If you need to know how to promote a podcast, you’re in the right place.
We speak to podcast hosts all the time, and aside from starting a podcast, they all say that marketing is their biggest challenge.
There are currently more than half a million podcasts. They are more popular than ever. According to 2018 data from Edison Research, podcasting continues to grow steadily every year. 44% of Americans say they’ve listened to a podcast, which is up 5% from the previous year.
And yet, many podcasts have podfaded (slowed and/or stopped releasing episodes). Why? Because promoting a podcast is hard. Plenty of podcast hosts create exceptional content, but can’t get people to listen, so they move on to other projects.
Our goal is save you from a similar fate.
Below you’ll find a big list of podcast marketing tactics. These will teach you how to promote a podcast.
But before we dive in to the actionable strategies, it’s important you understand these three rules.
Rule #1: Provide Value
The best long-term strategy to promote a podcast is by providing value. Gimmicks and shortcuts may work in the short-term, but they won’t sustain you. Instead of leaping on the latest marketing trend, focus on creating value through strong relationships and quality content.
Rule #2: Focus on Your Audience
It would be great if your podcast appealed to everyone, but that’s probably not the case. Instead of trying to market to all podcast listeners, focus on the ones who get the most value from your show. Over time, take steps to learn as much as you can about that audience so you can design promotions that finds them with the right messaging.
As you learn about your listener, put together an audience persona document. This will aggregate everything you know about your customer so you can refer to it when you craft marketing copy or images.
Rule #3: Experiment and Measure
Whenever you take steps to promote a podcast, it’s important to try new things and measure their results. In fact, you should run multiple tests to find the tactics that work. Don’t rely on your “gut feeling.”
For instance, let’s say you decide to answer questions on Quora to drive traffic to your podcast. It would be smart to add tracking code to your links to determine just how much traffic you create. Otherwise you’d never know if that tactic was successful.
How to Promote a Podcast 20 Marketing Tactics
Here’s a big list of strategies to promote a podcast, but they won’t all work for you. You’ll have to find the ones that appeal to your audience.
For instance, posting on social media is usually a staple of podcast promotion plans, but it wouldn’t make sense for a niche audience who doesn’t use social media. In this case, you would want save yourself the hassle and focus on a tactic that would reach them.
1. Release at Least 3 Episodes on Launch Day
If you haven’t launched your podcast yet, create three episodes before you release. Online business coach Pat Flynn recommends posting three to five episodes at launch so new listeners can binge a bit. “I actually received negative reviews from people who had listened to the first episode and were upset that there was only one,” he says.
If you don’t have a few episodes for new listeners to explore, there’s a good chance they won’t become invested and will probably forget about you.
2. Convert Your Podcast Audio to a YouTube Video
Repurposing your podcast for other platforms is a fantastic way to promote, especially on YouTube. Not only does it give people something to share, it also offers some SEO benefits. Besides, it doesn’t require much work since you’ve already created the content.
The massively popular Joe Rogan Experience repurposes every minute of content for YouTube.
To convert an audio file to a video, Google recommends Windows Live Movie Maker for PC users and iMovie for Mac users. Add a stock photo or branded image so viewers won’t think your video is broken. After uploading to YouTube, annotate your video with links to resources and other episodes you mention throughout the show.
Some podcast hosting platforms do this as well for you, all automatically every time you publish a new episode.
3. Submit to Podcast Aggregators and Directories
A podcast aggregator – called a podcatcher – is just an app that plays podcasts. The most well known podcatcher is Apple Podcasts, the default podcast app that comes with iOS. But there are plenty more, including…
Submit your episode to each aggregator after you publish. This will expose you to new audiences who browse those apps.
Furthermore, you’ll want to submit your episodes to the big podcast directories, like…
4. Optimize Your Pages for Search
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your web pages by targeting keywords your ideal users would search to find you. It’s how you let Google know what your pages are about so the search engine can display those pages when someone searches for your niche.
Unfortunately, Google can’t evaluate audio files, so your podcast episodes won’t affect your search engine rankings. You may have an episode that solves a searcher’s problem perfectly, but they’ll never know about it because Google doesn’t know about it.
One of the best ways to promote your podcast is your own website. Why? Because you control it. Unlike Facebook, Soundcloud, or other platforms, your domain can’t be taken away.
Like a lot of podcasters, you may create a new blog post on your site for each episode. You probably publish a brief introduction to the episode and a few show notes on this page. That’s smart, but take it a step further by filling that page with content. You can do this in a few ways:
- Write a unique article about the episode’s content. Make sure to be valuable, not just promotional.
- Transcribe the episode and post every word. Do it yourself or pay someone on Fiverr.
- Some hybrid of both.
Once there’s content on the page, Google will have something to “grab onto” to learn what it’s about. Then it can direct people to the page when they search for that kind of content.
When you create a page, make sure you optimize it around a keyword people search for to find that kind of content. Put that keyword in the following places:
- The page’s title (H1)
- Some of the page’s subheadings (H2, H3, H4, etc.)
- The ALT attribute of any images (include several)
- At the beginning and end of the content
- In the page’s meta description
- In the page’s <TITLE> tag (if different than the page’s H1)
- Scattered throughout the content regularly (but don’t sacrifice readability)
To get your SEO right, we recommend this awesome guide by SEO expert Brian Dean: On-Page SEO: Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Page.
5. Prompt Your Listeners to Subscribe and Share
It may seem painfully straightforward, but often people need a call-to-action in order to take a step. Sometimes they don’t know what they’re expected to do.
Ask your listeners to subscribe to your podcast at the beginning and end of each episode. You don’t have to be pushy, but remind them that subscribing is the best way to get notified of new episodes. Be honest and explain that if the podcast grows, you’ll be able to produce better content. Furthermore, come right out and ask them to share your podcast with their friends.
6. Add Links to Your Email Signature
Include links in your email signature to places people can download or listen to your podcast. You should also try including a link or two to your most popular episodes. This tactic doesn’t have the greatest return, but it’s a one-time easy setup.
7. Collect as Many Reviews as Possible
Many listeners rely on the psychological phenomenon of social proof to decide if they’ll give your podcast that first listen. If you have a lot of positive reviews, you’ll get more listeners. This is especially important on iTunes, the largest podcast platform.
So how do you get more reviews? Ask for them! Prompt your listeners for a review in every episode. There’s no need to be sneaky here. Explain that reviews help you grow your listener base, which will provide you with more resources to create awesome content.
Reviews are so important, in fact, that they’re worth spending money on. You shouldn’t buy reviews, but you can incentivize your fans to leave them.
Run a giveaway contest where fans need to leave a review to enter for the chance to win something free. You don’t have to give away much. Stickers, T-shirts, hats, or any type of swag will do. If you don’t have anything like that, give something generic like an Amazon gift card.
Oh, and once you start getting reviews, read them. Some might include valuable feedback that will help you improve your show.
8. Contact People You Mentioned on Your Show
If you mention a person or brand on your show, reach out to them after you publish. Let them know what you said. Ask if they’d be willing to share your show on social media.
This usually only works if whatever you said was positive. 🙂
When we asked some of the hosts we work with how to promote a podcast without investing a lot of time, this was a common recommendation. People you mention on your show are usually more than happy to promote themselves by sharing your show.
7. Leverage Your Guests’ Followings
When we asked our customers how to promote a podcast in the beginning, almost all of them agreed that you have to leverage other people’s followings if you want to get any traction.
If you invite guests on to your show, it’s critical that you squeeze as much promotional value out of their following as possible. You need them to promote the episode to expose your podcast to an entirely new audience.
Your guest will naturally want to share their appearance on your show, but you want them to share a lot. How do you get them to do this? By making things easy for them.
Ask your guests to share, but don’t rely on vague instructions like “Let’s promote each other.” Give them whatever copy, links, images, video, and audio they need. Include detailed instructions so they can promote you well.
For instance, you might send an email to a past guest with pre-written copy to post on their Facebook page, along with a pre-created image, a link to your show, and hashtags. This way the guest can simply paste the copy into Facebook.
9. Refer to Past Episodes
An easy way to promote yourself is to mention old episodes whenever you can. If you mention a topic that you’ve covered in a previous episode, add a quick aside: “If you want to learn more about productivity, check out episode #17 where we spoke to John Doe about managing a busy schedule.”
10. Start an Email Newsletter
Email marketing has the best return on investment out of all the digital marketing channels: 4400% ROI and $44 for every $1 spent. It’s a simple and intimate way to connect with your fans.
ProBlogger knows how to promote a podcast. They make sure to include their latest episodes in their weekly email.
Collect the email addresses of your listeners so you can send them an email every time you publish a new episode. Over time, they’ll grow to expect your emails. OptinMonster, HelloBar, and Thrive Leads are great apps to collect addresses on your site.
The team at G2Crowd have a fantastic resource on creating your own email newsletter that is worth checking out.
Ideally, you should send at least weekly to your list. If you can’t produce episodes that fast, fill your emails with interesting opinions and links.
Learn more: How to Promote Your Podcast to Your Email List
11. Visit Other Podcasts as a Guest
You know how movie stars and directors visit the Tonight Show to promote their latest project? They do that because even though they have their own followings, they still want to reach a bigger audience. You can do the same thing by visiting other people’s podcasts.
The trick, of course, is to visit a podcast with an audience that overlaps yours, but this is actually easier than it sounds. It’s difficult to find podcast guests, so hosts are receptive when guests pitch them.
You probably know a few good podcasts that would suit you, but if you need inspiration, check out the iTunes listing page. Sort by category to find a show that’s similar to yours.
You could also try RadioGuestList.com, a service for radio and podcast hosts. Sign up and you’ll receive email leads for opportunities to jump on someone else’s show.
Then send a short, interesting pitch to sell yourself. Customize your pitch to the show. Explain what kind of value you can create and why their listeners would want to hear from you. Include links to any podcasts you feel best represents your work. If you don’t hear back in a week, send a follow up.
12. Add Value on Social Media
Any guide on how to promote a podcast wouldn’t be complete with mentioning social media.
Social media is a great way to connect with new people to grow your audience. But a lot of hosts use social media is an advertising platform. They simply announce their new episodes, promote their promotions, push their merchandise, and advertise for their sponsors.
That is not how people want to interact with brands. They don’t want to log in to Facebook to see an endless feed of what are basically commercials. They want to interact with brands, get more information, and find value. As a podcast host, the more value you put in to social media, the more you’ll get out.
Instead of announcing a new episode on your preferred social media profile, open a discussion into the topic. Ask the community what they think about the topic or what else they know. Put the focus on them instead of you.
Social Media Examiner, for instance, likes to ask their fans questions about current events and trends.
Part of adding value also means giving some things away. Don’t worry – You don’t have to reveal your episode’s big secret/lesson/story, but it’s smart to give your subscriber’s something that exhibits just how much value they’ll get out of the full episode. Here’s a few social media posts that work well:
- Audio snippets
- Images with quotes from the episode
- Photos and bios of guests
- Points from your episode (but don’t give everything away)
We go into more detail about promoting your podcast on social media in our full guide: How to Promote a Podcast on Social Media.
That said, some of your content should be self-promotional. Aim for an 80/20 spread. 80% of content should be valuable. 20% should be promotional.
Mixergy knows how to promote their podcast well on social media. Their teasers are informative and compelling.
Learn more: 6 Key Steps to Promote a Podcast on Facebook
13. Start a Social Media Group
Your listeners don’t want to just listen. They want to be part of something. If you can make them feel like they are part of a tribe or a movement, they’ll be much more likely to consume more of your content in the future, share it with friends, and even spend money with your business.
Plus, communities help you engage and build connections with your customers. This lets you learn about them and makes them feel valued.
Social media groups on Facebook and LinkedIn are great for turning your listeners into a cohesive group. By starting your own group, you can build a platform that connects directly with your listener.
On our Facebook group – Podcast Hackers – we have the opportunity to connect with our customers, fans, and friends in a positive, high value environment. We consider it one of our most effective tools.
Admittedly, social media communities take time. You can’t just drop links to new episodes. You have to engage with the community members, offer solutions, pose questions, and find ways to add value. This will all pay dividends in the long run. It’s one of the most rewarding ways to promote a podcast.
14. Get Media Exposure with HARO
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a service that connects journalists with authoritative sources. By enrolling in the platform as a source, media people will reach out to you when they have questions or need comments for articles, TV, or radio. In exchange, they’ll quote you and link to your site.
13. Answer Questions of Quora
Quora is a Q&A platform where users ask and answer each other’s questions. Users can ask anything and you can respond to any question. Users rank answers so the best ones rise to the top.
Visit Quora any time you publish an episode. Search for questions that relate to the topic of your episode, then contribute your answer. Make sure you add tons of value so your answer gets voted to the top. Include a link to your episode for more information.
15. Create a Dedicated Landing Page
If your podcast is just one portion of your website, you’ll want to give it its own page for potential listeners to explore. Place a link to this page on your header menu.
Your page should have one purpose: To get people to listen to an episode. Fill the page with information to help them make that leap, such as…
- A simple, clear, benefits-based headline that describes your show.
- A few paragraphs that describe your show and the purpose it serves. Make sure to hit your listeners’ pain points.
- Positive testimonials/quotes from listeners or influential people about your show.
- A list of links to recent episodes.
- Buttons to subscribe to your podcast wherever you’re listed.
This Conversion Cast landing page is a great example. Notice how it’s informative, but it also drives you to listen and subscribe.
16. Network with Other Podcasts
Promoting a podcast well means staying on top of new ideas, trends, and techniques. You want to be the first to know when there’s a new platform or strategy that will help you build exposure for your show.
The best way to keep yourself informed is by joining a community of other podcasters. They will give you help, offer support, and discuss new ways to promote your podcasts. If you invest yourself fully in a community, it can become one of your best resources.
Here are a few communities to explore:
- Podcast Hackers (this is our group – join us!)
- Podcasters’ Support Group
- Podcasting Technology Resource Group
- The New York Times Podcast Club
- Podcasting (Meetup)
- Producing Podcasts (Apple)
- Podcasters’ Hangout
For tested, actionable advice and wisdom from seasoned podcasters, check out our Facebook group: Podcast Hackers
17. Purchase Paid Ads
This tactic costs money, so make sure you walk before you run.
Paid ads are great ways to collect traffic by connecting with your target audience. Google ads appear for people who specifically search for the keywords you pair with the ad. Facebook ads display to people whose interests align with your targeting.
There are two ways to go about this:
- Purchase ads that link to your podcast’s landing page. This method is easy to set up once and leave it running, but you’ll have to target a broad group, which could be expensive.
- Purchase ads that link to individual episodes. This method is effective because you can target people who are only interested in that episode (often done by targeting your guest’s name), but it’s more complex to set up and you have to do it for every episode.
The challenge with paid ads is that it’s hard to track weather people who clicked the ad actually listen to an episode and become loyal listeners. That isn’t to say that the ads aren’t worth their money, but you should be willing to lose a little bit of money in the beginning.
18. Publish at Strategic Times
When we spoke with one of our customers about how to promote a podcast, he said it’s critical that you publish at strategic times. Publishing your podcast at the right time can mean the difference between a massive fan base and total obscurity.
Your audience likely sits down to consume podcast content at regular time. Your goal is to put your new episodes in front of them at those times so you are the first thing they see. If you publish too early or too late, your episode may never capture their attention.
When is the right time to publish your podcast? We can’t tell you because it’s different for every audience.
In the beginning the best tactic is to look at similar podcast and identify when they publish. If you see a trend, there’s probably a reason. Follow that Trend until you have your own data.
Over time you’ll want to dig through your podcast Analytics to see when people listen to your episode. If you see a trend within your own audience, experiment to see if it’s true.
19. Leverage Influencer Marketing
This is a great tip for how to promote a podcast because it exposes you to a completely new audience.
Influencer marketing is the practice of using influential people to expose your podcast to new audiences. Essentially, you just find someone who has a following that overlaps with your target audience and get them to promote your podcast.
How do you get influencers to promote your podcast? By reaching out to them and building mutually beneficial partnerships.
For instance, if there’s an Instagram influencer in your niche, you would first follow them, like a bunch of their posts, and add comments. This way they see your name as a fan. Then reach out with a direct message or email that explains why you should work together.
Keep in mind that if you want to work with an influencer, you have to give something back as well. You may have to give them a shout out on your show, free products, or some kind of monetary compensation. Every influencer has their own goals, so be open to unique arrangements.
20. Say Interesting and Controversial Things
There’s a lot of copycat content on the web. It’s easy for content creators to say and do the same things as everyone else because that’s the safe approach. It’s much harder to say unique and controversial things.
Don’t be afraid to express your own opinion. In fact find ways to differentiate yourself from everyone else. You don’t have to be overly inflammatory, but it’s okay to express yourself truthfully. Some people will disagree and some people will take offense, but your audience and business will grow.
Furthermore, try to invite guests who excite your listeners. This might include someone who disagrees with your stance, a rivaling podcast host, or someone who has their own controversial opinion.
If you can, avoid guests who rotate through the podcast circuit. Your fans have probably heard from them before.
The Most Important Tip: Create Great Episodes
If you want to know how to promote a podcast, this is the most important tip.
This should go without saying, but we don’t want you to get the impression that promoting a podcast starts after you publish. It’s extremely difficult to market a bad product, but a good product markets itself.
What makes a good product? It has to hit these three qualities:
- Valuable – Your listeners need to feel like they gained something from the experience.
- Unique – You can exist in a crowded niche, but find some way to be different, even if the difference is slight.
- Entertaining – Your show should capture and hold your listeners’ attention.
Listen to podcasts that are similar to yours (or what you want yours to be like). Study their format and content. What do they do well? How can you incorporate those features into your show? How can you improve on what they’ve created?
Furthermore, get your technical details right. Use a good podcast hosting platform that generates an RSS feed, syndicates each episode, gives you control over each episode’s title, description, and metadata, and gives you access to analytics.
You’ll also want to perfect your audio so your sound is clear and professional. Check out our Launch in a Week course to learn about setting up your equipment for great audio.
When we asked some of our customers how to promote a podcast, they all said the same thing: There’s no type or amount of marketing that will grow a bad podcast, so take your time and create quality content!
Start that podcast you’ve been dreaming ofLaunch In A Week is a completely FREE 7-part email course that takes you step-by-step all the way from just an idea to having your podcast live and sharing your voice with the world.