Podcasts are something near and dear to my heart. I listen to at least one podcast every day and I try to branch out and listen to a broad range of shows every week. Once upon a time I even hosted a podcast. While I wouldn’t call it successful, I also wouldn’t call it a failure because I learned many valuable lessons about how to streamline the process, become efficient, and even market my podcast.
Why are you Podcasting?
There are two, and only two, reasons why someone is podcasting.
1: Because you enjoy a certain subject and you want to discuss it on the internet for people to hear, or alternatively you enjoy hearing other peoples’ stories and want to give them a medium to tell their stories.
2: Because you are trying to promote a brand. During my adventures as a budding podcaster I encountered many people that were simply in it to make money and be the next Marc Maron. This is not a good plan and you will likely fail.
Being A Needle in the Haystack
Before you begin your podcast endeavor you need to understand the statistics. There are over 250,000 podcasts available on the iTunes store and only 21% of people 12 and older listen to more than 1 podcast a month. Those are not good odds. Especially when you must compete with the Marc Maron, Serials, and S-Towns of the podcast world who have fame and a loyal audience already on their side.
Podcasting for Business
If you are podcasting for your business you are already using a form of content marketing – which is great. Chances are that you are a small/medium size business that is trying to bring a value to your current and potential customer base and providing free entertainment for people is a wonderful way to do that (plus it keeps your brand name at the forefront of their mind).
Podcasting for Fun
If you are podcasting for fun, but you want to see your audience grow, and perhaps turn your show into a career you will want to follow the same rules below. Keep in mind that promoting a podcast is the same as promoting any product and it will not be free, but once you have set a budget – even if it is little – you can still make waves.
You Still Need A Website
The first thing you need to focus on is having your show available on all the major services that people use. iTunes and Google play will be your main traffic sources, but you will also want to make sure that you have a website. Hosting a podcast can be done through a multitude of services, but everything you do needs to be tied to a central location where your listeners can interact with your brand! You can also obtain valuable information from your listeners through your website that the other hosting services don’t provide. If you already have a website simply add a podcast section to it.
One of the least thought about strategies in podcasting is cover art. Just like an album your podcast should have some cover art (aka. a logo). Your cover art should reflect your show and subsequently your brand and it should provide a WOW factor. Like I mentioned above you are going to be competing in a sea of podcasts and your logo can give you that extra edge you need for a potential listener to click on your show over the competition.
Humans are still social creatures. You may think that just because you provide an entertaining show that people will listen, and they may listen to an episode or two, but for people to continue to listen you need to engage your audience on a more personal level. Encourage them to have discussions with you about the subject matter and to leave a message to be played on the show. Creating engagement will create a feeling of belonging and relationship in your listeners and increase loyalty.
User Generated Content
User generated content is one of the most powerful tools in a marketing arsenal. It gives you the ability to feed off your audience’s creativity and further instill that feeling of relationship. It also encourages your audience to share what they contributed with their friends, families, and followers. This helps create a ripple effect and can quickly add many listeners.
Ads & Giveaways
Advertisements can be effective if you concentrate your efforts on a select target market. Finding the perfect recipe for an ad strategy can be a daunting task and contracting out to a marketing company can give you a bigger bang for your buck. In addition to ads certain giveaway promotions can help get you added exposure at a relatively low cost and can help build your subscriber base.
Don’t Fall for the Faulty Growth Hacks
There are a million “expert” podcasters and “growth hackers” out there looking to prey on the people who have a dream and don’t know where to begin. Tread lightly with these people. There are some that are the best in the business and want to try and help you. But, there are many more who simply want to make a few bucks by regurgitating the same information you can read on any free page about starting a podcast. There is no secret to getting tens of thousands of downloads in the first month, there is no evidence that launching with multiple episodes already produced has any positive effects on iTunes placement or subscriber bases, and spamming everyone you know will not get you anywhere (I know this from personal experience). There are a ton of free resources available to help you in the beginning.
Build Your Podcast Like You Build Your Brand
No matter what the purpose is of your podcast, it should be marketed like a brand. Provide a central location for listeners to go, engage with your consumers, feature user generated content, run targeted ads, run promotional giveaways, and set yourself apart from the competition.
Need help? Click here to find out how Twenty Four Media can help you build your podcast brand!