You are having trouble growing the audience of your podcast and you don’t want to rely on expensive paid ads? Then this guide on how to promote your podcast on a budget by leveraging social media, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Podcast Visibility Optimization (PVO) is for you.
Podcast – a booming industry
Screen time is no longer a treat now. According to DataReportal, people spend an average time of 7 hours on digital devices each day. With screen fatigue becoming prevalent, audio content is on a rise. Currently, 68% of Americans aged 12 years or more are listening to online audio. The podcast industry has seen rapid growth in the past years and is continuing to expand at an incredible pace.
And with the audience, come advertisers willing to connect with this audience. According to the International Advertising Bureau – the organization defining the advertising standards – podcast ad revenues in the United States were $842 million in 2020 and are expected to exceed $1 billion in 2021 and reach $2 billion in 2023.
With more than 2 million shows out there, making your podcast stand out from the crowd and attracting the right audience is a must.
Why promote your podcast?
Creating amazing content is just half the work to a successful podcast: great promotion is just as important as great content. You don’t want to spend countless hours inviting guests to your show, recording and editing to end up having 20 listeners, with half of them being close friends or family members.
Regardless of the goals of your podcast (generate leads for your business, monetization…etc.), you will need a listener base. The larger, the better. To get there, you would need to promote your podcast. Period.
How to promote your podcast?
For most podcasters, promoting their show feels like an expensive thing and time-consuming endeavor. In this article, we will go through some low-budget, high ROI promotion techniques that any podcaster should apply.
1. Promote your podcast on social media
According to The Social Co, there are over 3.7 billion active social media users worldwide, and millennials spend over 2 hours and 30 minutes on social media per day. You want to be where your audience is, so social media is a must. Furthermore, our own data shows that social media is one of the main discovery channels for listeners and being active on social media is (mostly) free.
Repurpose your podcast’s content
First thing you need to do before promoting your show on social media: repurpose the content into various formats – trailer, transcripts, images, videos, clips, mashups, etc. This is the material that you will be sharing on the different platforms. Make it as easy as possible for users to share and repost.
Here are some ideas to increase your exposure in several channels:
– For every episode, share a post with the link and a short clip as a trailer. It would work as a preview for the full episode, so the audience can quickly identify the content and topic of interest, then bookmark the episode for later.
– Record a video alongside the audio. Create a YouTube channel for your podcast, get more exposure when people are searching for videos on a certain search term.
– Use different formats for different content. For an instruction episode (How to…), repurpose it into a tutorial, a video or a blog article. An informative and explanatory episode could be the basis of an infographic, for example.
Craft your content based on the platform
To maximize the impact of your social media efforts, you can not just copy and paste the same content across several platforms. It is important to get familiar with the nuances of different platforms, build content based on each platform’s personality, and attract diversified user groups accordingly.
Remember the Dolly Parton challenge? People were presenting themselves with different images on different social media platforms. In general, LinkedIn is where you show up as a professional, build networks and seek partnerships; Facebook and Instagram could be good for company branding, where you interact with your audience in a more down-to-earth manner. You don’t post Tik-Tok challenge clips on LinkedIn or Facebook articles on Instagram.
Engage with your community
Regardless of the topic of your show, you are addressing a specific audience. And that audience probably meets somewhere online or offline to exchange on common topics of interest. You need to find that place, be it a Facebook group, a community meetup, and join the audience.
Alternatively, you could build the community by doing direct outreach. This is common on LinkedIn – for business topics – or Quora – for more educational topics.
Once you have joined the community, start engaging with its members: proactively interact with them, build up relationships and start adding value by offering help and solutions, exchanging ideas and thoughts, etc.
Outsmart the platform algorithm
Each platform has a different algorithm for accounts, posts, recommendations, but some general rules do apply to all.
The algorithm works like a snowball and favors content with high engagement – the more engagement you get, the more likely you would be recommended by the platform, leading to even more engagement. Encourage your followers to like or comment by using call-to-action captions or Q&A-based posts to leverage the algorithm. It’s best to get as much engagement as you can in the shortest amount of time after posting so that it gets recommended faster and let the snowball begin to roll.
2. Promote your podcast with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO increases organic (i.e., non-paid) traffic to your website. Though social media marketing has been booming in recent years, SEO brings long-term benefits that you can not afford to neglect. SEO should be a pillar of your podcast promotion strategy.
Google is, for many, the entry point to their online journeys. The same applies to podcasts: some users will start googling for podcast content before being redirected to the listening platform of their choice. So, being found on Google for your podcast is paramount, and even more since Google started indexing podcasts.
Here are some tips on how to leverage SEO for your podcast.
Create a website for your podcast
Certainly, you don’t need a website to start or publish your podcast show; only a hosting provider will do. Still, creating a website is the first step to improve your SEO. You can own the data when you set up the website.
Google automatically transcribes your podcast to index it when you decide to publish it on Google podcast. However, to optimize your rankings and your visibility, you should also have your own “text” version of your show. Their search engine will like you for it.
Provide a transcript of your podcast
For every new episode, you can provide a brief summary in the form of bullet points to inform the audience what they can find in the episode; use metadata (episode name, descriptions, etc.) that follow basic SEO rules; and then repurpose it into a transcript.
Repurposing your podcast makes it easier when promoting it on social media and helps with your SEO.
A transcript is a complete, word-to-word account of the episode. There are a lot of tools you can use to capture and write down every word you say. With some simple modifications, an accurate full-version transcript could be made.
It’s a simple yet highly efficient way for both the audience and Google to digest the episode in more detail – the content structure, key topic, keywords, etc.
Embed a podcast player on episode pages
On each episode page of your podcast, embed a player so that people could start listening to your audio content without having to leave your website. Most hosting providers have widgets that you could easily embed on your website.
3. Distribute your podcast on all platforms
If you’re having a hard time deciding which platform you should choose, don’t hesitate and go for all of them.
Of course, distributing on more platforms doesn’t mean you get more listeners automatically, but you can at least reach most of the potential audience, creating the fundamental for them to find your podcast.
Although Spotify and Apple Podcasts are the two major podcast listening platforms, plenty of them are available, with some smaller ones enjoying dominant positions in specific countries or niches. The more platform you distribute your content to, the higher the chance your podcast will be discovered and listened to.
On top of the pure podcast platforms, don’t forget to upload your show on Youtube. As surprising as it might sound at first, quite some people listen to podcasts on Youtube.
4. Promote your podcast with Podcast Visibility Optimization (PVO)
What is PVO?
Suggested by its name, PVO improves the visibility of your podcast within the podcast listening platforms (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Deezer, etc.) so that when people search for a certain keyword, the podcast comes up as the top result on their search engines.
With PVO, you can get a virtuous cycle of growth, or a flywheel effect – once your podcast is more visible, you will get more listens and downloads, therefore increased followers and reviews… resulting in a further improved visibility.
Why is PVO important?
40% of users discover new podcasts by searching for content directly within the listening platform. Searches are either for the content or name of the show as well as the host or guest names.
With a well-executed PVO strategy, your podcast will rank higher on search queries for certain keywords. More listeners will discover the show, therefore drive the listens and downloads. Just like it’s better for a website to be in the top 3 positions within Google, it’s better for a podcast to be among the very few first results in the podcast listening apps. Listeners typically don’t have the patience to scroll down several times.
A common misconception is that PVO is expensive (it’s not!) and complicated (it’s not!). It simply requires some commitment.
How do you do PVO?
To improve your visibility, you need to start measuring it.
That’s why we created Voxalyze. We provide you with all the keywords your podcast ranks for, the details of the rankings, and a search volume estimation.
You can also access the evaluation of your rating over time, which is a great proxy to track listeners’ feedback.
Voxalyze also allows users to check which shows are ranking for a given search query and this across several countries and platforms when you need to do some benchmarking.
As for the process and tips on getting started with Podcast Visibility Optimization, the best is to head over directly to our knowledge section, where you will find many articles to guide you.
While the impact of PVO could vary from a podcast to another, we typically see an audience growth of more than 20% within a few months after starting to optimize a podcast’s visibility.