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Is your podcast flat-lining? Has it been a while since you launched the podcast, but despite some early success, you don’t seem to be gaining any significant traction?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Almost every podcast goes through this, a period where it seems they’ve hit their peak audience, and that’s it.
Newsflash: your podcast has not hit its peak. The audience is out there, waiting to hear your latest show. They just don’t know it yet.
Podcast promotion is a tricky beast. It’s different to books, songs, and websites. You’re essentially trying to attract attention to a recording that might not even be listened to in its entirety, often in multiple periods of listening.
In short, promoting a podcast is totally different to anything else.
Create a Flexible Podcast Plan
Before you start on the promotion, you need to consider the content. What do you have so far? What items do you have coming up?
What, ultimately, is your podcast about?
Do you have guests? Do you do readings? Perhaps you discuss movies, and feature clips in them. Is there anything you can do to improve the content and organize things so that you can tell people what is coming up next?
Simply pulling a topic out of thin air isn’t going to cut it long-term. Planning content enables you to create consistency and familiarity across several podcasts. This can in turn help with generating a friendly, inclusive show. A show people want to listen to.
A show people will look for.
Focus on iTunes…
While SoundCloud, Audioboom, and several other services will host podcasts, you’ll need iTunes to share it with the world. You probably know that iTunes doesn’t host podcasts, but it is the podcast directory to be in.
Nieman Journalism Lab states that “70 percent of podcast listening happens through iTunes or the native iOS Podcasts app.”
This means that despite what you might think about iTunes or Apple, you really need to consider the following with one eye on how it might affect your podcast on iTunes, how any change might be applied, and what the result will be.
Start out by making sure your podcast is on iTunes, and that it has a good, clear description of the topic. Each podcast you produce will need a few words (about 100) about the topic under discussion, and/or the guest. For future growth, remember in each podcast to encourage your listeners to leave a review. You might even incentivise this by reading reviews out, or even awarding a prize for the best one!
…But Don’t Overlook Podcatchers
“Podcatchers” are services and apps that list podcasts. They’re essentially directories, but they also make your podcast available to play. While iTunes should be considered THE place for podcasts, having yours listed with the popular podcatchers is a smart move.
Take Android, for instance. There is no iTunes app for Android, so users of this mobile platform need a bit of help in finding the podcasts they want to listen to. Perhaps they could use the old-fashioned PC syncing method of getting a new podcast on their device? Android has many podcast apps, usually backed by a podcatcher. (And to make it complete, many are available for iPhone and iPad!)
So consider Stitcher.com (which is embedded in many connected automobiles), Player.FM, and TuneIn Radio. There are others, but they usually catch podcasts from iTunes.
Finally, find the Podcasts subreddit and list your show there.
Production: Keep It Tight
You’re not going to keep new visitors with a shoddily-produced podcast. You don’t need good hardware, (you can create a podcast on your mobile!), just good standards. We’ve looked at various tips and tricks for making podcasts and editing audio with Audacity previously (alternatives are available), but there are a few things that you need to make sure are done right when editing and packaging a podcast.
- Short intro tune — Don’t let this go longer than 10 seconds. The ideal length is five seconds. If you have a longer tune, use it at the end.
- Clip long pauses — No one wants to listen to you sitting in silence. Always take the time to review the entire podcast before publishing, and take the time to remove the long pauses.
- Pre-record inserts — Rather than struggling to remember to prompt your listeners to contact you or listen via a particular service, pre-record the message so you can easily drop it in between conversations.
Your podcast is essentially an on-demand radio show. Aspire to radio-style production values for a polished production that listeners will keep coming back to.
Provide Show Notes
Simply pumping out a podcast without any contextual links isn’t good enough. You need to provide any information that the listener can use to ensure they’re on the same page as you and your guest. This should focus on an introduction to the topic. Don’t get hung up on sourcing links, as iTunes doesn’t display any clickable information.
Perhaps you talk about a YouTube video in the podcast. Include a link to it. If you have a guest, include links to their website, or their Amazon product page, whatever.
In short, you should be providing the details the reader needs to “get” the conversation. It’s easy to get carried away with show notes, so don’t overdo it.
Invite Guests and Tell Their Audiences
It’s very easy for a podcast to become an insular affair. Arranging guests can be time-consuming and difficult to schedule, especially with people overseas. But if you are getting guests on, you need to make sure that their own fans and followers are aware of this.
By leveraging this audience, you can give them the content they hanker after. It might be quotes or clips that can be shared via Facebook or Twitter… or it might be your very podcast. That conversation you had with your guest can draw in new listeners who want more of your special brand of podcast magic.
Find guests, show them off, and embrace their audience. In most cases, you’ll probably do this with Skype, although Google Hangouts is a good alternative.
Feature Transcriptions or Quotes From the Audio
Something else you can include in the show notes is a transcription of the audio. Some people prefer to feature a full transcript, and you can find people willing to do this for you on sites like rev.com (transcription for $1 a minute of material) or fiverr.
But unless your podcast is short, it’s unlikely that a full transcription will be of use. Instead, focus your transcription efforts on particular phrases, key moments in the podcast that can be highlighted in the show notes.
Using transcript material lengthens your podcast’s text content, which is useful for attracting hits from Google. We’re going steer clear of SEO, but whatever you’re producing online, it’s important to make sure that Google knows it is of good quality. Detailed show notes with quotes can help with this.
Produce Shareable Clips and Trailers
Following on from transcripts and quotes, you should also take time during the edit to produce short clips and/or trailers for your upcoming podcast. This is particularly useful if you have a regular release schedule (perhaps every Saturday morning?).
Better still, if you have guests on your show whose audience you wish to appeal to, send over some clips of your guest chatting, along with a few quotes. They’ll be able to use them and highlight their upcoming appearance (make sure they know when the podcast goes live) to their fans and followers.
Leverage Social Media
Social media is an important element of podcasting. Podcasting plugins for WordPress, and services like Audioboom, Spreaker Studio, and SoundCloud offer social tools for you to automatically share your uploads with your Twitter, Facebook and other social accounts as they’re published.
This means that anyone who follows you will know when your new podcast is coming. But there’s no need to just leave it at that. Use the tricks above to share snippets of your upcoming podcast online.
But don’t just leave it at that. Once you share, don’t stop. Share three-to-four times on Twitter on publishing day, and remind your readers on Facebook by telling them about it twice during the week. You can use WordPress plugins to remind Twitter and Facebook with repeated tweets — services like Audioboom and SoundCloud embed their players in Tweets and Facebook posts, meaning new listeners can just click the tweet to listen to your podcast there and then.
Be a Guest on Other Podcasts
Quite often you can get bogged down with the job of organizing and hosting a podcast that you overlook is fun about it. Appearing on someone else’s podcast is a good way to share your views of your favored topics before a completely new audience.
Like having a guest on your show, the idea of making an appearance on other podcasts is a great way to reach a whole new audience. The aim, of course, is to bring some of them back with you to your show.
If you’re concerned about rubbing shoulders with competitors, think outside the box, and pitch a guest appearance to podcasts that operate in slightly different spheres, or niches, but where your expertise is needed from time to time.
Build Relationships With Websites
Should you be running just a podcast with an associated WordPress blog that gets updated when you have a new podcast to promote, partnering with other websites could be a good idea.
In short, you offer your podcast as an embeddable piece of media (using Audioboom, SoundCloud, or even your blog’s podcast plugin). This has the benefit of delivering free and compelling content to the partner site while exposing your discussions to a whole new audience.
As with being a guest, it’s important to make the right choice with the sites you reach out to. Aim for established names in the same niche, without their own podcast. If you’re successful here, you can take your podcast, and their website, to the next level!
Make YouTube a Podcast Host
This may seem a little off the wall, but stay with me.
YouTube will not host plain audio, but if you marry it with an appropriate image, you can use a tool like www.tunestotube.com to easily combine and media and upload to your YouTube account.
Another option is to use a full video editor along with a series of images and video you have a license to use. If these are in short supply, free-to-use video loops from videos.pexels.com or www.videvo.net. You should also include an image of your logo, or of the guest.
Make sure your video is well titled (such as “Interview with… [Guest Name]” or “[Guest name] interview”), and be sure to include your show notes on the YouTube video’s details. Using YouTube means you have something that can be easily shared and promoted, and the site’s built-in closed-captioning tools will help those with accessibility requirements.
And if you choose to host a live podcast, you can use Google Hangouts to stream it live on YouTube!
With these tips and tricks, your podcast should almost certainly grow its audience. Do you have other tricks? Perhaps there’s a method you used? Share the knowledge and tell us below!
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