If you’re anything like me, you want more listeners for your podcast. But, when you actually search for information on how to promote a podcast, it feels like everyone is parroting the same old advice.
Personally, I’ve been a little frustrated with identical answers on so many websites. So, I did what I usually do when I want legit, actionable answers from people working in the industry — I went hunting for real podcasters to steer me in the right direction.
How to promote a podcast
Below are some of the practical ideas podcasting and marketing professionals sent my way for how to promote a podcast effectively and grow your podcast audience:
- Treat your podcast like a business and get a website.
- Use honey traps and the rule of three to get more listeners.
- Harness the power of TikTok.
- Make a comic about your podcast.
- Think video first.
- Leverage lesser-known podcast directories.
- Use paid ads if you can.
- Don’t forget about Pinterest.
Ready to attract more podcast listeners? Let’s dive in!
1. Treat your podcast like a business and get a website
Naresh Vissa is the Founder & CEO of Krish Media & Marketing, and the author of the book Podcastnomics. He says the biggest problem he sees in podcasters is that they don’t treat their show enough like a business.
He said, “If you execute your podcast properly, and run it like a business, the marketing will take care of itself.”
But, what does this look like in practice?
Naresh says you need to be an early mover in a niche. Sure, it’s good to go after something you are passionate about, but the goal should be to focus on the long-tail niches of your target audience — just like long-tail keywords.
In other words, don’t focus on finance for a podcast. Instead, speak on the ins and outs of a more narrow topic, such as digital currency. The earlier you can hop into a hyper-focused niche and make a name for yourself, the better.
But out of all the business-like actions you should take for your podcast, perhaps the biggest is creating a website that captures leads and repurposes all of your podcast episodes.
Naresh said far too many podcasters rely on the web link that their podcast hosts give them to promote their show. Or they will say something like, “Find my show wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.”
The problem is that this tactic prevents you from doing the most critical action — getting the name and email address of the listener!
Those people coming to your website to find your latest episode should be directed to opt into your email list for a few reasons:
- You’ll have a direct line of communication to tell them about episode releases
- You can ask for feedback
- You can make offers
- You can ask for referrals to your show
And, with a website, you can repurpose every episode into:
- Blog posts
- Transcripts and show notes
- Case studies (that could ultimately be used for your new book or course)
- Videos that you also display on your website
Make your website a one-stop cross-promotion machine for all things related to your podcast and treat it as a business asset. Because if you play your cards right, it will be.
2. Use honey traps and the rule of three to get more listeners
Jamie Kennedy - no, not the comedian - runs Brave Moon Podcasts, a production company for podcasters. She told me her promotion strategy for helping her clients and for helping her own podcast get more listens: use honey traps and the rule of three.
She said, “Share your episodes and use 'honey traps' to encourage listeners to listen and subscribe: When you post new episodes to your socials, be sure to use 'honey traps' to inspire listeners and ask your followers to share with their friends. Honey traps are questions or statements that entice a listener to listen. For example, ‘Do you want to know the secret to getting 8 hours of sleep every night?’ or ‘You should know these three things about heart disease.’”
Jamie went on to say, “When you post about an episode, follow the rule of 3 and make sure to post about every episode at least three times. It may feel repetitive to you, but most of your followers will need to see something at least three times to click on it.”
Suppose you’re trying to get more people in your niche to listen to your show or be a guest on your podcast. In that case, Jamie also recommends participating in relevant online communities and forums and engaging with the posts directly related to your episodes.
“For example, if you find a post asking for advice on the best exercises for strong legs and you did a podcast episode with the top 10 leg exercises, then share the link to the episode in the comments section. You'll get the attention of the original poster and the attention of every other person looking through the comments for answers.”
A word of caution, though. Be careful posting your podcast links in the communities you’re in.
Some of them have strict “no promo policies.” Others only allow sharing your podcast links on specific days. Bottom line - always read your group’s rules before sharing links.
3. Harness the power of TikTok
Ehan Hunagle runs SEMDeck and hosts the SwitchCast podcast with Doug Tabbutt. Their podcast primarily uses TikTok along with their highly optimized website to promote the show. Ethan said the TikTok page started small, but grew quickly to more than 67,000 followers and more than a million likes on their videos.
The secret sauce according to Ethan is to create a video for every corresponding episode. Then, he repurposes the videos on his social media channels as Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts.
The videos must be short, quick-hit style content because this is the most beneficial to market a podcast.
He also stressed that without a website, you’re missing out on prime opportunities to get your show found by your ideal podcast listener.
To further amplify the show’s reach, Ethan said, “We publish a blog post each and every time a new episode is released. We will embed the YouTube video as well as the RSS feed of the podcast, add internal and external links to the body text of the post, and optimize the blog with tags, meta descriptions, page titles, image alt attributes, and other basic SEO concepts.”
These simple steps came together to bring that coveted viral attention to SwitchCast that all podcasters dream of!
Related: Check out this guide on how to use TikTok for business.
4. Make a comic about your podcast
Admittedly, this was the coolest response I’ve heard so far to effectively promote a podcast. Christine Whitmarsh, better known as Christine Ink online, said she developed a comic around the theme of her daily podcast for authors.
She said, “The comic story follows author Margena and her very animated brain (a hilarious character unto itself) to show authors exactly how to build a writing habit and become a published author.”
As for how she manages the creation of these comics, she uses an illustrator named Beena Parikh of the P66 Agency.
How fun is that?!
5. Think video first
Before he began working behind the scenes helping creators succeed, Bredan Aw hosted the Xin eSports podcast Your Life My Dream and his own show Player Vs World. He said of all the tactics he sees creators using to promote a podcast right now, video is getting the most attention and success.
Brendan says you can’t succeed with an audio-only approach anymore. By recording your show as a video first, you give yourself “an [amazing] opportunity for content syndication from just one pillar piece.”
His recommendation is to film every episode. After that, he says to:
- Strip the audio to share as an audio-only podcast
- Share clip highlights to social media
- Edit the audio transcripts to make them highly valuable blog articles, and
- Link to relevant episodes wherever you can (i.e. within other blog posts, in press releases, on social media updates - especially in your bio, and even in your email signature)
6. Leverage lesser-known podcast directories
Isaac Mashman is no stranger to podcasting. Not only does he have his own podcast and helps his clients get featured on podcasts, but he also set a massive goal for himself to be featured on 100 podcast interviews and get 100 article/media mentions in 2023.
His best tip for how to market a podcast effectively is to get your show on lesser-known podcast directories.
He said, “When you first launch your show your RSS host will naturally get your podcast distributed to the larger platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify, but there are a multitude of other platforms that are either lesser known or not traditionally listed.”
Just a few of the places he recommends adding your show’s RSS feed to include:
He also recommends thinking internationally. For example, there are streaming giants in India and across the globe such as Gaana and JioSaavn. Podcastinc reported, “India is ranked the third in podcasting industry after USA and China.”
They went on to say that around 150 million Indians are consuming audio streaming making it “a huge opportunity of growth for podcasts.”
Isaac says we should get on every podcast directory possible so you can get your name out there to a plethora of people.
Think this will take too long? Here’s Isaac’s truth bomb response to that way of thinking: Do it anyway!
He said, “Is this time-consuming? Absolutely! However, once you do it the first time you never have to think about it again.
All of these platforms operate with their own individual algorithms, help your SEO, establish backlinks to your website, and make your podcast appear as if it is the top-charting show which it is bound to be.”
Search for every platform you can find to add your podcast to, and take advantage of the options to share your social media profiles and website links wherever possible.
7. Use paid ads if you can
James Pollard runs the Financial Advisor Marketing Podcast featuring more than 200 episodes. He says that paid ads have been the game changer his podcast was looking for to make it “one of the most sought-after podcasts in the financial advice space.”
But, he doesn’t run the ads to his podcast host, in fact, they aren’t promoting the podcast directly at all. Instead, he’ll run the ads to financial advisors (his ideal listeners) to promote a webinar or landing page. In every webinar and on every landing page, he introduces himself as the host of the podcast.
He said, “This roundabout way has generated tens of thousands of downloads in the past three months alone, and I am going to continue doing it for as long as it works.”
It also helps that many of the questions that people would be asking him are answered in his podcast episodes. By delivering a lot of value for free, he’s earning his “subscribers.”
In podcasting and in business in general, giving people a reason to stick around, and showing them you’re trustworthy is the only way you will ever see a return on any ad spend.
8. Don’t forget about Pinterest
Laura Rike says there aren’t enough podcasters using Pinterest to promote their podcasts. She highly recommends promoted pins too because these can be targeted to your ideal listener more effectively and less expensively than Facebook or Google Ads
She said, “While many may think of Pinterest specifically for recipes and craft projects, those who don’t use it for podcasting are truly missing out on an opportunity to reach their target clients online. It's actually a really powerful search engine, and has targeted ad opportunities. It can also help with familiarity and the ‘Know - Like - Trust’ concept, if your listener goes to your site and then later sees your ad on Pinterest, too!”
How to promote a podcast — A quick recap
To close things out, here’s a quick recap of the best tips for podcast marketing strategies that are working right now:
- Treat your podcast like a business
- Use honey traps and the rule of 3
- Get on Tiktok
- Make a comic (or at least specially curated images) to promote your podcast
- Think video first and use video on YouTube and all social media platforms
- Distribute your podcast to every directory you possibly can
- Utilize paid ads, and
- Don’t forget about Pinterest
I personally plan on using all of these ideas to promote my own podcast better. While guest swapping is great, I want to rely on more than just borrowing other people’s audiences to grow my own. With any luck, I’ll be enjoying larger download numbers and monetization opportunities in no time. Hopefully, you will be too!
New to podcasting? Check out our guide on how to start a podcast!