Before you dive in, if you are interested in podcast sponsorship, check out these titles in our “sponsorship for podcasters” series:
- Resource Page for Podcast and Influencer Sponsorship
- The Complete Guide to Podcast Sponsorship
- How to Get Sponsorships for Podcasts: 6 Steps to Success
- How to Grow a Podcast
- How Much Should You Charge for Podcast Sponsorship
You’ve got what you believe is a really good thing going with your podcast. The only thing is that listenership is nowhere near what you imagined it would be by this point. You think it’s time to start marketing your podcast, but how?
Here’s how to market your podcast:
- Social media marketing
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Website marketing
In this guide to podcast marketing, I’ll go over each of the 7 strategies listed above and provide plenty of information and actionable tips for promoting your podcast. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be ready to take your podcast to the next level!
How to Market a Podcast: 7 Tactics to Incorporate Into Your Podcast Promotion Strategy
Alright, so let’s just get advertising out of the way first, as it’s a big one.
When most people talk about podcast advertising, they mean when someone pays you ad dollars to get a commercial on your podcast.
That’s great for them, but it does nothing to get new listeners to your podcast.
You need to advertise your podcast outside of your podcast, and you have plenty of ways to do that. Let’s go over them now.
- Radio ads: Another podcast is not likely to agree to promote you during an ad on their own podcast, but a radio station? That’s a different story. You can select from traditional and digital radio stations. Radio still has huge listenership, by the way. According to Statista, 62 percent of Americans listen to the radio about every week.
- Streaming service ads: Streaming music such as Apple Music, Spotify, IHeartRadio, and similar services beat out radio listenership by a huge margin and are thus appealing options for ads. Cloud software Cloudwards states that about 60 percent of households in the US are subscribed to at least one audio streaming service.
- Social media ads: Reaching the billions of social media users across various platforms is also a great way to introduce your podcast. You’d select a social media platform that has the highest segment of your target audience members, pay for an ad, run it, and track it. Social media sites let you do it all from one platform.
- Banner ads: One of the simplest and old-school-est types of online ads is the humble banner ad. A banner ad usually includes at least a photo but can have a video, animations, and more. The ad appears on a website and aims to get users to click and be redirected.
- Native ads: You may know native advertising by its other name, sponsored content. Blending right into the platform on which it appears–be that email, social media, or a website–a native ad could get more clicks since it’s less conspicuous.
The first step in advertising your podcast is determining which type of advertisement is best.
Keep in mind that I stuck primarily toInternet advertising and audio advertising in that list above because yours is a podcast.
Sure, you could always look into print media ads or out-of-home advertising such as billboards, but neither are appropriate for your goals or your audience.
Next, you must have an advertising budget. A good rule is that you should dedicate two to five percent of sales revenue on advertising.
That doesn’t sound like a lot, but a good ad campaign will usually run you several thousand dollars depending on the type of ads you’re interested in.
According to Fit Small Business, in 2022, to keep an ad on the radio, your weekly fees will be between $200 and $5,000.
Social media advertising costs a pretty penny as well, with digital marketing resource WebFX predicting that your daily costs are between $15 and $200 and that your monthly social media advertising costs are up to $6,000.
Many Internet ads use the pay-per-click or PPC model where you pay a sum to the ad publisher.
You’re not just throwing money into the ether, of course. You should be using your various advertising platforms to gauge the effectiveness of your campaign.
If an ad campaign is underperforming, you might want to revise the target audience that sees the ad or reconsider the ad content itself.
Social Media Marketing
Okay, I told you that would be a lot, but now let’s talk about your next podcast marketing method, and that’s social media marketing.
Social media marketing entails using social media platforms to spread your message and, in this case, grow your podcast.
Fortunately, social media marketing can fulfill several goals at once, including better brand awareness, exposure, more customer loyalty, better audience insights, and improved SEO (more on this later).
To make the most of social media marketing, you need a strategy. That begins with determining which platform is the best for you to reach your target audience.
If your target audience is the younger crowd between 18 and 25, then try Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.
For those over 25, there’s Facebook, Twitter, and even Snapchat. LinkedIn is for those between 45 and 65.
Once you know which platform(s) you’ll use, you can begin running the aforementioned social media advertising campaign.
The ads will generate new attention to your page, so you better make sure that’s optimized. You want to fill out all your profiles 100 percent. Don’t leave any blank areas.
Use a profile photo that’s professional such as a logo or even your face as the podcast host. That said, choose a headshot for your profile photo and not a selfie.
Be sure to link to your website. You do have a website, right? If not, I’ll have a whole section on website marketing that will inspire you to build a site today.
What you post on social media matters. You need to create value in everything you post, which means providing educational, informative, and/or entertaining content that your audience will enjoy seeing on their timelines.
In other words, posting podcast links every time you go live is not going to be enough.
If you’ve transcribed a podcast or you have a new blog post up (I’ll talk about blogging momentarily), that kind of content is valuable.
Feel free to share other content you find around the Internet that pertains to podcasting in general or your podcasting topic and share that.
Engaging with your audience is huge as well. When people comment on your posts, reply!
Being active on social media means treading a fine line between posting just the right number of times per day or week and posting way too often.
According to marketing resource Hootsuite, here’s how often you should post on social media in 2022:
- LinkedIn – at least once per day and no more than five times per day
- Twitter – at least once per day and no more than five times per day
- Facebook – one to two times a day
- Instagram – three to seven times a week
How do you know if your social media campaign is successful?
Your accounts will begin generating more followers. You’ll notice an increase in engagement when you post, as you’ll earn more likes and comments.
The content that you cross-post from your site to your social media will get more attention, which means an influx of organic traffic as well.
One of the broadest umbrellas in all of marketing is content marketing, as it encompasses so many various types of content.
For example, there’s video marketing, blogging, whitepapers, eBooks, webinars, checklists, infographics, case studies, reviews and testimonials, lead magnets, and podcasts.
Yes, podcasts are a form of content marketing!
Now, I’m sure you have two questions after seeing that list above. One, isn’t podcasting enough content marketing for you? And two, do you really have to use all those other forms of content?
While podcasting is a form of content marketing, you’re treating your podcast as more of a product. You’d use content marketing outside of podcasting to promote your product, which is the podcast.
Thus, yes, I do recommend other forms of content marketing besides just your podcast.
That said, you do not have to use every type of content I listed. That was purely to give you an idea of what kinds of content are out there. That’s not a hard and fast list of what you have to produce.
At the very least, I’d recommend starting with a blog.
I’m sure you’re wondering what in the world you could blog about when you talk about topics at length during your podcast?
Well, at the very least, you can transcribe episodes of your podcast, but that’s more supplemental blog content than the meat and bones.
I encourage you to think about your favorite podcast episodes that you’ve done and consider how you can convert them to blog content.
Keep in mind that you don’t solely have to write about your topic or niche. You can also blog about podcasting as a whole.
Try writing about how to start podcasting, the equipment you need, and what a podcaster’s schedule looks like. Put a personal spin on these topics so they’re more unique.
What other types of content would I suggest for a podcaster? Video is quickly becoming the most preferred type of content.
Marketing resource Oberlo notes in 2022 that the US has 244.4 million digital video viewers. That is such a ridiculously large number of people that video reaches.
Coming up with a video marketing plan isn’t that different from creating an editorial calendar. Maybe a topic or several that you’ve talked about on the show would convert really well to a video format.
Granted, getting in front of a camera when you’re used to people hearing and not seeing you can be awkward at first, but with your experience, you’ll get used to it rather quickly.
I do want to go back and mention editorial calendars again because they’re important.
The goal is to create a content posting schedule, be that blog posts, videos, or whatever your current content is. You want to post at least twice per week and work your way up to posting four times per week!
Email marketing is another means of growing your podcast and one you should certainly use.
Marketing resource HubSpot notes that in 2022, four billion people log into email daily.
Your goal with email marketing is to build an email list of your own and engage with your audience. Email marketing is a fantastic way to convert leads to customers and build customer loyalty.
How do you even get contacts for an email list? It all goes back to your website, which I will talk more about a little later.
For now, know that your website needs what is known as an opt-in form.
This is a pop-up that appears on your website when a user is scrolling. The pop-up asks for their contact information in exchange for something.
That something is known as a lead magnet.
Most lead magnets are content that a lead would find valuable. (Now you see where content marketing comes in handy, huh?)
For example, if you had an eBook, you could use a few chapters of that. As a podcaster, you could send several transcripts.
The lead gets their transcripts when they share their email address, and their email goes into your contacts. As you accumulate more email addresses, you officially have an email list.
You’d then communicate with your email list by sending them all the nature of emails. Here’s a list.
- Welcome emails: When a subscriber joins your email list, this should be the first email they see. A welcome email is brief, greeting the reader and telling them what they should expect regarding future communication from you.
- Transactional emails: If you ever get to the point where your podcast sells products like merch or even webinar access, when someone makes a purchase, they’d receive a transactional email. Transactional emails are most often confirmation emails but not exclusively.
- Internal updates: What’s going on with your podcast? Do you have a new member joining the team? Did someone leave? When these kinds of matters arise, you’d send an internal update. People like seeing a more transparent side to companies, so these emails–although rare–will be welcome.
- Newsletter: How do you keep your audience engaged between podcast episodes? With an email newsletter, of course! Your newsletter can be monthly or even quarterly. Write about internal changes you didn’t mention in an email, future podcast guests, and other exciting news.
- Product emails: Thinking of your podcast as a product, whenever a new episode is about to drop, you should email your audience and let them know. Bonus points if email subscribers can listen early.
You don’t always have to sit at your computer waiting to press the send button. Email automation allows you to schedule your emails and send them without you having to do a thing. It’s worth the money!
How often should you send emails? This is one of the most hotly debated questions among marketers, and there’s no one right answer.
If your audience likes frequent communication, then give them frequent communication. When I say frequent, I mean once a day though, not five times.
As for the best time of day to send emails, that’s a little more cut and dried. According to mailing resource Mailmunch, Tuesday remains the most popular day for emails, followed by Thursday and Wednesday.
The most popular time slot for emails is 10 a.m. on Tuesday, then Thursday at 8 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m., Thursday at 6 a.m., and Thursday at 10 a.m.
Marketing your podcast doesn’t always have to be so complex, of course. With a contest, you can enjoy a temporary uptick in social media and website traffic.
What kind of contest should you do? Well, scavenger hunts are popular, as are photo contests. Even a comment to win a contest where you select someone at random will do it.
You might make the entry requirements that all participants must be following you on social media and be signed up to your email list, as you’ll notify the winner through email. That’s a surefire way to build your email list fast.
You can promote the contest on your podcast as well as through your advertising if you have room in the budget. You should write a blog, make a video, and post about the contest on social media as well.
If you want your contest to generate a real buzz, you have to give out a fabulous prize. Cold, hard cash is always appreciated, as is a gift card, a restaurant voucher, or a gift certificate.
Your website is one of the single most important facets of your entire podcast marketing strategy.
It’s where leads will land when they click your ads. It’s what they’ll see when they search for you on social media after hearing about you on the radio.
Your website is where your blog lives, where you generate new subscribers to your email list. It’s hugely, critically important.
If you don’t have a website, that’s okay. You can design one that’s ready to go rather than take hours to slog through a redesign.
Your website, at the very least, needs a basic hierarchical structure. That means you need a homepage, about page, a blog page, and maybe a landing page if you get into selling products.
The rule of thumb is that it should take a user three clicks or fewer to get to wherever on your site they want to go. That means easy-to-use navigation is critical.
Some websites have traveling navigation bars that move with you as you scroll. Others have navigation bars that only stay at the top. No matter which you choose, your navigation should be clean and concise.
I would say that’s the rule of thumb for your website design in general. Keep elements uncluttered. Don’t be afraid of some empty space in the background, especially if it makes navigation easier.
I can’t talk about website marketing without discussing search engine optimization or SEO.
For the uninitiated, SEO dictates where your website appears in search engine results when someone searches for a vague phrase like “fishing podcasts.”
You want to ideally occupy the very top spot, and if not that, then be on the front page.
If you’re on page two, your podcast might as well not even exist.
How do you get to number one? You have to use SEO, which is by far the most complex marketing strategy on this list.
Google, the search engine giant that determines the site ranking algorithm, changes the rules to the game all the time.
Staying on top of SEO is a constant battle, but there are some timeless tactics you can utilize that will help boost your ranking.
- Mobile optimize your website: What does it mean to be mobile optimized? Your website will load similarly on both desktop computers and smartphones and other mobile devices, the latter of which people use in growing numbers.
- Prioritize website loading speed: If it takes more than a few seconds for your site to load, then it might be time to shrink photos, compress content, and change hosting services.
- Produce quality content: Content that keeps search intent in mind is Google’s latest algorithm change. If you write truly exceptional content, you could end up as the featured snippet, which puts you at the top of the page.
- Add keywords to your website page URLs: You already insert keywords into your blog content, but what about your website page URLs? If not, that’s a missed opportunity for boosting your SEO.
Marketing your podcast means utilizing a combination of advertising, social media, content marketing, email marketing, SEO, website design, and even some contests from time to time. This guide should be a great starting point in creating your podcast marketing strategy. Good luck!
- About the Author
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Chris Baylis is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Sponsorship Collective.
After spending several years in the field as a sponsorship professional and consultant, Chris now spends his time working with clients to help them understand their audiences, build activations that sponsors want, apply market values to their assets and build strategies that drive sales.
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