Podcast statistics indicate that less than 20% of podcasts grow. Why? Because the people who put up the shows do not follow through. After deciding on a podcast hosting platform, they an episode or two and then get frustrated.
One problem that causes this is traffic or the number of listeners. It is difficult to grow a podcast to make it monetized. After you learn how to start a podcast, you must learn how to drive traffic into it and grow your audience.
Below are the 11 best ways to promote a podcast to your target audience.
YouTube is a powerful platform. There are many people who do not even know that you have a podcast. However, if you publish your podcast on YouTube, you will have access to people who do not even know what a podcast is.
So, why should you do this? Does it also mean that you have to spend a lot of money? You must repurpose your podcast as a video for the following reasons:
- SEO Value – your podcast will be found in the YouTube algorithm
- Credibility – you get more credibility if people can see who you are; if you are just a voice, you are not giving yourself a lot of chance for positive exposure
- Brand Awareness – people should see your brand many times in different platforms; your presence is what makes people think that you are to be trusted
No, you do not have to spend a lot of money. Start with a phone camera—just make sure it is not grainy and that you also edit the audio before you upload.
One popular example I can give you is the Joe Rogan Experience. His primary content platform is a podcast, and yet he has a team that records videos of his show. Then, once the podcast airs, the video version is also launched on YouTube.
What is a newsletter? A newsletter is a one-page document that contains news. You send this newsletter via email. Ideally, you send this document as a PDF or as a photo attachment in line with the message.
People get all sorts of notifications, and some just ignore them. With a newsletter, you can remind a person that you have an upcoming show and also tell this person what the topic is. From here, the person can decide whether or not to listen to your podcast.
You do not need a program to create PDFs. I am sure you have MS Word or PowerPoint—use both of these to create a newsletter, then save the file as a PDF.
Of course, you can only send a podcast newsletter to your email subscribers—you can only do this if you have a website. It is why I also strongly recommend that you have a stand-alone website where you can redirect people to see what your podcast is about.
Once you successfully route a person to visit your website, you must have a sign-up form where the person will give you his email address, and this email address will go to your email list.
Cross-promotion means that you are working with other podcasters. You will promote their podcast, and they will promote yours.
Here are the benefits of cross-promotions:
- Sharing of audiences
- More exposure
Of course, you can only cross-promote if you find another podcaster who is willing to do it with you. Once you find one, you can swap ads with that podcaster. It is not a product ad but an ad for your podcast.
For example, you can say that “This podcast today is brought to you by Podcaster ABC.” Now, this podcaster will do the same thing. Of course, both of you have to tell your respective audiences what the other podcast is about and why they should listen to that.
Another method of cross-promotion is collaboration. In it, you and the podcaster can create a show and talk to each other. Then, both of you can cross-promote the show on your respective podcasts.
The ideal way to do this is to split the show into two episodes. The first episode is available on your podcast only, and the second episode is only accessible in the other podcaster’s show.
As a podcaster, you have a niche. As such, there are other groups of people who cover the same topic, and there are groups of people who have an organization revolving around your niche.
For example, let us say that you are a political podcaster. If you are a supporter of Political Party ABC, they you must find a way to engage with people who support this party.
Here are some examples:
- Campaign rallies
- Other podcasters who support Political Party ABC
If you can, you must also interview some people who actually belong to the party. For example, you can interview someone from that party who is running for Congress.
Engagement in your community is possible in several ways. You can ask your audience what they want or provide them with a platform where they can connect with you.
You can create share-worthy content that they can post on their social media. For example, you can create a photo with a quote, and they can share that. Whatever it is that you do, think of a way where you can add value to the community.
One of the things that will bring your podcast to the next level is a social media post that is intriguing. It is not a new tactic—radio and TV shows have been doing this for as long as we can all remember.
For example, suppose that your guest is a doctor about your women’s health podcast. It makes perfect sense to take a photograph of that doctor, then make a creative post about it.
The photo post should have the:
- Guest’s photo
- The topic
- The niche and what niche the doctor specializes in
- The podcast details and where to find it
Of course, the post should have the “what’s-in-it-for-me” content. It has to tell the reader why he has to listen to this podcast. An example is telling the reader what he will learn if he listens or downloads this podcast.
You do not need to learn Photoshop to do this. There are many online software programs out there where you can make an eye-catching social media post like Canva. All it takes is a few minutes to get to learn how the system works. Canva has many templates that you can use for any type of social media post.
What is the best time to publish a podcast? There is no single answer to this. The best time depends on your podcast statistics.
Some podcast hosts have a deep analytical reporting system where you can see what time of day your episodes have the most listeners. Use this report to publish your episodes just in time when your listeners are available.
It also makes sense to set your podcast account into your local time. This way, all reports will show statistics in your local time, and you will not get confused.
You cannot promote your podcast unless you do it yourself. As such, one of the best ways that you can do this is to promote your own content.
This tactic does not only apply to podcasts but also to other platforms like YouTube. If you observe carefully, YouTubers promote their content by putting cards or thumbnail links at the end of their videos. On some occasions, they also say it on the show and then provide the link to the video in the video description.
You can do the same thing in your podcast. For example, if you are an MMA podcaster, you can say in your episode now that last week, you interviewed Brock Lesnar. Tell the audience that the link to that podcast episode is in the podcast description.
As you can see, any person who is interested in Brock Lesnar is likely to listen to that podcast. And if he does, you get to tell the podcast algorithm that your podcast is getting traction or audience.
Podcast SEO works in the same way as search engine optimization for blogs. It’s just that instead of optimizing for search engines like Google, you are optimizing content for a platform. The principle for this is the same with optimizing the content on YouTube.
Investing does not always mean you spend money. It also means you spend the time to craft your titles and content text to make it favorable to the podcast host’s search engine. You want to make your content SEO-friendly.
Here are some of the things you can do:
- Choose relevant keywords for your podcast
- Use the keywords in the title and body
- Use these keywords in your audio
- Include written content in your podcast
For the audio, Google has already developed an algorithm that can “listen” to your podcast. Yes, the machine can listen for words and then index these words. This new technology is called audio indexing.
In the past, the algorithm could only “read” texts from blogs. As such, Google only indexed words. Today, your podcast can appear in Google’s search results even if the keyword is mentioned by voice, not written as text.
What it means is that for as long as your podcast contains relevant keywords, Google may show your podcast link in the search results pages.
Making a website is not that hard nowadays. There are many platforms you can use to build a website for free. I suggest that you build one so you have an official page about your show.
Here are the benefits of building a podcast website:
- Credibility and professionalism
- Single repository of information
- Possibility of email subscription
- Search engine optimization
If you have a website, it is easier for a site visitor to navigate through your site and see if there is something that he likes. Here, you can line up your thumbnails for each episode and hope that the site visitor clicks on one.
With a website, you can also integrate an email marketing platform such as MailChimp. From here, you can create a subscription process. If a site visitor gives you his email address, you will have that email in the email marketing platform, and then you can send him newsletters.
One of the fastest ways to become a popular figure in any influencer platform is to be a guest. If you ever get invited as a guest, you must view it as an opportunity to become a sensation.
The main benefit of becoming a guest is that the podcaster who invited you is nothing short of vouching for you. As you know, you can only be a guest if you can provide value or if you are someone of a high caliber.
You should also invite guests. I think it is one of the reasons why Joe Rogan became the biggest podcast sensation in the world—he can pull strings and invite many celebrities on his show. He even has the clout to invite people like Neil deGrasse Tyson or Sir Brian Cox in his show!
Podcasts are long—some will last 30 minutes per episode. Some will last for an hour. Surely, you do not want to bore people on YouTube by watching 30-minute-long interviews.
If you go by the YouTube route, you must cut your YouTube videos into clips. Preferably, make it no longer than three minutes. Just pick the “meat” of the content. This way, the people who watch it will not think that your podcasts are long and boring.
My final tip is to create content that people are interested in consuming. For example, you may want to make episodes about the latest trends in your industry.
If your podcast is related to showbiz, then you must create content about Kim Kardashian about her divorce the soonest possible time as the topic is still hot. Remember, your podcast is not about you. It is about your listeners—you must give them content that they want to hear.
1. How do I promote my podcast organically?
The top two ways to promote a podcast organically are to focus on quality and frequency. This is how podcasts grow.
You cannot grow a podcast no matter what you do if your content is bad. Good content will promote itself.
2. How do I promote my podcast to an audience?
You must leverage your podcast to your audience by creating content that is targeted to a specific niche. Do not attempt to be a jack of all trades, or you will lose your audience quickly.
If your podcast is about politics, stick to it. Do not shift to another topic, as your audience will not know what to expect.
3. Why is my podcast not growing?
There are many reasons why a podcast is not growing. For one, your quality is bad. Second, you have no consistency. It is also possible that you are not building relationships.
Keep in mind that your podcast is about your audience, not you. Your podcast will only grow if you consistently provide content that your target audience wants to consume.
4. How do I make a podcast go viral?
There are three main ways to make a podcast viral: exclusivity, shock value, and high quality. If you are the only one who has covered a specific topic, like an incident, then people will listen to you only, unless if somebody steals your content.
Shock value comes from doing things that people will not normally do, and quality is about providing content that is fresh and meaningful.
5. How often do podcasts fail?
Podcasts fail a lot. Estimates indicate that less than 20% of podcasts make it to the next year.
A podcast is like a business—a lot of people do not follow through, and they give up so easily, and they let their podcasts die.
So, apart from knowing how to start a podcast or what a podcast is, you must learn the important tactics on how to grow your channel. While technicalities like learning how to record a podcast matter, there are more skills and standards that you must focus on to grow.
The 11 tips for growing your podcast listeners that I mentioned here all work. However, one must not think of them as magic—you will still do the hard work to grow your podcast. In the end, the only thing that really matters is the quality of your content. Do it right, and you will grow.