Done. You feel accomplished. You just finished uploading your podcast’s very first episode.
A week later, how many downloads did you get?
Hosting your own podcast is easier than ever. Now, all you need is a mic, laptop and, good audio editing software to start a show. Unfortunately, if you’re used to promoting blogs, a podcast may seem daunting, especially if you’re just starting out.
What’s a podcast without listeners anyway? Sure, your friends, (techy) mom, and pet husky might listen to a few episodes. But how do you grow your audience from there?
Podcast Promotion Tips that Work, even if You’re a Newbie with Zero Budget
- Post Behind the Scene Pictures
This might sound cheesy to you, but posting behind the scene photos have three benefits:
- Pictures can be used to promote the podcast in visual-heavy social networks, like Instagram and Pinterest. Besides, Twitter and Facebook posts with pictures are known to drive more engagement.
- Snapping a few selfies help podcast guests relax, so they’re not fumbling and awkward when the interview starts.
- Pictures give listeners a sneak peak to the show, which makes them feel more connected to you.
Bonus: funny and attention grabbing photos are good conversation starters on social media.
Jenni Hogan posts pictures of her podcast episodes on Facebook, like this one of her interview with Nadia Shouraboura.
- Tap into Your Existing Blog Readers and Email Subscribers
If you have a blog or email list, don’t let it go to waste. Some of your readers will be psyched to know you have a podcast, and vice versa.
Besides, people don’t always prefer reading. Sometimes they want something to listen to on the way to work — it might as well be your podcast.
- Interview Celebrities and Authors about Upcoming Books and Shows
Celebrities, authors, and their PR agents are always looking for new channels to promote their stuff. And yes, you don’t have to be a major network or publication to do this.
Contact them directly, or send their PR agent a short pitch for an interview. Granted, they will likely use your podcast to promote their new ventures but it’s a good trade anyway. Aside from bragging rights, you can use the celeb’s name in episode title, and when you’re promoting the episode online.
- Ask Listeners to Leave a Review on iTunes
Online reviews are this generation’s version of social proof. When a friend leaves a good review for a restaurant, book, or a movie, you’re more likely to give it a try. The same goes for podcasts.
The more reviews you get on iTunes, the higher up you’ll go in the show rankings. So don’t be ashamed to ask for reviews during the last few minutes of every episode.
- Submit Your Podcast to Only the Top Podcast Sites
Submit your podcast feed to legit, high-quality sites that actually get traffic.
Here’s a list of some podcast mega sites:
Authority Media Group, LLC’s podcast, “Authority Alchemy” is unfortunately no longer operating but was the 4th most popular marketing podcast on iTunes within 24 hours of launching. Now that is a nice bragging point and traffic driver. Think about at least attempting to get real traffic through your promotion efforts versus just getting listed.
What not to do when promoting podcasts through submissions
Do not blast your site onto every podcast directory you can find or you will likely do more harm than good. Google Penguin can track these kind of bad links and lessen your ranking because of them.
I am not saying all podcast directories are bad but put any site where you are considering getting listed, into semrush.com first. I tried just three as a test and all of them sadly had keyword visibility that was on a downward trend. These sites may be trying to serve a good purpose but look weak enough that I would steer away from linking to them or being listed in them for a backlink, even if just to play it safe.
Examples of podcast directories that could potentially cause ranking problems
- All Podcasts (allpodcasts.com)
- Replay Media Guide (applian.com/guide)
- Digital Podcast (digitalpodcast.com)
The keyword traffic to iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRADIO and Soundcloud by comparison are all climbing steadily in a positive direction and in most cases are worth millions of dollars a month.
- Co-Host Episodes with other Podcasters
Tap into the audience of popular podcasters in your niche.
Reaching out to podcasters in different niches with a similar audience works well, too.
Pat Flynn, an expert on building passive income online, co-hosts the 1-Day Business Breakthrough podcast with Chris Ducker, an expert on outsourcing. These guys are an excellent example of podcasters with an overlap in their audience’s interests.
- Invite Listeners to Interact with You
Just as people love hearing their names on radio, podcast listeners will be thrilled when you talk about them on your show.
You can set-up a voicemail account to receive questions by phone, or ask people to submit online via Facebook, Twitter, or a dedicated email address. Use a unique hashtag so it’s easier to filter the questions from other posts.
Don’t expect a flood of questions immediately though. Give the news a chance to spread first. Announce it online and give clear instructions for sending questions on every episode.
- Don’t Neglect the Show Notes
Writing up the show notes can be such a drag, especially if you’re a one-man team.
But don’t neglect it! Your show notes are one of the reasons listeners come back to your site. And for many first time listeners, this is another chance to hook them in for another episode.
Show notes should provide real value and useful resources, not just a transcript. I doubt listeners will enjoy reading through the episode’s transcript just to find one website mentioned on the show.
Lewis Howes of The School of Greatness podcast has amazing show notes, which include:
- An introduction to give non-listeners some context about the episode
- Bullets of questions tackled
- List of topics and lessons to expect
- Links to websites, books, and other resources mentioned
- A list of related episodes
- Invite Guests for Interviews
Interviewing experts boost your podcast’s credibility. You also gain access to the guest’s audience, even if they don’t have a podcast of their own.
The big question is: How can I convince experts to agree to an interview?
Most experts are happy to share their knowledge to others, especially if the sharing part doesn’t require a lot of effort for them.
Anthony J. Yeung provided a simple script to invite podcast guests at Kissmetrics. Just modify his template to fit your needs:
If you don’t know who to interview, try one of the following queries on Google:
- “your keyword” intitle:interview
- “your keyword” intitle:”interview with” OR “Q&A with”
- “your keyword” intitle:”tips from”
- Do a Contest with Freebies and Giveaways
Holding a contest is a tried and tested tactic to growing a subscriber base. It’s effective for blogs, so there’s no reason it won’t work for podcasts.
You can announce the contest on all your online channels, and podcast to get as many entries as possible. Or you can announce it everywhere, but only release the contest information on the show. I think the latter attracts more listeners than the first strategy.
Another way to do it is to give contest entries in exchange for reviews and shares, like what Tim Ferriss did:
- Have Guests Include a Link to the Podcast on their Next Email Blast
Yes, your guests will be more than happy to promote your interview with them on their social accounts. Some guests are also kind enough to link up the episode in their blog or media page. But you won’t get the full power of their network that way.
You have to get into their email list.
But it’s a BIG ask. People protect their email list like hawks because they don’t want their hard-earned readers to unsubscribe.
Get over this objection by framing the request in an easy, risk-free manner.
Suggest they mention the episode in the P.S section of an email already scheduled to go out. This way, they don’t have to do much work, and you’re not asking for 1 whole dedicated email so the chances of unsubscribes are minimal.
Better yet, write it up so they can just copy/paste it. Here’s an example:
P.S. John Mcdougall at Legal Marketing Review interviewed me on his podcast last week, and we chatted about LinkedIn Marketing for attorneys. Check it out here: (podcast episode URL).
What are you waiting for? If you have a show of your own, try one of the podcast promotion tips listed here.
Have a podcast promotion tip to share? Let us know at @Mcdougalljohnd.