Congratulations! You’re consistently publishing new podcast episodes and now you’re ready to focus on attracting new listeners.
Podcast marketing is similar to marketing other types of content, but with a few twists due to how listeners consume content through listening apps rather than a central location. Not to worry! We're here to make your work a lot easier with this list of the tools you'll need to succeed.
In this article, we offer our recommendations of the best podcast marketing tools that will help you attract new audiences and grow your listenership.
In order to market your podcast, it has to be available somewhere. Podcast hosting platforms are services that store your audio content and provide you with an RSS feed. These hosts typically offer other podcast-friendly features.
A podcast host is not the same as a traditional website hosting service. Your podcast host offers numerous optimizations for audio files, as well as a suite of tools to help you manage and promote your show.
However, many podcast hosts offer a semi-customizable website. This ensures that your show is always available independent of a listening app and gives you a place to publish show notes, resource lists, or episode transcripts. A website makes your show discoverable on the web for new listeners.
Look for hosting services (like Castos), who offer affordable plans with features that help you promote your show, such as YouTube republishing, automatic transcriptions, sophisticated analytics, and submissions to popular listening apps.
An important way to market your podcast is to make it accessible wherever potential listeners like to enjoy podcast content. This is why major podcast directories become an important marketing channel.
A podcast directory is a platform like Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Google Podcasts, or Spotify. These podcast platforms don't host your audio files. They simply read your RSS feed and display the content for podcast listeners.
Luckily, using these platforms is simple. All you need to do is create an account on each and submit your RSS feed. Once your show is approved, your content will be available.
Your email list is a critical line of communication with your audience, and it should play a role in every marketing strategy. It’s a simple and effective way to notify your subscribers about new episodes, upcoming content, and other initiatives. You can even have two-way conversations that aren’t usually possible in an audio medium.
Wistia’s Talking Too Loud is a perfect example of a podcast email.
MailerLite’s guide on podcast email marketing is a great place to learn more!
Every brand needs a website and a podcast is no exception. Your podcast website is your home base. It's your own little corner of the web that you control, which makes it a key marketing tool.
Your podcast website should include content about your show, including what you talk about and why you’re an expert. Your site should also have your social media links, links to your show on listening apps, and a way for fans or advertisers to contact you.
Furthermore, you should set up a blog and write a new post for each podcast episode. When you create this post, give it the same title as your episode, embed an audio player, and include your show notes and episode transcription, like this Freakonomics page.
For website hosting, we recommend companies like Bluehost, SiteGround, or premium hosts like WPEngine, or Kinsta. You can also use MailerLite’s website builder to create a website with a blog for your content management system.
If you go with WordPress, make sure to install Seriously Simple Podcasting, a free plugin that lets you upload your audio files directly through your WordPress dashboard, saving time and the hassle of toggling between multiple platforms. It comes with an audio player, integrated statistics, a convenient workflow, SEO management, and several add-ons.
As you promote your show across channels like social media, email marketing, and with other collaborators, you’ll undoubtedly need to create lots of visual assets. This includes social media images, website imagery, media kits, banners, and other items.
The best design tool for non-designers is definitely Canva. It’s simple, easy to use, and offers tons of free and premium assets you can add to your designs. It’s also designed to work well with teams so you can review and edit each other’s projects.
Whenever you create a post on your podcast website for a new episode, it's important to include a complete word-for-word audio transcription. A transcription offers several benefits:
More written content helps search engines categorize your content for searchers.
They make your content accessible to fans with hearing difficulties.
Podcasts with transcripts have more backlink opportunities.
A podcast transcript creates content you can repurpose.
You can write your own transcript (which is tedious and time-consuming) or hire someone to do it (which is expensive), but the best method is to let software do it. We recommend Rev for transcriptions. In fact, at Castos, we like Rev so much that it powers our automatic transcription feature. An alternative is Descript, which offers some other cool features for podcasters.
Creating audio snippets is an important way to market your show on your social media channels. You can use clips to get listeners - and your target audience - excited about your show.
If you record a video with your episode, all you have to do is grab a segment using a video editor. We recommend Lightworks, Movie Maker Online, Apple iMovie, Adobe Premiere, or Final Cut Pro. (It helps to watermark your video with your logo in case someone posts it elsewhere.)
If you don’t record a video podcast, you’ll want to turn a segment of audio into an audiogram. Audiograms combine an image, a soundwave, and an audio track to give your content a visual element. They sometimes include a transcription of whatever is being said. These are more attractive on social media than simple audio clips. Here’s an example from McKinsey & Company:
#ArtificialIntelligence has a growing role in predicting, preventing, and treating COVID-19 cases. Listen to my conversation with my friend, James Manyika, where we discuss biological sciences and investing in our technological future. https://t.co/Gwoah4NSDS. @McKinsey_MGI pic.twitter.com/ee3DnjW8Df— Kevin Scott (@kevin_scott) August 13, 2020
After creating your audio snippets, post them everywhere: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and anywhere your audience frequents.
If you want to build an audience, you must be active on social media. You should post on multiple platforms several times a day with a variety of content - images, videos, audio, infographics, and even long-form copy. (This podcast promotion template will get you started.)
In order to push out an abundance of content, it helps to use a social media scheduling tool like Buffer, SocialPilot, Hootsuite, or CoSchedule. These tools let you create and queue as much content as you like so you can turn your attention to other tasks. You can use it to promote your non-podcast content as well.
A niche community is a group, platform, or forum that relates specifically to your show’s topic. It’s a place where your audience and other influences hang out, so you should be there too.
Niche communities are powerful ways to connect with potential listeners. You can cut through the clutter and interact directly with the people who are most likely to listen to your show. Interacting shouldn't be difficult because you are also interested in the same topics. Try to be genuine, helpful, and only a little promotional.
We can't tell you exactly which niche communities to join, but they shouldn't be too hard to find. LinkedIn, Reddit, and Facebook have groups for everything. Don't be afraid to ask your audience what their favorite communities are.
Interview podcasts are the most popular style because they come with built-in cross-promotion. Whenever a guest appears on your show, they get exposed to a new podcast audience. So it’s no surprise that many podcasters also appear as guests on other shows.
Pitching yourself as a guest on another show is a great way to introduce your content to an aligned, qualified audience. Similarly, including interesting guests on your own show produces more engaging episodes and adds a unique point of view for your listeners. Be sure to create a podcast press kit for guests to easily share the episode.
Focus on working with other podcasts that are within your niche and have a complementary audience to yours. To find relevant podcasts to work with, try out these resources:
r/PodcastGuest Exchange is a subreddit for podcasts looking for guests. Post about yourself, your audience, and the kind of value you can bring to shows.
Radio Guest List is a newsletter that sends pitches from podcasters looking for guests. Reach out to any shows whose audience overlaps with your own.
Facebook groups are also useful. Podcast Movement or Podcasters’ Support Group are good places to find guest opportunities. It’s also smart to poke around any groups that are specific to your industry, topic, or niche.
Getting yourself featured in a media publication is an easy way to create exposure and build an audience. Traditionally, publishers only mention creators after the creator develops a following, but you can circumvent this by offering your expertise for their content.
HARO is a simple tool that connects journalists who are seeking experts to include in their content. Once you sign up as a source, you will receive emails every day from media outlets all over the world with requests from reporters. You’ll get emails like this:
If you’re knowledgeable about any of the topics, you can contact the reporter to offer your input. In exchange, reporters will mention you and your show by name, possibly with backlinks.
Like we said earlier, a big part of marketing your podcast is making it accessible in places where people want to consume that kind of content. And since YouTube is the second biggest social media platform and the second largest search engine, it’s definitely a place where your content should exist.
Since YouTube only accepts videos, you’ll need to turn each episode you publish into an MP4. Fortunately, this is simple. Use a tool like Apple iMovie, Lumen5, Animaker, or Premiere Elements to add a static image (such as your podcast cover art) to your audio file. Then post your YouTube video to your own channel.
The right tools can make promoting your podcast faster, easier, and more effective. These recommendations are key to developing a successful podcast.
What are your favorite podcast marketing tools? Let us know which ones you find especially helpful.
Dennis is a content marketer on the growth team at Castos. He has years of experience helping podcasts start and grow their shows. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and daughter.