Podcast Marketing In 6 Easy Steps

I'm a big fan of Reddit.

I spend most of my spare time perusing memes and chatting to people about marketing.

On the r/Marketing subreddit you can find a lot of good questions and test your metal by trying to help. About a day ago I saw this post:

Tldr: This redditor runs a podcast in the medical/health niche and is looking for ways to increase monthly downloads/listens.

I thought it would be a fun exercise to conceptualize a marketing strategy, especially because she is on a tight budget and needs to prioritize wisely.

If I can help somebody for free while learning more about marketing and creating content for this site then I'm more than happy to do it. Feel free to get in touch.

So I spent some time thinking about which strategy might work best and came up with the following post. Keep in mind, I wrote this as a direct message to u/marrylevov so please forgive the poor grammar.

My message starts here ----------- 👇

Hey there, I'd be happy to help.

I think it makes sense to first look at the online marketing channels available to you.

Available Podcast Marketing Channels

  • SEO: Creating keyword rich blog posts and landing pages in order to leverage Google’s massive user base. Pro: You can create the content yourself for free. Con: it takes time and there is no guarantee that it will work 
  • SEM: Use Google Ads to pay for adverts which drive relevant traffic to your podcast episodes. You can use Google Ads to promote your Youtube channel and show video ads on Youtube.  Pro: You can attract relevant listeners to your podcast. Con: It costs money and there is a learning curve.
  • Social Media/Community building: Use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to share content and engage with highly relevant communities. Establish yourself as an authority in the space and generate word of mouth referrals. Pro: Free and highly targeted. Con: Time-intensive
  • Partnerships: Cooperate with niche websites in the health industry in order to reach a new audience. This could be a newsletter exchange, social media shoutout or a guest post for example. The aim is to reach a new, yet highly relevant audience for free/cheap. Pro: Free with high up-side. Con: Requires good relationships which take time to build.
  • Email: As your podcast becomes more established email marketing will become one of your most important marketing channels. Try to build a list as soon as possible. An easy win here might be to give access to exclusive behind the scenes/bloopers/tips for people who sign up to your newsletter. You can use the SUMO APP wordpress plugin to collect emails for free. Then use Email Octopus to send a free weekly newsletter.
  • Influencer Marketing: If you have a number of experts in your network you can leverage their following and standing in the community to raise awareness of your podcast. Ideally by having them on as guests or having them share new episodes with their audience. Carefully track the “popularity” of the influencer by looking at the data in Google Analytics and seeing which episodes prove to be particularly popular. Try to include popular guests/influencers as much as possible. 
  • Sponsorships: Most independent websites have a newsletter and banner ad inventory that you can purchase. Check out sites that are popular with your chosen audience and look for the “advertise” link in the footer. You can then pay to present your podcast in their newsletter, blog post, or banner ad. The key is to advertise for a prolonged period of time (at least 3-4 weeks). Short sponsorships typically work poorly. Repeated exposure to a potential new audience is key.
  • Events/panels: You guys are experts and it makes sense to attend events/shows and speak on panels. This helps to increase your visibility and brand awareness in the health space. You can also turn the events into podcast/vlog episodes where you share your experiences with audience members. 

Here's What I Would Advise:

  1. Upload all podcast episodes to Youtube: Youtube is the second biggest search engine in the world and can expose you to a massive, global audience. I would highly recommend uploading all of your Podcast episodes to Youtube (a few are up already). Ideally include video footage but a static image with audio is ok too. Once the videos are on Youtube, optimize them for SEO. Use Google’s free keyword planner to find highly relevant keywords and understand their monthly search volume. Here is a guide on how to optimize for Youtube
  2. Make multiple shorter clips from each episode: The biggest barrier you have initially is the substantial length of each episode. If people don’t already have an affinity for your podcast it’s very unlikely that they will click on a 40+ minute video. Instead create many short (max ~5 mins) clips from each episode. Ideally each clip deals with a specific topic and can be optimized for SEO. That way you can create one piece of content but 5+ videos and multiply the amount of traffic you receive.
  3. Pay for Youtube Ads: Once you’ve created a number of shorter clips and added more content to your Youtube channel, I would recommend setting up a Youtube campaign in Google Ads. The cost-per-view is quite low so you should be able to capture highly relevant listeners and subscribers on ~$5 per day.
  4. Create more SEO content: You have the expertise and time to create insightful content that can rank for keywords and showcase your podcast. Do keyword research to find topics your listeners care about and start writing. The longer the content is the better. For SEO I’d recommend a minimum of 1,500 words per blog post. 
  5. Create an Expert roundup: You have a great network of influencers and experts and you should try to leverage it. Expert roundups are long-form blog posts which ask 10+ experts their opinion on a given topic. The great advantage of this approach is that the experts that took part are very likely to share the article with their network. That way you achieve a multiplier effect and can significantly boost your subscribers. Additionally, you can ask for backlinks from your experts. If they have a personal blog or website, they can then link to the roundup and provide a small boost in terms of SEO. Here is a great example. Once the article is live I would recommend emailing relevant niche websites and making them aware of your new content. Most likely they will be happy to share the “findings” with their audience and provide a backlink.
  6. Start sending out a weekly/bi-weekly newsletter: You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. Use a free solution like Email Octopus to send regular updates to your audience. Keep the tone friendly and try to give your readers great value. Make sure to promote your content but also include commentary on hot button topics. Ideally create and share exclusive content just for your newsletter recipients.

I have a few other ideas but I think this is plenty given your time constraints. Does everything here make sense? Comment below and I'll be happy to clarify.

Some additional feedback

I think you could score a few quick wins by making some small changes: 

  • Add a call to action: It’s not clear how visitors could listen to an episode on your website. I highly recommend adding a button saying “Listen” (ideally where the arrow is pointing). If you can’t place a button, add a bold link to the text with a clear call to action. People get easily annoyed and will drop-off (leave) if they can’t immediately see how they can get what they want.
  • Transcribe your videos: You have great content in your episodes BUT the individual blog posts are almost empty. As a result you’ll generate zero organic traffic through Google. I would suggest using this or this transcription tool. These turn your audio into text, which you can then publish. You’ll easily get 3-4k word blog posts which you can then optimize in order to generate free organic traffic. Here is a good guide on how to optimize your blog posts (transcripts) for SEO.
  • Use Buffer to schedule Social Media posts: Given your niche (health/medicine) Social Media is a very attractive marketing channel. People are keen to share important information with their friends and family - try to leverage this. To save time, I would suggest using the free version of Buffer to schedule a weeks worth of content for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn at a time. If you create shorter clips of your podcast episodes these would be a perfect fit here. Use Hashtagify to research which hashtags will maximise your reach.
  • Collect email addresses: As you grow, your email list will become your most powerful marketing channel, so try to collect email addresses as soon as possible. I mentioned earlier that a newsletter makes sense but you may not have any email addresses yet. Use a tool like SUMO APP to collect emails on your website for free. If you have the time, create a lead magnet to incentivize visitors to share their email with you. 

Final thoughts

I think the podcast is very good and could grow quickly. The key now is to create more content by splitting long episodes into shorter clips and sharing these across social media. 

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.