Marketing photo from @campaign_creators
You’ve got your new or old podcast episodes up and running. Now how will you get the world to listen?
Here’s some real-life advice, gleaned from interviews with 269 real podcasters, on how they market their podcasts.
#1 — Apple Podcasts (iTunes) Stands Out as a Top Podcasting Promotion Tool
Apple Podcasts (iTunes) promotion photo from @austindistel
A common thread among the podcast interviews is that many listeners use the Apple Podcasts app. Therefore, submitting your podcast to Apple Podcasts is good advice, because some iPhone users may simply only know how to click the “Podcasts” pre-installed app as an easy means of finding and listening to podcasts.
Bill, host of Nintendo Switch Craft: “You can find my show pretty much everywhere that you can find podcasts. A vast majority of my listeners are on iOS, with Android trailing pretty far behind.”
Cars and Caffeine Podcast with Ken and Brandon: “Most of our listener base is from iTunes.”
Brotherhood Without Manners — A Game of Thrones reread Podcast: “For the most part, it is all self marketing. We post on the various social media outlets, Twitter currently reigning supreme for this type of thing. We do have a Facebook group, and page. Since we are on a large number of sites and apps it can be a bit hard to give exact percentages, however we do notice that a majority of our listens do come from Apple Podcasts (iTunes).”
Robin, Marci, and Adam. Our podcast is called The Black Case Diaries: “Our podcast is available on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. Podbean provides us with analytics so we do have a breakdown of acquisition sources. Right now iTunes has our highest percentage of listeners.”
Matt F Basler’s Podcast. “I market through social media. Facebook brings in the most listeners. iTunes is by far the biggest podcast platform my listeners use.”
Burnt Out by Sydney Axtell: “You can find Burnt Out on just about any platform. My main listener acquisition is from Facebook, Instagram (sometimes running paid marketing campaigns) and LinkedIn where I post organic content. My listenership platform stats are: 72% Apple Podcast, 20% Website, 8% Other (Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, etc.).”
#2 — Targeted Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit Ads, and More
Social media ads photo from @willfrancis
Most social media platforms offer a form of advertising, and some podcasters take advantage of running ads to bring them more listeners.
We Watched A Thing by Billy and Topher: “Social media has proved effective for marketing…On Facebook we have used targeted paid advertising that has proved effective.”
Brandon Church: “We market our show by using Twitter, Facebook, and paid advertisements on occasion. Facebook and Instagram have been the most useful for us so far, and we will continue to utilize them in the foreseeable future.”
Jenina of the podcast Stroke of Wisdom: “Moreover, I spent the first month putting paid social behind my post (in small quantities). This helped to at least boost visibility.”
The Ron & Brian Podcast: “We are active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and have done advertising on all three platforms. The one thing we have found is that it is amazingly difficult to turn a social media follower into a listener. The one area we have found the most success has been Facebook. We have run ads that have targeted specific parts of the country that have done well for us, but it’s been a very slow, uphill climb.”
Chris Dudley, and with my co-hosts Sharon (my wife) and Pete, we host DragonReel, the Fantasy Film Podcast: “One person was offended enough by my Facebook advertising to send me a profanity-laced message telling me what I could do with my spam. My Twitter ad was apparently served up to one person half a dozen times in one day. I would guess that my biggest successful advertising is from Reddit, since I get a strong uptick in listener downloads when I advertise there.”
Bernard Leong, of the weekly podcast called Analyse Asia: “I market my show via Overcast Ads, Facebook and Twitter ads. So far, Overcast ads have been most useful in acquiring new listeners.”
Mike Cushing’s show is Longest Days of Our Lives: “We’re on pretty much every podcatcher possible, but it’s tough to find new listeners — particularly for a show that’s been off the air for years. Social and paid ads are definitely the highest performers, but word of mouth can’t be beat.”
#3 — Social Media Sharing: Have a conversation with listeners, encourage mentions on Discord, Reddit — or wherever!
Social media sharing photo from @nordwood
Besides running ads on social networking sites, podcasters also share their podcast episodes and encourage their listeners to do the same.
The Dime With Josh Rodriguez: “I promote my new shows through Twitter (@TheDimeNBA) but rarely elsewhere. Twitter seems to be the most productive way to have a conversation with listeners and to get my message out to people who actually care.”
The Plunge Podcast is hosted by Hunter, Riley, and Davis, three kids in college: “We are very active on social media, especially Twitter. Send us your tweets @PlungePodcast and we’ll definitely be in contact!”
Derreck of The Blaise XPerience: “Much of the marketing I do involves interacting on Discord (an app for gaming communities), Twitter, and any places I can find people discussing gaming. Discord is the most useful I have found so far.”
#4 — Get Organic Traffic from Multiple Podcast Directory Submissions
Organic traffic arrives at some podcast episodes because the podcaster has ensured their episodes are available on many platforms.
Bryan Shampu of the show called LootQuest RPG Podcast: “I mostly use Twitter, but I do have a small presence on Facebook using my personal page and just do my best to interact with as many people as I can in podcasting groups and communities. On top of that, I have my show listed in about every podcast directory known to man.”
Adam Pascarella, the founder and host of The Power Of Bold: “I believe that the baseline for great podcast marketing is distribution, so I make it an effort to be on as many podcast directories as possible. Simply put, you never know where your audience will find your show. While iTunes, Google Podcasts, and Spotify are the three largest sources for new and returning guests, I have found guests from smaller, more niche podcast directories.”
#5 — Word-of-Mouth & Person-to-Person Marketing Still Works
We live in a social media-focused world, but good old-fashioned word-of-mouth is also an effect tool of marketing.
Julian Merten from The Ambitious Sloth: “For me, the most effective marketing is the Instagram and Facebook but how I introduce most new people to my podcast is through person-to-person marketing, by meeting new people and telling them about it.”
Kallum from Life’s wonders by unCrazed: “In order to market each episode, I really push for the content to be visible to fans of each celebrity, and of course my already established audience, typically via social media or through the website. Word of mouth is good too, if you have 10 people in a room with 90% carrying a smartphone, you just have to say, ‘Hey, listen to my podcast,’ and just like that you have 9 new subscribers.
The Pennsylvania Rock Show: “I have spent 14 years adding the show to as many podcast search engines and databases as I can. I also ask the musicians to link to the show once they have been interviewed. For my niche podcast word-of-mouth seems to help the most.”
#6 — Radio Interviews & Promos
Radio interview photo from @cowomen
Podcast fans are used to consuming episodes in an auditory manner, therefore it makes sense that doing radio interviews and creating radio promos are also a means of marketing podcasts:
Mike Oliva, the host of the DolphinsTalk.com Podcast: “We market the show via the normal social media outlets as well as on SiriusXM radio with a regular spot I have on one of the radio shows there. And I also interact with a lot of the sports personalities on the local sports talk stations in South Florida and plug our podcast on those outlets as well.”
Gary Mcdonald, the host and creator of Convicted Conversations: “My listeners are friends of mine on Facebook, Instagram and other social sites. I’ve been on the Breakfast Club several times, and received a number of listeners from 103.5 The Beat.”
Steve Smith: “I promo my podcasts on my radio station WCNL Country AM 1010 / FM 94.7 quite often.”
Resiliency Ninja with Allison Graham! “Social media is the main avenue for promotion. I also do a radio show segment each week on traditional radio — so that’s a nice plug right out of the gate.”
America Speaks Podcast with photojournalist Tish Lampert: “We are delighted that through word of mouth, and being on the radio on KSFR FM every Monday A.M. on their news hour- Wake Up Call with Tom Trowbridge where they spotlight our show, we have gained attention.”
#7 — Email List Marketing: Sending Newsletter Updates to Fans
Email marketing photo from @krstoj
Gathering email addresses of podcast listeners is also a valuable advertising tactic, so that podcast creators have a growing list of fans to alert when new episodes are uploaded.
The Segilola Salami Show: “I have subscribers to my blog and they get a weekly email roundup of all blog posts. MailChimp is great as the subscribers can listen to the show right in their inbox without visiting my website (that’s why I don’t bother with the number of visitors to my website, action occurs outside of it).”
Creative Strings Podcast with Violinist Christian Howes: “We promote to our email list of 10,000 readers.”
The Three Month Vacation Podcast by Sean D’Souza: “We only send out our podcast through the newsletter. No other form of marketing.”
#8 — Podcast Guests Market Their Own Appearances
Podcast guests help boost episodes by letting their own fans know when they appear. Popular guests with large audiences can prove especially effective.
Krister Axel: “The podcast is called Indie Music On Tap: Toneden. And then the artists that sign off with their songs often help me market to their people.”
#9 — Pitches to Facebook Groups
Private and public Facebook groups are also a ripe ground that plenty of people use to market their wares. Whether the podcast creator has grown their own Facebook group or pitches their episodes to other Facebook groups, it is another means of marketing.
Phil Johnson, the host of Under The Crossbones: “My show is available through all the main podcast channels — Apple, Spotify, etc. So organic traffic comes in through those channels. I also get a lot of traffic via private groups on Facebook. I try to be active in there at least once a week and post new episodes to the groups. Many people have come into the fold there. Word of mouth is probably the biggest traffic generator.”
Angela Ferrari, the creator and host of Story Spectacular: “I market EVERYWHERE! I have a website, Facebook Group & Page, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube etc… I love making lots of dynamic visuals, illustrations and audiograms. But my FAVORITE way to market is through in-person and live storytelling events :)”
Two Black Guys with Good Credit: “What’s great about the growth of our show is that it has been primarily organic. Many of our listeners find us through word of mouth. The message of financial literacy and ultimately financial independence seems to reach far and wide. Of course, we are also active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and we send out newsletters to keep our fans engaged long after they’ve heard the latest show.”
Tim Star & Gabriel Musheyev of The Universe Between Your Ears: “We create a monthly promo graphic listing the upcoming guests with episode-specific graphic for each. We then share those to Facebook in multiple groups. Guests get a copy of the episode-specific graphic as well as a short promo video that they can also share.”
#10 — Market Your Podcast to the Correct Niche
It’s vital to find the correct audience for your podcast in order to gain fans.
Justin Jackson and Jon Buda of Transistor.fm: “A lot of our audience are people in tech, so we also launched it on Product Hunt. I’ve set up an automated email campaign that automatically emails our show list every time we put out a new episode. We have a social sharing link that gets shared automatically to Twitter (which is where a lot of our audience hangs out).”
The Monday American: American History Podcast by Andrew Gehrt: “I use social media and friends to help spread the word. More importantly though, I find the communities that are engaged with the topics I choose and contribute as well as learn from them. That said I rely heavily on their ability to spread the word. One of the best resources is the network I joined, The Podcast Advocate Network. The ability to get advice and promotion help from the other hosts and the network has been invaluable!”
#11 — Pay Attention to Analytics to See Where the Listeners Come From
Analytics photo from @goumbik
A big part of successful marketing involves discovering how your listeners found your podcast in the first place, and trying your best to duplicate that effort.
Frankie B’s Reggae Session: “All my listener stats are provided by Podbean, which does a great job to help me understand what is working with people or not.”
Rhonda Watts and co-host Erin O’Loughlin of Pop DNA: “Our hosting service distributes the show to Spotify, iTunes, and Google. The service also shows us referral and device stats, but they’re slightly different for each episode.”
Chris, creator and host of Brothaspeak Podcast: “I love my host Libsyn. This company provides me the numbers I need to know where my traffic is coming from…so choose your podcast host wisely because it will make a difference.”
Joseph Liu of Career Relaunch: “Neither Apple Podcasts nor iTunes gives comprehensive stats, so I get most of my statistics from my media host of choice, Blubrry. Roughly half of my listeners listen to my show via the iOS Apple Podcasts app. Anecdotally, listeners tend to discover my show after watching my TEDx Talk, stumbling upon one of my online articles, or attending one of my in-person workshops or talks.”
#12 — Friends & Family Can be Your First Listeners — But Find “Real” Ones, Too
Friends & Family sharing photo from @wesleyphotography
When podcasters start marketing from scratch, some hit up their family members and friends to become their first listeners. Yet some avoid friends & family marketing at all costs.
Malcolm Davies of “Is it my turn?” with co-hosts Alice Davies and Nick Irving: “We’ve started with our friends and they’ve been gracious about listening to our ramblings and sharing ‘Is it my turn?’”
Stephen Settanni, co-host “Hyperbrole: A Comedy-Advice Podcast” with brothers Chris and Anthony: “Unfortunately, when we started we didn’t have a big email-list, so we just spread the word to friends and family. We also started by responding to tweets of strangers looking for podcast recommendations — that was a lot of work! We also started following others and seeing what they did, including hashtags, etc.”
David Curry of The 5 Minute Podcast Review: “So far the growth is all organic. I’ve deliberately avoided marketing to family and friends — preferring instead to slowly build ‘real’ listeners.”
#13 — Hashtag and Tag Everyone to High Heaven
Placing targeted hashtags and tagging the right people in your podcast promotional posts on social media is a method that might work.
Shawn “Chia Pet” Seabaugh of Kayak Flyer podcast: “I simply # the crap out of everything I can think of and try to gain followers….I have been averaging 50 new listens in the first week of a show being dropped and last week had over 50 in the first 24 hours. I ask those on the show to share it as well. After all, if we are talking about your product, you need to get it out there too.”
Joey Hanf of Open Stance Audio: “Over 50% of my listeners come from iTunes and Apple Podcasts, but the key is directing them there via social media. I use my personal Twitter heavily in promoting the podcast as well as Facebook to a lesser extent. With Twitter you can literally share every single episode and tag your guests effectively to reach their audience.”
Maxwell of The Lost Treasure Podcast: “For now, marketing is exclusive to Twitter and certain groups on Facebook geared towards podcasts. The #PodernFamily hashtag has been very helpful with this effort.”
Lance John of The Defended, a Marvel Universe-focused entertainment podcast: “Listeners can keep an eye out for the following tags: #Marvelchat #comics #television #Netflix #ByeDanny.”
#14 — Send Personal Text Blasts
A more modern approach to marketing involves sending texts to podcast fans, and not just email or social media blasts of info.
Hella Nuts, the Plant-Based Eatery podcast run by Mieko and her daughter, Kami: “The best marketing for us so far has been personal text blasts, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and word of mouth.”
#15 — Market with a Blog or a Website Dedicated to the Podcast
Market with blog or website photo from @corinnekutz
Certain podcasters may win fans from a standalone website.
Andy and co-host Chad’s podcast is Nothing’s Off The Table: “We are currently on iTunes and Spotify. We also have a wordpress site.”
Dacia Johnson of Uncertain Terms, with writer and co-host, Melissa E. Holsman: “We’re a pretty small gig, two of us created the podcast and we get a little boost from our news site, TCPalm.com and our sister sites all over Florida including Naples Daily News and Florida Today.”
#16 — Focus on “Making” as Well as Marketing
If you build it well, listeners will come to your podcast.
David Schwartz, Andrew Bank Morgenthaler, Harrison Stamell of Act Our Age: “While we’ve focused on making, we’ve paid less attention to marketing.”
George Beesley, the founder and host of the We Need More Heroes Podcast: “We try to remain as active on social media as possible but given we’re travelling now aim to spend as little time sitting on the laptop as possible. The show alone already takes up a lot of time.”
Dizzy of Off the Dome: “Personally, I think just interacting with people in person and talking to them about the show is most useful. It’s a smaller net you’re casting but it provides a lot of feedback from the people who are actually tuning in and in turn helps with quality of episodes and if the quality is there people will eventually tune in.”
Travis Chappell, the founder and host of Build Your Network: “I don’t spend any money marketing my show. Everyone that listens has found me organically or through word of mouth. I believe if the content is really good, it’ll grow naturally.”
#17 — Give People Numerous Ways to Find You — Even Amazon Alexa
Numerous ways to promote photo from @bdchu614
Make it easy for listeners who prefer various platforms to find your podcast.
Nick Delahanty of the Pinstripe Talk Podcast: “My listeners can find my show via social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) but can also find it on many different sites. Not only is our show available on iTunes, but is also featured on Google Play Music, Simplecast, Spotify, and TuneIn Radio (to name a few!). I want to make sure that people have numerous ways to access and listen to our show!”
Greg Jones (with Dan Alamillo and Scott Jones) of The Unfiltered Gentlemen Craft Beer podcast: “Our show can be found on every major podcast app; we even put out a challenge to our listeners to see if there’s an app we aren’t on.”
TK Dennis of TK Talks: “I market my show through word of mouth for the most part. However, my biggest audience listens on Amazon Alexa. That was where I sort of got my big push into the world. I had a bite sized show and that was perfect for an Alexa Flash Briefing.”
#18 — Go Old School: Pass Out Business Cards, Postcards, and Manual Merch Like Stickers
Old school promotion photo from @vincentokc
Free swag still sways people.
Timothy Kimo Brien, head instigator at KDOI Podcasting: “I always have business cards and postcards in hand, some cheap and easy merch like fridge magnets or opens it notebooks to hand out.”
scantron (aka lynn casper) of Homoground: “Homoground stickers have been a pretty successful tactic. I send them to listeners if they listen to an episode all the way to the end, and leave them in coffee shops in cities I visit. They eventually pique people’s interest and get spread around and people post them on social media.”
#19 — Cross-Promotion from Podcasters
Cross-promotion from podcasters photo from @neonbrand
Podcasters give each other publicity.
Maurice and co-hosts, Bernie and Tim, of the See Hear Podcast: “We have some fellow podcasters who also kindly spread the word to their audiences by playing our promo or having us on as guests.”
Curtis Charles of the Cool Parents Podcast, with Justy Boy: “We cross-promote with several other podcasts and promote it when our band plays live. Good old fashioned business cards are quite helpful as well.”
#20 — The SEO of Podcast Titles, Show Notes, and Full Transcripts
SEO photo from @merakist
SEO helps podcasts as well.
John Toycen, host of You’re Dead Too: “As far as marketing, it’s simply word of mouth combined with SEO and social media pushes.”
Melissa Cummins of The Haunted Ride: A Paranormal Podcast: “My listeners have found the show either directly through SEO, or social media.”
Colleen Gratzer of the Design Domination podcast: “The show is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Overcast and Android, as well as on the Creative Boost website, with a full transcript and show notes.”
#21 — Create and Maintain a Real Connection with Your Listeners
Connection photo from @walre037
All in all, making a real and useful connection with your podcast listeners will keep them coming back.
Stacy Harrell of Jaunts & Faults: “I try my best to use Social media more than anything. As I want to actually have a real connection with listeners.”
DeHart Music: “I simply try to have three genuine conversations with new people a day. This establishes real relationships and is more effective than me mass spamming or advertising my work to people.”
Tyler Bell, the voice and pen behind the Westside Fairytales Podcast: “Most of my listeners find me via word-of-mouth from other podcasts and podcasters. Pretty much everybody that listens to stuff starts listening because somebody they know said, ‘Hey, this is great’ and not because they saw it in a Facebook ad or a sponsored tweet. If you can get your podcast in front of somebody people listen to, and that person likes it and talks about it, that’s going to be better for you than anything else you can think of.”