What You Must Know To Promote a Successful Podcast
Digital Marketing Insights from Dallas’ Top Digital Agency
As a podcast host, you are someone that believes in the power of good quality content… you’re not concerned about quantity, though you do recognize the importance of consistency. Your show solves a problem for its listeners, whether it is a need for entertainment, education, enlightenment, or some combination of that. The truth is that you work hard to create great content, but the reality is that you must also work just as hard to distribute your show to engaged listeners. Does your podcast have a website? Does that website have opt-in forms that enable you to grow your email marketing database to send show recaps? There are so many things to be done! So, let’s get into it.
Dominate iTunes / Apple Podcasts
The key to growing your podcast is all in your ability to dominate iTunes.
Believe it or not, listens on SoundCloud and YouTube are fairly insignificant relative to those who are listening to podcasts on native iOS apps, including iTunes itself.
The reality is that iTunes accounts for about 70% of all podcast downloads and listens. To get started, create an iTunes Connect account and be ready to upload your podcast cover art by designing a great looking image that is sized at 1400×1400 pixels. If you’re just starting out, be sure that you have 3 to 5 episodes that are ready to go.
Hit the “New and Noteworthy” Section of iTunes
When you are ready to launch your podcast, it is best to launch with no less than a few episodes because it is likely that your followers will want to listen to more than just one at a time.
Importantly, you have to play to the favor of iTunes’ ranking algorithm to maximize your discoverability. The more time your listeners spend actually listening to your episode, the more the iTunes visibility algorithm will favor your show.
Some quick engagement to your first episodes during your first two weeks will help you appear as a featured podcast on the iTunes “New & Noteworthy” section. If you’re able to achieve this notoriety within 8 weeks of launching you show, this can be a huge accelerator for boosting your listenership and gaining the credibility that you need to attract sponsors.
Before your podcast launches, put together a list of as many people as you can and utilize the power of email marketing to notify people about your upcoming launch date.
- 1 month before launch: send a teaser email
- 1 week before launch: share the name of the show, a few episodes, and perhaps an audio clip along with a reminder of the launch
- Launch date: be bold and ask people to listen, rate, and subscribe via email and on social media.
Ask your listeners, both in your podcasts and in your email marketing database, to subscribe to your show and to also post a review. Be sure that you are telling your fans specifically why they should subscribe.
If you’re not a daily host, try and get 2-4 weeks ahead of your publishing schedule. iTunes and the various podcast platforms love active, consistent publishers. If you can get into the habit of a consistent publishing schedule, you’ll be well on your way.
Too Late for the New & Newsworthy Section? Is Your Podcast Live Already?
Where there is a will, there’s a way! Facebook advertising allows you to target your audience by the type of device they’re using. This means that you can utilize the power of paid advertising to attract iOS users to your Apple Podcasts page. Likewise, you can do the same with Android and Google Podcasts using Google Ads.
The fact is that people often binge their shows and they’re always looking to consume more, similar content. Paid advertising on social media and in search engines allows you to get your brand in front of your future listeners when they’re most likely to engage with your message.
Be Found On These 3 Other Podcast Directories
Look to iTunes first, and then focus your attention on Spotify, the #2 destination for podcast consumption, before looking ahead to Google Podcasts as a third focus.
Podcast hosting sites like PodBean, BuzzSprout, and Captivate are great doors to getting your podcast into Spotify.
Google Podcasts works a bit differently. Google Podcasts matters because it allows your show to be visible in Google’s search engine results page, making individual episodes fairly easy to find and play.
Interestingly enough, you don’t actually upload your shows to Google Podcasts. It works sort of like a website and SEO in that Google crawls the internet to locate and index your episodes.
To be found by Google Podcasts, it is important that you make a URL to your RSS feed and that your RSS feed links to your website. Most of the mainstream podcast hosting platforms will do this for you but if you want to engage in some DIY, this link will help: Guide to Google Podcasts. To see if Google has already found your RSS feed, click here to view Google’s Podcast Publisher tool.
Stitcher is number 4 on the list as it has over 8 million listeners across 65,000 podcasts.
If you do anything at all for distribution, make sure that your show exists on these four platforms and then tackle the rest!
Invite Connected Guests to Your Show
This may seem like common sense, but the more popular or “famous” your guest, the more attention you’re likely to receive. Let your podcast play out in a way that is true to your vision for the show, but do consider how you might layer in an interview format.
Make It Easy For Your Guests to Share Their Podcast
Whether your guest has 30,000 Twitter followers or 1 million Facebook fans, make it easy for your guests to share and promote their podcast episode. Do this by sending them a note on the day their podcast goes live, and also consider including a series of shareable media when you tag them in your social posts. If you utilize pull quotes, banners/images, links, and pre-written tweets and/or status updates, you’re more likely to get a response out of guests and fans.
Be a Guest On Other Podcasts
Make guest appearances on other podcasts that are in your niche. If you are able to expose yourself to someone else’s audience you might just win some folks over. A good PR person can actively pitch you to relevant hosts but scoring a guest appearance is also something that you can do for yourself!
Because of the work that goes into identifying, requesting, and booking guests for weekly or daily podcasts, you may find that your proactive outreach to another show may be very welcome. To find a list of shows worth reaching out to, start with the iTunes listing page to see podcasts in dozens of categories.
Promote Your Podcast All Over Social Media
Social media offers ample opportunity to share soundbites, video clips, images, teasers, and content that may be timely or evergreen in nature. Social media should be used as bait to create awareness and drive people to your show on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play.
Every time you publish a new episode, feature your iTunes URL first and consider pinning a link to your Facebook page, Twitter account, and any other platform your fans are present on.
When you post a link to your latest show, include that iTunes URL, and paste it alongside a “ “quote image.” For DIY social media banners, tools like Canva allow you to create “quote images” such as the example shown on this Canva template here.
Twitter plays quite nicely with Soundcloud, though Soundcloud is not one of the more popular podcast directories. With that said, everything matters. Twitter allows Soundcloud audio to play natively inside the Twitter stream, which is a big deal if yours or your guests have a significant Twitter following. Don’t be afraid to reshare the podcast episode 3 times the first day on Twitter and twice to Facebook within the week that it goes live.
Use Video If You Can
2021 will be the year that video will account for 82% of all internet content. Websites with video will enjoy a boosted Google ranking and podcasts that also have video posted to YouTube will enjoy greater online visibility.
With your podcast already recorded, assuming that it is purely audio, try and convert that audio to video for publishing on YouTube. If you did not happen to record the video of your podcast, you can easily create an audiogram using a service called Auphonic or Waave.
When your video is ready for uploading, be selective about how you Title the episode when publishing to YouTube. If you happened to interview someone, include that person’s name at the start of your title and also include the word “interview” as this is a good move for basic search visibility.
Use Podcast Aggregators to Maximize Visibility
Dozens of apps are designed to play podcasts. The more you’re on, the easier it will be for new listeners to find you. If your show is already live on iTunes, it is also automagically added to a podcatcher called Podcastland.
Here are a few other popular podcast aggregators:
Transcribe Your Audio
The most successful podcasts often offer a full transcript of their shows. Whether you choose to provide a full transcript or just selected excerpts is a matter of resources: time and money. Services such as Rev.com are available to transcribe your audio at a cost that is typically $1 per minute.
A transcript of your show is often a huge SEO booster as it ensures full and proper indexing by Google’s search bots.
If you happen to include a transcript of each episode on your podcast’s website, let it also be combined with lead capture forms, show notes, and things that open doors to new sponsors or listeners.
One of the tools that our friend, Michelle Mendoza of the MyMichelleLive podcast, loves is called Descript. This tool offers podcast editing, transcription, and other powerful features that will help you in your pursuit of excellence. Also, with plans ranging from $0 to $24 for most users, it won’t cost you an arm and leg to try out.
Now What? Next Steps Towards New Growth
Start by setting a specific audience growth goal. Write down exactly how many subscribers you have today and also note how many you want (or need) by a specific date in the future. Is what you are doing today in support of your goal? If not, let’s start asking some questions.
Are you currently able to leverage a great-looking logo and podcast album banners to create a strong first impression? What does your brand look like across all social pages and does it match up at iTunes and elsewhere? What does your brand look like relative to the #1 show in your niche?
What about your website? Have you launched a professional-looking podcast site that allows for easy sharing of content and fan engagement? Many podcast hosting providers, such as Captivate, not only host your podcasts but they also offer the ability to use a templated website. These templates are typically great when first starting a podcast but they offer very little flexibility and customization. It’s easy to outgrow these.
Platforms like WordPress and Webflow offer much more flexibility for show hosts that are extremely active and that leverage a blog for growth. They also are very easy to use such that non-technical users can make basic text, video, and image updates on the fly.
Unlike some of the more templated websites, designing your own, customized blog is a really strong way to improve your online visibility. With flexibility, it will help you:
- Build your email list (we can help you with that!)
- Connect with audio, video, and written audiences
- Maximize your online visibility with SEO
- Integrate a storefront for product sales
- Attract advertisers and show sponsors
- Share your content with a general audience
But it all starts with that goal. Make sure your goal is specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented, and time-bound.
To learn how a Digital Marketing strategy can help your business, contact us today!