Podcast marketing is only as effective as its execution. Sharon Taylor, Managing Director at Triton Digital, shares her list of top podcast marketing “Dos” and “Do Betters” to help you accelerate your audience growth.
Triton Digital’s Omny Studio team has written before about the fundamentals of promoting your podcast, covering the basics of using Omny features to share your show, create good promos, build relationships with key distribution platforms, and how to market your show in general.
It’s that last point above that I’d like to dive deeper into today, as it seems to be a hot topic amongst our publishers recently. Whether you’re launching a new show, wondering how to give some plateaued download numbers a jump-start, or just looking for ways to maximize exposure, marketing a podcast effectively seems to have a lot of people stumped.
Let’s start by ripping the Band-Aid off and acknowledging that marketing anything well is hard. Success is hard-won, usually arriving after many grueling months of rolling out your marketing plan. After all that hard work, most want a nap, maybe even a high five — but not to think about how they are going to maintain those activities and momentum.
Now that we’re all feeling upbeat and motivated, let’s jump in with a rundown of the top marketing tactics that make me want to scream into a void when I see (or don’t see) them. If I had a dollar for every occasion, I’d be rolling in the dough!
So, get your dollar bills ready (or coins as we have here in Australia — which hurt a lot more by the way!) and let’s make it rain!
Common missteps and how to correct them
1. Press releases with no audio player
You’ve put all that effort into a press release for a noteworthy episode or show/season release. It’s picked up by the usual outlets (some don’t even need a press release) and even runs in some mainstream publications. That fatal sign-off line is used “Find the show wherever you get your podcasts”, somewhere in the distance you can hear a voice screaming “Where is the audio embed player”?
That voice is mine :). Please make it easy for people to hear your trailer right there and then.
Here’s a great example from one of our clients in Australia, Mamamia, promoting their latest show.
Included in the press release is a lovely (if we do say so ourselves) embedded player, which the outlet is able to pop right there on the page.
I say trailer specifically — have one and use it everywhere, including the top of your podcast feed. Give people a taste of the show and eliminate as many reasons as possible for people not to sample the show (e.g. mouse clicks, browser windows, time, learning what a podcast is, etc.)
2. Only promoting your show on social media
A close neighbor to #1, whilst you’re busy writing all those press releases why not throw a short article into the mix? All sites and publications are in the business of serving content — why not help them out by providing some of yours?
And it doesn’t have to be difficult. If you have an episode on a timely topic in the news, or even a prominent guest, co-host or interviewee, you can draft off of this content while including the audio segment (see #1 above) and get it into a relevant industry body website.
If you are lucky enough to create podcasts at a company which also has radio stations, newspapers, TV shows, eNewsletters or any other media — use them! Get your podcast on the radio, be a guest on a TV news segment, put them into a magazine — the world is your oyster. And if you don’t work at one of these organizations, you can still reach out to pitch these segments — oysters for everyone!
3. Avoiding cross promotion opportunities
This one perplexes me. Best I can make out, podcasters are often overly worried that cross promotion will somehow cannibalize their own audience. It won’t and you should dabble in cross promotion if you’re unsure. Be a guest on another show, find out which shows in your network have a shared audience and run promo ads or feed drops to build awareness.
A feed drop: One show will publish an episode of another show on their RSS feed, usually with a short introduction from the host explaining why their listeners might enjoy the new show.
The best example I’ve seen recently was from the ABC, which made an entire episode in a daily news show (remember, everyone is looking for more content) about a new investigative podcast they were launching.
4. Blanket social media approach
You’re going to have a different makeup of potential listeners on each social media platform who all interact with those platforms differently. Sharing whole episodes are table stakes. Write different posts for each and share a short clip, as well as the full episode on each — most people aren’t using social media to listen to whole episodes, so the cloning and editing of an episode for a promo post is key!
If you don’t already use something like Headliner to create engaging audiograms of your episodes and segments — start. They’ve recently launched this nifty new discovery widget, called Disco, which has piqued my interest!
Sometimes you don’t want or need to share your audio (or a platform won’t have that functionality enabled) so create your own image to better engage in a dialogue with those users or catch their eye. Below is a great example.
Tip: customize your social media posts to suit the platform. The above is a great example from Fear and Greed, showing how they best interact with a business focused audience on LinkedIn.
5. Forgetting links, tags and hashtags in your posts
Guests you’ve interviewed often don’t have the time to find and share an episode. Some creators have success sending an easy-to-digest set of options in an email. If all else fails, make sure you tag them — a retweet or a reshare is a lot easier than having to think up and find time to make content.
Got a timely topic? Get all up in those hashtags. Better yet, set up Google Keyword Alerts for topics you routinely cover or your podcast category — you’ll get a daily summary and can jump on an opportunity to share some delicious audio content.
Also, and it goes without saying, don’t only promote your show on social media. Build a fan club on a platform and engage with them regularly. Don’t forget to dabble in some social audio platforms to test those waters as well.
6. Storing up ratings and reviews for some sort of podcast apocalypse
You’ve started and signed off every episode with the obligatory “leave us a rating and review wherever you get your podcast” (the podcasters’ version of “smash that subscribe button”) but don’t share them. Testimonials are the holy grail for product marketing, don’t be shy and get them out there — whether that’s on the internet or on beer mats.
Side note: the jury is out on whether reviews impact Apple Podcast charts. Some say they do, others (including Apple, more recently) say they don’t. But velocity of ratings and new subscribers are definitely a factor — so request and share far and wide.
7. Hesitancy to open the wallet
Real talk — you spent a decent amount of money getting your podcast off the ground. Be brave and aim to spend at least the same amount advertising it. Whether it’s in podcast ads on similar shows (arguably the number one method going right now) or to promote some of those social media posts you’re now nailing.
I’ve seen tram ads (side note, the more “out there” you get, the more likely you are to get more press out of it), billboards, Google Ads and even cartoons. Get creative, have some fun with it, and splash some cash.
8. Assuming people know what you’re promoting
Last but certainly not least, remember that you have built and are marketing a product that not everyone in the world understands or listens to, yet.
Be clear about what you’re selling, don’t assume everyone knows what a podcast is, make it easy for people to find and engage with your content, and don’t be scared to engage in a lot of marketing trial and error!
If you find other things that work for you, why not let the world know (and simultaneously get some more attention on your show)?
Happy podcasting, everyone.