Successful traffic building for your podcast will require:
- Consistent long term marketing plan and execution
- Establishing a brand
- Maximize value from each podcast episode
- Including some paid advertising
- Launch strategy for a new podcast show
- Leveraging existing audience
In this article, you will find 19 more detailed tips for driving traffic which we grouped for your convenience into the above 6 main top-level categories.
Building a massive audience will take time. In this traffic building guide, we make an assessment that you are starting your show without having any audience. In the beginning, this may appear like a lot of work. However, it is necessary to invest some time into promoting your show. Each successful host has been through this so you can be sure that long term consistent effort will bring results.
No. 1 Podcast Marketing Golden Rule – have a consistent marketing Plan
1. Develop marketing plan and be consistent in your podcast marketing execution
You will achieve better results with less effort if everything you do works together. For example, if each episode reinforces vital strengths of your podcast and if each marketing effort is planned, relevant to the platform you are using for promotion and your target audience. This tip is so essential that basically, an entire first category of traffic driving tips is this one tip.
Know exactly what are you going to do. Have a marketing steps checklist and execute it daily.
- Plan marketing activities for at least 8-12 weeks
- Execute them methodically day by day
- Measure and record each result
- Compare results, draw a conclusion, enhance actions bringing results and terminate ineffective ones
Having a more extended plan and more data from observations will allow you for a better quality of observations and more accurate conclusions. It is paramount for any good podcast promotor to have a plan and to execute it relentlessly to get desired results.
Develop a brand and recognition for your podcast
Having a recognizable brand is something that distinguishes the most successful companies in the world from mediocre ones. Excellent and popular podcasts also have brand recognition, so you should make an effort to build a brand for your podcast as well. Creating a brand is something that will take time and effort, and there are multiple tasks do to reinforce your brand.
2. Characterize why your podcast is unique – have an original value proposition
Write down a story for your audience, which will explain why you and your podcast are unique. Explain why your voice matters in this vast podcasting world. People enjoy finding new, unique perspectives on the world.
Prepare a realistic story about yourself why you are podcasting, what value you have to offer with your podcast. There are thousands of podcasts available, and we all have only 24h a day to perform activities. Tell people what they will gain from listening to your podcast. And don’t make an assumption this is obvious from the title of your show.
Be bold about a vision for your podcast. Tell people what you want to achieve with reaching thousands of listeners and get early listeners engaged. If people understand what are you trying to achieve and find your value proposition relevant, they will help you and talk about your podcast to people they know.
The story behind your brand should be something you want to promote and talk about in the press releases and interviews you will schedule.
If you are looking for ideas for a new podcast show, check out our list of suggestions: 40 Podcasting Shows Ideas Available for the Taking Now!
3. Find 2-3 key characteristics of your podcast and emphasize them
You should clearly define the characteristics and areas best describing your show.
This will help to:
- Simplify communication with your potential audience where you tell them exactly what kind of expectations they should have when coming to listen to your show
- Stay focused on both content creation efforts and marketing efforts. When your podcasts will be consistent, and your marketing communication will focus on sending a simple message, you will achieve better long term results.
An additional branding goal here is to form a mental connection in the mind of your listeners. Then whenever they think about a specific topic and a podcast, they should also immediately think about your brand.
4. Have a website dedicated to your podcast which you will leverage for promotion and communication
When working on a podcast, a website may at first appear like a distraction and additional workload. However, having a dedicated website for your podcast is crucial since the very start of your show.
Here is the list of top 6 benefits of having a website for your podcast:
- You will want to share more with your audience than just podcast episodes. You want your audience engaged in your show as much as possible and be anticipating all your new releases. Updates, news can be shared here and reinforce a connection with your brand.
- Organic traffic visits you will get from Google and can then convert to a podcast audience.
- Loyal fans on their own want to engage and interact with you as a host, between new episodes, are released. They will have feedback for you, provide valuable early support, and become your brand ambassadors. If they like your show, they will want you to succeed in keeping the show alive.
- Have more options to promote your podcast. Most important is building a mailing list of your listeners, which will help to provide an additional push for each newly published episode. There are also other steps you can take, like adding recommend and promote buttons asking your most loyal listeners to support your show with their friends.
- More options for monetization. This is not something you will probably start doing just after launch, but in the long run, when you will want to monetize your podcast, having a website will provide you with more options than only being limited to ads on your show.
- With integrated marketing tools, you will get statistics that will help you better understand your target audience. This will be a source of valuable insight and should lead you to conclusions improving your content strategy, marketing plans, and monetization efforts.
We have a detailed article about all the essential components a website dedicated to podcast shows should have. You can find it here: Podcast Website Marketing Guide – increase the number of listeners and improve monetization.
5. Take long term efforts to establish a brand
Have a long term vision for brand development. In the beginning, we wrote about having a 4-8 week marketing plan. But establishing a brand will require a much longer timeframe. You should execute elements of a brand-building alongside your regular short term marketing plan and continue them after you finish the marketing campaign you planned.
It will require months to establish a brand, but once you have a brand, all your activities will be amplified, and the effectiveness of actions will increase.
So invest in brand development from the start of your podcast but expect great results after months. In the meantime, focus on traffic generation with more traditional and labor-intensive methods.
If you want to find out more about key elements which in the long run will help you to establish a brand visit our guide 10 step strategy for building a podcast brand and getting more listeners
Maximize value from each podcast episode
You can squeeze so much value from one episode beyond a simple recording and publishing. We advise following this approach in almost all cases. Unless you are publishing episodes daily, which will be very time consuming, you should try to get more content out of one episode. If you develop your content in a traditional 1 episode per week format, get maximum value from it.
6. Name your podcast and each episode correctly for SEO benefits
As podcasts are becoming more popular, a right naming can increase the chances of your show getting found. You can use the word “podcast” and other words defining your key category in the title of your show to increase the searchability of your podcast.
This will work best if you have a dedicated website but will also impact the search engines of the podcast directories.
Also, use good keywords in each episode title. Make sure the episode name is something a user might type into a search engine. When it comes to clickbait titles, be careful – if your content will deliver on the promise of the title, then you can try a bold title. But if you have doubts, don’t use those types of titles, or you will risk bad stats.
Alongside the right name, you should have an interesting but simple logo. We have a short guide about podcast logo creation: How to create a capturing attention podcast logo?
7. Publish episode notes or a full transcript on your podcast page
This is one of the ways how you promote your podcast through your website. By having written content on your website, you allow yourself to be found through search engines like google.
There are several approaches you can take here. You can publish:
- general ideas and bullets your podcast describes
- longer script notes
- full transcript of your entire episode.
You can prepare this material on your own, or you can hire someone to do it for you on Fiverr or any other similar freelancing sites.
Whether you choose podcast notes or the full transcript is not very important. The goal is to have a long, valuable content on your website, which will get organic traffic and which you will be able to convert into audience members. But this content can be useful also for your existing audience when:
- They are unable to listen to the entire episode,
- Can use your notes and quote your post as a source for reference.
8. Leverage YouTube clips – create few 3-4 minute clips to be featured on youtube promoting your entire show
The goal here is to create short teaser videos, delivering some value for a person watching but ultimately generating a need to consume more and then directing them to your podcast.
To minimize the work effort required to prepare those clips plan for them when working on episode script or notes. Think in advance which parts of the episode will make an excellent short clip to be uploaded on youtube, then when recording you can make a small pause before and after this content to make the editing process a bit easier.
9. Build an interesting content for Pinterest
Pinterest can be a good source of traffic if you have the right content. Pinterest users are mostly female, but this is a highly active and engaged community, which in terms of demographics strongly matches podcasting demographics.
If you can prepare a right image or an infographic that can get shared on Pinterest, this can quickly generate a high spike in your podcast listeners and website traffic, which you should work on converting to listeners.
10. Search for people looking for information covered on your podcast
If your content answers some specific questions or addresses people, concerns type those questions into Google. Among the search results, you should look for sites where people are looking for the answers which are provided by your podcast. Search for forums, Quora, Reddit, etc. where you can politely join the conversation.
Go to those sites and try to help those users in a non-spammy way i.e., don’t just drop a link or podcast name, but write a short version of an answer and say that you just recorded a podcast on this and they may find it interesting. Also, ask there for comments, feedback, and a positive review if they’ve liked your podcast.
Use paid advertising for getting podcast audience
If you can find a marketing budget for your podcast, this will improve your audience statistics. Podcast listeners admit that the primary information source regarding new shows for them is social media and other podcasts they are currently following.
11. Consider buying ads on other podcasts
Find good podcasts with a similar target audience and promote there. You can do it either by contacting that podcast creator yourself if this is a smaller show or use one of the podcasting networks selling ads in bulk on various shows.
The benefit of this for your podcasts are:
- Host read ads are valued higher than average ads as a trusted voice delivers them. Well, located ads can have an excellent result for your listenership.
- Ads on podcasts are still relatively inexpensive when compare to other formats. If you find an excellent podcast to promote yourself the average cost per new listener can get very low
12. Launch highly targeted Facebook ads
The main benefit of Facebook advertising is the possibility to have an exact target audience. We know so much about the podcast audience currently in terms of education, income, and age. We can also make educated assumptions with a high likelihood of success of what our desired target audience likes and listens to currently.
Facebook ads manager allows us also to create multiple segments of our ads and observer results and effectiveness.
As podcast listeners are now mainly mobile, you can be even more precise and display ads to users who are accessing Facebook using a mobile device, guaranteeing the best return on your investment.
If you want to learn more about podcast audience demographics, read our article Podcasting Demographics – Marketing Guide to Understanding Your Audience
13. Giveaway contest for reviewers
If you have a marketing budget for giveaways, you can create a simple contest. To qualify to take part in your giveaway, you should ask users to leave a review of your show.
This is a great way to generate the first wave of positive reviews boosting rankings of your show. Since there are many podcasting directories, you should focus on the one which is most significant in the industry, which currently belongs to Apple. Ask for a review on Apple Podcasts for your audience to have a chance to win a gadget related to your show.
Have a launch strategy for a new podcast show
Having a good marketing plan when you launch a brand new podcast is critical. When you launch algorithms will for a short period of a few weeks, promote your show and place it in front of listeners for free. If you focus your marketing efforts at this time, you will send a signal to algorithms to display it even more often, and you will have a chance to climb in the rankings of new podcasts.
14. Have at least 5 episodes recorded and ready at launch
When a new person subscribes, the application will push a few episodes to their device immediately, which will count as downloads for your shows statistics and boost your ranking.
Having few episodes at launch provides a better user experience. If you promote your show and find a genuinely interested listener, they may be disappointed if you have only 1 episode to play.
Users currently are accustomed to the abundance of choice. So although it might look naturally for a new show to have only 1 episode, your users may feel like they don’t have any choice here, and this will go against the usual internet experience of having a lot of content on demand.
15. Schedule an interview on your new show
One of the reasons you want to have an interview is you want to leverage an existing audience of the person you are interviewing. Find someone who will fit on your podcast and who is currently looking for publicity. Authors who have published books are always the right place to start.
If your show is new and you don’t have your audience, you will need to be persuasive and good at selling the reason why an interview with you is a good idea.
How to convince an author to record an interview if you have no audience for your show?
- Targeting – chose an author who will fit into your theme and explain that due to nature of podcast the episode actually will be listened to frequently for next months
- Show interest – in the pitch, provide few ideas you want to discuss. Think about the interesting question you want to ask. Move past the obvious ones to show that your interview may be exciting and different
- Respect time – plan the meeting to last 20 mins not to take to much of valuable time of your guest
- Offer PR & outreach – offer that you will promote episode with interview stronger than other episodes
However, a significant thing here is for the guest to promote the interview himself. To guarantee this will happen to prepare content which your guest will be able to copy and post to his existing fans. What you can prepare:
- Audio sound bites or short YouTube clips
- Quotes and images
- Also, suggest that you can rewrite a tweet or Facebook status update.
16. Leverage algorithms to get more exposure with podcast directories
Getting positive statistics at launch is more critical due to the role of algorithms. Few things you have to feed algorithms are:
- Already mentioned 5 episodes at the start
- Ask your close friends to subscribe and leave a positive review
- Ask in your early episodes your listeners to subscribe and leave a review
- Publish regularly during the first 3 months after launch – no excuses
You need to prove to the podcast directories and their algorithms that are judging podcasts in the background that you are a reliable and trustworthy content creator. You achieve this by regularly publishing for long periods, a growing list of subscribers, and getting positive reviews. In return, the algorithms will show your show to new groups of users.
17. Submit your podcast to main directories and aggregators
You want to submit your podcast to directories which have the most massive audiences and can put you in front of the largest crowd of potential listeners. The biggest streaming platforms that currently offer the possibility to submit a podcast are Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, SoundCloud, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, Amazon Music, TuneIn Radio.
But there are many more aggregators used by thousands of listeners. Those apps may not be a priority at the start, but step by step, keep adding your podcast their listings. Some of the more popular include Stitcher, Blubrry, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Podcast Republic, Podbay, Podtail, and many more.
Before submitting to those smaller directories, however, check if they serve the same segment of listeners as your show.
There are few things you should be careful of when submitting a podcast to a directory. This article might help: How to publish a podcast in 4 easy steps?
Leverage existing audience to increase podcast reach
Overall in this article, we have assumed that you are starting a podcast without having an audience already build. But if you do have a website, fan page, youtube channel, or a mailing list you should use this population to build an initial audience for your new show and win ranking position much easier.
Key things you should ask your existing audience is at least to subscribe to your new show and help you by leaving a review. This will be a significant initial boost to your new show. Later on, you will channel them to your website and convert them to a mailing list.
18. Ask for subscription and explain why
One of the main things you can ask your existing audience is asking them to subscribe. Explain this will help to boost your ranking and deliver your message and your content to people interested in it, and just by performing this single and quick action, they can help you a lot.
Once they have subscribed, they are much more likely to listen to your show and appreciate your new content.
19. Ask listeners for reviews, tell why and explain how to do it
Another critical thing to ask your existing audience is to rate your show. Explain again why this action is essential, that it will make your show available to even more people.
One thing which can boost the number of reviews is if you tell your listeners (you can set up a short instruction on your site) how to review a podcast. The fact is that most of the people have never rated or reviewed a show, so a little help can generate great results.
- The most important thing in driving increased traffic to your podcast is to have a 4-8 week plan with specific activities planned, execute them, record results, and focus on most productive activities.
- Brand building is something that should be part of your podcast marketing efforts from the beginning.
- Clear your schedule for several weeks after launch and focus on marketing
- Before an official launch have recorded and edited 5 episodes to be uploaded immediately
- Streamline your work on episodes post-show launch so you will have more time for marketing.
- Align preparation of marketing materials for each new episode and push them it immediately
- A podcast website is incredibly important for the success of your show
- Maximize value from each podcast episode by preparing notes, transcript, youtube clips, Pinterest images
- If you have a marketing budget consider advertising on other show, precise facebook ads targeting and organizing giveaways for reviews
- Have a consistent launch strategy
- Early on focus on collecting downloads and favorable reviews to get high ranking in the chartsFinally, leverage whatever existing audience you already have and convert them into early subscribers
Tells us what else would you like to learn on podcast marketing?
Thanks for this podcast marketing guide. Really thorough and one of the best I’ve seen so far!
I found it very useful. Good tips that can be easily implemented. Good read!