101 Tactics to Promote Your Podcast (The Definitive Podcast Marketing Guide)
Over the years, most content mediums have grown more sophisticated, more dependent on technology, and more in line with futuristic experiences, like AR and VR. However, one somewhat archaic medium’s recent and unprecedented surge in popularity has content marketers everywhere rethinking their strategies.
Enter the podcast. Originally introduced in the early 2000s to coincide with the release of the iPod, these (typically) audio-only weekly or semi-weekly broadcasts have been undergoing a massive renaissance, with 40 percent of adults having listened to podcasts, and 24 percent of adults having listened to one in the past month.
Breakout hit podcasts like Serial, which is credited with playing a major role in the recent resurgence in popularity, have helped to redefine the medium, and hundreds of influencers have flocked to snatch up a piece of the pie.
Podcasts are especially attractive because they don’t cost much to produce (in terms of time or money). Anyone with a decent microphone and knowledge on a particular subject can talk for an hour and release an episode (though high-quality podcasts take more effort, as we’ll see), and if you can build up a big enough audience, you’ll see a surge of traffic to your site, or a new stream of revenue from advertising opportunities, or both.
The catch, of course, is that building an audience isn’t easy. There’s a lack of in-depth resources on the subject, which is why I wanted to put together this list of 101 tactics you can use to market your podcast. Ultimately, these tactics will seek to accomplish one (or more) of three goals:
· Attract new listeners. Though quality often means more than quantity, success in podcasting is often a numbers game. More listeners means more potential traffic.
· Retain old listeners. You also need to keep the listeners you already have; loyalty and recurring listenership are keys to success.
· Convert existing listeners. You’ll also need a way to “convert” those listeners, to build actual revenue or influence further actions.
So if you can, use as many of these tactics as possible to grow your podcast’s range of influence:
1. Make sure your podcast doesn’t suck. Before you do any planning (or any execution), take some time to listen to some podcasts that already have a substantial following. You can use any podcast app or podcast directory to browse for the most frequently downloaded casts, but make sure to search for popular podcasts in your own industry. Get a feel for what makes a “good” podcast before moving on. Above all, it should be unique, and offer value to listeners, whether in the form of entertainment, humor, advice, emotional support, guidance, news, analysis, stories, or simply creating a community. No amount of marketing tactics will work if your podcast sucks.
2. Choose a good podcast hosting platform. Your podcast is going to be syndicated using an RSS feed, and you’re going to need a good podcast hosting platform to generate that RSS feed, syndicate it automatically, and provide you with a central “command hub” where you can edit things like your podcast’s title, description, keywords, and other metadata. Furthermore, a podcast hosting platform allows you to access analytics that are crucial to know about your podcast, such as total downloads, downloads by day, downloads by episode, technology being used by your listeners, and traffic sources for your listeners. I have used Libsyn for podcast hosting, as well as Backtracks.fm.
3. Publish your podcast everywhere. iTunes is probably the most common place to list your podcast, but it’s best to list your podcast in as many podcast directories as are relevant to your subject. There are dozens of directories available, each serving a different segment of users, and it won’t take much effort to list your podcast in each one. For a good start, ensure your podcast is listed in these directories: iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, SoundCloud, Stitcher, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, blubrry, Podbay, and Podtail. Your podcast hosting platform may provide you with ways to get syndicated in other popular directories or outlets, such as iHeartRadio, too.
4. Keyword-optimize your podcast listings. You can (and should) optimize your podcasts for search, both for typical Google searches (when they’re hosted on your site) and for the search engines of each respective podcast directory. Fortunately, most of them work the same. You’ll want to include target keywords in your podcast name and description, as well as each individual episode’s name and description. I recently helped a video game podcast called What’s Good Games change their name in the Apple Podcasts app from “What’s Good Games” to “What’s Good Games: A Video Game Podcast” in an effort to rank in search results for keywords “video games” and “video game podcast.” The result? They went from not appearing in the search results for either keyword to displaying #2. Huge results for such a simple tweak!
5. Create a website for your podcast. Next, create a domain that you can use to “anchor” your podcast’s brand. When you release new episodes, you’ll do it through podcast directories, but you’ll also need a space for information on your podcast, including news, blog posts, and an archive of older episodes. This will be incredibly helpful for other tactics.
6. SEO-optimize your website. It’s one thing to have a website, but it’s another to have a website that gets found by potential listeners. Use search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to ensure your website gets as much search visibility as possible in order to continually attract new listeners. For help, see 101 Ways to Improve Your Website’s SEO.
7. Publish keyword-optimized content on high-authority publications. If your keyword is “video game podcasts” then wouldn’t it be great if your podcast was included in a list of the best new video game podcasts? Sure it would! Work with journalists, columnists, and contributors at various media publications to pitch them ideas for such a round-up. You never know who might work with you to create such a list which includes your podcast! You can work with PR or content marketing agencies to help match you with journalists who might be interested in working with you.
8. Create a page on your website that lists all the locations listeners can find you. When a potential listener comes across your website, you want to maximize the chances of turning them into a loyal listener. Do so by creating a page on your website that lists all the locations your podcast can be viewed or listened to, with easily clickable links to each one. Some users will prefer to listen to your podcast on Spotify, while others will prefer SoundCloud, while still others will prefer to watch on YouTube. Accommodate everyone here.
9. Tap your network for initial listeners. Your first few regular listeners will be the hardest to get, so get whoever you can. Talk to friends, family members, and employees to drum up initial interest. Ask them to share it with their friends, colleagues, and social media audiences, too.
10. Submit a press release to announce your podcast’s launch. When you launch your podcast initially, take the time to write up and syndicate a press release, which should only cost you a few hundred dollars on PR Newswire or PRWeb. You’ll get some new inbound links to the podcast website, and a burst of initial exposure to new potential audiences.
11. Pay for initial advertising. Once you’ve figured out what keywords to target, consider paying for paid advertising on Google Adwords, Reddit Ads, and Facebook Ads — at least as a temporary measure. Your first listeners are going to be the hardest to get, so it’s worth the money you’ll spend to net early listeners.
12. Pay to be mentioned in other related podcasts. If you know of another similar podcast with lots of listeners, consider paying the other podcast to announce your podcast’s launch and recommend it. You can even rent their email list to make an announcement via email.
13. Ask your listeners to subscribe at the start of each episode. The best way to keep listeners coming back to your podcast is to get them to subscribe, so they automatically download or listen to your latest episodes. Accordingly, it’s on you to request that your listeners subscribe (preferably at the beginning and end of each episode).
14. Periodically ask your social media audiences to subscribe in Apple’s Podcasts app. According to a 2015 study, 82% of mobile podcast listening happens on iPhone, mostly using Apple’s Podcasts app. Be sure to remind your social media audiences periodically to find your podcast in the Apple Podcasts app and subscribe to it.
15. Keyword-optimize each individual episode. Each episode you release will likely deviate in some small way from your main keyword targets, so spend some time optimizing each episode for search. For example, since What’s Good Games is a video game podcast, their episode topics will cover different news and different games. While the general topic of the show is “video games,” one episode might be particularly relevant to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, while the next might be focused on Horizon: Zero Dawn. Be sure to optimize the titles, keywords, and descriptions of each episode for their topics of relevance so they can be found easier by potential listeners.
16. Create robust, keyword-rich show notes for each episode. Your show notes are the description, keywords, timestamps, and other metadata that will be included with every episode you publish. Take the time to create compelling, interesting notes that compel people to go ahead and start listening. Nothing is quite as much of a turnoff as boring show notes.
17. Use eye-catching logo/background art. Most podcast listings display a piece of background art associated with the show; typically a brand logo. You can use this opportunity to catch prospective new listeners’ attentions; create a piece of art that falls in line with your brand, and preferably one with a single, dominating color, with elements that don’t make it appear too crowded. Often, this art will be viewed on a mobile device (two-thirds of podcasts are listened to on a phone or tablet), so ensure that the text is large and easily readable on a small screen. Use your image or icon stand out from the other podcasts in the list.
18. Ask for shares and recommendations early on. The fastest way to grow is for the word to spread through other people. You can make this happen faster by deliberately asking for shares and recommendations early on; you can do this on air or off air, depending on your preferences.
19. Create social accounts for your hosts and your podcast brand. After naming your podcast, you probably thought to claim the social profiles for it on mainstream platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Make sure to fully flesh out your profile on each of those platforms. Then, claim profiles for each of your hosts (if they haven’t already been claimed); to make your podcast successful, you’ll want the power of personal branding to amplify your messages.
20. Have your hosts promote the podcast on their personal and business social media accounts. Your hosts are going to become the face of the brand, so they need to be active on social media, interacting and engaging with users, and promoting the podcast.
21. Build your social media following. If a tree falls in a Facebook page and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Aggressively build your social media likes and followers using interest-based targeting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and wherever else is relevant for your podcast. For help, see 101 Ways to Get More Social Media Followers.
22. Syndicate your podcasts on social media. Whenever you release a new episode of your podcast, announce it and syndicate it across your social media channels — both on your main brand’s social channels and on the personal accounts of your podcast’s hosts. If you’re publishing weekly, consider also scheduling follow-up announcements a day or two after it’s released.
23. Tweet a SoundCloud link for every new episode. People can play SoundCloud audio right from their Twitter stream, so go ahead and push your SoundCloud link on Twitter. Be sure to schedule follow-up tweets at later days and times, too, since Twitter is a fast-moving platform where tweets quickly get pushed down by other, newer tweets.
24. List your podcast in content discovery apps. Next, list yourself in content discovery apps, such as Stitcher, which connects listeners to thousands of different radio shows and services, and blog readers like Feedly.
25. Add your podcast link to your email signature. How many emails do you send every day? Think of how many new people could learn about your podcast if you took the simple step of adding a blurb and a link to it in your email signature.
26. Get theme music. You don’t need to hire an especially accomplished composer; even a string of a few notes can serve as your introduction music. Some podcasts even rely on a basic sound effect. The key here is to cue the listener that your podcast is about to begin, and differentiate it from competitors. If it’s catchy, all the better. Theme music becomes associated with positive emotions if your users hear it every time they start a new episode (assuming they enjoy your podcast). Those positive emotions translate to longer listening times, a more engaged audience, more word-of-mouth referrals, and higher conversion rates when it comes to monetization.
27. Score your episodes. In the same way, you should consider musically scoring your episodes. Narrative formats, which tell dramatic stories, need scoring more than discussion panels, but a bit of background noise and music reflective of the mood can take any podcast to the next level.
28. Choose a strategic time to publish your podcasts. Look at some of the podcasts syndicated by your competing brands. When do they roll out new episodes? If you want to avoid getting lost in the clutter, choose a publication day that’s offset from those competing times. Or, if you choose to release your episode at the same time as your competitors, make sure do one or more of the following: 1) have a better show; 2) promote it better.
29. Be consistent. Whatever you do, do it consistently. Consistency is the best way to make sure your current listeners keep coming back for more. If you run half an hour, keep your podcasts at half an hour. If you post every Friday, keep posting every Friday, and never miss an episode. Listeners will make your show a part of their routine, and missing even one episode could break those habits and cause you to lose listeners, or have them doubt your consistency.
30. Promote specific episodes using Facebook ads. Whenever you publish a new episode, use Facebook ads to promote the Apple Podcasts App link to that episode (targeting iOS users on Facebook) or the Stitcher URL (for mobile users not using an iOS device). Here’s a fantastic step-by-step walkthrough on how to do it.
31. Promote your main podcast page (in the Apple Podcasts app) using Facebook ads. As we learned earlier, 82% of mobile podcast listening happens on iPhones, so target your audience where and when they’re most likely to take action: when they’re on their iPhone. You can set up an ad that targets only users who are accessing Facebook using an iOS device, and which opens the Podcasts app and takes the user right to your main podcast page within the app. Here, they can view your latest episodes and subscribe. Compare running these ads targeted to people who like your page as well as people who don’t, and see what gives you a better ROI.
32. Hold contests to get more ratings and reviews. Try holding contests where your listeners can win prizes in exchange for leaving a review of your podcast in iTunes. The condition of entry would be that they leave a review and then email it to you in exchange for a chance to win the prize.
33. Experiment with multiple formats. There are multiple ways to pull audio for your podcast, so to keep things interesting, experiment with a variety of formats. Talking into a mic, playing old recordings, and making phone calls are just three examples here.
34. Cater to emotions. The best way to capture attention from prospective new listeners is to provoke strong emotions with your episode topics and titles, such as fear (as in: “does sitting increase your risk of death?”) or nostalgia (as in: “why 90s cartoons still haven’t been topped”). The more invested your audience is, the more likely they’ll be to share your material, as well.
35. Leave cliffhangers. Cliffhangers are popular on both radio and television shows, but they’ll work to make your podcast more popular too. Before leaving listeners at the end of a podcast, drop a piece of new information, or leave one of your investigative threads untouched; invested listeners won’t have a choice but to tune in next week to get the answers they crave.
36. Do multi-part specials. Along those same lines, consider doing multi-part specials for topics that require special depth or exploration. You can do something simple, like “part one” and “part two,” or something more complex, analyzing a different viewpoint in each podcast on the primary subject.
37. Publish sneak previews. Leading up to especially powerful or anticipated podcast episodes, consider dropping sneak previews — especially on your social media channels. You might post an image that hints at upcoming subject matter, a short video clip of a particularly interesting part of the podcast, or a clip of audio you created in the production process. In any case, it will get your listeners excited to tune in.
38. Invite guest hosts. If you want a fresh injection of audience members, consider recruiting a host from another podcast to be a guest for one episode. They’ll be incentivized to participate (since they’ll get to pitch their own podcast to a new audience), and they’ll probably attract a significant share of their own followers to listen to yours. It’s a great win-win opportunity.
39. Interview interesting people or authorities in your niche. Similarly, consider interviewing other people on your podcast. Anyone interviewed is going to promote the fact that they’re being interviewed on their own social media channels, which is going to send more people your way. You’ll also instantly get more informed, in-depth opinions from people with more diverse perspectives than your hosts can offer alone.
40. Ask guests to promote episodes in which they appeared. If you can get your guests to promote your episode in which they appeared to their email list, that could mean a huge influx of new listeners to your podcast.
41. Guest host or get interviewed on other podcasts. The reverse can also be effective. One of your hosts can guest host or get interviewed on other podcasts. It’s a way of cross-pollinating audiences (and you might learn something new along the way once you’re exposed to a different setup). Podcastguests.com is a site that’s set up specifically to match guests with relevant podcasts.
42. Leverage influencer marketing. The basic goals and rules of influencer marketing follow for podcasting as they do for traditional content marketing. Existing influencers have huge audiences, and if you can get their attention, you’ll earn at least a portion of that audience for yourself. Get an influencer’s attention by mentioning them on social media, highlighting a topic they’re interested in, or talking about something they did or said on your own podcast, then inviting them to contribute on a future episode. From there, work to build an ongoing and mutually beneficial relationship.
43. Introduce yourself to influencers via cold email outreach. You can use one of these email outreach tools to find influencers in your niche and reach out to them via email. It can’t hurt to introduce yourself and at least make influencers aware of the existence of your podcast!
44. Co-advertise podcasts. Work with other podcasters similar to you to share information (and audiences). At the end or beginning of your podcast, mention the other podcast and refer your listeners to it. In exchange, the other podcast should do the same for yours.
45. Offer complementary content on your website. After every podcast, offer some complementary material on your website to encourage further engagement. These can be things like blog posts about your topic, behind-the-scenes images and videos, key summaries and takeaways, and other media that aren’t conducive to be shared in an audio-only format.
46. Make it easy to share your website posts. Your website posts, including transcripts, summaries, and complementary content, will function just like blog posts. And just like with a blog, you’ll want those posts to be easily shareable. Include share buttons for all major social platforms to encourage more sharing, visibility, and discussion of your work. Personally, I use and prefer Social Warfare.
47. Write and post transcripts of each podcast episode. Write a transcript of each episode of your podcast, or hire someone to do it (Fiverr.com is a great source to find cheap vendors for tasks such as this), and publish it on your website. This is important to appeal to hearing-impaired listeners, but is also useful for optimizing your website for search engines, so you can increase rankings and organic traffic.
48. Convert your podcast to other mediums. Your transcripts will be a transformation of your audio podcast to a written format, but it’s not the only transformation you can make. You could also condense your podcast into an infographic, or formalize it into a how-to guide that’s more direct and less conversational. It’s a way of recycling your content so you can squeeze every bit of value out of it, while reaching new audiences who prefer certain types of content over others.
49. Create videos of each podcast episode and start a YouTube channel. Instead of merely recording the audio of your conversations, record the video. Even if your hosts are in completely separate areas of the country (or world), you can use Google Hangouts and a couple of webcams to record the video in one screen, but within separate frames. You can extract the audio later, separately, but also gain the benefit of syndicating the video to your audience, allowing you to host a channel on YouTube which you can use to accrue subscribers and eventually earn advertising revenue. This could cultivate new attention from people who prefer videos, and give your audience the ability to engage with your hosts on a new level; seeing their body language, quirks, and other visual mannerisms. Not only will publishing your podcast as a video help bring your hosts closer to your audience (which will boost engagement, loyalty, and conversion rates), it’ll give you access to the second-largest search engine in the world: YouTube.
50. Set up YouTube cards on each video. YouTube cards are text-based calls-to-action that display in your videos. You can use them to ask users to like your brand on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, pledge on Patreon, or just about any other call-to-action you can think of. Set up and use cards on each video for maximum effect.
51. Set up YouTube end screens on each video. YouTube end screens are screens that display for up to the final 20 seconds of your videos which contain calls-to-action such as asking a user to subscribe to your channel, or to watch another video. The longer you can keep viewers viewing your content, the more likely they’ll be to subscribe and become a regular viewer or listener.
52. Use eye-catching thumbnails. Don’t get lazy with your YouTube thumbnails; they are a major factor in driving views of your videos. If you aren’t skilled with photo-editing software, consider hiring a designer to create them for you. You can find reasonably-priced designers using a service like Fiverr.com.
53. Break your YouTube videos into topical segments. If you cover multiple topics within each podcast episode, consider turning each topical segment into a video of its own for your YouTube channel. This will give you the chance to SEO-optimize each topical segment with proper titles, descriptions, and keywords, while also making it easier for your subscribers to watch only the segments that they are most interested in.
54. Post show notes and timestamps in the YouTube description. Be sure to include thoroughly-detailed show notes in your YouTube video descriptions, as they are crucial for SEO. Also, include clickable timestamps as a sort of “index” for topical segments if you choose not to break down videos into separate segments.
55. Use Facebook’s “Watch” video tab. Facebook recently launched its long-awaited video platform, Watch, which hosts live and episodic shows. If you have video of your podcast episodes, be sure to get them syndicated here.
56. Cross-pollinate your social media audiences. If you already have an audience for your core brand, make sure to inform them of your individual host’s social media channels, and vice versa. This cross-pollination is a great way to ensure your listeners build personal relationships with your podcast hosts, which strengthens listener loyalty and helps improve the likelihood they’ll support your podcast monetarily. You can use YouTube tab for Facebook to create a tab that hosts all your YouTube videos where your Facebook can audience can view them without ever leaving Facebook, and you can use Twitter Tab for Facebook to automatically pull in your account’s tweets.
57. Do live streams. Social users love to be in the moment, and there’s no greater application of this than a live stream, which you can do on Facebook, YouTube, or Twitch. Your stream can be anything, from simply allowing users to watch live as you record your latest podcast, to streaming video games while interacting with your audience, to a quick aside during your morning commute.
58. Meet your listeners in person. Meet people in person and gain exposure for your brand by attending local events, including festivals, conventions, and networking events. Share your story, the purpose of your podcast, and meet new people along the way. An in-person meeting can turn a casual listener into a lifelong brand evangelist.
59. Do a stunt. If you’re feeling gusty, you can perform or sponsor a stunt, in the vein of guerrilla marketing, to gain attention for the brand. For example, you could conduct an attention-grabbing social experiment, or persuade a local celebrity to act on your behalf.
60. Actually engage with your audience on social media. One of the best ways to attract new social media followers is also a convenient way to boost your podcast’s visibility; simply engage with your existing followers. Thank them for their viewership, share their content, and respond to their questions. Most brands understand the necessity to build their follower numbers, but fail when it comes to engaging their audiences. Engaging is a lot harder and far more time consuming than simply paying for ads to acquire likes or followers, but it’s what makes those numbers hold actual value.
61. Follow audiences of competing brands’ podcasts. If someone is following a competing brand on social media, they’re a good prospect for your audience. Follow them. You’ll get their attention and they might just check you out.
62. Capitalize on current events. You can get more attention from completely new listeners by capitalizing on new or trending events or stories. This presents an opportunity for search optimization, and also makes you stand out from more traditional content topics listed beside you.
63. Build a community via Patreon. If you aren’t selling products directly to substantiate your income from the podcast, consider giving your listeners a way to get premium content via a platform like Patreon. Patreon enables you to create tiered rewards for users who pledge a certain amount of money each month to supporting your podcast. Your reward tiers can include perks like getting the episodes early, behind-the-scenes content, bonus content, patron-exclusive live streams, Q&A, merchandise, and just about anything else you think your patrons would enjoy.
64. Promote your Patreon page at the beginning of every episode. Your Patreon patrons are going to be your most loyal, engaged listeners; they’re the ones paying to support your podcast, after all. Always work on adding more listeners to that category by encouraging listeners to sign up at Patreon at the start of every episode. Make sure to note the bonus content and perks they get for being patrons. Consider it a free advertisement for your own podcast’s longevity; after all, cash flow is the lifeblood of any business, and that’s true for podcasts, too.
65. Interact and engage with your Patreon audience. Your Patreon audience is your most loyal group of listeners; let them know you love them by interacting and engaging with their posts, asking questions, and responding to their questions. Also, be sure to post announcements to each new podcast episode for your patrons to see; Patreon allows you to email your patrons whenever you like, so be sure to utilize that ability.
66. Post episodes in Reddit. Find relevant subreddits and post summaries of your episodes with a link to where people can listen in. Just be careful here — Reddit users are very protective of their community and hate anything perceived as marketing spam. So keep it valuable and non-salesy. There is a subreddit where posting new podcast episodes is encouraged, however, so check that out at reddit.com/r/podcasts.
67. Cover existing pieces of content. You can also get attention by doing analyses, criticisms, or discussions of other people’s content, including other podcast episodes or recently published research. This could help you ride that content’s momentum, or potentially enter you in a discussion with the creators, which can earn you significant attention.
68. Contribute off-site content via personal brands. As your hosts’ personal brands continue to grow, have them guest post on external publishers’ websites. Start with low-authority sources and work your way up; you’ll attract more followers and eventually, more listeners.
69. Build links on external sources. Links are still the gold standard for both SEO and referral traffic, so while you’re posting guest content, make sure to include a link back to your podcast’s website.
70. Participate in forums. Have your hosts (or surrogates for them) scout for questions they can answer in forums relevant to their expertise. For example, if your podcast is about DIY home improvement projects, head to a DIY forum (which should be easy to find by Googling “diy forum”) and dispense some advice, which ensuring your signature line includes a bit about your podcast. As you become a trusted forum participant, you’ll be seen as a trusted authority and a more important part of the community. Join relevant Reddit subreddits and participate in them, too! Reddit is just like a forum and a subreddit is a topical forum.
71. Create a forum. If your podcast warrants it (e.g., you introduce lots of new ideas or are telling an in-depth story), you can create your own forum on your website. This has the potential to be highly beneficial because it centralizes social discussions of your podcast, gives you an opportunity to contribute, and creates a community that you can fully control. The downside to this is that forums can become targets for spam, so you’ll need on-the-ball moderators if you go this route.
72. Create a Slack community. Slack is an instant-messaging platform that you can use to build another kind of community; one where members can chat in real time. You can password-lock your Slack channel so your audience members feel like they’re part of an exclusive community.
73. Try promoting your podcast episodes with quotes or excerpts, rather than titles. Your episode title will speak volumes (assuming you’re good at coming up with catchy titles), but it won’t necessarily “hook” readers. For that, try finding a powerful quote or excerpt.
74. Post primarily images and videos on social media. Visuals are always more powerful than written content, because they stand out and are more memorable. They also get more shares than text-only posts, and Facebook’s algorithm heavily favors images and videos over text-based content. So, instead of posting a link to your latest episode in Facebook with some text, try posting a 30 to 60-second video clip of a particularly fun, powerful, or humorous moment from the podcast episode.
75. Post gifs. You can also use a gif maker like Imgflip or Giphy to create gifs from your videos and post those to your social media channels to promote your content. The advantage of gifs over videos is that they automatically play without the user needing to click the play button, and they also automatically loop, making them more shareable than videos.
76. Participate in relevant Twitter Hashtags. Has something new or exciting happened in your industry that’s causing a lot of chatter on Twitter? Find the relevant hashtag and participate in the conversation using that hashtag. Don’t be obviously promotional, though; add value to the conversation, and other users will check out your profile, see your podcast link, and maybe become listeners. Hashtagify is worth checking out for this purpose.
77. Build and use your email list. On your website and through social media, start collecting email addresses. Send out email newsletters and updates (such as whenever a new podcast is posted live). I’ve found pop-ups to be particularly useful for building an email list, and simple apps like OptinMonster or HelloBar are perfect for creating and optimizing them. Just be sure not to display full-screen pop-ups to users visiting your website from a mobile browser, as this could harm your mobile SEO.
78. Reward loyal fans with exclusive content. Your email subscribers should get a benefit from their ongoing subscription and listenership, so reward them with exclusive content. This could be behind-the-scenes footage, extended Q&A, or even clips that were cut from the final podcast.
79. Give things away for free. Who doesn’t love free things? Giving away products, or even free trials, will attract new people to your podcast and will give existing subscribers something to talk about with their friends who may not yet be acquainted with the podcast. If you play your cards right, you may be able to score these free products from brands who want exposure on your podcast.
80. Ask for ratings and reviews. Try to get better user ratings; this is simultaneously going to make your podcast seem more legit to newcomers and also increase its ranking potential in iTunes. You can directly ask your listeners to rate your podcast at the end of each episode. It helps if you explain why or how their rating will help you; the word “because” has almost magical powers associated with its ability to influence behavior, so it’s critical that you use it when you want something. While you’re at it, ask your listeners to leave reviews for your podcast as well. Detailed reviews will help other people decide whether they’ll enjoy your podcast, and may influence your rankings as well. You can even hold giveaways where in order to enter for a chance to win some sort of prize, you require listeners to leave a review and email it to you.
81. Read and react to your reviews. Once you have a bank of reviews from listeners, start reading them. Many will be neutral or basic, with ambiguous comments like “loved it!”, but others will offer details about what the listener liked or didn’t liked. You can use this information to gauge your performance, and refine your strategy.
82. Listen to and incorporate feedback. Aside from reviews, pay attention to any other feedback you receive, such as discussion by other podcasts or from comments on social media. Paying attention to feedback will make your podcast better, and will show your listeners (and prospective listeners) how much you care about them. You can “listen” for mentions of your brand name (or host names) across the web by using a service like BuzzSumo.
83. Take and report on listener polls. Leading up to a podcast on a certain topic (or potentially as an afterthought to the topic), take a listener poll, and report on the results. For example, if you’re doing a podcast on productivity, you can ask listeners how many hours they work each week. This immediately gives you original data you can use in your podcast, but also makes listeners feel like they’re involved and even a part of the show.
84. Know your numbers. Just like you need to analyze traffic and engagement figures to understand the value of your most popular blogs, you’ll need to crunch the downloads, ratings, and comments to find your most popular podcast episodes. What do these episodes have in common? What do your worst-performing episodes have in common? Use this data to improve your titles, descriptions, distribution strategy, and the show’s content as a whole.
85. Pin and promote your best podcasts. If you have one or two podcasts that are outstanding in quality or popularity, consider “pinning” them to the top of your social media feeds and website. This will make sure newcomers get the best impression of your podcast when encountering it for the first time. You can also point more users toward your best podcasts by referencing them in future episodes. For example, you could hearken back to an old discussion or dredge up data from an older study.
86. Publish a “greatest hits” episode. Round-up your best moments from previous episodes (or entire episodes) and compile them into one “greatest hits” episode, then make it prominent so new potential listeners can easily find your best content right off the bat.
87. Use HARO to get exposure on major media publications. Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a service that connects journalists with questions to authorities with answers. Use the platform to become a source for journalists writing stories related to your podcast’s topic or niche. They’ll reference you and perhaps your podcast, and may even include a link in the story to your website.
88. Ask listeners for topic ideas. Though you don’t want to appear desperate for ideas, it’s wise to ask your listeners directly for direction on topic ideas. This provides you with content while simultaneously making listeners feel more involved and a part of the community.
89. Read listener mail and submissions on the air. Invite listeners to send in email about their thoughts and opinions related to your content, and read their submissions on the air. You’ll win a loyal listener for life, and encourage other listeners to be more expressive about their own thoughts on the show, building engagement and a community, simultaneously.
90. Tag users on social media when referring to their ideas. If you use a social media follower’s idea, tag them and give them credit for it. If you’re answering a user’s question, tag them in your response. It gets their attention, makes them feel like they’re a part of production, and again, encourages more participation from other listeners.
91. Show love to your most loyal listeners and podcast evangelists. Podcasts often generate their own version of “brand evangelists,” fans who are loyal to the brand to the point that they often recommend it to other people. Your podcast evangelists will serve as a form of free advertising, so note your most enthusiastic listeners early, and show them lots of love on social media.
92. Link to specific episodes when answering questions on Quora. Quora is a Q&A platform where anyone can ask anything, and anyone can answer those questions. Answers are ranked by the users, so the best answers for a question appear higher in the list of answers. Head over to Quora and see if there are any questions you can answer by citing one of your old podcasts. You’ll build a link that could result in significant referral traffic, and potentially reach a new audience.
93. Get controversial. If you want a serious boost in visibility, create an episode on a controversial topic — and take a firm stance on the subject. You may alienate a few followers in the process, but those that remain will become even more loyal. You may even start a debate on social media, and the ripples will only increase your brand’s visibility.
94. Tease and reveal “big announcements.” Anticipation is one of your strongest weapons in drumming up interest, so use it to your advantage by teasing forthcoming “big announcements.” For example, you might announce a particularly juice podcast episode, or a mystery interviewee, or a live tour, or a new line of products associated with your brand. The key is to get people excited so they tune in to your next episode.
95. Debate a rival or competing podcast host. If you have a rival or competing podcast, consider engaging them in debate. You can send your hosts to the same location, or have separate episodes meant to be listened to in sequence. It’s a good way to cross-pollinate your audiences, and should be mutually beneficial.
96. Pay attention to new podcast directory features. Occasionally, iTunes and other podcast directories will update with new features for podcast creators, such as extended description fields or new upload tools. Pay attention to these, and use them to your advantage.
97. Write a book. Once you’ve developed significant authority in your niche, consider transferring that authority to a different realm by writing a book. You can sell the book for a profit, giving you money you can then reinvest in your podcast, and anyone who discovers the book independently will instantly become acquainted with your podcast. This works the other way around, too; authors often start podcasts as a way to promote their books.
98. Start public speaking. Once people become familiar with your voice, they’ll pay to hear it live. Consider starting a public speaking tour, doing live podcasts, hosting a panel at an upcoming convention, or hosting a live show for your listeners. Kinda Funny is an example of a podcast that has seen immense popularity in its annual live events known as “Kinda Funny Live.”
99. Launch a spinoff podcast. If your podcast becomes popular enough, consider launching a spinoff or sister podcast, which can cover a different range of topics for a different target audience. Once created, you’ll be able to use both podcasts to support each other, and keep building a common audience.
100. Join a community of podcasters. As part of a podcast community like blubrry or the Reddit podcasts subreddit, you can get help and support from other podcasters who have encountered problems or challenges that you may be facing. Additionally, you can all help each other spread the word.
101. Attract advertisers. From September 2015 to September 2016, the percent of advertising agencies that advertised on podcasts increased from 15 percent to 21 percent, with 60 percent discussing podcast investment as a potential resource. Advertisers recognize the power of the podcasting format, so if you have the audience, you shouldn’t have any trouble attracting a partner to help your audience grow. Use a service like Midroll to connect with advertisers.
Some of these tricks are simple. Others will take months of work. Some are free. Others will cost you significant amounts of time or money.
No matter what your goals are or what resources you have available, you can use some combination of these tactics to market and promote your podcast. So long as you’re committed to producing high-quality content, with listeners’ best interests at heart, you have every chance of becoming successful.