Promoting your podcasts is paramount for building an audience. There are numerous promotional strategies you can apply to promote your podcast. Some are free, but you have to pay for others. This article will discuss how to promote your podcast for free, but first, you need to ensure that you lay the groundwork.
Foundations of Podcast Promotion
Before attempting to drive traffic to your podcast, you want to ensure that your house is in order.
First, have great content in place already. For a new podcast, have at least three to five episodes ready. If you can have five to eight episodes in place, the better.
The episodes should contain relevant and valuable information that captures and sustains the audience’s attention and should be well structured and formatted.
Pay attention to the episode titles. They should not be generic, e.g., Podcast Name – Episode. Instead, they should give off what you cover in the episode or be catchy or hooky without being spammy.
Secondly, create a landing page for your podcast. The landing page makes the first impression about your podcast and is home to your episodes.
It should have engaging headlines, visuals, copy, and a call-to-action that persuades visitors to listen to your episodes. It should also contain a short promo trailer for your podcast.
Some podcasters use the landing page to build an email list of their listeners or people interested in the podcast. An email list is useful for promoting future episodes, conducting audience surveys, or selling to your audience.
Besides a landing page, some podcasters build a complete website for their podcast. Either way, ensure that the landing page and website are SEO optimized and your target audience can discover them easily.
A typical podcast website includes the following pages:
- About us
- Podcast episodes
- Contact us
- Media Kit
Clearly Define Your Audience
Before trying to reach your listeners, you should be clear about who they are. Otherwise, despite your best promotional efforts, you will find it hard to build an audience. It will be difficult to decide where to focus your promotion efforts, and even if you manage to get to some prospective listeners, they may not stick around.
In the beginning, you will only have a general idea of your target audience, like the topics they are interested in, where you might find them in online spaces, where they live, their age, and gender. As you build on the audience, you will have real audience insight into who listens to your podcast, and you can fine-tune your audience targeting to maximize your promotion results.
How to Promote Your Podcast for Free
Below are various ways you can promote your podcast for free:
Transcribe Your Podcast Audio into a Blog Post
If you already have a website, post the transcribed audio as a blog post on your website; otherwise, you can post on Medium and use it to drive traffic to the podcast episode.
The standard practice is to transcribe the entire show, but you can choose to transcribe only the main parts. You can hire transcription services affordably on Fiverr, Rev.com, or Upwork.
Post Your Episodes on YouTube
YouTube is one of the platforms where your target audience can organically discover your podcast and listen. Initially, podcasters thought that the podcast audio format would not work on YouTube; however, the audience has proved that they do not mind listening to podcast episodes on YouTube. A University of Florida study showed that YouTube is nearly as popular as other podcast distribution platforms, such as iTunes, Google Play Music, and Spotify.
As such, more and more podcasters are now leveraging their podcast content to build a YouTube channel as a tactic for promotion and method of monetization. They record their podcasts in audio and video format and post the video format on YouTube.
When posting on YouTube, follow the principles of YouTube SEO to get your show to rank organically. You can also cut a few video clips from the podcast and use them for promotion as teasers on your Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, or Twitter pages.
Cross-Promote on Similar Podcasts
You don’t need to look at a similar podcast as competition. They can be your collaborators and help you reach a wider audience. Unlike traditional media, where the audience had to watch one program or the other at a given time, podcast listeners can subscribe to different podcasts at a time.
Therefore, consider reaching out to other podcasters in your niche and find ways of cross-promoting on each other’s shows to grow your podcast audience. It may be easier to reach out to the smaller players, but don’t be shy about reaching out to the big players in your niche, too.
You can co-host an episode and publish it on both of your podcasts or guest appear on the other show and promote your podcast. You can also refer to each other’s episodes, or share audience insights for lookalike audience targeting for a Facebook ad.
Join Podcasters Communities
Here you can meet other podcasters that you can collaborate with. These communities also help you learn new ideas and techniques for successfully promoting podcasts. Examples of podcasters communities include:
- Podcaster’s Support Group (Facebook)
- Podcasting Technology Resources Group (LinkedIn)
- Podcast Hackers – Facebook
- Podcasting (Meetup)
- Producing Podcasts (Apple)
- Podcast Movement (Facebook)
- Podcast Guest Exchange (Reddit)
- Podcaster’s Hangout (Facebook)
- The New York Times Podcast Club
Submit Your Episodes on Podcast Directories
Podcast directories are one of the best places to promote your podcast. They work well for both new and established podcasts. There are numerous podcast directories to submit your podcast to, and the submission process is usually straightforward.
You can submit to as many directories as possible to maximize your podcast’s reach; however, you can choose to focus on a few that receive the most traffic. Enter the podcast directory website link on SimilarWeb for an overview of the traffic each directory receives, including their demographics. It is worth submitting on any platform with at least 50k visits per month. Others have up to 100 million visits per month.
The top podcast directories include:
- Apple Podcasts (iTunes)
- Google Podcasts
- Digital Podcast
- Good pods
Ask Your Listeners and Subscribers to Share Your Content
Referrals are still one of the most powerful marketing tools. Often, people take up referrals from their friends and family as they trust them. No matter the size of your audience, they can be a powerful tool for bringing in other listeners.
Make a polite and authentic request to your listeners and subscribers in each episode for them to share it. Explain that it would help your channel grow and reach more people. In most cases, if your listeners find your content helpful and valuable, they will be eager to share.
The good old word-of-mouth recommendation works effectively even now. Be proactive about putting yourself in spaces, both online and offline, where your ideal podcast listener would be.
Talk to different people about your podcast, and attend meetups, conferences, and networking events in your niche. Join your niche-related online forums such as Quora, Reddit, and Facebook groups. Add value by taking part in the discussions, and where appropriate, recommend your podcast.
Find Opportunities for Media Exposure
These include radio or TV interviews and guest blogging or articles in newspapers and magazines. Sign up for a profile with Help a Reporter Out (HARO), and a journalist may reach out to you with questions or need comments for their article, TV, or radio show. Also, subscribe to the Radio Guest List, and you could receive pitches or invites for media or PR interviews related to your niche.
Promote Your Podcast on Spotify
If you use Spotify as one of your podcast directories, you can also promote it on the platform. Here are some tips on how to promote your podcast on Spotify for free:
- Create a playlist with episodes on the Spotify mobile app
- Share the playlist on your social media account
- Embed a Spotify player to your blog or website
Promote Your Podcast on Social Media
Social media platforms are among the best places to promote your podcast. They have already built audiences that you can leverage to build an audience for your podcast, and you can use most for free or paid promotion.
Below is a look at the best practices for promoting your podcast on social media and specific tips for the different social media platforms.
1. Build Social Media Pages for Your Podcast
Choose your preferred social media platform and set up profiles for podcasts. If you have an existing business with an audience and following already, incorporate the podcast within the existing page rather than creating new pages. It enhances your listeners’ recall of your business.
Carefully curate your social media bios to represent your podcast brand. Clearly state the name of the podcast and provide a link to the landing page or a link to your podcast on one of the hosting platforms. Upload your podcast cover art in the header image.
2. Post Regularly About Your Show
Create several posts around each episode. Share snippets of upcoming episodes, and engage your audience with questions about the topic discussed in the episode. Provide links to the episode once it is up and initiate a discussion or bring in some fun with bloopers or edgy edits.
3. Make Your Content Shareable
You want your audience to be able to easily share posts that they find funny, informational, or inspiring. It is a subtle form of referral that could bring in more listeners to your podcast.
4. Customize Your Content for Each Platform
If you are posting a picture on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, customize the dimensions to the recommendations for each platform. Facebook supports both short and longer video formats, while Twitter does well with shorter videos. Below are specific guidelines for promoting your podcast on various social media platforms.
Set up a pinned tweet with a link to your most popular or recent episode. Alternatively, pin one of your Twitter posts with high engagement to serve as social proof and encourage engagement with people viewing your profile.
Share a teaser of each episode on your Twitter feed. The teaser should preferably be a video as it has better attention attraction efficiency. It could also be an audio snippet.
Use the appropriate hashtags for your Tweets to help expand your reach. Engage with the audience in your feed to foster trust. Seek feedback on the various episodes and ask for their input in the upcoming episodes.
Instagram is visual-based. Podcasts are audio-based, so setting up an Instagram feed for your podcast can be daunting. With a bit of creativity, though, it can be a great tool for building your brand and promoting your podcast.
Regularly post selfies and images of the hosts, cohost, and guests. Promote upcoming episodes with relevant stock images. Make short video snippets for the episodes. Take a hooky quote or statement from your episode, use Canva to transform it into appealing graphics, and post it on your feed. You could also post an audio snippet with an image as the background.
Also, utilize hashtags and Instagram stories to attract new listeners. If you are at a loss for ideas, check other podcasters’ Instagram pages for inspiration.
Facebook is also a highly visual platform. It gives you wider flexibility in the type and length of content you can post, ranging from long-form to short-form text and video content. You can post quotes, video snippets, audio snippets, cover art images, etc. You can also join Facebook groups relevant to the podcast niche and promote it there when allowable.
The key to a successful podcast is a high-quality audience that is super interested in your topic and engaged. The above strategies will help you reach your target audience and attract and persuade them to listen to your podcast. Some will stick around and become loyal listeners