So, you’ve got a great idea for a podcast, one that can slide into a lovely little niche and is almost guaranteed to send you into stardom. People are gonna love it, dude. The content is fire, the title is eye-catching, and the premise alone is off the chain.
Cool. I guess I’ll leave you to it then, nothing else to do here!
Oh wait, you’re not entirely sure how to promote a new podcast and that’s the whole reason you’re here, given the title of the blog? That makes sense, sorry. Let’s get to it.
Here’s what we’re going to do: we’re going to break up some of the best podcast promotion strategies into five different steps, but try to think of them more as pillars that will hold your podcast high in the air for all to see. The way you promote your podcast will determine its success, it is the infrastructure surrounding it, and without these pillars, your podcast won’t make its way into the ears of determined listeners.
So without further ado…
Pillar 1: SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
This pillar is the foundation for everything related to your promotion strategy. If you’ve ever been around even just one digital marketer, you’ve most likely heard of it because they don’t stop banging on about what it is (nerds).
In short, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the overall process of optimising content so that it is more likely to be found when people are searching for content related to it on search engines. This is done through writing specific keywords into your content so it has a higher chance of jumping to the top of search engine pages. For a podcast, your content will be split into three different categories:
- Video: Longform video and shorts/snippets on YouTube (or wherever else you want to post your video content but, like, I doubt anyone’s going to be using Vimeo for it.)
- Audio: The full audio on podcast directories like Apple Podcasts and Spotify (maybe even Deezer if you really wanna be different).
- Written: Webpages on the podcast website and your domain that can be found via Google (like blogs and stuff… a bit like what you’re reading right now except directly linked to your podcast).
But, if you want to know how to promote a podcast for free, then you need to understand the two different parts that come with doing so.
1. People Searching For Podcasts
Let’s say your podcast is all about superheroes. More specifically, the niche is all about Batman. Your goal should be for people to search ‘best Batman podcasts’ on Google, and with any luck, your show will turn up at the top of the page.
2. People Searching For Content/Topics
Maybe someone is just looking for any sort of content about Batman, scrolling idly through the internet, ready to focus all of their attention onto anything they find. Your goal in this instance, then, should be the same: your podcast should turn up at the top of the search engine.
The best way to really compete with other podcasts in your niche through SEO is go on a website called Voxalyze and search keywords related to your podcast. It will give you statistics and metrics on how other podcasts in your area are doing, giving you a good idea of how you’d fare against them. It can also be a super handy way to come up with a name for your podcast (assuming you don’t have one already).
If you want to really understand the various metrics, tools and strategies for SEO in general, then it might be worth looking at some online courses! Here’s an excellent video on YouTube giving you the basics of what you need to know when it comes to SEO on blogs.
SEO online courses:
- SEO Crash Course by Semrush
- SEO Certification Course by HubSpot
- Google Analytics 4 Course by Google
Pillar 2: Content Syndication
Ooooo well then, what the hell does that mean? Content syndication? Have we just made it up for attention?
No. Don’t worry. We didn’t. It’s a very legitimate process and basically answers how to promote a podcast on social media. Basically, this pillar aims to break out different, selected pieces of content from the audio/video recording, and is then published on social channels or on your website where it will ideally attract attention from social media algorithms (e.g. Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook) or search algorithms (e.g. Google and… I don’t know, Bing?) which will lead to more downloads. People will consume these little bits of content and then will want to consume the full episode to find out more.
How do you do this? How do you gain traction? Well, first of all, you’ll need to create social profiles for the show so you’re nicely spread out and not just forced onto one profile. Ensure you know what your brand is and that you’ve thought it out. Next, you’re going to need to compile all the different types of content you can share with your audience:
- Full Episode Audio: Put this on the (SEO built) blog post on your site and podcast directories
- Full Episode Video: Again, put this in the blog post on your site and on YouTube.
- Video Clips: Spread these bad boys out across your social media channels, people love a good video clip from a podcast.
- Audioform Snippets: This is the lesser of the previous one, but it’s good to have this on your social channels if the video doesn’t look good (or if you don’t have any video).
- Quote Images: This can work wonders on your Instagram, Twitter (Or ‘X’, now, I suppose) or even on your LinkedIn if you want to make a business podcast.
- Carousels: This is basically a series of images, graphically designed, with lessons, quotes and tidbits from the episode. It can entice people to go and listen to the whole thing.
- Content Sheet: Really, this is primarily just for you. Put all of your written content into one sheet so it’s all in one place, meaning you won’t need to frantically search for everything.
- Transcript: Again, this is really just for you. It can help find quotes from the podcast and save you from listening over and over again.
Pillar 3: Partnerships & Communities
Wondering about even more ways on how to promote your podcast for free? Don’t worry b, we got you.
Typically, you need to pay for advertisements and some SEO tools if you really want them to succeed, but if you want to promote your podcast for free, then try to focus your attention on online social communities; give your time as a host to others, or give someone else (like another podcast in your niche) exposure to your audience.
There are numerous way to do this:
- Reddit Communities: Reddit can be a tricky one, as they don’t always take super kindly to promotion posts. But, if you can find the right community that will appreciate you, then you’ll have struck gold; post into a relevant sub/Reddit to ask for feedback on our first episode
- Guest on Other Shows: If you’re the host of your own podcast, start networking with other podcasters and see if you could guest on another relevant show, and then finish with a Call to Action to subscribe to your show
- Create Your Own Community: Set up and grow our own community around the podcast, whether that be on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Threads - there’ll be a place for you somewhere, afterall, is that not the purpose of a community? To feel like you belong?
Pillar 4: Paid Platforms
This pillar, unfortunately, requires you to spend money (‘boooo’ okay yeah, we know, it sucks, but unfortunately this is a dog eat dog world). You’ll have to find ways to promote your podcast through other platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Reddit, Quora, Castro and other social platforms and podcast apps.
Hell, if you can do it, we’d also encourage you to find influencers within your niche who have a similar or desired audience base. See if you can pay them to promote your show, afterall, people love a good influencer. Here’s the thing with influencers though: make sure you get what you pay for, and do your due diligence on who they are. Ask yourself, do they fit your brand? Will they reach the right audience? Will they reach enough people? What’s the general opinion on the influencer?
If you’re wondering how to promote your podcast on Instagram, then influencers and paid advertisements are usually your best bet. But be careful! Do your research, make sure you absolutely, 100% know what you’re doing. The last thing you want is to pay for something that yields no results or ROI.
Pillar 5: Build an Audience Persona
I know what you’re thinking, this isn’t directly a promotion tactic. And you’re right, this isn't direct communication with your audience. But it is a brilliant way to figure out who your audience is.
Do some research on your potential audience; figure out what kind of people listen to your future competitors. Again, Voxalyze can be really handy for this - it can present to you the audience’s geographic data and tell you where in the world you’d be most popular.
You can also think about your ideal listeners; who do you want listening to you? When you picture your audience in your head, what kinds of people spring to mind? Once you’ve figured all of that out and have written it down into a document, you can begin to put all your promotion techniques in place.
Go Forth and Promote
Well, there you have it. These have been the four foundational pillars for your podcast’s promotional success, and I have no doubt you’ll absolutely smash it out of the park. Remember to think about your podcast’s branding and tone of voice – you may have an idea of what it is, but if you can really pin down the essence of your show in just a couple of sentences, as well as visually, then it will make the entire promotional process so much easier.
People love consistency, every bit of content you put out needs to be consistent and have solid alignment. Try to make sure it doesn’t look cheap either, you’d be surprised just how much that can put people off!
So to recap the five pillars:
- Pillar 1: SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Pillar 2: Content Syndication
- Pillar 3: Partnerships & Communities
- Pillar 4: Paid Platforms
- Pillar 5: Build an Audience Persona
Go on, take the podcasting world by storm!