Podcast Promotion Plan: Your Complete Guide to Netting More Listeners
Marketers, CEOs, freelancers, your favorite barista who likes to chat with you about the latest episode of West World while making your morning latte — it seems like everyone and their mother has a podcast.
Back in the day, every business had to have a blog. After that, it was all about video marketing on YouTube. Now, audio, particularly podcasts, are the trend du jour in the world of content marketing.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not bashing on blogs and videos. Both of those are still extremely valuable inbound marketing tools. However, just as we saw a push for written content a few years back, we’re now seeing a massive influx of new podcasts pop up as voice technology becomes more and more prevalent and accessible.
But, with so many people jumping on the bandwagon, how do you stand out?
Thankfully, due to the nature of audio media, you don’t really need the most high-end, expensive equipment to compete with the big boys. That’s why I’m not going to get into the technical requirements of a podcast since that’s not, in my mind, a major obstacle toward gaining traction for your podcast. You can pick up a standard-quality microphone for under $150 (the Blue Yeti and the Shure SM58-LC are both popular choices amongst professionals and amateurs alike), and there are plenty of both free or paid options for audio editing and podcast hosting. With a small investment, it’s not difficult to make your podcast’s audio sound professional without the need for an in-home studio.
Given that you have an informative, engaging, and competently edited podcast, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t be able to nab a decent-sized audience of followers. And yet, so many podcasters struggle to attract listeners. The main reason, in my experience, is usually a lack of good marketing, and that’s what we’re talking about today.
We’ll start by assuming that you have a complete podcast episode to start. After that, comes the real work. In the rest of this article, we’ll walk through how you can start leveraging your podcast to create even more content then distribute and promote that content to ultimately attract more listeners and grow your audience.
Interested? Let’s get started:
Repurpose Your Podcast
After the podcast has been created and published is the point where most content producers will stop and start over with a new topic.
That’s a mistake.
Podcasts themselves don’t tend to lend themselves easily to social sharing, so we’re going to need to repurpose the podcast content into other forms that can be shared on your website or social media.
Think of that podcast like a Russian nesting doll. Contained within it are smaller pieces of content that are waiting to be uncovered. It’s your job to unpack that hidden potential and really put your content to work, and the first thing you’ll want to do is create a written transcript of your podcast.
Have Your Podcast Transcribed
The transcript is going to serve two purposes: 1. Help us to promote our podcast, and 2. Distribute that content to non-listeners.
Your transcript is going to help you to create other pieces of content that can either stand alone as a new piece of content (like a blog) or can be repackaged into a promotional tool.
No, it’s not absolutely necessary to have a transcript. You can always start fresh by creating entirely new content. However, having a transcript to use as a base will also save you a chunk of time repurposing your podcast into other written content. (Check out Rev, which offers transcription services at $1/minute, or Fiverr, which has affordable freelance services.)
Write a Blog
Once you’ve used the wonders of modern technology to convert your audio to text, this next step is going to be a whole lot easier.
Say, for example, that the topic of your podcast was raising capital for a startup, and you spent about 10 minutes of your time talking about angel investors. Paste that portion of the transcript into a word document, edit for grammar and structure, and voila! Now you have “5 Things You Need to Know About Angel Investors” ready to post to your personal blog.
Although you will likely need to revise your transcript for a blog format (or hire an editor to do so for you), it is often much easier to work from an existing piece of content than to start from scratch.
Make a Video
It isn’t uncommon for people to publish an entire podcast to YouTube. In fact, it can help you to reach some people who would never otherwise listen to your podcast.
By default, YouTube only allows video uploads of 15 minutes, but you can increase that limit by verifying your Google account. After that, you can upload up to 12 hours of video (although I obviously would not recommend it). Hubspot marketers report seeing the most engagement on videos that are about 2 minutes long. However, you shouldn’t feel constrained to this limit.
So, while you’ll probably see more engagement on shorter videos, what you ultimately decide to do with your content is up to you.
Wanna break it down to several short videos? You can do that. Wanna just throw the whole podcast up on YouTube? You can do that too. Post to IGTV? Go for it!
Just do some simple editing, and you’re good to go. Easy-peasy.
Create Your Social Content
Like I mentioned, full podcasts themselves don’t really lend themselves to social sharing, so this is where we’ll have to get creative to repurpose our content in a more social-media-friendly format.
Start by pulling out a few key quotes and ideas from your podcast. What are the main takeaways? Are there any quotes that might grab your audience’s attention?
Then, create simple graphics to accompany those quotes. (Stencil and Canva are both great options for discovering images, adding your own text/design, and tailoring them to specific social platforms.) Transform your content into things like quote cards, infographics, pull quotes, prewritten tweets, and status updates.
These assets will allow us to promote the podcast across different channels while still “speaking the language” of those social platforms.
Promote Your Podcast
Finally, it’s time to put your content out there for the world to see. We’ve already talked a little about repurposing your content to post on other platforms, but now we need to really get the word out and start driving traffic to your podcast. The following is a list of tried-and-true podcast promotion techniques:
Post to Your Channels and Encourage Guests to Do the Same
First off, you’ll want to thank any guests who made your podcast episode possible (and, at the same time, get them to help with the promotion process).
Send a thank you email that includes links and social media assets that you guest can post to their own social media channels. Making it easy for them (by sharing quote cards, pre-written tweets, etc.) means that it’s much more likely that they’ll participate in the promotion process. This way, you also have a bit of control over how that message is conveyed.
And obviously, don’t forget to share to your channels as well!
Submit Your Podcast to “Podcatchers”
Podcatchers are simply apps that play podcasts — the most popular one being the default Podcast app on iOS. These directories are designed to make it easy for listeners to discover new podcasts.
Many podcast listening apps automatically update from the iTunes API, so if your podcast is on iTunes, it may already be on a few of the top aggregator apps. However, it never hurts to check.
To be clear, these apps do not offer podcast hosting. They simply read the RSS feed from your host and add your podcast to their directory. Most podcast hosting sites will have instructions on how to submit your podcast to the aggregator sites, and it’s usually as simple as clicking a button and letting your host automatically upload on your behalf.
Here’s a quick list of some of the most popular podcast aggregators:
Send an Email Blast to Your Contacts
Don’t be afraid to go old-school. Building up an email list (or a Facebook Messenger list) is a tactic commonly used by podcast giants like Tim Ferris and Noah Kagan.
Remember, people don’t usually just hand over their contact info with no strings attached (why should they?), so you’ll want to offer some enticing incentives in exchange for their email address. Excusive contact like outtakes, transcripts, and even early access to shows are all worthwhile incentives and give people a tangible reason to give you their info.
Organize a Giveaway Contest
Who doesn’t love free stuff, right?
Offer listeners — either as part of your podcast or on social media — a chance to win in exchange for a review on your podcast’s iTunes page. Social proof is an incredibly valuable currency and can help launch your podcast into the “New and Noteworthy” category if you’re just starting out.
Prizes can be something as simple as a guest spot on a future episode or if you have a small budget, some swag like tee-shirts, mugs, canvas bags, and so on. If you’re podcast is connected to a business, you could even offer free subscriptions, products, or consultations.
Be a Guest on Another Podcast
Establishing a strategic collab is a common trick used by social media influencers.
Look for other podcasters in your niche (preferably ones who have a similar-sized following to you), and reach out. Offer them a guest spot on your own podcast in exchange for a guest spot on their’s. Ideally, both of you will reach a new set of listeners within your target audience, allowing you both to grow your following.
It’s a win-win!
Turning It Over to You
Those are our top podcast promotion strategies. Are there any others you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments!