Bruce Wawrzyniak, host of “Now Hear This Entertainment” wrote in a previous guest post that he fears podcasters are constantly adopting a “build it and they will come” approach. But with over 1 million podcasts in circulation, distribution on a variety of different platforms is not enough – although, with Spreaker’s one-click distribution, it does help. But the question remains: how can you promote your podcast?
Growing your podcast audience is something you should do regularly, dedicating just as much time and passion as you do when crafting and recording each of your podcast episodes. But how do you do that exactly?
Welcome to our Ultimate Guide to Promoting Your Podcast, Part 1. Why part 1? Well, we have so much to say that we just had to make this a three-part series so that we can cover it all. We also want to leave it open to you, our community, to ask questions and tell us what you’d like us to cover in this series.
So are you ready to learn how to promote your podcast?
Should You Have a Website?
Make sure you really know which story you are going to tell throughout your podcast and who your ideal listeners are. Remember, no promotion can make up for bad content or no audience match.
Ah the age-old question, to website or not to website? 🚀
The first thing that you need to ask yourself is: are you doing this for fun as a hobby or do you want to do this professionally? If podcasting is more of a hobby, then you really don’t need a website. However, if you plan on building an audience, making money, and getting recognized for your work, then you should definitely consider investing in a website.
The two major cons of a website are money and time. Domain registration and hosting can cost money, but there are many different ways to cut those costs and minimize the amount of money and time that you spend creating and launching your website.
With so many different options out there, which website route should you take?
Well, first there is Squarespace, which provides customers the option to create a custom domain name, use one of their many templates or try out their website builder. It is an all-in-one solution for creating a beautiful website. Squarespace even has Blogs & Podcasts templates that you can use and customize. For example, their Paloma template is made specifically for podcasters.
Then there is Wix. Similar to Squarespace, Wix is a platform that allows individuals to create, design, manage, and develop their website. Wix seemingly has more options than Squarespace in terms of templates made specifically for podcasts. For example, they have a True Crime and a Healthy Living podcast website template. If you are looking for that all-in-one type of solution then either Squarespace or Wix could be the perfect option for you.
Then there is WordPress, which is perfect if you want complete freedom to do whatever you want. Unlike the other two options mentioned above, WordPress has broad functionality, great template designs, and advanced customizable options. The problem is that the learning curve can be quite steep and unlike Wix or Squarespace there is no dedicated support team, only online guides, and a forum.
If you are a not UX/UI designer but you still want to develop your website on WordPress then you have two options:
- Hire a designer
- Buy a visual page builder. There are multiple front-end page builders available for purchase, two of those include Elementor and Divi. The author of this article has been using Divi for the last five years and is very happy with its price point and functionality.
- Buy a theme. Love a website and want to know who it was created by? You can scroll down to the footer. For example, this website all about travel in Portugal, was designed by a company called pipdig – how do we know? In the footer you can see the words: “THEME DESIGN BY pipdig.” There are hundreds of companies that offer full themes that you can buy, download and upload to WordPress without having to code a single line.
Now that we’ve covered how to create a website, let’s address the why. Why should you create a website for your podcast?
First of all, it gives you the power to create your story. A website is created and designed by you, as is the copy that you can write about your podcast episode. A website gives you the freedom to do many things all at once. For example, an episode webpage can include:
- an embedded player that features your podcast or episodes, allowing you to direct listeners to your own page while still having your hosting, play counts, and other analytics provided by your hosting platform, like Spreaker. Furthermore, if you decide to use an advanced tool like fusebox, you can include a podcast player that acts as a single track player and site-wide sticky player, while also giving you the option to add a CTA on the player itself, like a sign-up button for your podcast’s newsletter.
- a transcript of the episode filled with SEO rich keywords that will help drive organic traffic to your website and/or;
- links to other distribution platforms like Apple Podcasts if your listeners prefer accessing episodes on a different medium.
It also allows you to not only tell the story of who you are but in certain specific situations, why they should be listening to your podcast. For example, if you have a podcast all about marketing, listeners would probably like to know what makes you an expert. Have you worked in marketing before? For what companies?
Fabien Geyrhalter hosts a podcast called Hitting the Mark where he has conversations with founders and investors about the intersection of brand clarity and startup success. Fabian calls himself a brand strategist and one-click on his website quickly corroborates his expertise. Not only does he have 12 years of experience, but he has published three books on branding and is a regular guest on the Futur podcast.
Last, but certainly not least, having a website allows listeners to contact you via email and is a great resource when you are pitching yourself for sponsorship or to the media. It is also ultimately better for promotion through social media as it is better to link to your website than an episode on Apple Podcasts, wouldn’t you agree?
|Spreaker Quick Tip: A transcript helps your podcast’s overall ranking in the search engine, making it super easy to be reached by people who are actively searching for content like yours. Fear not, there’s no need to spend hours with DIY transcribing: there are lots of tools available to do that for you, such as Transcriber.|
If you still can’t visualize WHY you should have a website, here is a great example of someone who has a specific section of their website dedicated to their podcast.
Example: Jenna Kutcher, Digital Marketing Expert
As a Digital Marketing Expert, Jenna Kutcher has her own website, which she also uses to promote her podcast. One of the menu items in the main menu is a link to her podcast, Goal Digger. Each of Jenna’s podcast episodes has a separate blog page, which includes a highly shareable image of the episode’s topic, an embedded player, external links to the podcast on other distribution platforms like Apple Podcasts, a transcription of the podcast (for SEO purposes) and even a thank you (with links) to the sponsors of that particular podcast episode.
Let’s quickly recap what are some of the elements that you can include on your website:
- Podcast embedded player
- Links the places where you can be found
- Personal proof, consisting of expertise and authority
- Episode notes
- Ratings and reviews
- Thank you to your sponsors (plus links)
|Spreaker Quick Tip: Add an exit pop-up on your website that prompts individuals to listen to your latest episode or to sign-up for your newsletter. Creating various opt-in forms on your website allows you to create an email list that you can use to grow your audience.|
If you are not a website expert getting a website audit can help you identify what you are missing and what you can improve!
Another example of how you can organize a podcast episode outline on your website can be seen here.
Once you’ve created your website, now it’s time to develop your marketing strategy.
Developing a Marketing Strategy
Users are changing, attention spans are decreasing, and more people are getting their content via mobile – that’s why having another touchpoint to your listeners can only help you and your podcast.
Before even dipping your toes into the social media world, it is smart to plan out a strategy that can be used to grow and promote your podcast. Yes, marketing can be fun but it also should have a very measurable impact on your overall goals and objectives.
It is important to think about where your potential listeners spend time on and offline, such as topic-specific groups, Reddit, forums, or even Quora. Go beyond the wide “podcast listener” category and dig into your own topic, whether it’s tech, music, or friendships. After all, as a topic pro, you will find yourself in most of these physical and digital spaces too.
If you are currently not on social media at all, your first step is to figure out which sites would be most beneficial for you to use. There is a lot that needs to be done before you click the “tweet” or “publish” button.
The idea is to create a solid plan before even starting to use social channels so that your social media efforts do not fall on deaf ears or even worse the wrong type of ears.
So which channels should you be most active on? In reality, there is a lot of noise out there and if you are limited on time, budget, and/or man (or women) power then you should be realistic. It is a common misconception that you need to be everywhere at all times. We advocate that podcasters try to execute really well on one social media channel, like Instagram or Twitter, then poorly on all of them.
[bctt tweet=”Podcasters should focus on crushing it on ONE social media channel first… then consider adding on others.” username=”spreaker”]
Choosing which channel you should focus your energy on depends entirely on your audience. Who are they? If your audience, for example, is mostly millennial females looking to learn about wellness, spirituality, and entrepreneurship, then Instagram would be a great fit. On the other hand, if you have a political podcast, then maybe Twitter would work better for you.
So the first question you need to ask yourself is: who is your target audience and where do they hang out?
After finalizing your target audience and the social media channel(s) that you’d like to focus on, the next step is to plan the specific type of content that you want to create for that specific channel (or channels). Instead of focusing on each channel specifically, let’s address some interesting ways that you can create content. We’d also like to note that some of these suggestions were taken from the Podcast Movement’s FB group post.
Have you ever considered using TikTok? Watch our interview with BJ about how he used TikTok to increase his podcast listenership:
|Spreaker Quick Tip: If you are a podcaster or are thinking about getting started, Airtable has a great podcast editorial calendar template that is already made for you and is absolutely free to use.|
Create Video Podcasts
Videocasts are not new, however, as pointed out by The Verge, more and more YouTube creators are posting video versions of their podcasts on the platform. Despite being a video-focused platform, people are increasingly coming to YouTube to look for podcasts. A 2019 survey of Canadian adults found that 43 percent of people “went to YouTube for podcasts in the past year.” That puts YouTube ahead of Apple Podcasts (34 percent) and Spotify (23 percent).
Creators are launching new YouTube channels for their podcasts primarily because they can leverage YouTube’s search algorithm to find and engage with new audiences, make more money and expand into a medium that is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years.
Let’s analyze this a little more. Unlike most social media channels, YouTube (and Pinterest) are more similar to Google than Facebook. Why? SEO and searchability. YouTube is a search engine, and in fact, it is the second-largest search engine behind Google. Therefore videos with the right tags, titles, and descriptions can potentially reach a large audience, plus they’re evergreen. A YouTube video posted back in 2018 can still garner you views (and potential new podcast listeners) in the present time, while we can’t say the same thing about that old Facebook post.
|Spreaker Quick Tip: If you want to create a video podcast, you need to shoot and edit a video. A video podcast is not a static image or moving waveform with audio laid over the top of that image.|
You can even repurpose the video content to create teasers of your podcast as a way to entice potential listeners, which brings us to our next point.
Entice and Engage
There are many ways that you can entice and engage your audience (and potential audience as well). This is by no means an exhaustive list, but let’s try to name a couple of things that you, as a podcaster, can do, with a little help from the Podcast Movement’s community.
Stacey Simms from Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms states that listeners wanted more engagement, so she started to set up Zoom calls with them, “We’ve had at least one call a week, including one where we celebrated birthdays and milestones.” Diane Jenks from The Outspoken Cyclist shares that she asks a question at the end of each show and “the listeners answer with a comment (or photo/video) on our Facebook page.” (Example)
Audiograms and/or short video clips of upcoming episodes can also help entice potential listeners and help you promote your podcast. Did your guest say something that was just genius during your interview? Or did you have an intense ah-ha moment? Include it in an audiogram. Sol Studio Marketing creates beautiful audiograms for their podcast, while Whitney Cummings, a comedian, posts clips of her podcasts on IGTV.
Headliner and Veed.io are two tools that you can use, both of which have free and paid options. Veed.io is slowly becoming known as THE tool for individuals who want to create that perfect Gary Vee style video, which includes a short video clip with a title, subtitles, and a progress bar.
Nowadays you can go LIVE on almost every single social media platform, from Instagram, and Facebook to YouTube and LinkedIn. You can even live stream to multiple platforms at the same time. This allows you to post on various platforms without having to tailor individual versions of your content for each channel. Restream.io, for example, allows you to stream live to 30+ social platforms at once.
In the Podcast Movement FB Group, Larry Roberts from Readily Random Podcast says “I’ve seen the best results by adding a segment to my first podcast that takes place each evening at the same time M-F for 10 to 15 minutes on Facebook Live. I line up a topic and then just talk. I then post the audio as a mini-episode of the podcast and the video on YouTube. It gives you the best of everything: audio, video, social media, and repurposing.” (example)
Create a Community
Damian Gray from Paranormal News Network Podcast has created a Facebook Group that focuses on Black Lotus-related topics, such as conspiracy theories, the paranormal, UFOs, aliens, and all things strange and unusual. It also acts as an addendum to the Black Lotus videocast. Gray states “We created a group on Facebook. The smartest thing we’ve ever done. The engagement is pretty good and drives more downloads to our podcast and YouTube channel.”
Another example is the Almost 30 podcast. This lifestyle podcast for women leveraged their popularity to create the #Almost30Nation community, “a group of purposeful dreamers who are smart, passionate, and always seeking the full potential in every aspect of their lives.”
Not only do the founders travel around the world to hold events for their community, but they also have an Almost 30 Ambassador Program with local city chapters in the United States, Canada, Australia, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. The idea behind these city chapters is that women can meet like-minded women in their neighborhoods. The podcast also has multiple Facebook Groups catering to their diverse audience, from a general all-are-welcome group to one focused on sobriety and another focused on motherhood: not my sole intention.
Engage with your Audience on Instagram Stories
Stories are a fresh and engaging way to announce new content or immediate news to your followers, and there’s an audience for it too; more than ⅓ of users are using Stories on a regular basis and 70% are watched with the sound on.
In The Podcast Movement FB Group, Ron Taylor from WNC Original Music states “I add the Spotify link to my podcast in my Instagram stories. The story right before it provides a heads up that a link is coming up. It allows listeners and my IG followers time to prepare mentally. The strategy has almost quadrupled my downloads.” Here is an example.
Used correctly, Stories allows you to interact with your audience via direct comments and questions, increase listener engagement by adding a poll, tag guests, ask questions and so much more. It’s also super easy to share your podcast if you publish via Spotify, however, the real strength is that if your show has over 10,000 followers you can add a CTA (call to action) for listeners to swipe up and listen to your show.
Last but not least, let’s talk about repurposing content. In an article named “How to Make 64 Pieces of Content in a Day” Gary Vee provides a 270-page deck, outlining some of the hacks he uses to produce more content.
Although it is impossible for us to list out the whole thing, we would recommend everyone to take 5-10 minutes out of their day to read it. Gary Vee recommends such simple hacks like screen-shooting your (or even other people’s tweets) and turning them into an Instagram post and/or downloading TikTok clips and posting them to Instagram stories.
|Spreaker Quick Tip: Block off an entire day and batch your content. What is batching? Essentially it is just sitting down and creating a lot of content at one time, instead a little bit per day. Taking a full day just to focus on content gives you the ability to be a lot more efficient and creative.|
In the end, no matter the social media channel, one thing that is important to remember is that growth and engagement takes time (and of course consistency). Laura from the Steel Magnolias Podcast, shares on the Podcast Movement FB Group that “it seems like it takes FOREVER to grow Instagram followers organically. We’ve put in a lot of work (commenting on relevant accounts, following others, posting consistently) and we’ve grown from 450 followers to 1,200 followers in 5 months.”
Do you have anything to add? How do you promote your podcast?