Whether you’re new to podcasting or an old pro, we can all agree that finding the right mix of podcast marketing strategies is easier said than done. Sure, you can plug your show to strangers and hope they give you a listen. But, if you want to create a community around your show, it takes a little creativity, a lot of time, and patience.
As a podcaster, the hard skills required to produce and edit your content likely come much more naturally than the soft skills required to grow your audience and market your show.
Just because you don’t have a big budget doesn’t mean you can’t market your podcast successfully. This article will help you find ways to generate new listeners and increase downloads without having to spend hundreds of dollars.
Since a lot of us don’t have a marketing budget from the get-go, we need to find alternative podcast marketing strategies for promoting our show instead of traditional advertising methods.
1. Interact with everyone
This may sound like a no brainer, but once a listener or fellow podcaster has had an interaction with you, they’re more likely to proclaim their fandom. Whether sharing your latest episode on social media or, best-case scenario, subscribing to your show, this upward spiral of word-of-mouth and web traffic will pay off in big ways for your podcast.
Start compiling an email list from day one
The standard email newsletter may feel a bit dated in the fast-moving world of social media, but if they didn’t work so well, you wouldn’t be getting hundreds of emails a day…
Use your newsletter to keep your community up to date on your latest episodes and also point them to other content they may be interested in.
- Do you have a follow-up blog post of your latest post that includes pictures or links to things you talked about? Point them there.
- Do you have some behind the scenes photos or video of recording your podcast? Show some real-life action—it increases connection with your brand.
Connect with and promote other podcasters
Podcasters are a welcoming community, especially within genres. If you’re new to this medium, find a mentor or two. People love to be asked questions about something they’re passionate about.
Is your show a one on one interview or panel discussion format? Invite other podcasters on your show. They will likely bring a portion of their listeners with them.
Trading guest appearances is a widespread strategy you’ll often see used by comedians. Here’s an example from My Momma Told Me with Langston Kerman. In this episode, Langston is joined by Laci Mosley, host of Scam Goddess, a top-rated podcast “dedicated to fraud and all those who practice it!” Langston will also appear on an upcoming episode of her show.
Engage with groups
Finding groups on social media is a great way to interact with people interested in your podcast’s topic or genre. For example, hundreds (if not thousands) of groups on Facebook are devoted to true crime.
If you have a podcast further exploring a true crime case, adding to group conversations could be a great way to build your audience. They may even help you with your research.
If you choose to try the group angle, it’s crucial to read the group’s rules first. There are likely some guidelines you’ll need to follow about what can be posted. The goal here is to join the conversation and become a part of the group rather than blatantly promote your content.
2. Don’t neglect your current active listeners
If you have a loyal fan base, make sure you’re interacting with them as much as possible as they’re one of your biggest assets. Creating a group of superfans (even if it’s small) is one of the most important podcast marketing strategies. Fostering this group goes a long way toward building an active and engaged fan base that will share your content and recommend your show again and again.
Create a show email address
Be sure to give your listeners an easy way to get in touch with you. Encourage them to interact with you least once in every episode. This will most likely an email address, but some services will allow your fans to leave a voicemail or text you without giving out your personal number.
Ideas for encouraging fan participation:
- Ask them to send a question for you or an upcoming guest with the incentive that it might get aired on the show.
- Ask them to propose an episode topic on something they’d like to hear you talk about or a guest they’d like to see on your show.
- If it makes sense for your show, let your users help create your content by asking your advice on a topic.
The show Best Friends with Nicole Byer and Sasheer Zamata is an excellent example of how listener questions can become content gold. These two friends offer advice based on user questions submitted by email or voicemail at the end of each episode.
3. Create a media kit (and keep it up to date)
Podcast marketing strategies aren’t always centered around connecting with listeners. They often center around building and strengthening the backbone of your brand. Creating a media kit for your podcast will save you time, make you look professional, and remove common communication barriers that could turn media and publications away from promoting your show.
A media kit is also a great holdover until you can build a website for your show. And even when you have a website, your media kit should be visible and easy to access. They’re usually housed in the footer of most sites.
The two most important things to keep in mind with a media kit is making it extremely easy to find and keeping it very up to date.
The Podcast Host goes into a lot of great detail about why you should create a kit what should be included in How to Make a Podcast Media Kit. They suggest including:
- Summary of your show
- The intended audience and audience stats
- Creators and hosts (include pictures)
- History of the show
- Why someone should listen
- How to listen
- Embed or link to a trailer
- Your podcast cover art and logos
- Social media profiles
- A link to a downloadable version of the kit
4. Make it extremely easy for your guests to promote their appearance
When you have a guest on your podcast, it’s your job to be a good host, which goes beyond the recording time.
Leading up to the recording, you should provide all the information they need to make the day run smoothly. As the host, prepping for the recording is crucial. Take time to research your guest thoroughly and prepare lots of well thought out questions. You may not end up needing them, but you’ll have them to refer to if conversation slows or nerves get in the way.
When the recording session is over, you should provide a timeline for the episode production and the date it will air. Leading up to the air date, you should provide your guest with every single thing they could need to promote the episode. This is not only a huge convenience for your guest, but it also gives you a certain amount of creative control over the promotional materials used to market the episode.
Assets you should provide to your guests to promote their episode:
- Audiograms (our favorite): give them a few options where they particularly shine. It could be a funny moment or one where they shared a particularly poignant thought. If you’re new to the world of audiograms, here’s a basic overview on why video is crucial to increasing your podcast’s discoverability.
- Pre-written social media posts: all the guest will have to do is copy and paste. Again, we’re removing barriers to make promotion as simple as possible for the guest. This also ensures links are correct and helps to cut down on spelling and grammar errors.
- Link to your media kit: where they can find logos, cover art, and other basic info about your podcast, including all the ways to stay in touch with you.
5. Podcast Trailer Swaps
Swapping trailers with podcasts of similar size and genre is a great way to find new listeners. Now that you’re actively connecting with your fellow podcasters, it’s time to look for potential partners to ad swap with.
Podcast trailer swaps could come in multiple formats:
- Sharing each other’s latest episode on social either in the form of an audiogram or a direct link.
- Including a short promo for each other’s show in your next email newsletter.
- A host-read ad trade on an episode(s) of your podcast.
- Blog post trade about each other’s show.
These relationships take time, and it’s important to build them in the right way to maintain your reputation as a good citizen of the podcast-o-sphere. Remember, building your podcast marketing plan (especially on a limited budget) takes a little creativity, a lot of time, and patience.
While this post only focused on five podcast marketing strategies to incorporate into your plan. There are literally hundreds of ways to get your show noticed and build your audience.