The audio medium is on a boom. It has surpassed the wave of videos and is here to stay. Podcasts are one such channel that has seen tremendous growth in a couple of years and is now the hottest topic in town. 80% of people listen to all or most of each episode, whereas the average reader spends just 37 seconds reading a blog post! One of the main reasons why publishers are taking podcast marketing seriously.
Find your voice through podcasts
News podcasts might account for a smaller pool as compared to the rest, but when it comes to listenership, it outperforms all other categories. Not every publisher knows about its potential. Even if they do, they have not ventured into it. Yet. Before every publisher out there starts making an effort to start off with their own podcast, you need to build your empire and gain subscribers.
Many news and media publishers are making use of podcasts to build brand awareness, build an audience and down the lane, encourage donations from the subscribers. Getting started is a lot easier than you think. Start off now, build a larger audience that tunes into your podcast. Here are the best practices you need to follow-
Start Building Your Podcast Empire
1. Stick to a frequency and time
Set a frequency so that your audience knows when to expect a new episode. It is advised that you post at least 1 podcast a week. Tuesdays are considered a good day to publish, also taking into consideration that new music hits iTunes on that day, increasing your chance to be spotted. Stitcher says that the average listener stays connected for 22 minutes.
2. Build an audience before launch
Create a buzz before you even come out with the first episode. Create a pre-launch plan, build curiosity and spur excitement. Publishers are at an advantage because you already have a massive following. Leverage the readers you already have and encourage them to participate in the promotion by asking quirky questions, running polls, and so on.
3. Don’t go overboard with the number of episodes
I know it is exciting times, you are starting something new and want to provide value to the listeners. But don’t jump the gun. Take baby steps, and don’t go live with more than 3-5 episodes in a go, this strips you off from implementing the feedback you will receive.
4. Distribute across different platforms
Apple has been in the arena from the beginning of time. Now other tech companies after seeing potential are investing in different mediums. Google has made podcasts visible on search results and has come up with their very own for Android devices. Spotify has come up on the radar and continues to invest heavily in original content. Spotify has jumped the ladder, like none other. It has in fact crossed apple podcasts as well.
5. Publish Transcripts and Shownotes
Every time a new format is introduced, marketers are excited because they get to repurpose it. Publish the transcript and a post on the blog, optimize it and distribute it. Creating audio assets on your website also gives you an opportunity to upgrade old content as well.
6. Take feedback
Make sure you ask for feedback right when the episode ends. Share how they can reach you and how they can help improve their experience. This goes a long way. Once you receive feedback, implement changes to your next episode.
7. Pump up some SEO juice by adding episodes to YouTube
I know what you are thinking. Audio content on Youtube? Doesn’t make sense. Forrester’s study says “pages with video are 53x more likely to rank on the first page of Google search results.” With podcasts, there is no video, but you can put the audio on YouTube so that people who search for related keywords are presented your content. Buzzfeed does a great job at this.
8. Interview guests and leverage their network
Bring in domain experts, authors, influences as guest speakers. This will not only increase interest among the listeners but also gives you access to their audience.
9. Teasers For Your Social Feed
Feed the social media what they like the most. Teasers, short clips, snippets - whatever is needed to get the hype going. Create short clips from the podcast episode by picking by the meaty stuff and promote it on all your socials. You can also pick up important points shared, or quotes from the episode, create an image out of it and share it with your social audience as well. Make use of the right hashtags as well. We use Headline for this and it works really well.
10. Plan for the iTunes launch
Once you launch your podcast on iTunes, you have got 8 weeks to get to the New and Noteworthy category. Dave Rogenmoser, CEO & founder of the growth marketing podcast Scale or Die, disclosed in one of the podcasts that they had 220 reviews the very first day. They reached out to EVERYONE they knew and asked them to drop a review and that worked for them! Though how to crack the Noteworthy section is not public knowledge, a lot of markets claim that it depends on
- Downloads/listens within the last 24 hours
- Subscribers (something that is not exactly possible to track)
- Ratings & Reviews
11. Double down on rating and reviews
Gather ratings by asking users to rate you right when the episode is going to end. Encourage more downloads and get people to promote and mention you on their socials. Most of the time its word of mouth that works the best. Focus on reviews and mention this when you end each episode and remind them to give you a haul if they like the episode and share it with their friends.
12. Get yourself on other podcasts
Go as a guest on other podcasts. Take this opportunity to share your insights and in the end also talk about your podcast. Talk about a popular episode, familiarize your podcast with the listeners. Here is something that some brands are trying out on Twitter-
13. Cross-promote different podcasts
Reach out to fellow creators and do a cross-promotion. You mention them in your podcast and so would they. For better luck, try with podcasts who have just started off or out with some episodes.
14. Hop over To Clubhouse To Voice Your View
If Podcasts are recorded albums, Clubhouse is the live concert equivalent. The good news is that with Clubhouse, you can host your own live concert. Use Clubhouse to expand your reach and reach more people.
15. Create a dedicated landing page and optimize it for search
Create different pages for each episode. The topic the guest has spoken about would have keywords that you can rank for. Make sure that your page is optimized for SEO so that you get more traffic on your page and increase the chance to get more subscribers. Publish exhaustive show notes with a timestamp like these
16. Add links to your email signature
You send many emails on a daily basis. Take that opportunity to promote your recent episode that went live. You could even promote the page where you have listed down the entire list of podcasts you have taken live.
17. Send out a newsletter
As a publisher, you might already have a fat list of loyal subscribers who have given you permission to send the occasional email. Share quotes, snippets from the episode and share them with your subscribers. Let them know the meaty stuff that was covered and ask them to tune in for the insights.
18. Put some cash on display ads to create a hype
If you have an episode you are proud of, promote that with the titbits that were shared by the guest. Helps you take off your podcast series and get new eyeballs. Though platforms like Clubhouse don’t offer any form of advertising model as of now, many have predicted it would.
19. Sponsor events
Sponsor events that align with your brand goals, put the word out there. You could reach out to hosts for brand-sponsored conversations.
20. Get some influencer to market you
This is not as easy as it sounds, but getting yourself an influencer to talk about your podcast can do wonders. You basically tap onto their huge audience base, and because the influencer has mentioned you, there would be people who will tune in and for all you know, become your loyal subscriber. You can also get yourself a brand ambassador to really strike through.
22. Giveaways and contests
To build some hype you could hold a contest and give them goodies. This would attract a lot of attention and buzz. You can promote this widely as well, making people curious about the podcast series and encourage them to give the episodes a listen.
22. Word of mouth
This is one of the best ways of getting your podcast promoted. Once users are impressed by what they listened to, they will tell their peers, friends, and family to give it a hearing. And then it spreads like wildfire. And all of this, without you putting in effort for promotion.
Wait, but how do you know if your distribution is working?
Podcasts are offline, which makes it difficult for creators to track who’s listening to your content. We recently had a podcast with Rob Walch for Libsyn and he stressed these 3 KPIs that a publisher should track-
1. Core Audience
This might appear textbook 101, but here’s what you definitely have access to -
- How many users downloaded your content
- How a specific episode has been downloaded over a period of time - especially within 30 days of release?
Which platform is driving most downloads? Check this episode versus one, five episodes back and check it is going up, down, or staying flat. You don't need the absolute number. Depending on what your podcast is about, 500 listeners may be really successful.
2. Percentage of aggregator apps versus browsers
Aggregator apps are a more important audience than browser audiences. If you want a heavy marketing push, you should expect some browser numbers to go up, but after you do the marketing push, check if the aggregator numbers go up. Check if listeners like it? Did they stick around?
3. Check the result
When people download the podcast it is safe to assume that they have the intent to listen.
One can go into Apple podcasts and look at the trends and see what percentage are listening, how far though, and you see where they're dropping in and out. You can see that in Spotify and you can see that in Google podcasts as well. Those are three places as, as a podcast, or you can go and check.
When you look at where people are dropping off, don't look at the number that is listening in those services, since it isn’t accurate. They don't report everything, but it does tell you where people listen all the way through and where they drop out. Once people have gone through the episode, check if they like it? Did they stick around? Does your audience find your content compelling?
Good to know
Recently I bumped into an article that spoke about different ways businesses can engage social audios. Here are some points that stood out-
Conduct a network analysis
Look at your connections and network maps to fish out influencers, followers, and the different patterns they interact with. Note down the topics they are interested in and go from there.
Review transcripts, timestamps and predict the next big thing. See what everyone is talking about. How can you contribute to the conversation, what new you can bring to the table?
Start with focus groups
This is one of the best ways to quickly get insights into what users actually look forward to when it comes to the audio medium. They could even validate the questions that you have planned to ask in the podcast. You could even go ahead and craft questions that users are really looking to hear answers to.
Get episodes translated
If you have an audience across the globe, you might want to take this into consideration. Your content is valuable and you do not want your audience to miss out on it. Have an inclusive plan and make sure you are available in different languages.