Once considered obsolete, podcasts have made a strong comeback. Thanks to the relatively low cost of entry, there were over 800,000 active podcasts and 62 million listeners in the USA alone.
In 2019, close to 200,000 new podcasts were launched.
The market for podcasts is very diverse. Parenting, cars, sports, politics — you name it, there’s a podcast for it. You can even learn how to cite a website in the Chicago Manual of Style podcast!
There’s a lot of room for growth in podcasting, but there’s also the risk of being irrelevant. How do you ensure that people are listening to you? We’ve come up with seven sure-fire ways to get people to tune in and stay hooked.
That way, your podcast will stay ahead of the competition and thrive.
Release at Least Two Episodes When You Launch
Do you often get frustrated when you discover a great new podcast, then find that it doesn’t have any other episodes? You’re not alone in your frustration.
In fact, some podcasts get negative reviews from people who were upset about only getting to listen to a single episode. Positive reviews are a tremendous asset to any podcast. Receiving net-negative reviews right at the outset could stop your podcast from getting off the ground.
Many successful podcasters record and release at least two or three episodes at first. This strategy serves two practical purposes.
The first has to do with psychology. When you get to encounter something that appeals to you, you will want to know more about it. When you feel you are not getting enough information, you develop a measure of resentment towards the source of that satisfaction.
You don’t want your listeners to be upset with you right away!
The second is related to rankings. Podcast Hosting sites put a lot of weight on time spent listening to podcasts. If you only have a thirty-minute episode when you launch, you’ll lose out to those that are two or three times longer.
Remember, the longer people listen to you, the higher you go up in the suggestions. It’s no coincidence that Joe Rogan releases ridiculous 5-hour episodes.
When you launch a podcast, the rule of thumb is: The first episode draws in the audience. The second and third episodes get them hooked.
Promote Your Podcast on Social Media
Podcasts don’t exist in a vacuum. While word of mouth is good exposure, it’d be such a waste if you didn’t promote your podcast on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
There are many ways to promote your podcasts on these platforms.
Obviously, this starts with creating a Facebook page or Twitter account. Then you can post a teaser before your big launch. When the first few episodes go live, share an update right away. Mention the guests, if there are any, and tag them and the host.
This allows their followers to see the update too, and you can grow your audience by inviting them to like your page.
If you have the budget, you can also use social media ads to grow your initial audience.
You can also create 15-second soundbites that feature some of the main points of the podcast, upload them to Soundcloud, then share an embedded link on Twitter. Soundcloud is widely considered one of the best podcast hosting.
Twitter users can play Soundcloud audio directly from their timelines, so making shareable snippets is a breeze.
PodBean is another great podcast hosting site. You can set it up so that it will share your new episodes to your social media accounts as soon as they are published. This Podbean review will give you a better idea of what to expect from the service.
After you launch your podcast, keep on promoting it. Reshare the first few episodes multiple times. Then release a teaser of the next episode at least a day before you publish it. The more hype you build for your podcast, the more listeners you’ll get.
Convert the Audio Into a Youtube Video
Not everyone has Spotify or iTunes on their phones. However, most people have YouTube. Podcasting lends itself very well to YouTube, especially its playlist feature. You can also post videos of interviews with guests, behind the scenes clips, or teasers.
If you don’t have actual videos of yourself recording the podcast, publishing it on YouTube with your podcast logo and some stock video in the background is a smart move.
Google shows videos at the very top of the search rankings, so this makes organic audience growth easily achievable.
If your podcast episodes include interviews with special guests, uploading the video to YouTube and titling it “Interview with [Guest]” will bring you some excellent results. Doubly so if your guest is someone well-known.
In fact, just the name of the guest alone could bring you a lot of views and listens. For example, Joe Rogan’s interview with Elon Musk has close to 30 million views and helped to grow his audience massively.
Another reason you should publish on YouTube is the platform’s closed captioning and transcription feature. This is particularly convenient for those who have difficulty with their hearing.
Transcribe the Audio
Since we’re already on the topic of transcription, it should be mentioned that transcripts are a powerful tool for promoting your podcast. Many successful podcasts feature full transcripts for the hearing-impaired.
Others feature highlights of the episode in their social media accounts and blogs.
Ready-made transcripts are easier to quote, especially if you want to gain traction for your podcast on websites or news items. They are also great for
Podcast transcription doesn’t have to be expensive. Some transcription services, like Rev.com, can do it for as low as $1 per minute. If you can’t afford the full transcription, partial transcripts are good enough for social media purposes.
Give Away Free Prizes
What’s better than awesome content? The same awesome content, plus free stuff! The possibility of getting prizes and discounts through your podcast is enough reason for listeners to tune in to your podcast again and again.
Many podcasts ask listeners to leave a review on iTunes for a chance of winning giveaways. This strategy will not just get you more listeners. It will also give you more reviews that will boost your iTunes rankings.
If you have enough money to create your own merch, you may offer t-shirts, stickers, or discount vouchers. If you have a healthy audience already, you can also partner with other brands.
If you’re operating on a shoestring budget, you may give the winner a shoutout during the episode or have them appear as a guest. Sometimes, the exposure is more than enough of a prize for your listeners.
How do you promote the contest? You could mention it during the show, promote it on your social media pages, or both. Build anticipation by doing a countdown to the start and end of the contest.
Just remember to continually emphasize that listeners should leave a review on iTunes to enter the promo.
Once the contest is over, you can announce the winners on your podcast and on your social media pages. Nothing will thrill your listeners more than hearing or reading their names. If you tag them, you’ll also appear in their friends’ newsfeeds.
Host Guests and Appear on Other Podcasts
One of the best ways to gain an audience is to feature someone well-known in your niche. Having guests establishes your credibility as someone who can produce a high-quality podcast.
It also exposes your podcast to the guest’s audience.
The podcast community is pretty tightly-knit, and veteran podcasters are often eager to lend a hand to those who are just starting out. So don’t be afraid to ask an experienced podcaster to appear on your show!
In the same way, appearing as a guest on other podcasts is another great way of promoting your own. Choosing your guest appearances well, and limiting them to your niche will help you reach your target audience.
You can cross over to different podcasts once you’ve established yourself within your niche.
As you make guest appearances on podcasts, you’ll encounter possible guests for your own show too, whether they are on the same episode or just mentioned in passing. Even a simple shoutout on Twitter could lead to a guest appearance.
To get the most out of guest appearances, send them your show notes and a link to the episode.
Transcripts can also be very useful if you want your guests to share your episode with their audience. The critical thing to remember here is that you are collaborating with your guests. You should make it easy for them to collaborate with you.
Submit to Aggregators and Podcatchers
Now that you have a podcast, it’s time to make sure it’s heard.
The most popular way to listen to podcasts is the Apple Podcast app, which comes pre-installed on all iOS devices. As of April 2018, users have made over 50 billion downloads using the app. That number will only go up in 2020.
On the other hand, Spotify is also investing heavily in podcasts as it predicts podcast listeners will help shore up its Spotify Premium business. In fact, they have already purchased at least three major podcast publishers.
With their recent acquisition of The Ringer and its thirty titles, its sports podcast portfolio has expanded even further.
Even with all of the recent acquisitions made by Spotify, there is still room for independently produced podcasts.
Outside of Spotify, there are other podcast aggregators and podcatchers that you could check out, including TuneIn, Podcast Republic, and the Podcast subreddit (r/podcasts). Just choose whichever feels like a good fit.
Nico is a SaaS consultant and the founder of Launch Space. He helps companies develop their digital marketing strategies. He’s worked with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to startups helping them develop content marketing strategies that align with their business goals. Follow him on Twitter @nhdprins
recording studio -DepositPhotos