Podcast Marketing: 3 Sure-Fire Ways to Grow Your Audience
Podcasts are an extraordinary way to build a connection with your audience.
When they tune in, you’re literally in their ears. And because they can listen to you while driving, running, and shopping, it almost feels like they’re having a chat with a good friend.
In a noisy world of video and written content, that attention is gold. Research shows that as much as one-third of Americans aged 25 to 54 listen to podcasts monthly, and the number of shows podcast fans listen to has increased by 40% compared to 2017.
There’s room for everyone to grow a loyal audience. However, podcasts are not becoming just more popular for the listeners, but also for creators, so it’s harder to stand out.
Apple confirmed that there are over 550,000 podcasts. This means that running a podcast is a good path to take—but it also makes it harder to be found.
Another factor that contributes to this is the fact that, unlike blog posts or YouTube videos, podcasts don’t have a ‘home’ as such. Podcast episodes live on platforms such as iTunes and Google Podcasts, and they won’t necessarily be the first place for someone to look for content on a specific topic.
Podcasts live in sort of a vacuum, and more effort is required to get them in front of their target audience.
Blog posts get easily found on search engines, and YouTube is hyper-advanced in recommending similar topics to users based on their viewing history. Unlike them, podcasts live in sort of a vacuum, and more effort is required to get them in front of their target audience. That’s why podcast marketing might require a different approach than blog or website promotion.
Here are two pieces of good news, though:
- Podcast listeners are much more active on every social media channel (94% are active on at least one – vs 81% for the entire population)
- Podcast listeners are more likely to follow companies and brands on social media
This makes a strategic podcast promotion plan even more valuable. You can create assets and templates that will increase your podcast’s presence on social media and in highly relevant communities.
If you follow the three strategies we’re covering in this guide, you’ll end up with a start-to-finish plan to get the most mileage out of every episode.
And what’s even better, you’ll be efficient while doing so! Let’s get started.
Before we get to the focused promotion part of the process, it’s important to first set some foundation and increase your chance of being found organically.
This is a challenge for podcasters because you’ll notice that many results when searching for category-specific podcasts aren’t the podcasts themselves, but lists of podcasts that others aggregated:
However, there are still plenty of ways to show up directly in search results. First, Google has started classifying podcast content as a separate format, as well as sort them by categories:
Secondly, any interview you’ve done on your podcast can show up as the relevant result when someone searches for interviews with that person. Here’s an example of Ryan Robinson’s interview with Noah Kagan (Appsumo and Sumo.com founder) ranking as the most relevant result (above several video results!):
Here are actions you can take to improve your podcast SEO and market your podcast better.
Get clear with keywords in your titles and descriptions
Many podcasts are branded, which means that their main title often won’t contain any of the relevant keywords.
For example, a business podcast by Pat Flynn is called The Smart Passive Income podcast. However, here’s the full title of his podcast on iTunes, along with the description:
As you can see, there are keywords such as online business, blogging, marketing, affiliate marketing, social media, and more throughout his full title and description.
Make sure that even if your podcast name doesn’t naturally contain any obvious keywords, both people and search engines can quickly grasp what it’s about. Be clear and to the point.
This will also help iTunes and other podcast platforms recommend your podcast next to those that cover similar topics as you do! Podcast marketing made simple 🤓
Bonus tip: If you can, get a developer to help you follow Google’s guidelines on structuring your content to be recognized as a podcast in search results.
Create in-depth shownotes with links and resources
Have you been avoiding creating a blog post for each episode? This will make you think again.
The first, obvious benefit of episode shownotes are the resources you’ve mentioned in the episode, all sorted in one place for your listeners to reference and come back to.
But there’s a less obvious and equally important advantage of shownotes: a chance to link to relevant external links, your other resources, as well as to ask for positive reviews. All of these help you leverage your podcast marketing and your website overall.
You can see an example of this in the earlier mentioned episode by Ryan Robinson:
Transcribe your episodes
It’s simple: Google, iTunes, or any other search or recommendation engine can’t actually ‘listen’ to your audio content. They rely on your text input to understand the content of an episode.
Once you have your transcripts, you can base your entire shownotes page on it and add links throughout, or add it below your list of resources—whatever suits the style of your blog and website overall.
Create a Social Media Podcast Promotion Plan
If you’re not sure what to do on social media once you’ve posted about your episode on publish day, you’ll love this part because you’ll get to create a library of assets to market your podcast in a creative way with each new episode.
But first, here is a sample timeline you can use as your podcast promotion plan:
- 24 to 48 hours before the episode publish time: tease the most interesting insight from the episode
- Publish day: share 2-3 times on Twitter as well as once on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram (post and stories), and Pinterest; pin your tweet and Facebook post to the top of your profile
- First week: share 3-4 more times on Twitter, once more on Facebook, and once more on Instagram stories
- After first week: add this episode to a recurring promotion queue on Twitter and Pinterest with your other episodes; you can use tools like SmarterQueue and Tailwind for this
- After two weeks: create a video for IGTV by editing your episode down to main takeaways
By using this schedule, you can catch different potential listeners at various times across platforms. For example, the IGTV video might get in front of people who haven’t seen when you shared the episode on Instagram stories the first time around.
Set up a Library of Textual and Visual Assets
If you’re looking at the plan above and wondering how to promote an episode so much without annoying your audience, here’s the trick: a variety of formats. Try some of these ideas for your podcast marketing!
Pre-written social copy
Take some time and write a list of 5-10 main takeaways, alternative titles, and most interesting points from your episode. Each of your bullet points can then become the main message for a tweet, a Facebook post, and more.
Here are some templates for inspiration:
- If you’ve ever wondered what is [guest]’s favorite tool for [topic], she talks about it in-depth in this episode of [your podcast name]!
- Are you struggling with [topic]? [Guest] and I had a long chat about it and s/he shared how he achieved [outcome 1] and [outcome 2]. You won’t want to miss this!
A great example of this comes from Everyone Hates Marketers podcast on Twitter:
Episode promotion images
You can get super creative with your images beyond just your episode title and your guest’s headshot.
Just like with text, you can communicate a different message each time—with the advantage of grabbing even more attention compared to text-only.
Again, you’ll want to get creative and have various messages on your images, such as:
- Episode title
- Most interesting quotes (one quote per image)
- A list of key takeaways
- A single takeaway per image
Of course, don’t forget that every social media platform has its best practices when it comes to image sizes. The easiest way to create great-looking images in correct sizes is by using a tool like Canva, which also comes with many pre-made layouts you can use and adjust to your brand style and colors.
Episode promotion videos
Unsurprisingly, videos are our favorite way for podcast marketing.
There are many reasons for this. Videos work incredibly well for podcasts on Instagram. They increase campaign efficiency on essentially every platform. And they have the power to stop social media users in their scrolling and fully capture their attention.
On top of that, they can help you share snippets of your actual episode and get potential listeners hooked before they’ve even clicked through to your episode.
You can cut your audio into several short snippets (15 to 30 seconds) and turn them into sneak peeks of your episode. Then, you can:
- Create a video by adding on-screen animated text that matches the points covered in the clip
- Turn a static image with a quote or a takeaway into a video with a sound animation
Finally, you can adjust your podcast snippet videos to the optimal size for each of the social media platforms with a single click.
The final part of an efficient podcast marketing plan is a conscious effort to get in front of audiences of other people and brands, as well as already formed communities.
Here are our three favorite ways to do that.
Get in front of your guest’s audience
Obvious, right? Well, the key to getting your guests to promote their episode with you is to make it as easy as possible to them.
The key to getting your podcast guests to promote their episode is to make it as easy as possible to them.
So instead of asking them to share if they get a chance, give them everything they need without putting in extra work:
- Create pre-written tweets that are in their tone and that align with how they spoke in the episode; instead of just giving them the text, generate links with Click to Tweet so that they can share in a single click
- Send them images and videos in various dimensions
- Share with them the links to social posts you’ve already published so that they can easily re-share them
And of course, don’t forget to thank them!
Join podcast-specific communities
Just like you, other podcasters have also found themselves stuck in their promotion activities.
This is why the best thing you could do is join and support them! It’s one of the best ways to create friendships around something that fires you up while spreading the word about your show.
Here are some ideas on platforms and communities you can join:
- Podcast Support Group (Facebook)
- Podcasting Technology Resource Group (LinkedIn)
- /r/podcasts (Reddit)
- Podcast Movement (Facebook)
- Blubrry Podcasting Community Forum (Blubrry)
Search through your favorite platforms to find more groups like this. Of course, don’t forget to respect the rules of each group when it comes to promoting your own content!
Join industry-specific communities
Finally, step outside the podcasting world and look for online groups where your ideal podcast audience already hangs out.
This will help you not only to become seen as an expert in your industry but also to gain insights on some key challenges and concerns your audience has, which will give you topic ideas for new episodes and resources.
You can look for these people and groups on:
- Instagram (hashtags)
- Twitter (hashtags)
Make sure that being useful and insightful is your priority over any sort of promotion. As you keep contributing to these conversations, you will be able to share specific podcast episodes and relevant insights without coming across as pushy or promotional.
Over to You
Your podcast can become an invaluable resource to your target listeners, but that can only happen if they find you.
With focused podcast marketing efforts like SEO, a strategic approach to social media, and just a few relevant and warm communities, you can take your podcast miles ahead.
Remember to get creative with your copy, images, and videos. Create your podcast video in Wave.video and see which formats and platforms perform the best. Then, rinse and repeat!