A study done by Listen Notes shows that there are over 2.9 million podcasts and 147 million podcast episodes online today.
Your podcast is just one of them. The only way to stand out from the crowd and stay ahead of your competitors is to promote your podcast. In fact, you’ll need a promotion strategy before you launch to have the best chances at ramping up your audience.
In this piece, you’ll learn 14 marketing strategies to help you grow your podcast’s audience and be successful.
14 Podcast Marketing Strategies You Should Try
- Have a good podcast
- Know your target audience
- Tell human stories
- Launch with at least three episodes
- Make your podcast available on all major platforms
- Host guests with a large following
- Repurpose your podcast content for social media
- Promote on forums and online groups
- Create a website or blog for the podcast
- Use SEO to boost your podcast’s organic rankings
- Appear on other podcasts as a guest
- Try email marketing
- Promote older posts
- Leverage influencer marketing
- Promote your podcast today
The trick to getting more listeners to your podcast is to have a podcast that is actually worth listening to. That’s why you should prioritize having in-depth conversations with interesting guests — preferably subject matter experts — about topics that people are interested in.
Alex Birkett, the co-founder of Omniscient Digital and one of the hosts of The Long Game podcast knows this all too well. “I know this will sound trite, but the only way to grow a podcast is to have a good podcast in the first place,” Birkett says. “You can convince some big-name guests to jump on with you, but if the premise sucks and your interview is awkward, that’s going to be a little spike of listeners at best.
Almost all podcasts that have grown from scratch (excluding The Daily by the NYT, or anything by NPR) have done so primarily via word-of-mouth and from repeated exposure. So if you’ve got a unique premise and the podcast is genuinely good, you have to find where your target audience is.”
But what makes a podcast good?
Here are four things that determine a great podcast:
- Valuable. Your listeners benefit from your podcast. At the end of an episode, they’ve either learned some new tips or information, or they’re entertained. Or both.
- Attention-grabbing. Ideally, you want your audience to listen to your episodes from start to finish. To achieve that, your content has to draw them in and keep their attention. Boring content makes for bored listeners.
- Unique. Your podcast shouldn’t be a rundown of the gazillion other podcasts in your niche. You can get inspiration from other podcasts, but you should add your own spin or twist to it. Like a secret ingredient that makes your podcast stand out.
This may be a little hard to hear, but your podcast cannot (and should not) appeal to everyone. If you attempt to create content for everyone, your podcast will likely not be specific enough to provide value to anyone.
If you want to build a brand around your podcast, you’ll have to find your tribe — people who are actively looking for content to consume in your niche — and tailor your podcast content to their needs.
But finding your target audience isn’t magic. You’d have to do a ton of research into things like:
- Their age range
- Geographic location
- Education level
- Interests (of both your listeners and your competitors’ listeners), etc.
The more you learn about your audience, you’ll produce better content and craft better marketing copy.
Christine Brownstein, Chief Marketing Officer at Palaleather UK recommends creating a persona document for this purpose. “It would be ideal if your podcast resonated with everybody, but it is unlikely,” says Brownstein. “So create an industry persona document with all you understand about your audience so you may refer to it while writing marketing content. Take measures to acquire as much as you can about a particular audience so that you can build campaigns that reach them with the appropriate content.”
Read more: How to Start a Podcast with No Audience
I’ve just started listening to podcasts, but one of my absolute favorite podcasts is The Diary of a CEO hosted by Steven Bartlett. The reason is simple: Bartlett tells stories from his personal and work life and encourages his guests to do the same.
People love stories. When they listen to a podcast, they want to take advice from people that have been in similar situations to themselves and found a way to solve their problems.
The guests of The Diary of a CEO and I might not have the exact same experiences, but I relate to some of the stories they share. That makes me stick around till the end to find out how they discovered the silver lining in their respective situations and how I can do the same.
“Using stories to promote a podcast is a great way to get the attention and interest of the audience you wish to attract,” says Christiaan Huynen, founder and CEO at DesignBro.
“People are more likely to listen to you when you tell them a story. It doesn’t have to be big or complicated; it just needs to be an interesting story that shows why you are the right person to talk to about the topic you are promoting. You won’t be able to get everyone’s attention, but the people whose interests are piqued by the story are most likely to listen to the podcast.”
If you haven’t launched your podcast yet, have at least three episodes ready to publish on launch day. You don’t want your new listeners to listen to just one episode and forget about you. Instead, have a few episodes that people can engage with before you start putting out content at your chosen publishing cadence.
Read more: How to Start a Podcast (Step-by-Step Guide)
The host of Product Marketing Insider, Lawrence Chapman, agrees with this.
“When launching podcasts here at Product Marketing Alliance, we have a launch cadence in place whereby we launch with a minimum of three episodes, publishing across Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.”
If you want people to listen to your podcast, you have to make said podcast available to them no matter which app your listeners use. As Chapman said, the team at Product Marketing Alliance publishes their podcast episodes on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.
While these are the three major podcast platforms, you’ll want to submit your podcast to lesser-known platforms like:
- Pocket Casts
- Podbay, etc.
Colin Jeffries, the host of the Rethink Marketing Podcast, believes that the more places your podcast is available on, the more people you’ll be able to reach.
“We have been successful at growing our audience to the top 5% of podcasts worldwide,” Jeffries espouses. “For the Rethink Marketing Podcast specifically, we focus on accessibility: the podcast is available on just about every podcast platform we can find (Apple, Spotify, Google, Podchaser, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, Castbox, etc., etc.). This allows us to cast a wider net and build our overall audience.”
A great way to promote your podcast is to host guests that have a large social media following. This works because you and the guest have the same goal: get people to listen to the episode.
“As someone who has started and grown two podcasts, my number one tip is to host guests who have a strong social presence with your target audience.”
says Alisa Meredith, Senior Product Marketing Manager at SemRush.
Will Whitman, the host of the podcast, CMO Convo, echoes this: “With a few high-profile names in the bag, who will then leverage their own large social media followings to promote their episode, you can organically grow your listeners pretty effectively. You’ll also attract other big-name guests through word of mouth, creating a nice self-sustaining loop.”
When an episode with a big-name guest goes live, you can send them a personalized email asking them to share it across their social media channels. But you have to make it easy for them to share. Do this by sending them:
- The link to the episode
- Short video snippets
- Pre-selected tweets
- Link to your own tweet so they can retweet
Whatever you do, don’t give your guests a reason not to help you promote the podcast.
Social media is a great place to promote a podcast and connect with listeners. But there’s more to promoting a podcast on social media than just sharing links to each episode. Here are some ways you can use social media to increase your podcast listeners:
- Use one of your episodes to spark a conversation on your Facebook page (or group) or Twitter
- Take salient points from an episode and turn them into tweets and LinkedIn posts
- Convert your recorded MP3 file into a MOV file for a YouTube video
- Post teasers of your latest podcast episodes using audiograms
- Take an interesting 30 – 60 seconds excerpt from an episode and add it to a graphic video (with captions, of course)
Alex Birkett explains how the team at Omniscient Digital repurposes The Long Game podcast. “We invested heavily in content repurposing since we have a decent presence on social media (as do our guests). We make videograms, audiograms, tweets, LinkedIn posts, and blog posts from every podcast episode.
No single thing has been a silver bullet, but cumulatively, we’ve grown quite steadily doing all of this.”
Note: Ensure that your target audience uses the social media platforms you promote your podcast on. You want your posts to reach people who are interested in them.
Forums and online groups are a subset of social media, but they deserve their own section because they are wildly underrated. Platforms like Quora and Reddit have forums and groups made up of people who’re avid podcast listeners. You only have to find the ones in your industry.
Ilija Sekulov, Marketing, and SEO at MailButler.io says,
“If you have a podcast where you talk about technology, for example, one way to attract more listeners is to mention it in new technology trends forums where there are already interested audiences about the topic, so they will probably want to listen to what you say in your podcast.
Some people think that since the arrival of social networks, forums are not worth it, but this is not true, there is still a very active community in specialized forums.”
If you created your podcast to promote your course or business, you should create a dedicated website or landing page for it. Here, you can list all your episodes so that listeners can easily find them. You can even host your episodes on the website with an embedded audio player, so site visitors won’t have to visit podcast platforms to listen to your podcast.
If you choose to repurpose your episodes into blog posts, you can publish them on the website. In so doing, you’ll be able to implement on-page SEO to boost your rankings in organic search.
Jordan Figueredo, the Senior Content Strategist and podcast producer for Online Optimism, notes,
“If you are trying to promote your podcast, create a website or a landing page with your website domain dedicated to your podcast. This is crucial because you can create blog posts that pertain to your podcast in general and specific episodes, increasing the content’s shareability and adding SEO value.
Blog posts reign supreme on Google, so ranking for a keyword that pertains to your podcast and links to the website that houses the episodes is a great way to promote the podcast and grow your number of listeners.”
To rank your podcast website on the SERPs, optimize it around the keywords that people search for to find your podcast. Include that keyword in the:
- Title tag
- H1 title
- Subheadings (H2, H3, H4, etc.)
- Meta description
- Body of the content (naturally)
As you optimize your podcast’s website for search, don’t forget to optimize the podcast itself. Just as with a website, optimizing a podcast for the SERPs have a lot to do with keyword placement.
“Approaching your podcast with classic SEO techniques, like vital keyword placement, will help your podcast perform well in search and reach new audiences,” Fernando Lopez, Marketing Director at Circuit says.
“While you might be tempted to add keywords to your podcast title – don’t! Your title should be short, sweet, and creative rather than a keyword-stuffed, awkward or generic phrase. Focus your keyword efforts on your episode titles and descriptions instead. You’ll find it easier to incorporate keywords naturally to give your podcast some much-needed search engine ‘juice’”.
Being a guest on another podcast in your niche is a great way to expand your audience and cross-promote your podcast. All you have to do is find relevant podcasts to work with and pitch yourself to them.
“One of the most efficient methods that hosts can use to attract more listeners is to appear on other relevant podcasts in your niche as a guest,” says Jakub Zajicek, co-founder, and CMO at Speak On Podcasts.
“This strategy accomplishes way more than just growing the podcast audience. Podcast hosts across the world appear on other cool shows to build their personal brands, network with other hosts, and make a bigger impact in general.”
You can find other relevant podcasts on:
- Facebook groups, like Podcasters’ Support Group and Podcast Movement
- Subreddits, like r/PodcastGuestExchange
- Radio Guest List newsletter
- Listen Notes
When you find someone whose podcast you’d like to be a guest on, send them a personalized pitch explaining why you’ll make a great guest and what topics you can talk about. If possible, ask the host if you can plug in your podcast during the discussion. In return, you’ll promote your episode on their podcast to your audience.
Email marketing is a great way to engage with your podcast audience. Once an individual subscribes to your email list, you can get to know what their interests are based on their email engagement. Recognizing patterns in their engagement will help you to create podcast content that resonates with them, leading to more listens and subscriptions to your podcast.
You can also send your subscribers updates about your podcast: when you publish a new episode, when you need their opinion on a potential topic/guest, and weekly/monthly roundups of your podcast episodes.
Lisa Richards, creator, and CEO of Candida Diet extols the benefits of email marketing:
“Research shows that email marketing for your podcast can generate up to 40 times the ROI you’d receive trying to market your podcast on Facebook or Twitter.
With email marketing, you’re able to keep your listeners engaged in between episodes. You’ll also be able to add more depth to each episode and to the brand as a whole, by elaborating on the topic covered in the episode, providing more background, or even offering updates on the subject since the podcast episode aired.”
As you publish more podcast content, it’s easy to get hooked on promoting only your new episodes. But if you’ve been running your podcast for a while, try to occasionally promote your older episodes, too.
Natalia Brzezinska, Marketing and Outreach Manager at PhotoAiD understands this.
“One important thing about podcasts is that they are usually evergreen content. So, while promoting them, you should not only focus on the recent episodes but also on the ones published a while ago. I’m willing to bet that many people from your target audience have not listened to your older episodes or even know they exist!”
Data collected by Influencer Marketing Hub showed that influencer marketing campaigns generate $5.78 in revenue for every $1 spent. With stats like this, partnering with an influencer to promote your podcast is worth it.
“Focus on building relationships with influencers in your niche who would be willing to recommend or review your podcast,” says Gauri Manglik, founder, and CEO at Instrumentl. “If they like what they hear, they may share it with their followers — and if those followers then check out your show, they could become long-term subscribers.”
To do influencer marketing, you’ll need to find someone with a large following that aligns with your target audience. Reach out to them and forge a mutually beneficial partnership to promote your podcast.
When you find someone willing to promote your podcast, you’ll have to pay them in some way: monetary compensation, free product, or a shout-out on your podcast. Every influencer has their own rules, so it’s up to you to come to an agreement with them.
Promoting a podcast is hard work. And oftentimes, it’s a time-consuming, trial-and-error process. You’ll need to test several podcast marketing strategies to come up with the mix that is right for your show.
But remember: No amount of money will help you grow a subpar podcast. So if you’re just starting your podcast, prioritize creating high-quality content with interesting guests. Then, you can start experimenting with other forms of promotions.