reviews are more likely to attract new listeners. So, encourage your current listeners to leave a review and rate your podcast.
For those who want to learn what are the steps involved in submitting your podcast to iTunes, here is a complete guide to help you out.
3. Promote Podcast on Social Media
Social media is an excellent means of communication if you are looking for real-time engagement with your target audience. You can share a variety of content such as soundbites, video, images, teasers, show notes, and quotable moments via your social media accounts to start a buzz about the upcoming podcast yourself.
Show notes are a must when marketing a podcast. They are short written accounts of your podcast. An ideal show note should include the guest bio, podcast title, shareable graphics, targeted keywords, links to guest’s social media accounts and blog, and a call to action description. Apart from the social media, don’t forget to share the notes on your blog or website as well.
Shareable Sound Bites
Create short sound clips (less than 20 seconds) about your podcast or use a bite from the podcast itself and upload it to the hosting platform. Share this sound clip on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
You can use “Click To Tweet” graphics to promote your podcast across a wide range of social media including Pinterest, Facebook, and online forums as well. Plenty of online tools out there like the one below.
A decent podcast will have several quotable moments that can grab your audience’s attention without giving away too much. Instead of sharing these quotes directly, you can create stunning quote graphics and share those on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Just like sound clips, you can also share short-video clips on various social media platforms. If you are creating a video podcast, you can directly use a clip from the podcast itself.
Another great way to share visual content is to use pictures of the individuals featuring in the podcast. Tag your guests and use relevant hashtags to promote your post. This trick works great on visually rich social media such as Instagram or Pinterest. Alternatively, you can also talk about the behind-the-scenes stuff using Instagram stories or Facebook Live.
Whatever you do, make sure to use relevant hashtags. Come up with your own hashtag if necessary as they will increase the visibility and accessibility of your posts.
4. Be a Guest on Other Podcasts
Connecting with other podcasters in your niche is perhaps the best way to promote your podcast. You must have asked other podcasters to feature in your podcasts as guests, ask them to return the favor sometime. Usually, podcasters like to promote other good shows in their niche.
- Featuring in a fellow podcaster’s show will establish you as the industry expert.
- Plus, you get to talk to a new group of audience that is more likely to become your follower eventually.
- In turn, the host also gets a chance to embrace your audience by showing you off on their podcast. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Alternatively, you can make a short promo of your upcoming podcast and share it with a podcaster community to get you hooked up on a show. There are also online communities where you can connect with other podcasters.
5. Create and Publish a Transcript of the Podcast
A written transcript is often used to reinforce the core message in your podcast. However, transcription offers a lot more than just convenience of presentation.
- SEO optimization is the key to promote your podcast on various social media channels. A written transcript provides the search engine with the keyword-rich content that bots can read and increase your search engine ranking.
- It’s a time saver for you. Instead of writing new content for your blog, you can use the transcript.
- A transcript also helps your readers pick up on any key points from the podcasts, especially if they want to take down some notes.
- It will also help connect with the hearing-impaired audience, opening a new readership.
- Your listeners will be able to quote and credit you on social media quickly as they can copy and paste the quote they want to share the transcript directly.
Here is a list of tools that will help convert podcast to text transcripts.
6. Promote the Podcast as a YouTube Video
Compared to written and audio content, videos have better reach and generate higher engagement. Usually, text and audio are the first points of contact for most people, while videos represent the next level that seals the relationship with your audience. With the rise of mobile, however, videos have become more popular.
- By 2019, video will represent over 80% of all Internet traffic says a new study from Cisco, and for the US it will be over 85%
- YouTube reports mobile video consumption rises 100% every year.
- YouTube has over a billion users, almost one-third of all people on the Internet.
With a youtube version of your podcast, you get following benefits.
- Higher search engine ranking through SEO optimization.
- Provides better access to your podcast, especially if you are not going to have a written transcript.
- Your listeners can quickly share the video on social media.
- Increased visibility among mobile users as they love watching videos.
You can use a variety of tools to convert your podcast into a youtube video. The process may vary depending on the tool you use. Just make sure to add links, cards, and thumbnails in your video. Here are a few tools you can use.
7. Make Short Clips and Trailers
When it comes to marketing a podcast, short clips and trailers can generate a lot of noise, especially on social media. Instead of posting just a plain link to your podcast, you can give your listeners a sneak peek into your podcast using short clips and trailers.
- Create short clips or trailer while editing your podcast or converting it into a video. Pick a moment or quote that will pique your listener’s interest without giving away too much.
- A little fancier but also a bit expensive approach is to make actual video clips or trailers featuring the guests interviewed in your podcast.
- Ask your guest podcasters to share these trailers on their social media profiles. While they get to highlight their appearance, you get a chance to connect with a new target audience.
- You can include show notes and specific calls to action in your trailers as well.
8. Optimize Your Podcast Details
How are people going to find your podcast on iTunes or the podcast directory? Keywords!
If your podcast has a poorly written title, description, and transcript, the chances of showing it in the search results are pretty slim. All the content associated with your podcasts needs to be keyword optimized.
Get into your audience’s head and think which keywords they will use to find your podcast. You can also use Google Keyword Planner and other keyword research tools.
Although you can use keywords anywhere, avoid stuffing your content with them. Here are the most important places to use keywords for your podcast.
- Podcast name and description
- Episode name and description
- Show notes and blog
- Artwork and images
- Podcast transcript
- Checklists or worksheets
- Key takeaways
9. Promote Your Podcast through Podcatchers
Podcatchers are nothing but apps that can download and play a podcast. They can automatically download podcasts via an RSS or XML feed. They are like the central command hub where all the listeners go to search, download, and listen to different podcasts. Make sure your podcast is listed in the top podcatchers. Apart from the iTunes, here is a list of best podcatchers.
- Stitcher – A popular radio station and podcast client.
- CastBox – It is one of a few free podcast apps with no advertisements.
- Pocket Casts – It includes video podcast support, auto-downloading, and automatic cleanup.
- PodcastAddict – Comes with built-in audio effects such as playback speed, volume boost and skip silence.
- Spotify – A commercial music streaming service with podcast support.
- PodcastLand – Automatically lists podcasts uploaded to iTunes.
- Castro – Simple and easy to use design.
- iCatcher – It has a ton of configurable settings.
- TuneIn – It boasts AM and FM radio stations along with podcasts.
- Podcast Go – It boasts over 300,000 podcasts.
- SpreakerStudio – lets you listen, create and publish podcasts.
- SoundCloud – A decent app with a user-friendly design.
- Doggcatcher – One of the most powerful and up-to-date apps.
- PodcastRepublic – It’s a free but ad-supported app with advanced features.
- Downcast – It can import and export OMPL podcast feeds.
10. Create a Giveaway Contest
One of the most effective means to promote your podcast is to run a giveaway contest. In fact, it is the best way to get more reviews for your show. Tell your listeners they can win gifts, discounts, and other free stuff. You can also set up a landing page where listeners can subscribe via email.
What to Give Away?
- It can be anything that suits your audience and fits your budget. With a slightly higher budget, you will be able to give away t-shirts, product discounts, stickers, caps, and wristbands.
- If you lack the surplus funds, you can try featuring the winner in your next podcast, giving a shoutout at the end of the episode or mention the listener on your social media platform or show notes.
The point is to offer something of value to your listeners. Use your imagination!
Quick Tips to Promote Your Podcast with Existing Audience
So you have just created a podcast and want your existing connections to know about it quickly?
Here’s all that you can try.
a) Email Signatures
With this simple technique, you can turn your emails into podcast marketing services. How? Jus add clickable podcast graphic to your regular email signatures. With an email signature management tool, you can add this promotional content to every team member’s email signature.
b) Twitter Bio
Use the 140 character space in your Twitter Bio section to describe and promote your podcasts every time a new episode rolls out. Use suitable hashtags to increase your reach.
c) Promoting Podcast on Linkedin
Use LinkedIn to promote your podcast, especially if it is related to B2B sector. You can include the name of your podcast in your headline, create a shareable status update, write a native LinkedIn blog post in your profile, and mention your podcast on the company description page.
d) Facebook Cover Image
Use the podcast artwork as the cover image on your Facebook page. You can also use it on other visual social media such as Pinterest and Instagram. It will certainly get the word out.
e) Your Own Website
You can turn your website into a content magnet before and after the launch of a podcast episode. Before the launch, you can share the teasers, photos, and sneak peeks. After the launch, you can share detailed notes, transcripts, infographics, and maybe a blog post.
f) Web Page Lists
Create a list of all your podcasts and hosting platforms where listeners can find them. It will help your regular listeners to catch up with the previous episode in case they have missed it.
Sending out newsletters to your existing audience is a great way to announce the launch of your next podcast. You can send podcast links, sound clips, trailers, quotable tweets, and artwork in the newsletter.
Here’s one such example of how Gary Vaynerchuk does it.
h) Promote in Events and Meetups
If you have conferences, meetups, seminars and industry events planned just before the launch of your podcast, don’t forget to promote your show. You can distribute flyers or maybe get the event organizers to mention your upcoming podcasts during the event.
Measuring Podcast Success
Learning how to promote a podcast is pretty straightforward compared to measuring its success, which is a tricky business. Apart from the number of downloads, there are a few different ways to measure the success of your podcasts.
The number of downloads is the most crucial statistics. However, it may not always be accurate because when someone streams the podcast online, technically it is downloaded. So, make sure your podcast hosting platform can filter the repeated downloads coming from the same IP address. It will provide an accurate number of unique downloads.
2. Feed Hits
A third party online podcast player such as iTunes will fetch your podcast feed from the hosting platform periodically to check if new episodes are available. These feed hits can also be used to measure the success of your podcasts. However, they are not the same as downloads.
3. Listening Device
Knowing the most popular listening device for your podcasts can help improve podcast promotion efforts in real time. For example, if people use mobile phones to enjoy your podcast, you can focus on mobile-centric podcast promotion.
4. Geographical Location
Geographical location helps improve your marketing efforts and also helps build a community of your followers in a particular area. You can also find out the trending topics in a particular country, state or locality.
However, what happens after a podcast download is hard to say. There is no way to determine whether the user listened to the podcast from start to finish or played it multiple times or didn’t listen at all.
List of Podcast Apps and Directories 2018
To help you out with further promoting your podcasts, here’s the list containing the best podcasts directories in 2018 ranging from free to the paid ones. Feel free to send us more if you think I have missed any and I will add it here.
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Cast Box
- Digital Podcast
- Double Twist
- Google Play Music
- Listen Notes
- Otto Radio
- Pocket Casts
- Pod Cruncher
- Podcast Addict
- Podcast Blaster
- Podcast Republic
- Podcasts In Color
- Radio Public
Over to You
Hopefully, these tips and tricks will help you promote your podcast seamlessly. However, you should provide your target audience with value at every level. Relying too much on quantity over quality will cause more harm than good. Share your experiences, tips, and suggestions with us in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.
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Pratik Dholakiya is the Founder of PRmention.com.