Podcast Marketing – How to Start a Podcast and Grow Your Podcast Audience

by Max
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Podcast Marketing - How to Start a Podcast and Grow Your Podcast Audience

Podcast marketing can be a bit of a mystery, but it doesn’t have to be. While having a podcast may not always be the go-to marketing tool, research shows that 60% of podcast listeners have purchased after hearing an advertisement on a podcast – which is not to be ignored.

The podcasting industry is snowballing – and for a good reason. For businesses, podcast marketing can also be an extremely effective way to connect with your customers. As of June 2022, there are over 2.4 million podcasts, totaling over 66 million episodes collectively. While that may seem rather statured, compared to the 100 million podcast listeners (in the U.S. alone), there are still plenty of opportunities to get in on the action!

But how do you create a podcast that people will want to listen to – and more importantly, how do you effectively grow your podcast audience?

Why Is Podcast Marketing Important?

Without podcast marketing, how will your podcast be discovered? To have a successful podcast, you need to market your podcast effectively. Getting your content in front of the right people is essential to growing your podcast audience. After all, you can have the best podcast in the world, but if no one knows it exists, your business won’t benefit from it.

So, let’s look at some reasons why podcast marketing is important.

Reach a Global Audience

A podcast can be listened to by anyone, anywhere in the world (provided they have an internet connection). By putting your brand out there via podcast marketing, you’re opening up your business to a new audience you may not previously have had access to.

Increased Brand Awareness

When people listen to your podcast, they will become more familiar with your brand. The more branded content they consume, the more likely they will remember your business when they need a product or service you offer.

Improved SEO

Having a podcast can improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). Optimizing your podcast episodes with keywords can help your website appear higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).

In turn, this can attract more organic traffic to your site. When growing a podcast audience, SEO should be a key focus; we will cover this in depth later in the article.

Generate Leads and Sales

Podcast marketing aims to get new listeners to tune in to your podcast. But once you’ve hooked them, what’s next? How can you turn these listeners into paying customers?

Include a Call-to-Action (CTA)

A CTA is a short and direct message that encourages your listeners to take a specific action. CTA’s can be anything from visiting your website to subscribing to your email list.

Including a CTA at the end of each podcast episode can encourage your listeners to take the next step in their customer journey.

Offer Exclusive Deals and Discounts

Another way to generate leads and sales from your podcast is to offer exclusive deals and discounts to podcast listeners. These deals could range from 10% off their first purchase to a free month’s subscription.

By giving your podcast audience access to exclusive discounts, you’re more likely to convert them into paying customers.

How Do You Start a Podcast?

Now we’ve covered some benefits of podcast marketing, let’s look at how to start a podcast. Starting a podcast doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. In fact, with the right tools and planning, you can launch your podcast in just a few steps, which we have broken down for you here.

5 steps to start a podcast successfully

Step 1: Make a Plan

Without a plan, your podcast will likely lack direction, which can be off-putting for potential listeners. So, before you start recording, take some time to sit down and plan out your podcast. If your podcast is to market an existing business, chances are you probably have ideas of what you want to cover.

But if you’re starting a podcast from scratch, here are some things to consider.

Focus On Your Purpose

Are you looking to educate, entertain, or both? Knowing the purpose of your podcast will help you determine the type of content you need to produce. It is important to note that just because you plan to use podcast marketing to promote your business doesn’t mean your podcast has to be solely about your brand.

Choose a Niche

Focusing on a specific niche allows you to target your dream customers directly. It also makes producing content and marketing your podcast to your target audience easier. Of course, you want your podcast to aline with your business, so ideally, the podcast niche you choose should complement your business.

For example, a podcast about sustainable living would be a good fit if you run an e-commerce store that sells eco-friendly home goods. You can get creative with each topic you cover, but knowing the niche you want to focus on will help keep your podcast consistent and on-brand.

Define Your Target Audience

Who are you trying to reach with your podcast? Once you know your target audience, you can start to produce content that appeals directly to them. When defining your target audience, the more specific you can get, the better.

Set Some Goals

As with any marketing campaign, setting some goals for your podcast is important. Doing so will help you measure your success and determine whether or not your podcast is achieving its intended purpose.

Some common podcasting goals include:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Generating leads and sales
  • Growing an email list
  • Improving website traffic

Check Out Your Competitors

Before launching your podcast, it’s a good idea to check out your competitors’ actions. Doing this will give you a better understanding of the landscape and help you determine how to position your podcast. Even if your chosen niche is relatively small, chances are there are already a few podcasts out there covering similar topics.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t launch your podcast. In fact, competition can be a good thing. It shows there is an audience for the type of content you want to produce. But it is essential to know what other podcasts in your niche are doing so you can make yours stand out.

Some things to consider when checking out your competition include the following:

  • Podcast Format
  • Intended audience
  • Podcast length
  • Frequency of release
  • Topics they cover
  • Guests they interview

Step 2: Name Your Podcast

You’ll want to make sure your podcast name is easily relatable to your business. While you don’t have to include the name of your business in the podcast title, it should be something that will make sense to your listeners. A memorable podcast name is more likely to stick in people’s minds, which can help you attract new listeners.

That said, you don’t want to choose a name so obscure that no one knows what your podcast is about. Try to strike a balance between something catchy and something that accurately represents the content of your podcast (and your business)

If you’re having trouble coming up with a name for your podcast, try brainstorming a few keywords related to your podcast’s topics or niche. You can also try using a podcast name-generator tool for some inspiration.

Step 3: Determine the Format

Now that you have a plan, it’s time to start putting your podcast together. While podcasting may seem like a simple medium on the outside, you need to put the work in to create a quality podcast.

You need to decide what format your podcast will take, how often you will release new episodes, and more.

Step 4: Decide on a Structure

There are a few different ways you can structure your podcast, and the format you choose will likely depend on the type of content you want to produce.

Some common podcast formats include:

  • Solo podcast: A podcast hosted by one person. A solo podcast is a good option if you plan to share your own stories and experiences or provide expert commentary on a particular topic. You could also use a voice-over artist for your solo podcast if needed.
  • Co-hosted podcast: A podcast hosted by two people. A co-hosted podcast is ideal for adding more dynamics to your podcast or covering a wide range of topics.
  • Interview podcast: A podcast where the host interviews guests. The perfect choice f you want to bring in experts from different fields or share inspiring stories.
  • Roundtable podcast: A podcast where multiple hosts discuss a topic. A roundtable podcast allows you to add more voices to your podcast.
  • Storytelling podcast: Whether fiction or nonfiction, a storytelling podcast can be perfect for building rapport with your audience.
  • Branded podcast: A podcast owned by a business or brand. It is often named after, or related to, a specific company.

Consider Episode Length

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to podcast length. Some episodes can be as short as 10 minutes, while others may run for an hour or more – it all depends on the content your target audience engages with best.

In general, shorter episodes are easier for listeners to consume and are more likely to hold their attention. That said, longer episodes can be beneficial if you want to cover a topic in-depth or have an extended conversation with a guest.

Think About Frequency

How often you release new episodes often depends on the type of podcast you’re producing. For example, if your podcast is a daily news show, then you’ll release new episodes every day. Or, if you are creating an interview-based show, you might upload them weekly.

Make a Podcast Schedule

If you love structure and planning, making a podcast schedule is a great way to stay on track. Schedules will help you map out what topics you want to cover and when you want to release new episodes. A plan will also make booking guests more manageable and help when promoting your podcast in advance.

Step 5: Get Creating

You want to ensure you create high-quality content that engages and entertains your audience. Every podcast requires a different level of effort, but the fundamentals stay the same.

Acquire a Microphone

One of the best things about starting a podcast is the low barrier to entry. All you need is a microphone and some recording software. You will need to consider your podcast format when choosing a microphone. If you’re going to do in-person interviews, you’ll need to ensure your microphone can pick up multiple people talking at once.

While you can use the built-in microphone on your computer or laptop, we highly recommend using an external microphone. A good microphone will ensure top-notch audio quality and help avoid sound issues.

Find a Quiet Recording of Space

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to listen to a podcast with interfering background noise. To avoid this, you’ll want to ensure you’re recording in a quiet space. This will help reduce unwanted sounds and ensure listeners can hear every word.

Investing in a pop filter can also help reduce background noise and improve audio quality. You should also experiment with how close you should sit to the microphone.

Start Editing Your Podcast

Once you have recorded your podcast, it’s time to start editing. Post-production is where you’ll add any intro music, sound effects, or other audio clips. You’ll also want to remove any dead air or mistakes made during the recording.

If you’re new to podcast editing, several software options are available to help you get started. Audacity or GarageBand are some popular free options, but there are also paid alternatives like Adobe Audition and Hindenburg Journalist.

Design the Cover Art

Your podcast cover art is what will show up while people scroll through podcast directories like iTunes or Stitcher. It’s essential to make sure your cover art is high quality and attention-grabbing – it is often the first thing potential listeners will see, so you want to make sure it makes a good impression.

Make sure your podcast artwork aligns with your business branding and is easily recognizable. You’ll also want it to look good in small sizes; people will often listen to podcasts on a mobile device.

Create Engaging Content

The truth is, no matter how solid your podcast foundations are, if your content isn’t engaging, people won’t listen. When podcast marketing, remember to refer back to your chosen topics with your audience in mind. You’ll also want to ensure you have a strong hook for each episode that will pique listeners’ curiosity and keep them coming back for more.

One way to make your podcast more engaging is to add segments or format changes. This could be anything from a quick-fire round to a mini-feature. Mixing up the content will not only help keep people engaged, but it will also make your podcast more memorable.

Develop a Script

If you are creating a more story-based podcast, you may want to consider developing a script. Scripts or outlines will help you stay on track and cover all the topics you want. It can also ensure your podcast stays at a consistent length.

Of course, if you are recording a conversation or doing an interview, you won’t be able to stick to a script rigidly. In this case, having more of a loose outline can assist in keeping the conversation flowing.

Add Music

No, not all podcasts need music! But think about it – music is powerful. For example, Hollywood blockbusters use music to score scenes and tug at our heartstrings. Why not use music in your podcast to set the tone, engage listeners, or add excitement?

When podcast marketing, consider what type of music would be most appropriate for your show. You’ll also want to make sure any tracks you use are royalty-free or created specifically for your show. Many podcast music libraries can help with this, like Epidemic Sound and Pond5.

Just be careful not to overdo it. Too much music can be distracting and take away from what you’re saying!

Interview Guests

One way to keep your content engaging and fresh is to interview guests on your podcast. Such as featuring an expert in your field or someone with an interesting story to tell!

It can be helpful to book guests with a solid social media following, especially when podcast marketing and trying to grow your audience. Doing this allows you to tap into their audience and help increase your podcast listenership.

How to Grow Your Podcast Audience

So you have your podcast planned out to perfection, and you’ve finally settled down to record an episode, but there’s just one problem – you have no listeners. Don’t worry; this is where your podcast marketing strategy comes in.

As with starting anything new, growing a podcast audience takes time, effort, and patience. But if you’re serious about growing the podcast audience, there are some things you can do.

Consider Using a Hosting Platform

A podcast host is a platform that stores your podcast audio files and makes them available for people to download or stream. Platforms like Podbean, Buzzsprout, and Transistor all offer hosting services and other features like website creation and podcast analytics.

Having a host makes submitting your podcast to directories easier than ever. Often you’re required to submit the podcast RSS feed, but your podcast host can do this for you.

Submit Your Podcast to Directories

Once you have a host, you’ll want to ensure your podcast is available on as many platforms as possible. Opening up the accessibility of your podcast allows you to reach the widest audience possible and grow your podcast audience.

The most popular podcast directories are Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts, but there are also several other great options, like Stitcher, Podchaser, and TuneIn. You should submit your podcast to every directory you see fit, but start with the big ones first!

Bulk Create Podcast Episodes

If you’re just starting, one way to help grow your podcast audience is to create a few episodes and release them together. Yes, you should stick to a consistent release schedule, but uploading a few episodes at once can help jumpstart your podcast growth.

When new listeners find your podcast, they’re more likely to stick around if multiple episodes are available. Bulk uploading also gives you a chance to show off the variety of content and topics you’ll cover in your podcast.

It can also be helpful to always have a buffer of 2-3 episodes. If life or business gets in the way and you miss a week (or two), you’ll still have new content to release.

Concentrate on SEO

SEO is the ultimate podcast marketing tool. There are many places you can optimize your podcast for SEO, from your podcast website to the description of each episode. Organic podcast traffic comes from people searching for topics related to your podcast on search engines like Google.

Launch a Website

A great way to help potential listeners find your podcast is to create a website or category on your existing site for it. Here you can develop keyword-rich descriptions of each episode, add show notes, and post transcripts. You can also use this space to run ads or promote any other products or services you offer.

You should also repurpose your podcast episode into SEO-optimised blog posts. Doing this lets you get more mileage out of your content and help potential listeners find your podcast through search engines.

Plus, when you embed your podcast episode onto your website, you can use player analytics to see how many people are listening to each episode directly from your site.

Optimize Your Titles and Descriptions

When uploading your podcast episodes to directories or your website, include keywords in the titles and descriptions. This will help potential listeners find your podcast when searching for topics related to your show.

You want to ensure that your titles and descriptions are clear and that potential listeners know what your podcast is about. Clarity, when paired with SEO keywords, is a podcast marketing powerhouse that will help you attract new listeners.

Get Involved in Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool to grow your podcast audience and increase listenership. Create a social media account for your podcast, ideally, on the platform your target audience uses most.

Some examples of podcast marketing on social media are:

  • Posting podcast episode teasers on Instagram Stories
  • Reposting your podcast on YouTube
  • Tweeting out a link to your latest podcast episode
  • Creating an infographic based on a recent episode
  • Sharing your podcast on social media groups related to your topic
  • Hosting live Q&A sessions

Connect With Your Audience

When growing a podcast audience, it’s important to remember the people who are already listening to you. Show your appreciation for their support by engaging with them on social media, in podcast reviews, and even through email.

Open up the line of communication and let your audience know that you’re listening to them (literally!). Ask for feedback on social media, in your podcast episodes, or even in your podcast descriptions. Use this feedback to improve your podcast and make it the best it can be!

Consider Running Ads

You can always run ads if you’re looking for a more direct way to grow your podcast audience. You can use platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads to target potential listeners with adverts for your podcast.

Your ad could include an outtake from your show or simply be a short description of what listeners can expect. Whatever you choose, make sure your ad is enticing so potential listeners will check out your podcast.

Engage With Other Podcasters

Connecting with other podcasters in your niche is an ideal way to grow your podcast audience. You can collaborate with other podcasters by guesting on their show or having them on as a guest on yours. Doing this can introduce your podcast to new listeners and give them a taste of what you have to offer.

You can also connect with other podcasters by attending podcast meetups and events or by joining podcasting Facebook groups. These are all great places to network with like-minded individuals.

Final Thoughts on How to Start a Podcast and Grow Your Podcast Audience

So there you have it; you now know how to start a podcast and have some tips to help grow your podcast audience. Podcast marketing doesn’t have to be complicated, and by following these simple tips, you’ll be able to attract new listeners and keep them coming back for more.

Don’t forget to have fun, be creative with your marketing, and, most importantly, keep podcasting!

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