9 top tips for getting your podcast heard

Back of man's head, with the man wearing over-ear headphones

So, you’ve recorded a kick-ass podcast.

The first few episodes are finished, and they sound even better than you hoped they would.

But though that may have seemed like a lot of work, that was just the beginning.

Now you need to make sure that people find out about your podcast; get interested in it; and of course, listen to it.

And then, you need to work out the ways to turn one-off listeners into die-hard subscribers.

One of the biggest mistakes that brands, business and individuals make when they launch a podcast, is not doing enough to promote it – and without promotion, your podcast, however great, is not going to get heard.

Here, we’ve pulled together 9 top tips for getting more listeners for your brand-spanking new podcast:

1. Make sure your podcast is on Apple – but don’t forget the rest

People listen to podcasts using a variety of different apps (sometimes known as podcatchers).

By far the most popular podcatcher is the Apple Podcasts app, which currently accounts for 70% of podcast listening. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that your podcast needs to be available via Apple in order to have the very best chance of being heard.

But whilst Apple may be the biggest player, don’t forget the others. From Stitcher to Spotify to Google’s new Android app, Google Podcasts; the more places your podcast is discoverable, the more likely it is to get a listen.

2. Launch with more than one episode

Let’s imagine that your dream listener / customer finds the first episode of your podcast, loves it, and immediately wants to listen to more.

But you only launched with the first one. There are no more (yet).

Believe it or not, podcasts sometimes receive negative reviews and low ratings on the Apple Podcasts app for exactly this reason; there just aren’t enough episodes available.

But it’s not all about reviews. In all honesty, your very first podcast may also be a bit of a warm up; it’s likely that by your second and third episodes you’ll have found more of a groove, be a bit more relaxed. Lots of people ‘binge-listen’ to podcasts, so if you give listeners a few episodes to get to know yours, you’ve got a better chance of getting them hooked.

3. Try to get an initial flurry of feedback

We’ve already highlighted that by not having enough episodes available to stream you may attract some negative reviews; but how do you secure positive reviews? And what difference do they really make?

The fact is, positive reviews and a flurry of listeners clicking ‘subscribe’ soon after your podcast goes live can be enough to send you shooting up the rankings in some of the iTunes (Apple) podcast charts.

The ‘new and noteworthy’ spot in the Apple podcasts app is the most coveted, and you have eight weeks from when your podcast launches to get there. The first two weeks of these are especially crucial, so ask explicitly at the end of your podcast for listeners to rate, subscribe and share your content with all and sundry.

4. Get busy on social media

Chances are that your business or brand has a Facebook page, a Twitter account and/or a LinkedIn page. Maybe you have an email newsletter database, too.

Wherever you already have a captive audience, let them know about your new podcast. Schedule a one-off newsletter to announce it (and continue these for subsequent new episodes); create images of quotes using free apps like Canva for social media, audiograms on the rather marvellous Headliner app, or share  Soundcloud links to your podcast on Twitter where they are playable in-stream. And make sure you share links to the podcast in your social posts to make it easy for people to find it and start listening. Prioritise Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify in your links. Twitter’s thread mechanism is super helpful for this – if you run out of space, just keep pressing the + button!

Don’t be afraid to keep talking about your podcast on social media – the average lifetime of a tweet is just 24 minutes, so don’t hold back!

5. Got any guests? Use their audience

If you often speak to different guests on different episodes of your podcast, why not try tapping into their audience by asking them to share links on their own social media channels?

Tag them in mentions of your podcast episode and share images and soundbites that will attract their existing followers and tempt them into listening and hopefully, tuning into your other podcast episodes, too. 

6. Don’t forget the text

Be sure to create podcast notes, sometimes known as shownotes, to summarise the content of your episode. These would normally sit on your  website as a blog post or news article, although they could (if they are pithy enough) be included in your podcast episode description.

Why is this important? Well, search engines don’t have ears yet, but they can see – and index – the text which you include in your notes. These descriptions will also be pulled in by third party apps via your RSS feed.

Here you can also link to websites, guests social media accounts and events that you’ve mentioned in the episode, and any other information which might be helpful for our listeners.

7. Think about advertising

Depending on the budget for your podcast promotion campaign, you may want to invest in some advertising.

Social media advertising is cost-effective and can target people specifically by interest and location, meaning you’re even more likely to reach the right people with information about your exciting new podcast that they’re bound to love.

Alternatively, you could look at placing adverts in your local or trade media; or you could try giving out flyers or putting up posters at an event you’re attending where the audience is likely to be interested in the subject your podcast covers. Yep, the traditional stuff still works.

8. Consider any PR opportunities

Is your podcast newsworthy? Are you covering a topic that hasn’t been touched on before? Or doing it in a new or radical way? Maybe you’re speaking with people that the media already has an interest in (e.g. sports personalities, politicians, celebrities)?

If so, you may be able to generate some media interest in your podcast. It may be worth speaking to your local or trade media contacts or speaking to a PR agency or consultant who can give you some ideas on how to get your podcast mentioned in the press. It’s often far more cost effective to get your story into the media in this way, than with paid-for adverts.

It is also worth searching for related interest groups / forums where your target audience is gathered, and letting them know about your podcast. For example, if you’re releasing a gaming podcast, find the forums, fan groups and online communities where gamers talk, and start joining their conversations. But remember, don’t spam them. Share your knowledge and build trust rather than just sell them your wares.

9. Guest on other podcasts

This may seem like an unusual tip, but lots of podcasters need a regular stream of interesting guests to appear on their shows.

If you would be happy to appear on someone else’s podcast, have a look for opportunities to talk about subjects that you can link back to your own podcast. For instance, if your podcast is about cooking and you are based in Manchester, is there a local Manchester podcast you could guest on where you could talk about your experience of the city, but also mention your own cookery podcast?

Most hosts will be fine with you getting a mention for your own podcast in return for appearing on theirs, and you’ll be reaching an audience that is already engaged in listening to podcasts, meaning they’re far more likely to be receptive to giving yours a try.

Love to start a podcast but no idea where to begin? Drop us a line – we can help!.

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