Use these tried-and-tested tactics to boost your podcast audience quickly.
Podcast promotion used to be an inexact science.
It’s a given that you have to make great content. But there are plenty of podcast creators with great content who don’t have huge audiences.
For some people, that’s perfectly fine. Not every podcast marketing strategy requires tens of thousands of listeners.
The world of B2B marketing has plenty of great examples of podcast promotions that earn major results from small audiences. They offer high-quality niche content exclusively to those few people.
But if you’re looking to promote podcast content to a general audience, you need to market your podcast effectively. Making great content is just the first step on your journey to podcast success. Learning to grow podcast audience numbers is the second.
8 Hacks Successful Brands Use to Promote Podcast Content
Podcasts have been surging in popularity in recent years. More than half the overall US population has tuned in at least once, and the number of regular listeners is constantly growing.
During this time, several podcasts have grown well beyond their peers in success and importance. Paying attention to the way these content creators work will help drive the value of your own podcast.
Here are some of the things that we’ve learned by studying podcast success stories:
1. Start Strong and Publish Heavily When You’re New
Growing your podcast is an investment of time, energy, and creativity. The stronger you start out, the greater your returns will be over time.
One of the best ways to get a strong start is to get into iTunes’ New & Noteworthy category. Getting onto this ranked list can immediately jumpstart your podcast career by exposing your content to millions of people.
There is a catch, though. In order to place your podcast on iTunes’ New & Noteworthy list, it must be less than 8 weeks old. After that, you won’t be able to get on the list regardless of how popular your content is.
To maximize your chances, record as much material as possible before launch. Plan on releasing three podcast episodes a week for the first eight weeks after launch, and start with your best material first.
2. Write Broad, Catchy Titles to Every Episode
Optimizing your episode titles is an incredibly important – and overlooked – growth hack. In order to market your podcast effectively, you need to draw people in the moment they start interacting with your channel.
Great titles are memorable, punchy, and value-oriented. Imagine yourself as one of your listeners. You have time for one podcast on your commute to work every morning, so you are going to choose the one that offers the most valuable content for your time.
Podcasts that immediately showcase broad, high-value content are better-suited to attract new listeners than their competitors. Use energetic action verbs to your benefit and write titles that point listeners to the core value of your episode’s content.
3. Leverage Guests and their Followers the Right Way
It’s no secret that inviting guests on your podcast is a useful strategy for growing your audience. But it’s not enough to record interviews with guests. You should also find ways to address your guests’ followers directly.
Talk to your guests about their participation on your podcast. What can they do to consolidate your audiences and drive the value of the content you’re making together?
Even something as simple as having guests send email links out to their followers can lead to a surge in listening activity. Email marketing can actually deliver far better results than social media, especially for podcasts.
4. Place Your Podcast in a Directory
How do people find the podcasts they like? Everyone has a different answer to this question. Your audience may not be looking for content like yours in the place you expect.
One of the major mistakes podcast creators make is relying too much on iTunes or Spotify to bring listeners to them. Putting your podcast on Spotify ensures that its millions of subscribers have access to you, but it doesn’t guarantee anyone is going to look for your content.
You may earn better results promoting your podcast on a directory website like PodcastLand. The most valuable thing about PodcastLand is that every month voters choose the site’s featured podcast. This kind of direct action is something that you can’t get on Spotify or iTunes.
5. Reach Out to Your Audience – Wherever They Are
Your audience may be looking for you on podcast directories, or they may be looking in other places. If you can identify a community that responds well to your content, you should be spending some time integrating into that community.
One of the best places for this kind of integration is Reddit. Whether your podcast is about cars, technology, dentistry, or pretty much anything else, you can be sure a Reddit community exists around it. Talk to the people who make up this community, and offer them access to the content you’ve created – especially if it solves their problems or offers valuable insight.
The same goes for social media, although it’s an obvious move. Less obvious opportunities may be out there, depending on your specific niche. Think about what other media or content your listeners enjoy. You may even be able to target new listeners based on preferences for certain foods, music, or hobbies. Anything that has a community around it could be an entrance opportunity for your podcast.
6. Develop Partnership Sponsor Opportunities
Strategic partnerships can help you grow your audience massively. If you can identify companies with an interest in selling to your audience, you may be able to leverage that interest towards growing your audience.
Companies have communities around them, too. Making content that fits into the story a brand wants to tell its community can help you address members of that community. If your content aligns with the brand’s voice, you have a great opportunity for potential partnerships.
The simplest way to do this is offering free ad space on your podcast in exchange for social media promotion. If you’re just starting out, there is a good chance that brands in your niche have larger followings than you do. Many of them will be willing to promote your voice in exchange for a positive word.
7. Use Giveaways to Get Reviews
Podcast reviews are important. Getting iTunes reviews can help bolster the credibility of your brand. This will help bring new viewers onboard in turn. However, getting reviews is not always easy.
Podcast hosts who find ways to incentivize users to leave reviews have a lot to gain and little to lose. If you can convince a corporate sponsor to put up their resources for the giveaway itself, that’s even better. However, it’s not strictly necessary that you offer something of enormous value for your giveaway.
Even a small token of value can be enough to convince people to leave reviews. The important thing is to avoid stipulating any conditions of the reviews themselves – they don’t all have to be good reviews. Let your giveaway participants express their views without your influence.
8. Analyze Your Audience
All of the podcast growth hacks mentioned above assume you know who your audience is. They assume you know what your listeners value, why they tune into podcasts, and what sort of information or entertainment they want from you.
This information doesn’t come out of a vacuum. You need to identify it by analyzing listener engagement and user behaviors whenever possible.
Apple does not generally provide great analytics. Spotify is a little better, but still lacking. Host your audio files on a platform like Cincopa that can capture user data as they interact with your content and use those insights to generate value for them.
Creating a successful podcast is a community project. Even the most enthusiastic, amusing, and charismatic podcast host cannot go anywhere without consistent listener support. The better you know your community, the greater your success will be.
Podcast hosts and content creators who pay attention to their audiences will be able to earn more and grow faster than those who simply record whatever comes to mind. Focus your efforts on creating valuable content and your audience will reward you every time.