In April, Apple announced it had over one million podcasts in its directory. Adding to this total, many companies launched podcasts during the COVID crisis.If your organization did not get the expected number of downloads, where do you place the blame? Quality of podcast? Competition? Lack of effective promotion?
Probably a little of all three. Let us start with the promotion opportunities you should take advantage of before spending any money.
For many companies, the first impulse is to get out a checkbook and throw money at expensive advertising. This may give short term results.
However, effective long-term podcast promotion is based on having a quality product whose promotion strategy will allow it to be discovered over years without spending money on advertising. This effort will increase reach and improve brand awareness for your company.
I have two successful business to business podcasts. From my perspective, you need to exhaust all free ways to promote your podcast before you even consider spending a dime.
Here are twelve free, proven ways to promote your podcast.
1. LinkedIn profile
There are 690 million people on LinkedIn. By now, every company has a presence. We all know human resource professionals vet candidates by looking at their LinkedIn profile; the same is true for a prospect for your company. Most studies show a potential customer will thoroughly research a topic before contacting a company. After they look at your home page, there is a good chance they will head to your LinkedIn profile.
It is a great way to demonstrate what problem your company solves. Start with making sure your personal and company profile mentions the podcast.
Do not forget to have creative daily status updates with important information for your industry. Once a week, mention your podcast.
If you have a business-to-business podcast, there is no reason not to promote your podcast on LinkedIn.
2. Pin a Tweet
There are 330 million people on Twitter. The key to getting benefit from Twitter is to engage the community. Comment on other Tweets. On your end, post informational Tweets as well as Tweets that mention your podcast.
If someone is intrigued by a Tweet, they may look at your profile. Make sure you mention your podcast on your Twitter profile.
Journalists troll Twitter for topics. For this reason, carefully select your #hashtags so your Tweets can be found. Tweets lead to profile views, profile views lead to podcast listens. There is always a chance a writer will include a reference to your podcast as part on an article, video, or another podcast.
3. Images are important on your show notes
Do not tell them verbally what you can tell them visually.
If a person listens to a podcast, there is a good chance they will go to the show notes page to see what the people look like. This is a normal, human reaction. Make sure you have photos of the moderator and guests on the show notes page.
Keywords are important as well. Google is now indexing and ranking podcasts. That is why you must have keywords for your podcast attached to the images.
For example, if you interview Elon Musk, when you include his name in the alt tag for his photo, it increases the chances of someone typing in “Elon Musk” and then arriving at your podcast.
4. Become a guest on other podcasts
When you watch those documentaries of wildlife in Africa, you always see the lions hanging around the water holes. They know where the target will be.
The same is true in podcast promotion. Marketing professionals tell us that a typical podcast listener listens to six podcasts.
A podcast audience has already indicated they consume content in an audio format. It is up to you to become a guest on a podcast and then promote your podcast in a professional manner in the interview.
5. Home page mention
Digital marketing professionals say your home page is your brand. It is the first place prospects go to see what your company is all about. Use this valuable piece of property to let visitors know you have a podcast.
This does not mean visitors should go to the search bar and type in “podcast.” It means having the words “podcast” in the top bar. The less they look, the faster they discover your podcast.
6. Refer to past episodes verbally during the podcast
The surge in sales of audiobooks shows us many consume content in an audio manner. If that is the case, then make sure you verbally tell listeners about previous podcasts that are related to the topic at hand.
Why? Dwell time is a ranking factor for search engines. When Apple notices that people listen to more than one episode, they will reward you by making your podcast easier to find.
This should not be done awkwardly. For example, if you have a podcast for civil engineers and you talk about ready mixed concrete, you may want to mention a previous show that had a focus on hot weather concrete methods.
Make sure the reference has relevance and will bring value to your listeners.
7. Email – the key to promotion
Do you ever wonder why LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter communicate with you through email? Instead of focusing on subscribers, concentrate on having a strategy to collect email.
One tried-and-true approach is to have a show notes page with a call to action. The best practice here is to have a “freebie” or checklist that relates to the topic.
During the show, you can tell listeners to go to the show notes page to get the freebie.
Let us go back to the hot weather ready mixed concrete example. You can offer a PDF that lists water ratios based on added ice to the concrete mixture.
If you have an international audience, you can offer conversions for Fahrenheit to Celsius for making estimates for added ice.
Once there, a listener will give your company an email address in exchange for a valuable piece of information that will make their job easier.
8. All hashtags are not created equal
When you post to Twitter or LinkedIn, please do not arbitrarily create hashtags. Hashtags have been around for a while and there is an art to using the appropriate hashtag.
9. Images must be sized correctly
Most searches are done on a phone, people get distracted while holding a phone. This means that you should be careful with selecting a good image and make sure it is the right size.
Places like Co-Schedule have recommendations for the correct size for each social network.
10. Link to previous episodes
We learned in #6 some people prefer audio ways to understand, so, for them, the best practice is to verbalize about pertinent episodes. Well, then it makes sense that some others prefer visual methods. If that is the case, then give them links in the show notes page as they are reading.
This is a variation on the venerable blogging technique of internal links.
11. Quotes are powerful
I have been on Twitter since 2009 and, after thousands of Tweets, my best-performing Tweets are always quotations.
This anecdote has been reflected by other marketing professionals as well.
If your show notes page is on a WordPress platform, then you can use the quotes feature in its Gutenberg composition system on your show notes page. Another option may be to use Canva or Buffer to help to make the quote visually appealing.
12. Midroll reads
When people are engrossed in your interview, why not include a professional mid-roll read. The moderator takes a break from the conversation and directs the listeners to valuable information.
Do not record this. People will tune out.
“Build it and they will come” is great for a baseball movie, but not for a podcast. Use the free options available. Even if you are bound and determined to advertise, start with the tightwad approach. You can test out hooks to see which ones work.
Make sure you use up every ounce of “free” before you get out your checkbook.
Google announced it is indexing and ranking podcasts. Take advantage of this initiative by making your podcast easy to be found.
Mention your audio content on LinkedIn and Twitter. Hashtags are tricky – research before you randomly select one. Construct an effective show notes page that leverages images, calls to action, and links to other podcast episodes. Quotes are a tremendous way to show what happened in the interview.
Go forth and podcast.