How To Promote A Podcast: Your 2020 Guide

Last updated on February 10th, 2020

If you’re looking to learn how to promote a podcast and grow a listenership, you’re in the right place!

You likely got into podcasting with the goal of sparking a conversation around a topic you’re passionate about. Cultivating a community of listeners from around the world who share your interests, who value your point of view on a topic.

Gathering 50 downloads per episode was thrilling at the start but now you’re ready for more. Consistently hitting hundreds or thousands of listens takes diligence and a willingness to test a few different strategies so that’s where we come in.

Ahead we’re sharing 11 tactics real podcasters use to promote their show. Our goal isn’t to repeat the same strategies you’ve seen everywhere else. Instead, it’s is to give you the tools and actionable insights needed to grow a show from one to one thousand listeners.

But first, you’ll need to nail the two pillars of podcasting. These are the cornerstones of quality promotion and growth.

The Two Pillars Of Podcasting

The two pillars of podcasting are quality content and time so we need to start here.

Marketing a bad product is a waste of time. No amount of money, creative marketing angles, or Hail Mary strategies will grow a stale podcast. So before you start trying to crack the code on promoting a show, first make sure it’s up to snuff.

What makes a good product? It has to hit these three qualities:

  1. Valuable: Your listeners need to gain something from the episode. They either learned new information or a skill, were entertained, or satisfied a curiosity.
  2. Unique: Your podcast’s point of view adds something new to the conversation, however slight. Uniqueness varies for every topic so start by creating Venn Diagrams against others in your niche. If too many data points land in the middle, focus on refining your differentiating factors first.
  3. Sticky: You podcast needs to capture and sustain an audience’s attention. If your current listeners aren’t consistently consuming your episodes in full, focus your efforts on the content better. Listen to podcasts that are similar to yours, study their formats, content, and structure. Think about how you can incorporate those features into your show and improve upon what they’ve created.

With quality content under your belt, next turn to the second important pillar: time. We know Rome wasn’t built in a day and the same can be said for podcast audiences.

Remember, many hosts produce a podcast for 5-6 months before seeing major upticks in their listenership. That means persistently promoting ten top notch episodes that ultimately see minimal engagement. Don’t get discouraged.

Trust that promoting a podcast takes time and growth depends on consistently producing engaging content. So let’s start with our 11 tried and true strategies so you can turn up the heat on your podcast promotion.

How To Promote A Podcast With These 11 Growth Strategies

Podcast promotion isn’t a one-size-fits-all game. A strategy that floods hundreds of downloads for one show may be a slow drip for another.

Keep variety in mind when charting out a marketing strategy and see what sticks. You’ll have to go through trial and error at the start, figuring out what works and on which channels. Testing new ideas, different messaging angles, and pushing yourself out of the box may unearth the audience you’ve been searching for.

1. Keep your podcast website updated with your latest episodes

A podcast website is important. From SEO benefits to being a platform you fully control, all shows should have their own site. But what good is a website if you’re not regularly updating it with your freshest content?

Each time you upload a new episode and it’s distributed to every listening app, create a new post on your website too. The post should have an embedded player, transcriptions, and show notes to make the biggest impact.

Recently, Google started crawling audio material and including podcasts in search results. To capitalize on this update, try targeting episodes to a few keyword phrases your intended audience often searches for. Include those same keywords on that episode’s post for double SEO benefits.

Did you know?

Don’t make managing a podcast and your website harder than it needs to be. Use Castos and our Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin to do everything from the WordPress dashboard you know and love. Upload episodes, view analytics, customize the embedded player, and create curated playlists all inside WordPress.

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2. Test advertising with Overcast

Where is the best place to reach podcast listeners? Directly on the platform where they already consume content.

Overcast features display ads on their platform where users simply click through to your show’s content from the ad. They can easily start listening to your latest episodes or hit subscribe, all without leaving Overcast.

The platform charges different rates per category and provide forecasts for the number of clicks and subscriptions you might receive. The ads run for 30 days and appear below the player controls and within their search directory.

3. Convert your podcast into a YouTube video

Get double the exposure from one episode by repurposing its content for YouTube. Creating a video asset from an episode can take a few forms but all have the same goal: putting your podcast in front of YouTube’s 2 billion worldwide users.

The easiest way to upload a podcast to YouTube is to convert the MP3 audio file into a video format. YouTube recommends MP4 files. Next add a branded image to appear for the duration of the video and upload. Be sure include show notes and links to your website, subscribe links to other listening platforms, and social channels in the description.

Another route that requires more equipment is recording both video and audio content as you produce an episode. Rather than having a static image on screen, viewers will see the host talking live as they follow along. This is a great option if you interview guests or have a co-host.

Did you know?

Castos makes it even easier to repurpose your podcast with our automatic YouTube republishing features. Simply upload your audio files to the dashboard then we’ll convert and upload it to your channel for you.

Start your free 14-day trial today, no credit card required!

4. Cut that YouTube video into clips

We’re all about getting more out of the amazing content we’ve already created. If you repurpose a full episode into a video, why not go back and create shorter 1-3 minute soundbite worthy clips. You’ll captivate the viewers who consume longer videos and those that prefer to share shorter clips.

New viewers can easily consume these videos, get a sense of what your show is about, and decide to listen to your other videos. YouTube’s algorithm will also suggest your other clips, making it easy for users to watch more of your content.

We’ve all been victim to suddenly spending hours on YouTube, now it’s time for you to capitalize on it.

5. Add value to the conversation

Self promotion can feel uncomfortable but you need to be the champion of your podcast. There are millions of conversations happening on Facebook, Quroa, Reddit, and Twitter likely around the topic of your podcast. One of your episodes could add value to the discussion and introduce the show to new listeners.

Search each platform for threads and forums related to your show. Analyze how much activity the group typically has and the number of people contributing to gauge if it’s worth investing time interacting with the community.

Once you find a few groups with enough engagement, start adding your value. But be mindful. This strategy takes tact. First focus on solely being part of the conversation without promoting your show. Actually being part of the community will be beneficial when a the right post to promote yourself does come along.

Being overly spammy and not contributing more to the conversation is a sure fire way to be banned from Facebook groups and turn off potential followers. Be artful in your responses and target specific posts rather than commenting on everything.

This strategy won’t bring in 1,000 new listeners in a day. Instead, you’ll highlight yourself as a thought leader on the topic, showing potential listeners why your podcast is worth their time. Gaining a few loyal followers will help your long term growth.

6. Be a guest and invite a guest

There’s a reason being a guest and hosting one on your podcast makes it on every promotional strategy list. It works.

Pitching yourself as a guest on another show is a great way to introduce your content to an aligned, qualified audience. Similarly, including interesting guests on your own show produces more engaging episodes and adds a unique point of view for your listeners.

These mutual benefits make working with other podcasters a win/win promotional strategy. As you set up appearances on each other’s shows, define how you’ll promote the content across your channels. Skip using vague language like “let’s promote each other” and get into the details.

Go as far as providing your guests pre-written text for social posts, image assets, and the link you want them to share. In turn, be clear on how you’ll promote the episode you appear on so you each gain equal exposure from the partnership.

Focus on working with other podcasts that are within your niche and have a complementary audience to yours.

To find relevant podcasts to work with, try out these resources:

  • r/PodcastGuest Exchange: a subreddit for podcasts looking for guests. Pitch your area of expertise and a bit about your show and others can ask you to come onto theirs.
  • Radio Guest List: subscribe to their Guest Request newsletter and receive pitches from podcasts looking for guests every Monday and Wednesday.
  • Facebook groups: dedicated podcast Facebook groups like Podcast Movement or Podcasters’ Support Group are great places to swap guest opportunities to mutually benefit both shows.

Did you know?

All Castos customers gain exclusive access to our Podcast Hackers Facebook group. We make it easy to connect with other podcasters, getting you one step closer to finding the perfect guest partnership.

Start your free 14-day trial today, no credit card required!

7. 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, asking if they’d be willing to share your episode with their following.

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 content.

8. Get media exposure with HARO & other content creators

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.

And who said you can only create collaborations with other podcasters? There are websites, magazines, YouTube shows, and other content creators talking about the same subject as you. Find those in your industry and start building relationships with people who have a complementary audience to yours. Instead of exchange podcast interviews, suggest writing a guest contributor post or offer an episode’s transcription that can be repurposed into a blog article.

There’s no better way to position yourself as an authority on a topic than to showcase your knowledge across every major medium.

Did you know?

Castos offers automatic transcriptions for all of our plans. At $0.10 per minute, it’s a pay-as-you-go service using top of the line speech to text transcription technology.

Start your free 14-day trial today, no credit card required!

9. Hacking word-of-mouth recommendations

How did you learn about the first podcast you listened to? We’ll go out on a limb and say someone recommended it to you with a rave review.

Every business, podcasts included, have focused on how to hack word-of-mouth advertising. It’s one of the most effective marketing strategies available but unfortunately, the trickiest to define a winning formula.

Finding the right places to spread your message is step one. Your audience congregates in certain places in the real world so it’s your job to find them and attend as well. Research conferences, meet ups, or local events in your area that relate to your podcast. Then when you go, have a plan ahead of time to make the most of the event.

Network your heart out by talking to the event’s attendees and speakers. Don’t be afraid to mention you work on a podcast and how it relates to why you’re attending the event.

10. 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? If you’re just starting out, look at similar podcasts 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 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.

Did you know?

Castos invests heavily in our podcast analytics to deliver actionable insights to our customers. See at what time listeners tune in and view geographic, device and platform breakdowns. Plus we recently updated our validation checks to ensure the accuracy of all your podcast analytics.

Start your free 14-day trial today, no credit card required!

11. Don’t forget about your back catalog

An easy way to get new listeners to consume more of your episodes is to promote them with newer ones. Your back catalog is chock full of interesting content and the perfect way to hook new subscribers.

If you mention a topic that you’ve covered in a previous episode, add a quick aside with the episode number: “If you want to learn more about productivity, check out episode #17 where we spoke to John about managing a busy schedule.” Remember to link to them in the show notes to make it easy for the listener to find.

And don’t forget about social media. Watch Twitter for trending hashtags that relate an episode’s topic. Jump into the conversation and include the appropriate hashtags for new listeners to discover your show.

If you interview prominent guests, set Google Alerts for each person after an episode goes live. When they put out new work, create a Facebook post linking to their project plus your past episode.

Or try following set Instagram trends like #ThrowBackThursday or #FlashbackFriday. Create imagery featuring enticing pull-quotes or audiograms teasing a past episode.

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