Ask pretty much any podcaster and you’ll hear that podcast marketing is at the top of their priorities.
I mean, who wouldn’t like to grow their audience?
If you’re a podcaster and are curious to learn more about different things you can do to expand the reach of your content, you’re in the right place!
In this article, we’ll take a look at 7 strategies – and tools – you can use to promote and grow your show.
Before You Start With Podcast Marketing
Quite many independent podcasters want to dive straight into podcast marketing without actually taking the time to craft a strategy for their show.
This is critical especially if you’re a business owner and your podcast is connected to your brand and to the products and services you sell.
Ask yourself this: ‘What’s the #1 thing I’d like to achieve through podcasting?‘.
There aren’t right or wrong answers to this question.
To help you answer the question, here are some of the podcasting goals you may want to pick and focus on:
- Authority-Building: use your podcast as a channel that allows you to position yourself as an expert thanks to the consistent publishing of content concerning a certain topic
- Networking: Dorie Clark, author of Entrepreneurial You, Reinventing You and Stand Out, called podcasting ‘The Best Networking Tool You Haven’t Tried‘. True, some time has passed since her article but her words are still relevant today: podcasting can be a very effective way to build relationships and grow your network
- Consistent Content Marketing: having trouble staying consistent with your content marketing? Regularly producing a podcast can ensure that you have a regular stream of content to leverage
- Email List Growth: want to use your podcast to grow your email list? Then, you should provide your listeners ways to go from their podcast listening app to your email list. Think lead-generation and SMS marketing.
- Public Speaking: thinking about becoming a speaker? Podcasting can help you sharpen your speaking skills, as well as connect you with conference and event organizers (you may want to interview them for your show or be interviewed for theirs and break the ice that way)
Knowing which goal(s) to focus on will have an impact on your podcast – from its format and content to the actual guests you might feature on it – as well as on the way you’ll go about promoting it.
Who, Where, and How?
The next questions you should ask yourself are: ‘Who am I trying to reach with my podcast (aka who’s my target audience made of)?‘ and ‘Where are my ideal listeners?’.
Some podcasters join Facebook groups and online communities to ask about the BEST strategy to grow their podcast.
Personally, I think that question isn’t a good one to ask because it lacks context.
What are your goals? Who are you trying to reach and where? And what are some podcast marketing strategies you’ve already been experimenting with?
Including this information when asking about the “best” strategy to grow a podcast will make sure that you’ll get answers that are relevant to you, what you’re doing and what you’re trying to achieve.
So, WHO are you trying to reach?
Depending on the style of your show and your podcasting goals, gender, age, profession, country of residence, annual income, faith, relationship status and language are some of the traits you should think about when creating the “identikit” of your ideal listener.
Targeting people in their late 20s or early 30s will call for a different podcast marketing approach than if your target audience is primarily made of people in their mid-50s.
Once you know who you’re going after, you need to consider where this group of people typically spends time.
Is it mainly in person or online?
If it’s online, is it on social media, on a specific website, a forum?
If you’ve answered ‘social media’, which one is it: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, something else?
Did you say Facebook? Where, though – in a specific Facebook group, Facebook business page or throughout the Facebook “ecosystem” more in general?
Start by thinking about the Macro dimension, so online vs. in-person, website vs. social media platform vs. forum, and so forth.
Then, zoom in on the Micro and try to be as thorough as you can.
With Facebook, this would be identifying where your target listeners spend most of their time (personal profile, Facebook group, etc.).
Moreover, you want to think about where you’d like to direct your podcast marketing efforts and – potential – listeners toward.
Remember: most people listen to podcasts from their smartphones, which means that the majority of the places you direct people toward should either be smartphone apps or mobile-friendly webpages or sites.
By trying to send all your potential listeners to Apple Podcasts, for instance, you’d automatically exclude those who enjoy listening to podcasts on their smartphone but aren’t iPhone users.
If you are unsure about this, then make your website the default end-destination of your marketing campaigns.
Whether it’s a specific episode show notes page or the Podcast Page, your site is the one place you have total control over.
It’s the place you have opt-in forms for people to sign up for your email list, it’s where you discuss your business and showcase (and sell) your products and services.
Ok, it’s time to look at the podcast marketing strategies!
Podcast Marketing Strategy #1: Leverage Your Existing Community
This is easily the strategy you can get started with pretty much right away.
If you’ve been blogging before, have built an audience through your YouTube channel, have an active social media following, have an email list or have been fostering community through online or in-person events (think monthly meetups, for example), then you should take advantage of this for your podcast.
Start by letting your existing audience know about your show.
You could do this by adding a Podcast Page or a banner on your website, writing a blog post, recording a video about it or even publishing a couple of posts across your social media channels.
Granted, you don’t want to be overly promotional nor pushy. However, you should want to let your existing fans, community-members and clients, know about your podcast.
Podcast Marketing Strategy #2: Share It With Your Network
In case you don’t have much of an audience, yet, you can still tap into the people around you: your network.
Some fail at this because they send random emails, LinkedIn messages, etc. to their contacts, colleagues, prospects, and clients without thinking about whether they would be genuinely interested in the podcast.
Would a podcast coach who teaches advanced podcasting techniques be interested in your show that teaches people how to start a podcast?
Be as objective as you can and try to answer this: why would your contacts be interested in your podcast? How would they get value from listening to the show?
That’s something that you could include in the emails and messages you send out.
You could let your network know through public social media posts or even by reaching out to people individually.
The more personalized your messages are, the better.
Remember: you’re communicating with people who you’ve chatted/texted/messaged with before.
You may know what their pain-points and interests are, so keep those at the back of your mind when writing your messages.
And you could even add a more personal touch by using something like Bonjoro, platform and app that enables you to quickly record and send out video messages.
You know your network and how to best communicate with your contacts, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and do it!
And if you’d like to speed things up a little, you could even create 2-3 message variations and ask your virtual assistant(s) to help you send those out.
Podcast Marketing Strategy #3: Add It in Your Communication Assets
I know, you’re probably wondering what I mean by ‘communication assets’.
Basically, a communication asset is something that you use for or add to your communication channels.
Let’s take email as an example.
Do you have a personalized email signature?
That’s a piece of “digital real estate” you could leverage to promote your podcast.
You could add a Call-to-Action to invite people to listen to your show on a specific platform or app, embed a clickable image or banner or even a link to your most recent podcast episode.
Additionally, you could add a mention of your podcast and link to it on your main social media pages or even consider updating your cover images on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and include your podcast artwork in them.
Not everyone knows you host a podcast so incorporating podcast marketing into your communication will help put your show in the spotlight.
Something like Canva is ideal for this, as it provides you with different templates, each with the perfect image size for every social media platform.
Feeling like doing something a little bit more advanced?
No worries, I got you covered!
Did you know that it’s possible to add a specific Call-to-Action to a link you share – and have that CTA direct people somewhere else?
Here’s what I mean. Let’s say you want to share articles from your favorite online publication as part of your content curation strategy.
In the screenshot below, you can see what I mean.
If you were to share an article from CNN, when a person clicks on your link, they would be redirected to the CNN article webpage and would see a specific widget that highlights and links to something you’ve shared (aka your latest podcast episode).
Not bad, huh?
In case you’re using Instagram as one of your main channels, then you have to look into LinkTree. It enables you to make the most out of the only link available in your Instagram bio and send that traffic to a series of links housed on a single webpage.
I’ve seen some podcasters do this for their show and have the custom LinkTree link in their Instagram bio direct people to a webpage that links to the top podcasting platforms and apps their show can be found on.
Podcast Marketing Strategy #4: Repurposing Your Podcast Content
Simply put, repurposing content means taking a piece of content and redistributing it on a different channel.
I like how Social Triggers‘ Derek Halpern puts it: ‘You don’t have to create content day in and day out. You just have to work on getting the content you already have in the hands of more people.‘
Which content creator wouldn’t like his/her content to reach a wider audience?
If most of the content of your podcast is evergreen (it’s relevant today and will be relevant tomorrow, next week, next month), then you can’t afford to ignore content repurposing and pair it with content marketing.
Here are some ideas to help you repurpose your podcast episodes:
- take the key lessons of an episode and represent them as a blog post, YouTube video or live stream (think Facebook Live, LinkedIn and Instagram Live, for example)
- take the key lessons of an episode and write an article – that revolves around them – as a guest contributor for a large industry website or online publication
- represent key points, quotes or questions from an episode into visual content (you can use Canva or smartphone apps such as Word Swag, PicLab and Typorama, then post on Instagram, Pinterest and other visual platforms)
- do something similar to the previous point but go deeper by creating an infographic or slide deck to publish on Pinterest, LinkedIn SlideShare or other websites
- use Wavve, Headliner or a similar platform to create so-called audiograms to highlight your episode’s “highlights reel” on social media (a while back, I interviewed the founder of Wavve, Baird Hall)
- use Repurpose.io to automatically redistribute your podcast episodes on several platforms (you can listen to my interview with its founder Hani Mourra here)
- if you do public speaking, consider including – and mentioning – some key pieces of advice from recent podcast episodes in your presentations
What can you ‘seed’ when creating content for videos or podcasts to boost your credibility?
— Smooth Sailing & Real Estate Investor’s Marketing (@smoothsailingbg) April 1, 2020
Here’s the approach I’d recommend using.
Think about your podcast episodes as the main course and the repurposed pieces of content as the appetizers.
Granted, your repurposed pieces of content are stand-alone elements but, if possible, you’d want them to link back to the original piece of content (your podcast episodes).
The appetizer should be good enough to Wow people into wanting to get the main course.
If what you’re reading sounds interesting so far but aren’t sure how to implement it, get in touch – my team and I can help!
Podcast Marketing Strategy #5: Cross-Promotion & Collaboration
Do you know someone who hosts a podcast and whose listeners are your target audience?
In that case, you could suggest a cross-promotion or swap interviews (if both of you make sense as guests for each other’s shows).
When it comes to cross-promotion, you could record a promotional slot that discusses your podcast – or you could hire a voice over artist from sites like Fiverr or Upwork to read the script for you – and feature that on someone else’s show.
Just like they would a normal podcast advertiser.
You can even collaborate with people who don’t host podcasts but who still run communities that fit the bill.
Think Facebook groups, forums, meetups and co-working spaces, for example. You could be featured as a guest speaker for a live stream, in-person workshop or similar and mention lessons, strategies and resources from some of your podcast episodes in your presentation.
If your target audience is on Twitter, you could consider finding Twitter chats to participate in or even join as the featured guest expert. I’ve written about Twitter chats and mentioned a few in this article.
Podcast Marketing Strategy #6: Paid Advertising
What comes to your mind when you hear paid advertising?
Maybe you’re thinking about Facebook Ads or Google AdWords.
Sure, you can definitely experiment with using Facebook and Instagram Ads, sponsored content on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube or Google AdWords to promote your podcast episodes.
The tools we previously looked at, JotURL, PixelMe, etc., are something you can use to carry out paid remarketing/retargeting campaigns.
But you can even go beyond traditional paid advertising strategies and focus on investing part of your marketing budget into paid advertising on podcasting platforms, sites and apps.
Podnews, for instance, is a newsletter that provides information, resources and stories from the podcasting industry and it provides advertising opportunities through both the classified ads section and as a supporter/sponsor.
Listen Notes is another example of a website that lets podcasters promote their content through paid ad banners (see screenshots below).
The popular podcast listening app Overcast enables you to have a promotional banner for your show be displayed inside the app. The price of your campaign will vary depending on the target podcast category.
Focusing on Business would cost you $925, while categories like Education, Science and Music, for instance, would cost you less – $340, $310 and $220 respectively.
RadioPublic, another podcasting platform and app, has its so-called Calls-to-Action, which you can use to promote a specific podcast episode, have listeners sign up for your email list, fill out a survey or even purchase merchandise.
You can look outside of the podcasting space too.
Have you found an industry site that’s tailored to the audience you’re trying to reach with your podcast?
Then, why not reach out and see whether it would be possible to pay to have a banner or widget for your podcast be added on the homepage?
Podcast Marketing Strategy #7: Go “Old School”
Some podcasters have a Podcast Media or Press Kit for their shows (here’s an example, the Press Kit of the multi award-winning podcast Girl in Space).
While a Podcast Press or Media Kit isn’t a podcast marketing strategy per se, it’s an asset that can still allow you to put emphasis on your show, highlight specific episodes or portions – think episode trailers, for instance.
When it comes to trailers and similar type of content (hello, audiograms!), Apple Podcasts’ Podcast Marketing Best Practices suggests always leading with the benefit:
Depending on who you’re trying to reach and where they’re spending time, you may find that swag and merchandise could be a way to let others know about your podcast.
There are podcasters and businesses hosting podcasts who use t-shirts, flyers, mugs, blackboards, stickers and even billboards to promote their show offline.
Granted, using physical merchandise may represent a less intuitive podcast marketing strategy for the fact that people might see your t-shirt, mug, etc. but may not know what the next step is (or how to take it).
That’s where scannable QR codes can come in handy, especially for things like billboards, posters, flyers and business cards.
If your show is available on many different podcasting platforms and apps, I’d suggest having the QR code link back to the Podcast Page on your website so that people can access your entire archive of episodes or your “greatest hits”.
Alternatively, have it link to one podcasting platform or app you know will work on pretty much any device.
Bonus Tip: Get Creative and Experiment
I wish there was a “secret formula” I could give you to grow your podcast but the truth is that there isn’t one.
You see, every podcast is different, every audience is different. What works for a show in terms of podcast marketing may not work for another podcast – especially if the two target different listener groups.
Sure, consistently following the strategies discussed in this article will help your show grow but there is no silver bullet.
You may find that only one of the strategies works like a charm for your show or that all of them work but to a lesser degree.
The best way to identify the highest-performing strategies for your show is to experiment, to have an A/B Testing approach.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with, to mix and match different podcast marketing strategies and don’t shy away from trying things that are outside the box.
And remember, if you need help creating and implementing a podcast marketing strategy for your show, don’t hesitate to get in touch.