You started a podcast because you want to be heard. To accomplish that goal, however, you need to find listeners, and that means marketing. Although marketing a podcast takes time and imagination, it doesn’t have to take a lot of money. We’ve compiled the best strategies into our ultimate guide to podcast marketing.
What Is a Podcast Marketing Strategy?
A podcast marketing strategy is comprised of multiple tactics used together to promote your podcast or specific episodes in order to bring in more listeners and convert them into fans. The most important element of podcast marketing is starting with a high-quality podcast.
How to Promote a Podcast
Once you start a podcast, promoting it is essential for gathering a fan base. You’ll need to attract listeners and create a community, of course. And then, branch out to other podcasters, influencers, and potential listeners. You can invest in tools to make it easier, but with the exception of paid advertising, nearly every podcast marketing strategy can be accomplished for free with extra effort.
We’ll cover the following 10 strategies, then give you some extra ideas to try:
- Know your audience: The basis of any good marketing campaign is knowing who you need to reach.
- Develop great content: To stand out, you have to have content that is worth your listener’s time.
- Use social media: Social media is the staple you can’t ignore. We’ll give you some ideas for easy, effective promotions.
- Create a newsletter: Email is an inexpensive and effective way to engage your listeners and bring them to your podcast.
- Grow your following: We offer tips for helping your fans connect with each other as well as you.
- Get your listeners to promote you: Once you have an engaged audience, make it easy for them to tell their friends.
- Leverage a guest’s audience: They come to you to build their audience—use them to do the same.
- Submit to aggregators: Aggregators, such as Spotify, gather podcasts from multiple sources into one place, which makes it easy for new listeners to discover your podcast.
- Reuse content: Every podcast should do double duty and more. We’ll discuss how.
- Paid advertising: We’ll briefly discuss online advertising and how to do it.
Like with any tool set, you don’t need every tool all the time, but knowing how to use them will make it easier to apply them to your strategies and to grow a more loyal following.
1. Know Your Audience
Smart business people know that no product survives unless you find the right buyer. The same holds true for podcasting. You need to understand who your audience is, what they want, and why they want what you are offering. This mindset helps you market your podcast and develop new content.
How to Define Your Target Audience
Usually, when people think of “audience analysis,” they think of demographics: gender, age, location, culture, and race. These are certainly some of the easiest statistics to research, and they can be a good first step in determining your target audience. However, in today’s increasingly melting pot society, where gender lines are blurred, these demographics scratch the surface and can at times be counterproductive.
The Big Why
What’s more important is to get to the “why” of your audience’s interests. What is their basic need you are fulfilling and why is it a need for them? For example, if you have a business advice blog, your advice probably applies more than to just women ages 25 to 35, and, in fact, you may be limiting your audience and your potential.
Instead, look at their challenges and pain points. In this example demographic, someone may be interested in:
- How to start a business in a lower-income neighborhood or how to prove herself as a new employee in a large law firm.
- How to build a social justice culture in the office or how to motivate her direct hires to concentrate on growing profits—or both.
- How to balance starting a business while being a new parent or how to rise in a company while maintaining a life outside the office.
Even more, these issues are not limited to age, gender, or race. Understanding the “why” can give you ideas for expanding your audience beyond the simple demographics while still maintaining a brand identity.
Of course, not everyone’s “why” involves a pain point. Some people listen to podcasts for simple entertainment or because they have a special leisure interest. Fandoms span all demographics.
Some demographics have unique issues. For example, transgender people might struggle with introducing their significant other at family gatherings, or how to explain preferred pronouns in the workplace.
Understanding the “why” of your target audience also helps you craft better messages. Consider whether your listener is coming to your podcast for sympathy, support, or practical ideas. Also, think about which of these is most important to them.
Where to Gather Information About Your Target Audience
The best way to gather information about your target audience is by going directly to the source. There are many tools, such as social media analytics software, that can help determine your audience. However, these programs will generally just provide demographics or information on general interests. To gather the best information, talk to your audience directly.
Here are some ways to conduct research on your target audience:
- Social media: Post questions on social media and pay attention to who engages in your content.
- Forums: Join a forum related to your niche and post questions.
- Blog: If you transcribe your episodes into blog posts, ask your readers what they want to listen to or learn about.
- Survey: Send out a survey to your email list. You can also use a service like Textiful, where you can create a keyword for a listener to text to a number, after which you’ll send them the survey.
- Network: Connect with other podcasters in your niche to find out what works well for them. You can even be a guest on their podcast to reach a new audience and get feedback about your show.
- Friends and peers: Ask them who would be interested in your podcast and why.
Create Your Avatars
Once you have a good idea of the “who” and “why,” create an avatar of your perfect listener—the person who will avidly download, comment, and share anything you produce. Then create the next most likely listener. Be as specific as you like.
Here’s an example: Jacquie and Tony are hairdressers who want to create a podcast. After discussing what they are interested in and what they’d like to address, they came up with these avatars.
Sasha is a black GenZ female in Los Angeles who graduated from her community college with a business degree and a cosmetology license. She’s heard that the city is going to revitalize her old neighborhood, so she wants to start a hair salon where the locals can feel comfortable hanging out, but which can grow as the area does. She loves to laugh and share stories, but she needs straight talk and advice. Don’t waste her time.
Armond learned to cut hair from his barber father. He went abroad to study, but now that he’s back in Chicago, he wants to reconnect to his roots. He is confident in his haircutting skills but not the business side. He also feels the shadow of his father, who was the one the customers turned to for advice and a friend.
Eleanor got her cosmetology license later in life after her husband died of cancer. She feels a calling toward ministering to the elderly and wants to cut hair for people in nursing homes. However, she needs to make it a profitable business.
Looking at your avatars helps determine the topics you want to cover and can help forge a niche. This practice can also help set the tone of the podcast or episode.
2. Develop Excellent, Desired Content
Desired content fulfills a need or interest in the listener. It also has to do so in a way other podcasts do not. It might have a different angle, a different tone (funny, sympathetic, or ranting), or it might include a topic others have not covered.
How to Create High-quality, Useful Content for Your Podcast
At first glance, it may seem like a podcast on just about any topic has the potential to succeed. For example, there are many successful YouTube channels dedicated to livestreaming video game sessions. However, the key to creating a podcast people will listen to is finding a niche, knowing your audience, and developing a distinct personality for your show.
Find Your Niche
With over 750,000 active podcasts, you’re likely to find your general topic is already covered. So, you should look for the niche within the subject matter where you can shine. Your niche does not have to mean a narrow topic—it can also mean a specific show style or format that makes your podcast stand out.
If most of the podcasts in your subject are talk show, academic, or even dry, consider something more entertaining. If they are pulling guests from a certain demographic, such as schools or professional organizations, consider getting guests who work in the field. You don’t have to have a completely different approach, just something that sets you apart that you can promote well.
Use Your Avatars
Let’s use the avatar examples above. Jacquie and Tony may have originally thought their podcast would be about hairdressing tips and accounting advice for anyone starting a business, whether independently or with a franchise. However, after examining their avatars, they realize developing a community is also important to their target audience. It adds a new dimension.
Further, after listening to similar podcasts and researching forums, they discovered that most of the advice given was (as they’d planned) rather generic and did not address the needs of the indie salon owner. Based on this, they tweaked the focus to concentrate on independent salon owners.
Next, they used their avatars to decide on a tone. Despite the desire for community, their listeners, they realized, needed solid advice, how-to information, and tips from people who had succeeded. This helped them narrow down their research and gave them ideas of whom to contact as guests—actual business owners and accountants as opposed to academics.
Finally, they realized the tone had to be friendly and comfortable, but not overly chatty. They decided to break their shows into specific sections so listeners with limited time could jump to the segment they needed.
Host Personality & Content
Host personality can go a long way toward attracting listeners. Let your real self show. If you are funny, be funny. If you are no-nonsense, don’t hold back the straight talk. If you have strong political leanings or cultural influence, let them shine through. In some cases, you may have to be prepared for a backlash, but if you are aiming at the target audience that is the right match for you, your personality will be an asset in the long run.
3. Generate Social Media Buzz
Social media is a marketing staple because it’s popular and easy. Start by creating social media pages for your podcast. You don’t have to create them for every social media platform—just where your target audience most frequents. This means that if your audience spends most of their time on Twitter, create a presence there. If they’re mostly on Facebook, create a Facebook page.
Then, use good graphics, your icon, and an interesting “About” text on your social media pages with keywords that apply to your podcast topic. Be sure to include a link to your podcast and your subscription or newsletter registration pages.
How effectively you market your podcast on social media depends on how well you engage your audience and how often you post. An active social media platform like Twitter means you’ll need to post a lot more than other platforms. For example, Instagram content tends to be highly curated, which means you only need to post about once per day.
- Facebook: Post at least three times per week
- Instagram: Daily, at least
- Twitter: Three to 30 times a day
- LinkedIn: No more than once per business day
- Pinterest: Three times per day at least
- MeWe: At least three times per week
Several social media management sites list the best times to schedule posts. Sprout Social has a detailed analysis by industry. The most important rule of thumb for posting is to create quality content and post consistently.
What to Post on Social Media
Posting and engaging on social media can be a full-time job in itself, so concentrate on quality and staying on-brand. You don’t want to just post business-only content—it should be a healthy mixture of personal interests and podcast-related content.
Here are types of social media posts you could create:
- Announcements of the next episode
- Summary and feedback of the previous episode
- Promoting guests
- Behind the scenes
- Where you got your inspiration for a particular episode
- Questions listeners submit during or after a podcast episode
- Memes that apply to the topics
- Quotes from guests or yourself
- Events relating to your podcast topic
You don’t have to come up with all of it by yourself—it’s perfectly acceptable to reuse content.
How to Encourage Engagement
Posting is only half the battle. You want to find ways to get people to engage with your posts in order to generate buzz, keep you in people’s news feeds, and develop a more loyal audience.
- Ask questions on posts: You can pull these from previous episodes to continue the conversation or post some ahead of time to generate ideas for a future episode.
- Reply to each message and comment: Responding to messages and comments shows that you care about your audience. It also helps create engagement.
- Follow others and comment on their posts: People who are interested in what you say will click on you and see what you’re about. Be sure to do this as your podcast page persona and not from your personal account.
- Create premade tweets: Use a summary or an important quote. Include hashtags and @mentions of your guest’s Twitter accounts too. Then post these with your summary or as an add-on in your blog or website.
What Creating Social Media Buzz Will Cost
It doesn’t cost anything to set up social media accounts. You can create GIFs and memes online using free services. However, to take advantage of some time-saving tools, you may need to get paid plans for certain software. There are several subscription services that offer affordable stock images with easy design features, such as Canva.
Invest in Tools & Software
A social media management tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social allows you to create and schedule content, set up recurring posts, and run analytics to see which posts perform best. Some have tools that let you view and respond to messages and comments on all of your accounts from a single screen. Most have free plans for a limited number of social media accounts, but with paid plans, you get more tools and analytics. A few, like Hootsuite, give you a free paid advertising credit each month.
Memes and GIFs add to social media and generate more engagement and click-throughs. There are GIF makers that have free versions but will put their branding on it. You can get paid accounts to remove the company’s logo. There are also graphics programs like RelayThat that make it easy to create memes for social media.
4. Create a Newsletter
Email continues to be one of the surest ways to connect with your audience. First, listeners choose to receive them, so they are already interested. Second, emails do not get buried in a news stream or disappear in 24 hours, like with social media. With email, you actually own your list of contacts—unlike social media platforms where, if for some reason the platform or a user were to disappear, your contacts are gone. Finally, emails and newsletters can include more information; there are no character limits or cutoffs.
How to Create a Newsletter for Your Podcast
If you do not already have an email address specifically for your podcast, create one. You can use it for setting up your accounts and to keep emails intended for your podcast out of your personal email files.
Next, sign up for an email marketing service like Constant Contact and start a free trial, and then develop a template or adapt one provided to suit your podcast. You might add your logo or a tagline, for example. The newsletter service will also guide you in creating a sign-up form that you can put on your website, your podcast page, and to mention as a link on your podcast.
Plan on emailing your audience at least once a month or before each podcast is about to start. When you are first starting out or you want audience participation, it’s a good idea to email reminders; people will forget until “tuning in” becomes a habit. What you put in your email depends on you.
You’ll want to provide more value than anything you ask in return. For example, you shouldn’t have a pitch in every single email you send out. In fact, when you can give more than you get, you’ll create raving fans who refer others to your show and keep coming back for more.
Ideas for pieces to include in a newsletter are:
- Reminders of the next episode: time, topic, guest
- A short “About” the podcast in general, like a tagline
- A summary of past and future episodes
- Exciting news—can be personal or professional
- Extras—additional interviews with guests, subscriber questions and answers (Q&A)
If you have a special event coming up, a holiday podcast, a charity fundraiser, or an on-location gig, consider using your newsletters to build the buzz. Plan a campaign of three to seven newsletters that start a month or more before the event and end with one the day before and on the day of the event.
Include the important information—time and place—but with each one, highlight a different reason why the event is worth attending. If your podcast is about teaching a skill, include a taste of what the listener will learn. If it’s about a political or cultural issue, highlight why this is an issue and what will be discussed. If you have special guests, share their biography in one email, and a couple of quotes in another. The key is to find ways to build excitement.
What Creating a Newsletter Will Cost
This podcast marketing strategy can be done for free, but as your audience gets bigger, expect to invest some money into the email marketing software. Paid software plans start at $10 per month but can run hundreds per month, depending on the number of subscribers you have. A good rule of thumb is that after you pass 1,000 subscribers, you will be paying around $50 per month. However, this depends on the software you purchase.
A nice thing about newsletters, especially once you have a large, loyal following, is that you can also add affiliate advertising or sell ad space, which helps you recoup your expenses.
How to Use Images in Newsletters
Newsletters can be as simple as a heartfelt email, or they can have links and images. If using images, get them from a copyright-free site like Pixabay or purchase the rights from a stock image site like Shutterstock. These sites offer licenses by the image or have monthly plans that give you credits to apply to images and rights.
5. Grow Your Following
If you can develop a loyal fan base, you can increase your word-of-mouth promotion, which in turn brings in more loyal fans. When your podcast is succeeding, then you’re no doubt collecting a group of people who share a common interest. You can help connect them to each other in order to develop and grow your own community.
How to Develop a Community
A community will be a place where your podcast fans can convene to talk about the show and build camaraderie. It also allows your fans to get to know you on a more intimate level and feel like they’re part of the “in” crowd. To grow a community, you need a place where they can connect.
Some of the more common places to create a community include:
- Facebook groups
- MeWe groups
- Discord or Slack channels
- Website forums
Which platform you choose depends on your audience. You want it to be somewhere they normally hang out or can be enticed to go to on a regular basis. If you don’t pick a commonly used platform, then opt for one that will allow email or text notifications of posts or replies so they are reminded to check in. A mobile application is a useful feature as well.
At first, you’ll want to take an active role in starting discussions, commenting, and making posts. As the group takes on a life of its own, you should still participate, but can ease back. However, it’s a good idea to have some ground rules for behavior and assign some moderators. For example, many groups have rules around no spamming, solicitations, or being rude toward other members.
What Creating a Community of Fans Will Cost
Like with so many marketing strategies, you can find free alternatives. In most cases, there are sufficient free or low-cost platforms that your fans may already use or be familiar with, like Facebook. You may decide to commission a professional logo or branding, which will add on fees. Otherwise, the costs of growing your following include just developing a social media presence and newsletter.
Tools & Software You Need
If you choose a social media site like MeWe or Facebook, you don’t need any special software. Chat software like Discord and Slack are easy to use. Some have paid versions. There are forum apps for websites, or you can look into separate forum services. For example, there are WordPress plugins to host forums on your WordPress site. Wix also has a forum plugin you can add to any Wix website.
6. Get Your Listeners to Promote You
Word of mouth is an often overlooked promotional activity, and yet it’s usually free and as simple as asking your fans to help and making it easy for them to do so. Getting your listeners to advocate for your podcast can be as simple as asking them to subscribe.
What to Ask Your Listeners to Do
There are many actions listeners can take to help you and your podcast. Subscribing is the most obvious answer, but you can also increase listener participation and build your podcast’s following by asking them to leave reviews or participate in a giveaway.
- Subscribe: Even if you keep your podcast free, ask listeners to subscribe. This gives you a tally of interested listeners that you can use when promoting your podcast to guests or advertisers. You can have listeners text a keyword to a certain number to subscribe to the podcast using a service like Textiful.
- Share the link: Ask your listeners to share your podcast link. In addition to mentioning it on-air, include a short link they can copy and paste in a text, email, or social media post.
- Tell them where you are: If you post to aggregators, like iTunes, mention it. It’s easier to verbally ask someone to look up your name on an app than to spell out a link.
- Leave a review: Ask them to leave a review with an aggregator, in the comments section, or on your blog. You can also have them call in and record a review. Reviews don’t have to be lengthy, just heartfelt.
- Invite a friend: Ask them to invite one friend to listen in. You could make this tactic into an event, like when you are covering a special topic, having a charity fundraiser on the air, or bringing in a high-profile guest.
- Post on social media: Just like sharing a link, as them to share their reaction to your podcast. Again, a short link helps a lot.
- Forward the email: Invite your newsletter recipients to forward the email to a friend, and give a link in case their friend wants to sign up for a subscription of their own.
- Use podcast swag: Create some swag and either give it away or sell it, such as T-shirts, mugs, and bumper stickers. Make them attractive, quirky, or profound so they are more likely to get noticed.
- Participate in a contest: Set up a raffle where people can earn chances to win swag or some other prize by promoting your podcast to others. Services like Rafflecopter make it easy.
What Involving Your Listeners Will Cost
For the most part, these strategies require only a few moments of time and no money. Asking listeners to subscribe and review your podcast, or to follow you on social media, just takes a bit of time during each episode. Swag, of course, will incur costs for production and distribution, but you can also sell it.
Tools & Software You Need to Engage Listeners
There are free plugins for taking newsletter subscriptions, connecting to social media, and for shortening links. For subscriptions, you can use the function on your podcast provider.
If you want to set up a premium subscription with additional content or benefits, consider using a service like Patreon. For Patreon, you’ll want to develop benefits and charge for subscriptions. Patreon takes a percentage as a processing fee.
Swag can be made using dropship companies like TeeFury or Zazzle, or ordered with a branding company and sent out personally. Dropship companies are more expensive per item, but you can purchase items individually and set up a store to let others order directly. Purchasing branded products from printing companies usually means ordering in bulk, which is cheaper per item but a more expensive initial investment.
7. Leverage Your Guest’s Audience
Borrowed publicity is still publicity. Your podcast guests often come to you in order to increase their own fan base. There’s no reason you can’t do the same. Be sure that your guest’s fans know about your show and listen in, and you may gain more fans for yourself.
Bring a Guest’s Audience to Your Podcast
Your guests should be encouraging their own fans to listen to them on your show. However, not all will take the time to truly promote it. You can help by making it easier for them to promote their guest appearance on your show:
- Give your guest the pertinent details: This makes it easier for them to share with their fans, including air date and time, link, and what else is happening in that episode.
- Provide a set of promotion emails: Send your guests premade emails they can send out to their lists: one announcing that they will be on the show, one reminding them about the show a week or so before the air date, and one on the day itself. If this is a live show and you are hoping for callers, add a fourth to go out an hour before the show starts that has the link and call-in number.
- Provide an after-the-fact email: This email gives the guest’s fans some highlights of the episode and a link where they can hear the recording. If you are having the episode transcribed or offering bonus content, be sure to mention that as well.
- Provide one or more social media posts: When making your own posts promoting the episode on services like Canva and Easil, make a few extra to send to your guests that they can post from their point of view.
- Create a special offer: Engage your guest’s fans with a free trial subscription or a giveaway if they join your newsletter.
Most of these tactics are just alterations of publicity work you are probably doing anyway, so all you are investing is a little extra time and imagination.
Approach Non-guest Influencers
You don’t need to have someone be a guest to get them to talk about your show. Influencer marketing can also be a great way to get word-of-mouth promotion among people who have a loyal following that trusts them. Start by finding the people who are authorities or popular in the subjects you cover: podcasters, primary participants, leaders, or well-known bloggers.
Once you’ve determined which influencer you want to pitch, you will need to warm up the relationship. No one likes a cold pitch, unless, of course, you’re Oprah, and then pitch away:
- Follow them on social media and comment on posts
- Reach out to them via email
- Meet them at events
- Share a little about your podcast; invite them to listen in
- If you have an episode or event you think they’d be interested in, mention it, but don’t be pushy
- Offer an exchange—“I’ll mention your podcast if you mention mine”—or share advertising
- If you have the money to invest, hire them for a specific campaign or compensate them in another way
Jacob Rogers, the moderator of the free-flowing comedy and movie review podcast “Baconsale,” said that along with word-of-mouth, influencer marketing is one of the main ways they grow their audience. They take opportunities from social media to ComicCons to reach out to influencers in the entertainment industry. Early in their podcasting years, they presented actress Kate Beckinsale with her own Baconsale T-shirt.
8. Submit Your Podcast to Aggregators
When you create a podcast, you can post it on your website or with your podcast host and lead people to those links. Some podcast hosting services have directories of the podcasts they host and followings as well. However, if you want to reach a broader audience, you should connect your podcast to an aggregator, such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify. These services offer apps and directories and make it easy for people to find, download, and listen to podcasts that interest them.
Which Aggregators Should I Submit To?
iTunes is the 800-pound gorilla of podcasting. You need to be there if you want to be heard. According to Podcast Insights, of the more than 750,000 active podcasts, 550,000 are on Apple iTunes or iOS. However, Apple is not the only place, and being on other aggregators can add to your popularity. Check each for genres and how to submit your podcast.
- Overcast (your podcast is automatically listed here if it’s in iTunes)
- Podcast Addict
- Podcast Subreddit
- PodcastLand (your podcast is automatically listed here if it’s in iTunes)
- Bello Collective
- Castro (your podcast is automatically listed here if it’s in iTunes)
- Podcast Republic
- Google Podcasts
Tools & Software for Aggregators
If your podcast is already created, you only need to register for the accounts and connect your RSS feed. Aggregators will pull from your podcast host. Some hosts, like BuzzSprout, will post your podcast to multiple aggregators.
9. Reuse Content
Podcasts are all about content, and there’s no reason you can’t reuse that content to promote your podcast in other ways. You can chop audio into sound bites, repackage it with graphics, combine multiple podcasts at once, and create lists or classes. Presenting the content in a different medium increases your exposure, which can draw people to your podcast for more.
For example, Lore, a podcast that tells historical stories that have a spooky edge to them, also has a series on Amazon Prime. The show episodes have the same audio as the podcast episode, just with added illustrations and reenactments that tell the story visually.
How to Reuse Content
How you reuse content is limited only by your imagination. No matter what you do, include a link back to your podcast in order to make it an effective marketing tool.
- Publish transcripts: Post these for download on your website.
- Create blogs: Start with your own blog, but also look at guest blogging opportunities.
- Post Q&As: You can convert a transcript of an interview into a simple written Q&A. Add an introduction and conclusion, and you’re good to post.
- Submit to magazines and other websites: If you have interesting, useful, or exclusive content, offer it to others. If they don’t pay, ask for advertising, such as links to your site or a graphic ad to run for a given amount of time.
- Publish parts of your podcast to YouTube: Add a visual component to your podcast and post it. You can also break up the podcast into smaller pieces and publish them separately. If you do this, try to make them independent.
- Use in social media: Post tweet-sized quotes, summaries, or the best parts of a podcast. You can post audio or video as well as written words.
- Create memes: Take quotes from your podcast and incorporate them into popular meme formats.
- Publish booklets or complete books: Be sure these are well-edited and have good covers to be effective. They can also generate income.
- Create courses: You can repurpose helpful content as a written or online class and post it on your website or an online course site, or offer it to live and online conventions. For the best results, add extra value like assignments or support materials.
A Warning About Guest Content
If you want to use a guest’s quotes or likeness for anything other than your podcast, you should get written consent. This is vital if you are using it for anything that might generate additional income, but is a good practice even for social media posts. Typically, podcasters will have guests sign a release before recording to preemptively resolve any of these disputes.
Tools & Software You Need to Repurpose Content
Having a transcript can make the process easier. Some podcasting platforms offer transcription, or you can look at transcription services through Fiverr or Rev. When you get the transcript, be sure to edit it again for any errors and to clean up the sentences. What’s acceptable when listening does not always “sound” right when read.
Although podcasting is an auditory medium, when repurposing content for a website or social media, you’ll need visual components. You can find stock photos for free or at stock photo sites. You may also need an image creator or drawing tools like Photoshop or Corel Draw. For books and booklets, you need a cover. You can hire a cover artist or look for premade cover art, which is less expensive and customizable with your title and back matter.
10. Consider Paid Advertising
There are so many free ways to promote a podcast that paid advertising should not be your first choice. However, if you have some available budget or a special episode you want to maximize engagement on, it may be worth considering.
Types of advertising that work well for podcasts include:
- Social media: Boosted Facebook posts and Instagram posts or stories are easy and popular options. Depending on your topic, sponsored Reddit posts can also be effective.
- Search engines: Google Ads can be pricey for particular keywords, but effective in exposing your podcast to a large audience.
- Podcast listening apps: Pay for homepage exposure on a chosen podcast listening app.
- Similar podcasts: Podcasts on similar topics may be willing to promote your podcast in exchange for you promoting theirs, or you can purchase a traditional ad placement.
- Podcast newsletters like Podnews: Podcasts can sponsor a Podnews newsletter, which goes out to over 11,000 podcast fans.
What Online Paid Ads Will Cost
How much you invest in paid advertising depends completely on you. Often there is no set price, but rather, you submit a bid of how much you will pay to place your ad, and a maximum you are willing to pay each month.
There are two ways most online advertising works: pay-per-click and pay-per-conversion. In pay-per-click, if someone clicks on a link in your ad, you pay the service. If you use pay-per-conversion, you determine what conversion means, such as if someone signs up for your newsletter or downloads a specific episode. For pay-per-conversion, you set up a tracking code on the page that acknowledges the transaction (the Thank You for Subscribing screen, for example). When someone follows the link all the way to that page, then you pay the service.
Online advertising, whether by click or by conversion, is usually priced on a bidding system. That means how much each costs depends on several factors: the popularity of the keyword, how much your competitors are willing to pay, and, in some cases, the quality of your ad. In fact, a higher-quality ad will get shown more often than a low-quality ad with a higher bid.
Especially for search engines like Google or Bing, the quality of your ad can make a big difference in your results. Fill in as many of the ad fields as you can to give the most information. Write engaging, high-quality, keyword-rich ad copy. Then, be sure your landing page is also high-quality, well-written, and keyword-rich, and that the keywords in your ad are found on the landing page.
Where to Learn More About Paid Advertising
Many online colleges and online course platforms like Udemy offer classes on how to do pay-per-click marketing for search engines like Google or social media like Facebook. The principles are similar, so when you understand one, you can apply similar tactics to the others. There are free classes, sometimes offered as a teaser for more in-depth programs, as well as full classes that let you get a certification afterward.
More Ideas for Podcast Marketing in 2020
There are countless ways to advertise a podcast. Some of the best solutions are often the most creative. Focus on collaborating with other podcasters to grow your network, publishing regular content to connect with your community, and establishing yourself as an expert on your podcast topic.
Other podcast marketing ideas include:
- Be a guest on other podcasts
- Mention products or other podcasters—they may mention you in return
- Have a “podcast swap” where you and another podcaster interview each other or trade podcasts for one show
- Publish consistently
- Create your website or other written content with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind
- Put a link on your email and forum signatures
- Promote previous episodes on your current podcast
- Join Quora, Help A Reporter Out (HARO), or other communities seeking expert advice
- Consider a billboard if you’re local
Frequently Asked Questions About Podcast Marketing
There are many elements of podcast marketing. A great podcast marketing strategy often combines many different efforts together, such as social media, email marketing and newsletters, and collaboration with podcast guests. However, marketing strategies will likely look a little different for everyone, as there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
What’s the surest way to market a podcast successfully?
There’s no guaranteed recipe for success. It’s part hard work, part smart work, and part luck. However, the first thing you must have is a high-quality product. After that, finding the best way to appeal to your audience and sticking with it are the surest ways to succeed.
Do I have to market my podcast constantly?
Very few podcasters have the time, energy, or skill to do all of these marketing steps all the time. However, you would do better if you pick a couple to do consistently, and then add others as the occasion demands. You may even be able to automate some of them.
For example, for your regular marketing, you may create some stock memes for your podcast and schedule them on social media on a recurring basis, then supplement with extra posts. Plus, you may have a newsletter that you run monthly with information about past and upcoming podcasts. Additionally, you may consistently submit your podcast episodes to five aggregators.
However, when you have a high-profile guest with his own following, you can create a newsletter run for him to promote his appearance on your site, plus a small script or social media post for him to share with his followers. You might also spring for some paid Facebook ads or a Rafflecopter contest.
How can I know which podcast marketing tactics work?
One of the easiest ways is to create a tracking link that is unique to the piece of marketing. In this way, you can see exactly which links generated clicks that brought people to your site or resulted in a subscription. One of the most popular is Bit.ly. It has a free account, but check out the paid plans for more features and powerful analytics.
You can also check analytics provided by your social media sites, website, newsletter software, and many other tools used for marketing.
Podcasts offer a unique opportunity because anyone can create a high-quality podcast that reaches thousands or millions of people. However, there is also a lot of competition for visibility. To truly succeed at building a loyal podcast fan base, you will need to promote yourself. This guide offers the basic tool set, but it’s up to you to put in the time and effort into using those tools to build your fan base.