Everyday, we talk to podcasters just like you and the single biggest question that we’re asked is about the best ways to market and promote your podcast.
So, we decided to put this ultimate guide to podcast marketing together, just for you. Settle in, grab yourself a cuppa and let me give you some actionable tips on how to market your podcast and get more listeners and subscribers.
This podcast marketing tutorial will cover the following topics:
In this article...
How to market and promote a podcast
Marketing, promoting and spreading the word about your podcast and new episodes is just as important as the planning and recording of those episodes.
Apple announced in April this year that there are now over one million active podcasts, and this number is growing at a very, very fast pace with over 100k new podcasts being added every month.
The competition is fierce. To be successful, you need to put the effort into not only producing your podcast but into learning about how to market your podcast for the long-term.
Urgh, no-one told you that you needed to learn marketing, did they?
Unsure where to start and how to go about spreading the word about your wonderful podcast? Don’t fret, because we’ve got you covered.
This podcast marketing tutorial is jam-packed with advice and tips. We’ve got quick wins (that actually work), advice from podcasters themselves and we’ve even thrown into the mix our own podcast marketing and growth tips – 14 to be exact.
5 podcast marketing quick wins – that actually work!
Okay, let’s start with the quick wins. What can you start doing today to market, promote and grow, that is easy to implement but still gets results?
Here are 5 of our suggestions:
1. Find where your audience hangs out on social media.
For example is it Facebook or Twitter, TikTok or Instagram? Once you know where they hang out, get yourself set up with an account and start sharing your own posts and latest episodes. But, don’t forget to be social on social media! Yes, post about your podcast, but perhaps more importantly, be active in conversations, share other people’s posts, get involved with trending topics and follow people – heck, answer as many questions as you can that help people! During your podcast episodes, don’t forget to tell people where to find and interact with you on social media, too.
2. Spruce up your podcast cover art, taking into consideration your competitors.
When your podcast is listed among others on a podcast playing platform, do you stand out? Can people read the text? Is the image eye-catching? How can you improve the design of your podcast cover? This is a vital part of the podcast marketing process that podcasters simply forget – but think about it this way: very often, your podcast cover art is the FIRST and ONLY thing that prospective listeners see before choosing to give your podcast a whirl.
3. Remind listeners to subscribe to your podcast.
Subscribers are more important than reviews, usually, as many ranking algorithms take into consideration the number of subscribers. Reviews are good for when people are vetting shows but it’s best putting your efforts into attracting new subscribers to grow and market your podcast for them.
4. Initiatives are a great way to market your podcast.
Set a target and say to listeners that once you have reached it you will host a live event, give something away for free or donate to charity. This works really well for a new podcast, when listeners are super-eager to help the podcast grow.
5. Actively ask people to share your podcast and your episodes.
Ask your listeners and fans to do so, or influential people you know in the industry, or guests who you interview. Hopefully, it will become second nature to them and, when they see you’ve posted a new episode, they will share without you having to ask. But, remember that for every “ask” that you have, you have to have added far greater value to the person that you’re asking for help – “influencers” aren’t there to be asked for a favor every week!
Podcast marketing advice from actual podcasters
We reached out to our wonderful and experienced network of Captivate podcasters and asked for their opinion on the subject of marketing their own podcast.
We received an amazing response and here’s what they had to say:
Helen Murray, host of Inside Tri Show
“The biggest thing so far has been thinking outside of the box, doing something completely different. This involved joining forces with another, more established podcast, for a special mini-series on body image and eating disorders in endurance sport. We made a hard-hitting trailer, which we both used in the weeks leading up to publishing day, we trailed ahead, we did Facebook Lives about it etc… The episode had over 1,000 downloads on the first day (normally it’s more like 600 on Day 1).
Andrew Keller, host of re:POSTED
“When marketing our podcast, the most successful approach has been releasing consistent quality content. We put our show out every day, but even if it was once a week, our listeners know that the content is going to be there consistently and at the same time of day, every release. That has helped us maintain and grow our base. If your listeners never know if you are going to be there or not they’ll stop checking. When we do cross-promoting by having guests on our show there is definitely an uptick in downloads, but consistent quality content is what we have based our model on.”
Want more tried-and-tested marketing advice from fellow podcasters? We’ve got you covered! Discover how 6 Captivate podcasters successfully market their podcasts including their experiences, tips and tactics.
Our Podcast Marketing Tactics – 14 Growth Tips
We have covered the quick wins, shared advice from podcasters, it’s now time to share our podcast marketing tactics.
1. Get Google to index your podcast
Google started indexing podcasts in 2019. Sounds technical, but all this means is that Google shows podcast episodes in its search results, depending on what someone searches for.
They’re not just listing episodes, but you can actually play a podcast directly in Google’s search results as well as their dedicated iOS and Android podcast apps. Pretty cool, right?
The Google Podcasts team announced on their blog: “When you’re searching for a podcast about a topic on Google, such as ‘podcasts about Awkwafina’ or ‘Instant Pot recipe podcasts,’ we’ll show you playable episodes in Search results alongside web pages, news, images and videos. We’ll surface these episodes based on Google’s understanding of what’s being talked about on a podcast, so you can find even more relevant information about a topic in audio form. Soon, you won’t necessarily need the term ‘podcast’ in your search to see episodes, making podcast discovery simpler across Search.”
So, how do you get Google to show your episodes in search results? First, set yourself up with Google Podcasts Manager (GPM). It’s easy to do. Simply submit your podcast RSS feed (the RSS feed is how podcast playing platforms access your episodes, you will find this somewhere within your podcast host) and then verify you are the user (don’t worry, they will walk you through the steps of how to do this). Here’s our tutorial on Google Podcasts Manager, too.
Setting yourself up with Google Podcasts Manager is how you submit your podcast, so Google can index your episodes and then show you in the search results, depending on what someone searches and it’s made nice and easy to get that submission done thanks to the simple podcast distribution section in Captivate.fm, too.
Once you’re set up, you then need to do some keyword research.
You will need to use a tool to research trending keywords/phrases and topics that are related to your podcast. Unsure what tool to use? Search Google for ‘best keyword research tools’, as plenty of websites have reviewed the best tools out there, taking into consideration features and price.
Once you have a list of trending keywords/phrases and topics, work them into your episode titles. Don’t spam your titles with keywords. Avoid listing multiple variations of your keyword, and instead pick the most important one (based on average monthly searches for a keyword or phrase and competition) and have a descriptive title that entices people to want to listen.
Tip – don’t be too broad, as chances are many podcasts will have covered that subject. Find a niche topic that still gets a decent number of searches, as then you will be competing with fewer podcasts.
If you have a well-known person as a guest, make sure you include their name in the title of your podcast episode in a natural way. If their name gets searched on Google (or other search engines), and you have done a recent interview with them, Google could decide to show your podcast in the search results.
2. Get your podcast featured on Pocket Casts
Not heard of Pocket Casts? Well, you’re in for a treat. At first glance, it looks like any other podcast listening app. Yes, you can play podcasts through this platform, but it also has a feature which helps with getting your podcast noticed.
Pocket Casts has a ‘Featured’ section and podcasts that appear here are chosen by humans and selections are made based on merit.
It takes 30 seconds to submit your podcast to be reviewed and potentially included in the ‘Featured’ section. All you have to do is submit your URL.
We said 30 seconds, but we bet there are some people who can do it in 15… Challenge accepted?
3. Include links to your podcast anywhere you can
Including links to your podcast on the web where you have a profile, such as social media or team pages, is a great way to promote your marketing efforts.
Make sure you get links on:
- Social media profiles
- Bios on ‘meet the team’ type of pages
- Author bios (if you contribute to online content websites)
- Presentation slides in the ‘about you’ section
- Email signatures
Anywhere on the web, where you have a page about you and there are external links, make sure your podcast gets included!
Tip: Captivate.fm has a unique feature that we call “single subscription link” – it’s a simple, single link that we automatically generate for your podcast that is easy to remember and that features buttons for one-click listening in the major podcast apps – use that as the link that you share for your podcast!
4. Set yourself up on social media
Technically, we’ve already talked about social media in quick wins, but it’s worth going into more detail on the subject.
Yikes, that is a lot of potential podcast listeners! If you are not promoting your podcast on social media effectively, you really are missing a trick.
Now, be smart. Don’t set yourself up on all of the social media channels out there. This will just become too hard to manage and you won’t get any results at all. You get out of social media what you put into it.
When it comes to choosing which social media channel to set yourself up on, ask yourself: Where is my audience? What channels do my listeners use?
Put your efforts into two or three channels, rather than spreading yourself thinly on all of them.
Tip: If you have no idea of where your audience is, there are tools out there that will help you with this research, such as SparkToro. With SparkToro, you put in a term related to your podcast and it will find out which social channels your audience are typically using. Pretty neat, right?
5. Repurpose your podcast for other content
Make the most out of podcast episodes you create and repurpose the content. This way you have more content to market and people have multiple ways to come across and consume your podcast.
The goal of repurposing is to surface your content to potential new listeners in ways that they may already be familiar with.
Here are some repurposing ideas:
- Videos – when you are recording your podcast, set up a camera and record the session. If you don’t have a fancy camera for filming, don’t worry, mobile phones have pretty awesome cameras and lenses these days. Once you have recorded the session, polish up the video and make it look professional. For example, add in your podcast logo and cut out anything unnecessary. Then you need to upload your video on a platform so you can share. Don’t forget to get it on YouTube. After Google, YouTube is the second most used search engine. Mark actually does this for The Podcast Accelerator and loves doing it!
- Blogs – transcribing or just writing around each episode of your podcast and making it into a blog is another successful way to repurpose and increase the chances of people coming across you. Now, you could transcribe your podcast manually, but who really has time for that, especially when there are tools out there that will do this for you? Google ‘podcast transcribing tools’ and loads will come up (we like Descript!) Creating a blog from your podcast also means you have two types of content indexed by Google, meaning double the chances of people coming across you.
- Graphics – there are loads of opportunities where you can create something visual from your podcast that you can share over social media, include on individual episode website pages and add to blogs. Say, for example, you do a ‘how to’ episode where you talk people through X number of steps to achieve Y. These steps would work well in an infographic. Another example is you use an analogy to help explain something – make that analogy visual and create a graphic people can see. If creating graphics isn’t your strong point, check out Canva. Canva allows you to create graphics that look professional and it’s very simple to use. It’s drag and drop. You’ll soon become a graphic pro.
6. Traditional marketing still works!
Even in this digital age, traditional marketing has its place, if done correctly. Traditional marketing campaigns need to be creative and grab people’s attention. The aim is to avoid your campaign ending up in the bin.
Here are some traditional marketing ideas:
- Direct mail – yep, we said it – think of something physical you can send out to people that will grab their attention and make them want to check out your podcast. Leaflets and flyers are fine, but the more creative you can be, the more success you’ll have. Say, for example, you host a gardening podcast, you could send out sunflower seeds and run a competition for who can grow the tallest sunflower. Think of an easy way for people to keep you updated with the progress of their sunflower, you could for example ask people to send a photo on social media and tag you in the post or use a hashtag (or even both). If your podcast is weekly, announce who is the current leader each week.
- Business cards – yep, we said it AGAIN – old school business cards are still a great way to give people your contact details, especially when you have met them at a networking event. In your contact details section, include a couple of lines about your podcast and link. You could even have a separate business card for your podcast, and when relevant give it to a person who is interested in becoming a listener. Think of an easy way to get people to listen, such as a QR code or a short-link like the one generated for your podcast for free with Captivate.fm.
7. Use Apple Smart Banners
Do you have an iPhone? If you do, have you noticed when you open a website in Safari on an iOS device, you see businesses promoting their mobile applications with the ‘Smart App Banner’?
When you click the banner, you’re taken directly to the App Store to download the app.
Great news – this banner can also be used to promote your podcast and get people to subscribe on iTunes.
Tip: Captivate Sites automagically include Apple Smart Banners on your Captivate powered podcast website so that visitors have one-click access to your show in Apple Podcasts from their device. All Captivate accounts include this feature from day one – try it out for free for 7 days right here!
If you’re doing it on your own, here’s how to set up Apple Smart Banners for your podcast:
- Go to iTunes and find the link for your podcast, it will be something like this: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/[podcast-name]/id[string-of-numbers]
- Take note of the id[string-of-numbers]
- Add this meta tag to the the header element of your web page’s HTML (i.e. before the closing </head> tag) <meta name=”apple-itunes-app” content=”app-id=[string-of-numbers]”>
When someone visits your podcast website, they will be presented with the banner. When they click, they will be taken to your podcast page on the Apple Podcasts app.
8. Be a guest on other podcasts
Reach out to other podcasts, ideally where the audience is similar to yours, and ask if you can be a guest and suggest a topic.
You’ll be more successful if you listen to the podcast and build a relationship with the host(s).
It’s a bugbear of most podcasters when people who ask to be a guest haven’t listened to previous episodes or they don’t follow them on social media. Podcasters like to be wooed – and should be.
When your episode is published, ask if they would mind including a link to your podcast. Chances are they will agree, especially if you have a good relationship with them.
This is a great way of attracting new listeners because hey, if someone already knows what a podcast is, it’s one less barrier to overcome.
Mark talks about this as part of the Podcast Discoverability Triangle marketing concept, too.
9. Use paid advertising channels
If you have the budget, invest in your podcast and run paid advertising campaigns. The great thing with paid advertising campaigns is you can be specific with the audience you want to target.
Here are some paid advertising channels to look into:
- Social advertising such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc.
- Google AdWords (PPC)
- Sponsor ads other podcasts
- Banner ads on ‘Listen Notes’– Listen Notes is basically Google for podcasts
- Ads on Overcast – Overcast is a podcast-playing platform that allows you to advertise
10. Get involved with events
Again, if you have the budget, look into events that you know your audience will be at and see what advertising opportunities there are, such as exhibiting and sponsorship packages.
Let’s say you have a marketing podcast – which industry events are happening that would make sense for you to be at where attendees would be interested in your podcast?
We’re huge fans of really embedding into a niche that we’re passionate about. It’s one of the fastest ways to grow anything and this is no different for your podcast!
11. Look into guest speaking opportunities
Guest speaking is another excellent way to promote your podcast to a new audience. Similar to above, you need to find events that are related to your podcast and are looking for speakers.
Many events will have a page on their website where you can apply to speak and the application process is usually pretty quick and easy.
Once you have been selected as a speaker, and you’re working on your talk and presentation slides, don’t be afraid to bring up the podcast. Mention that you host a podcast about X and, when relevant, include links to specific episodes if people want to delve into a particular subject more.
Tip: Rather than going for the hard sell, it’s always best to treat these events as marketing opportunities for your brand rather than ways to get listeners on board directly. Find the balance and always have your Captivate.fm single subscription link to hand!
12. Invite special guests with a decent following
Create a wishlist of guests you want as guests on your podcast who have a decent following themselves.
Find them on social media, connect with them and start building a relationship. Reply to their posts, share their content and then when it feels right, ask them to be a guest on your podcast.
If you have a good relationship with them, they will be more inclined to agree. Then, once the episode is live, make it super easy for them to share their episode with their audience. For example, make a graphic or video teaser that they can post on their social channels.
Keep the relationship going after the episode is live and has been shared, as you want them to share other episodes of your podcast.
Tip: Don’t be boring! Podcasts are a form of PR for most guests these days, so talking about the same thing that everyone else talks to that guest about is NOT going to get your show shared – so get creative!
13. Use trailers as teasers
Trailers are one of the BEST ways to market your podcast and pitch it to new listeners. People listen to trailers to help them decide if a podcast is for them or not. People will listen to trailers or teaser clips before committing to a full episode.
Teasers work extremely well as people get a swift, direct introduction to your podcast and learn exactly they can expect from your episodes.
Think about movie trailers. How many times have you watched a movie because you saw an epic trailer? It’s exactly the same principle.
14. Promote your podcast more than once
Don’t just promote an episode on the day it goes live. Give people more than one opportunity to come across it.
Here’s an example promotion schedule to use for your podcast:
- Before it goes live (share sound bites and teasers)
- On the day it goes live
- A week after it goes live
- Two weeks after it goes live
- And so on…
Putting together a promotion schedule ensures you are promoting your podcast as much as you can AND getting as much from each episode as you can.
On that note, think of ways you can reshare old episodes that bring value to your subscribers. For example, sharing a countdown of your most popular episodes, polling listeners for their top 3 episodes or a throwback to relevant episodes on national holidays.
Launch, grow and market your podcast with Captivate
You should now be full to the brim with marketing ideas, pumped and raring to go with promoting your podcast and episodes. And, if you have any marketing tips we haven’t listed here, tell us about them!
If you have a question about this blog or about podcasting in general, we live, breathe and sleep podcasting. We are podcasters ourselves. We’d love to offer you any support or guidance you need to launch, grow and market your podcast – so don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Did you know that Captivate is the only podcast hosting platform that includes a dedicated marketing suite for your podcast?
Our marketing tools include your own podcast website, easy-to-share podcast single subscription links, embeddable calls to action and, of course, the one-click sponsor kit – all from day one with zero extra charges. Get a risk-free 7-day free trial to start growing your podcast audience now, with Captivate.
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Here’s exactly what to do next
This article is part of a wider series on podcast marketing that you can dive into right now!
Got a spare 45 minutes, or even just 5? Listen to How To Market Your Podcast, a Curated Collection of Podcast Accelerator episodes relating specifically to this series.