Podcasting was once a little known discipline that interested a small audience.
Fast forward to the present and32% of the US population(roughly 90 million people, according to Statista) listen to podcasts every month. The industry as a whole is growing at a breakneck pace.
Major players like Spotify are throwing aroundhundreds of millions of dollarson strategic acquisitions. Indie makers like Joe Rogan and John Lee Dumas generate millions of dollars of a year through their podcasts.
It’s no wonder that people want to start podcasts and establish themselves before it gets too saturated. In this article, you’ll learn proven podcast marketing strategies to stand out from the crowd and grow your audience faster.
Branding is a difficult term to pin down. In a nutshell, it’s how people perceive your business and the work you do. Coke and Nike are iconic brands that most people think of as being energetic and aspirational respectively. They’ve spent a lot of time and energy to cultivate that image.
Take some time and think about what you want your brand to stand for and the emotions you want to convey. It’s impossible to spread your message if you’re not clear about what it is.
You don’t have to get it perfect the first time. You’ll be testing your page elements,social media strategymarketing messages, content, etc. for a long time before it’s just right. You should still have a general idea of your brand before starting.
Podcasting isn’t all roses and sunshine. There are many things to think of when growing your audience for both new and experienced podcasters.
The major way new podcasts get discovered is through the Apple and Spotify directories. You’re competing with thousands of other podcasts in your category there. The only information a potential listener has before clicking on your podcast your title and artwork.
If the title and artwork do not catch their attention then they’ll keep scrolling until something does.
The way podcast subscriptions work is different from other types of subscriptions. Take Apple Podcasts as an example. You’re unable to send personalized notifications to your subscribers that a new episode is out. At most, they’ll get a generic push notification.
It’s easy for them to forget about your show – especially if they’ve not fallen in love with it.
The moreconsistent you are with your content production, the more likely you are to build a following that tunes in regularly. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to create, edit, and promote a new podcast episode every week or every day which is why asolid marketing planis a necessity.
Let’s look at five proven strategies to increase the reach of your podcasts:
I’ve mentioned the problem of podcast discoverability. When someone is scrolling through a podcast directory and looking for something to listen to, the first thing is the artwork and show title.
If they click through to the episode list, they’re faced with another challenge – which episode should they listen to first? When none of the titles are compelling, they may just press the back button and keep looking.
Individual show titles are where your podcast wins or loses. Take the time to get them right.
Think about what would make you click and listen? Is it an interesting stat? Is it an achievement of your guest? Is it a personal message that would appeal to the listener?
Take a look at how Gary Vee crafts his episode titles:
He often combines curiosity and authority to get people interested. The title “This is a reputation game | MortgageMarketing ExpertPodcast” makes me think I’ll learn about reputation management from an expert.
In the following example from Entrepreneur On Fire, there’s a huge play on curiosity and knowledge gaps to get people to stop and listen.
Test out different headline formats, formulas, and methods until you find one that works well for your audience.
Many people focus all of their attention on the Apple Podcast directory because it brings in the most results.Erik Diehn, Vice President of business development at Midroll Media went as far as saying “There’s basically Apple and then everybody else.”
It’s true that Apple can’t be ignored when it comes to podcasting but it’s not the only way to be discovered. As long as you’ve signed up witha podcast hosting platformthat provides you with an RSS feed, you can submit your podcast to other directories. They can give you a major boost.
Think of it the same way you would think of the long tail in SEO. There are huge competitive terms that bring in hundreds of thousands of visitors. There are also the long tail terms that don’t have many visitors individually but produce a lot of traffic when taken together.
[See related post: How Long-Tail Keywords Could Be The Key To Your Ranking Success]
Here’s a list to get started but be sure to keep your eyes open for more places to list your show.
This podcast marketing strategy limits your dependence on the directories for audience growth. This is because of two things:
What you’re doing is creating dedicated pages for podcast episodes on your website. These pages are full of relevant written content. There are two ways to go about content creation for these pages.
1. Blog posts that highlight and expand on the main points
Most interview-style podcasts have golden nuggets, new methodologies, or key takeaways for the listeners. Because of the nature of podcasts, many topics are mentioned but not all of them can be covered in depth.
Create blog contentthat expands on a few of the key points in the podcast and gives examples so your listeners can go out and implement the strategies.
Audio transcription services are getting cheaper as speech recognition technology gets better. It only costs a few dollars to get hour-long episodes transcribed.
Many podcast hosts allow listeners to access the transcript in exchange for an email address. This is a sound strategy togrow your email list. But you can also make it available on the page, optimize it for search engines with additional commentary or headings, and receive extra traffic.
Indie Hackers uses a variation of this strategy with their podcast episodes:
This is one of the oldest methods in the book but it’s still here because it works. If you have influential guests on your podcast then encourage them to promote it to their audience.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. The wrong way would be to email your guest with nothing but a link to share. The right way is to prepare media, prefilled tweets, status updates, images, and more so that sharing is easy for them.
The high-quality promotional material you create also makes them look professional. They get to showcase their expertise and authority. You get them on board withthe content promotion.
I mentioned using your transcripts to get more email opt-ins earlier. An email newsletter is a great way to promote your podcast, and manybloggers use email marketingto retain more of their audience. Make your listeners and readers come back to your site and sounds. With email, you’re able to build up enthusiasm over time (if there is a big show coming up).Share the golden / evergreen casts and give more background or encourage upvotes. Up and comers and famous expert guests will also love that they are mentioned in your email, and they are promoted that way.It is pretty easy to share every new podcast throughemail workflow automation, using an automated email that is triggered once a new podcast is aired or once you publish a blogpost or transcript. These email tools can include, or be triggered by something as simple as an RSS feed.Through email, you can tease your subscribers to come back and listen to your podcasts, the great thing is that you can also use it for questionnaires to learn more about what your audience likes and even offers/promotion for yourself or podcast sponsors.
This is where the magic of podcast marketing happens. It’s also where people drop the ball more often than not. Social media marketing has two aspects – organic and paid. I’ll focus on organic methods. Before you jump in, it’s important to note that eachsocial platform has different psychologyat play and your strategy should adapt accordingly.
Only focus on platforms where your audience hangs out and create different types of media to promote your show.
Make multiple images using a tools like Canva, Snappa or Stencil. Create a few with the show title, quotes, and interesting factoids in different dimensions so it’ll be optimized for the social media platforms you’re uploading to. When you publish them, link directly to the iTunes page for that episode.
Create shorter soundbites of 15 – 30 seconds and upload it to Soundcloud, Mixcloud or a similar service. Share that audio on Twitter with a CTA to listen to the entire episode. Embedding from Soundcloud allows your Twitter followers to play the audio directly in their feed.
Create a video version and upload to YouTube. Pay close attention to the titles and optimize for search. In the description, encourage people to subscribe on iTunes or to your emails to get the latest episodes.
Rinse and repeat until you find the most effective combination to distribute your podcast episodes.
Podcasting is getting more popular by the day. Now is the best time to start your own. If you just jump in, you may or may not see the success you’re looking for.
Instead, take a little time to map out a podcast marketing strategy that’ll work for you and help you achieve your goals. Take the proven methods I’ve shared here, add your own, and tweak it until you have a marketing system that accelerates your growth.
Let me know how you’re doing podcast marketing in the comments and don’t forget to share.