12 Tips to Optimize and Promote Your Podcast

Creating a podcast is a great way to generate more interest in your business. Focus on engaging content and consistent promotion to make it successful.

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Podcasts are a great way to keep up with new trends or to delve deeper into your favorite topics. But did you know that podcasts can be used as an effective marketing tactic, helping your business grow to new heights?

For starters, having a regular podcast helps strengthen your brand development strategy. You get to establish yourself as an expert in your field, share insightful knowledge, and build your business’s reputation. This in turn establishes a sense of community and trust with your audience.

Most importantly, promoting your podcast allows you to expand beyond your typical marketing channels. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Edison Research found that over 50% of adults in the U.S. have listened to a podcast. That’s some solid engagement!

Not sure how to create or market a podcast? Let’s look at what’s needed to make your podcast simply amazing.


1. Create meaningful content

The main objective of your podcast marketing strategy is simple: Make it engaging, enticing, and enjoyable.

Listeners can tell when a podcast is a desperate ploy to drive business to your website. Of course that’s the ultimate goal here, but you want to be genuine in the process.

The bottom line: Work hard to create meaningful and worthwhile episodes that won’t put your listeners to sleep — unless it’s a podcast for insomniacs, of course.


2. Focus on niche topics

The brutal truth is there are millions of podcasts out there. In order to stand out from the crowd, you need a cutting edge. If your focus is too broad, you’ll be crushed by the competition.

Think about ways to twist popular topics into your own specialty.

For example, creating a standard fitness podcast isn’t going to get much traction given the abundance of fitness-related material available. However, take a look at Biceps after Babies. This podcast has been extremely successful because what mom doesn’t long for biceps after having babies? It’s a broad enough topic to catch the interest of mothers nationwide, yet narrow enough to avoid getting lost in the stream of options.


3. Remain consistent

People thrive on consistency. Creating a reliable and dependable product should be one of your main podcast marketing strategies.

Here’s a quick checklist to follow:

Length: This might seem insignificant, but listeners will come to expect a similar time length for each episode. If you do a 10-minute episode one week, and then a two-hour episode the next, they’ll be thrown off.

Day: Aim to release each episode on the same day of the week, preferably at the same time. This way listeners can anticipate its arrival.

Tone: Even if you utilize guest speakers (and you should), you want to keep the overall vibe consistent. If it’s a comedy podcast, make sure to maintain an upbeat, humorous tone. If it’s a financial podcast, then keeping it concise and to-the-point is best.

Opening/closing: Tie in all your episodes with a similar introduction and closing. If you use background music, keep the style consistent.


4. Include guest speakers

Mix things up by inviting guest speakers to star in your podcast. They can share their own stories and topics. Or you can structure the sessions as a standard interview. Just make sure to create new interview questions for each guest speaker to avoid sounding repetitive or contrived.

Think ahead to your marketing plan and what topics will help generate interest in your business. Post the dates guest speakers will be featured so your listeners can make sure to not miss those episodes.


5. Invest in professional equipment

One quick way to establish yourself as an amateur is to use subpar equipment. We know that starting a podcast is a bit of a gamble — will it even work? But really, nobody wants to listen to a crackling voice or barking dogs in the background.

If you’re going to do this right, go ahead and invest in a proper microphone. Also, make sure to record your episodes in a quiet room with no distractions or unwanted ambient noise.


6. Utilize social media platforms

A podcast by itself is yet another form of social media. People can comment, share, like, and so on. However, it’s advantageous to connect with relevant social media platforms in order to continually grow your audience.

Just like any form of digital advertising, you’ll need to spend time analyzing your target audience. Who will listen to your podcast? Which platforms will they share it on?

A collage of nine guest speakers for the Almost 30 podcast.

Instagram is a fantastic platform for promoting upcoming episodes on your podcast. Source: Instagram.com.

For example, if your podcast has a financial theme, then look to share your episodes on LinkedIn. If it’s geared toward a younger audience, you’ll want to tap into Instagram or Snapchat. As you can see in the image above, utilizing photos is a great way to generate interest in your upcoming episodes. Don’t forget to include those effective hashtags to help improve their searchability.


7. Use keywords in title

If you have an SEO expert on your team, assign them the task of creating catchy podcast titles. If not, try using Google’s Keyword Planner or invest in SEO software, such as KWFinder. Remember, you want to avoid titles that are too broad or too specific. Finding the perfect balance is tough, but over time you’ll learn how to nail it.

Also, make sure to lead with the person’s name and the topic first. For example, it’s better to list your title as Joe Smith Explains How to Get Rich — Episode 24 as opposed to Episode 24 — Joe Smith…

Above all else, be concise and detailed. You don’t want people to have to guess what the episode is about or to end up disappointed when the topic is completely different from the title.


8. Create different formats

After recording and releasing each episode, you’ll next need to transcribe it into a blog post. Why? Well, it’s what the SEO gods require!

The transcribed podcast will allow readers to hit more searchable terms, thus boosting the podcast’s presence. Plus, you’ll be able to reach a wider audience, such as those who suffer from hearing loss. Lastly, not everyone has time to listen to a podcast so having a written version allows everyone access to the content. The more traffic, the more business. Got it? Good.

Here are a few automatic transcription services to explore:

Sonix

Trint

Descript

Of course, you can always transcribe it yourself if you’re strapped for cash. Just know it takes time and effort to do the job properly.


9. Use promotional services

First, make sure to publish your content to all the podcast marketing services. These include iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Overcast, and Stitcher.

Next, take advantage of our top eight digital marketing tips, especially email marketing. Creating a regular newsletter that notifies your followers of the latest episode is a great way to generate consistent interest in your podcast.

Also, boost your podcast promotion with these approaches:

Apple Smart Banner: This is an excellent way to direct iOS users directly to your podcast. You insert a banner at the top of your website, which embeds a link to your iTunes podcast. Follow the instructions here.

Business cards: This might seem old-school, but trust us, they still work! You can print your podcast name on cards and leave them at cafes, the library, doctor’s waiting rooms, or even under windshield wipers at a parking lot nearby. Get the word out there.

Google podcasts: Adding a Listen on Google Podcasts button is a great way to draw more traffic to your episodes.

If you want an all-in-one platform for your podcast, then Anchor is the place to go. Here you can create, distribute, and market your podcasts — all for free! The image below shows a quick synopsis of all Anchor offers.

Four columns that show how Anchor helps record, build, export, and add music to your podcasts.

Anchor helps you through every stage of the podcast experience. Source: anchor.fm.


10. Invest in advertising

As always, you have to spend money to make money. This is especially true if your podcast is new or struggling to get off the ground.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Facebook: There are plenty of ways to advertise on Facebook. Here are eight tips to make your ads more effective.

Google Ads: Expand your reach to everyone who’s searching on Google. Here’s how to launch your Google Ad.

Listen Notes: Looking for a place to find cohosts, guest speakers, sponsors, and more? Head over to Listen Notes. You can also list a paid ad for your podcast.


11. Build those reviews

Word of mouth is by far one of the best marketing tools out there. Encourage listeners to leave reviews by offering incentives. For example, you could pick one review at random each month to win a prize, or to read the review out loud during the next episode. People love this kind of fame.

Three sample reviews from a podcast on iTunes.

It takes only a few stellar reviews to make your podcast stand out. Source: podcasts.apple.com.

Pick the best reviews to list on your website or to post on social media. Listeners can also post reviews to individual podcast platforms. In the image above, you can see how a 5-star rating on iTunes makes a podcast shine. (This is from the Katia Ravé podcast — go check it out).

And remember, people will naturally gossip about an amazing podcast. So focus on creating top-notch content and let your audience do a chunk of the promotional work for you.


12. Don’t give up

Most podcasts take a while to build up momentum. Expect to publish at least 20-30 podcasts before you start to see some traction.

If your podcasts are falling short after six months, consider ramping up the material. Is it really engaging? Are you getting any reviews?

Try to bring in interesting guest speakers, boost your ads on Facebook, or try out a new niche.


Focus on engaging content above anything else

We can talk on and on about all the ways to promote, promote, promote. And yes, you do need to spread the word, invest in paid advertising, and focus on catchy SEO titles. But in the end, it’s the juicy content that wins.

Take a look at the most successful podcasts out there. Pay attention to what makes them inviting and engaging. What draws listeners in? The answer lies within the essence of the podcast, in the compelling content that resonates with listeners both young and old.

Find your specialty. Brainstorm about what will make your podcast unique. And from there, go forth and share your wisdom. If it’s genuine, entertaining, and informative, the crowds will follow.

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The Motley Fool has a Disclosure Policy. The Author and/or The Motley Fool may have an interest in companies mentioned. Click here for more information.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Apple, Facebook, and Spotify Technology. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.