I’ve been thinking recently about how we, as podcasters, do marketing and how we could do it better.
A lot of podcast marketing advice I see revolves around online marketing. After all, online is where podcasting is itself.
We’re told to create audiograms, write long form blogs and short form social media posts and Twitter threads. Being visible on social media, talking to the people you want to listen to your show is another popular suggestion.
This is all good advice but I think a lot of podcasters forget about the more traditional forms of marketing. And they’re missing out.
Look at the way movies are advertised. Their stars go on talk shows, do a full day of press interviews in a hotel room and appear on the red carpet at the premiere. Posters are added to billboards, bus stops and the walls outside cinemas. Trailers are played during advert breaks on TV and radio and before other movies in theatres. Critics are invited to advanced screenings and write reviews that appear in newspapers and magazines. And then there’s the adverts that fill the pages of print and online media.
Podcasters only use a fraction of the marketing ideas above. We seem to concentrate on being online, spending hours on social media, engaging with potential listeners. But what are we doing to advertise our podcasts in the real world?
The wonderful Arielle Nissenblatt has lots of great suggestions, including contacting newsletter curators and print media journalists and reviewers to pitch your podcast to them. Going on other podcasts that are relevant to your niche is great too. Seriously, if you’re not keeping up with Arielle, you should be.
I want to expand on Arielle’s advice and make some other suggestions. So here are 5 things that you probably aren’t doing to advertise your podcast, but definitely should.
Pitch to other creators
No matter what your podcast is about, there will be a magazine, website, community or newspaper that will also cover your topic. Just like you, they will constantly be looking for things to talk about and for new content.
Offer yourself up to be interviewed about a relevant subject and the impact that you’re trying to have with your podcast.
You could go a step further and pitch to write a regular column for them, in return for a plug for the podcast. There’s also the potential that they might do something for you (appear on your podcast, write a guest blog etc).
This could provide you with exposure to a new set of potential listeners whilst strengthening your position as an expert on your subject.
Go on other shows
I’ve used the word shows instead of podcasts because I don’t think you should limit yourself to just them.
For my football podcast, It’s All Cobblers To Me, I regularly appear on a local BBC Radio station programme called The Cobblers Show. It has a similar target audience to my podcast and due to being a more traditional medium, I’m likely to reach people who don’t know about it.
I also make myself available to do things for content creators who cover other football clubs. I quite often appear on podcasts that are aimed at fans of our upcoming opposition. And I write answers for match previews by bloggers and guest on YouTube channels as well.
The one thing I always make sure I do when making these guest appearances is to plug my podcast at the start and end. Think about how actors are introduced as “the star of the new James Bond movie” and the interview ends with another plug for the film and when it is available to watch.
Pitch to critics
You’ll be surprised but reviewers are crying out for new podcasts to write about. Fiona Sturges is a writer for The Guardian and is regularly asking for podcasters who are releasing new shows or seasons to get in touch with her. Your local newspaper will also have space dedicated to reviewing TV shows and movies, so why not ask them to review your podcast.
And don’t forget the plethora of podcasting newsletters that you could ask to appear in. Here’s a few of my favourites:
Make a poster
Just like the movies, design a poster for your podcast.
Make it big and bold and make sure to make your messaging clear. You want everyone who comes across it to know what it’s advertising straight away. Think of a billboard on the side of a road. You only have a couple of seconds to see what it’s about as you drive past in the car. The last thing you want is for people to see your poster but miss what it’s promoting because they don’t have time to take it all in.
Include any reviews you’ve received and add a call to action in a prominent position.
A great thing to have on it would be a QR code. This will give people a way of finding your podcast there and then. No typing in the search bar, just point the camera on your phone at the image and click the link. I’d recommend pointing the QR code to a single promotional link like this one or a page on your website that has links to all the different podcast apps. You can create a QR code for free here, or have someone design you one.
Once you’ve created your poster, put it up in places where your potential listener will see it.
And that leads me on to my last suggestion…
Pay for advertising
I know that you’re probably not wanting to spend a lot of money on your podcast. Especially if it’s not bringing you any money in yet, but hear me out with this one.
Paying to have an advert appear in a magazine, newspaper or on a website isn’t as big of a deal as you think it is. Think about all the ads you see on a daily basis. It’s a lot, right? I bet a lot of them are by small, local businesses – especially the ones you see in your local newspaper.
While you might not be getting paid by anyone to make your podcast (yet!) Having a larger audience will make it more likely that someone will in the future.
Often the pricing will be staggered – taking into consideration the size of the ad, where it will appear and how long it will run for. This gives you an element of control over the cost. The key thing is to do your research and only put your ad in places where your intended audience will see it. There’s no point in placing an advert for beer in a children’s magazine. It would be far better to put it in a newspaper where adults will see it.
My advice would be to only place one ad at a time. This will allow you to see whether it’s working more easily. If you’ve got ads appearing in multiple places at the same time, you might not know which one has driven people to listen to the podcast. Online ads might be better for doing this as you can include a clickable link which you can track. But remember that QR code? You could include it in your print media ad to achieve the same affect.
So there’s 5 things you could do to advertise your podcast. If you’ve got anymore ideas, I’d love to hear them. Just leave a comment below.