Podcasting is a big industry that keeps growing. The global market size is estimated to reach $94.88 billion by 2028. It’s a good business to get into right now, evidenced by the increasing number of podcasts and podcast listeners worldwide.
If you decide you have an idea worth sharing or want to promote your brand, there are many tools to help you get started making a podcast. But after you’ve started, you need to promote your podcast if you want to attract listeners. In this ultimate guide, we cover strategies for marketing your podcast, including tips for podcast SEO. We also go over how to submit your podcast to the most popular directories and get it listed on Google.
Let’s start promoting your podcast!
Tips & strategies for promoting your podcast
We’ve compiled 22 podcast promotion tips and strategies to help you boost exposure and market your podcast to new listeners. They’re split into three categories: production, optimization, and marketing.
🎙 Podcast production
Promoting your podcast starts with production. There are simple steps you can take as you create your podcast episodes to ensure they rank more highly in SERPs. These tips also make it easier to optimize your podcast for SEO and market it once it’s published.
1. Choose an appropriate format for your target audience
Podcasts come in a variety of formats. The most common are:
- Conversations with two or more co-hosts
- Panel discussions
- Nonfiction narrative storytelling
- News reporting
- Fictional stories
You can develop your own format, but it will be easier to build an audience with the above styles, as podcast listeners are more familiar with them.
How do you choose the right format? Identify your target audience first. If your podcast is for professionals in the interior design industry, for example, then they’ll likely be most interested in interviews with experts in the field. Consider the goals of your podcast and picture your typical listener to help you decide on the right format.
2. Check podcast trends
As you develop your podcast, pay attention to current podcast trends. One of the most important recent developments in podcasting is the 2019 Google algorithm update that started indexing podcasts to include them on search engine results pages (SERPs). As a result of this trend, voice search is becoming a more common way for prospective listeners to find podcast episodes that address their search queries. And podcast hosts now need to pay attention to podcast SEO if they want to grow their listener counts.
Other trends to be aware of in the podcast world include:
- High-quality content is always a listener’s priority.
- Podcast hosts develop significant credibility with their listeners.
- Podcasts are drawing advertising funds away from traditional TV and radio spots.
- The 50+ age demographic has started listening to podcasts more often.
- Reaching new podcast listeners will depend on data.
What do these trends mean for you as a podcaster? There are big advertising opportunities in podcasts, as well as listeners ready to pledge their loyalty to your show — if you deliver high-quality content.
3. Create a catchy podcast name
Your podcast title should be short and sweet. Anything long and complex will confuse listeners. You can use a catchy play on words or incorporate your brand name if you already have an established brand. If you’ve taken the time to develop some keywords for your podcast (see the next tip), try to incorporate your main keyword. It’s easier to include keywords in your individual episode titles than your show title, however, so don’t sacrifice creativity for the sake of SEO when it comes to your show title.
Using your target keywords is more important for episodes because they are the search results that pop up on Google. If you do a podcast about tips for gamers, for example, naming it “Tips for Gamers” would be great for SEO but also very boring. Instead, include the niche keywords your audience is searching for in your episode titles. If you do an episode about the best PC specs for gaming, it would be better to name it exactly “Best PC Specs for Gaming” or something similar because your target audience is likely searching for that topic.
4. Add descriptive keywords to your title
You’ve heard of keyword research for blog posts and websites. Since Google’s update that pinpoints verbalized keywords to help podcasts appear in search results, keyword research matters for podcasts too. Once you have an idea for your podcast, you can search for related keywords to help you brainstorm topics for your episodes. Focus on the keywords your target audience is searching for.
Once you have your list of keywords, try to incorporate them into your podcast episodes. If you speak clearly enough, Google’s natural language processing (NLP) features will pick out your verbalized keyword, increasing the chances you’ll rank for it.
5. Put keywords in your description too
You’ll also want to add keywords to your podcast description, as Google crawls this info as well. Avoid keyword stuffing (adding your keyword repeatedly), as both Google and human readers/listeners don’t like it. There are no hard and fast rules on podcast descriptions, and content that uses an RSS feed doesn’t have a limit. But Apple Podcasts doesn’t let you go over 4,000 characters, so that’s commonly seen as the limit.
Content marketer Dan Misener did some digging on podcast description lengths. Using only Apple Podcasts, he found the average character length for shows was 243, with a significant uptick at 600 characters.
Keep in mind that your podcast description is not the same as your show notes. With a description, your goal is to attract listeners who are interested in the subject of your episode. Show notes are much more detailed and provide a full synopsis of the episode. Google displays between 155 and 160 characters of a description, and most podcast platforms display between 70 and 150 characters.
6. Speak clearly
Speaking with a clear, strong voice is podcast production 101. Developing a “radio voice” helps listeners understand what you’re saying. As we saw with podcasts and keywords, speaking clearly is also good for podcast SEO.
When you record your podcast, remember to sit up straight and project your voice as best you can. Having a quality microphone with a pop filter also helps ensure smooth audio for your podcast recording.
7. Reference older episodes
When promoting your podcast, you may become focused on marketing each new episode that comes out. But if you’ve been making your podcast for a while, don’t forget about your catalog of older episodes. Potential listeners can discover your podcast if one of these episodes covers a topic that interests them. Plus, getting more downloads on older episodes helps boost your listener stats.
If you mention a topic you covered in a previous episode, always remind your listeners that the episode is still available to them. Also, put the name of the older episode in the podcast’s show notes so listeners can find it easily.
🛠 Podcast optimization
After you’ve recorded and edited your podcast episode, you need to keep some optimization tasks in mind before publishing.
8. Create a website for your podcast
Maybe you started a podcast as a way to promote your business, blog, or website. If so, you should create a landing page dedicated to your podcast on your site. Have a list of all your episodes available on your landing page so listeners can find them easily. Additionally, consider hosting the episodes on your site with an embedded audio player, so website visitors don’t have to navigate somewhere else to listen. If you don’t have an embedded player, at least include descriptions and links for each episode in the list.
If you don’t already have a website to attach your podcast to, create a new one. Some podcast hosting platforms come with a website when you sign up for a hosting plan, making it much easier to manage. Having a place for your podcast to live online besides a podcast directory will greatly improve discoverability.
9. Include a transcription
On your podcast website, post the transcripts for each episode. Why? Although verbalized keywords are becoming more pertinent, Google is still better at finding text keywords for now. A text transcript with your keywords is easier for Google to index and therefore more likely to be included in search results. Use a service like Descript or Otter.ai to get the transcript, then clean it up and post it along with your podcast episode.
Once you have the transcript, you can also write a blog post for your podcast episode. The transcript might be too long to post as is, so pull out the main takeaways and reformat them for readability. Include bullet points, shorten paragraphs, add sub-headings, and use images to make the post more engaging for readers.
10. Optimize your podcast’s length
How long should a podcast be? The average podcast length is 36 minutes, but your podcast might be better suited to a shorter or longer duration. A show reporting industry news likely won’t run as long as a podcast centered on interviews, for example. You’ll have to determine which length works best for your format and audience, but keep in mind that most listeners don’t want to devote hours and hours to podcasts.
Typical podcast lengths and their formats are:
- 15 - 30 minutes: Choose this length if you focus on daily news, trends, and stories. It’s also best suited for a one-host podcast.
- 30 - 60 minutes: You can get away with 30- to 60-minute podcasts if you do interviews, reports, commentary, and narrative storytelling. This duration also suits shows with two hosts or frequent guests.
- 60+ minutes: Your podcast can last more than one hour if you have several guests, a panel discussion, or a live show. Long podcasts work better when there are multiple people involved, rather than a solo host.
11. Split your podcast into chapters
If your podcast is more than 15 minutes, organize it into chapters. Some podcasting platforms support clickable chapters, which read like a table of contents. This allows listeners to quickly scan the topics of your podcast and skip to the section they’re most interested in. It also appears more organized to search engines.
The principle is the same as creating timestamps for YouTube videos and placing them in the video’s description. If you split your podcast up into chunks, it’s more user-friendly, giving it a better chance of ranking highly in SERPs.
12. Publish your podcast episodes at the right time
To better optimize your podcast, it’s crucial to publish it at the right times. Your listeners probably have preferred times of day for podcast listening, and you want to capitalize on that as much as possible. If you’re a new podcast and don’t have any listener data, check the publishing times of other podcasts in your niche and identify trends.
Once you have your own data, look through it to see when people listen to your podcast most often. Run some experiments with publishing times to see if a certain time of day does better than another.
🤑 Podcast marketing
After you publish your podcast episode, there’s still plenty of promotion work to be done. From networking and sharing on social media to email newsletters and paid ads, your podcast marketing strategy should be multi-pronged.
13. Encourage reviews from your listeners
Listener reviews are one of the most powerful podcast promotion tools you have. On Apple Podcasts specifically, a high number of positive reviews within your first eight weeks of launching are what get your podcast into the New & Noteworthy featured podcast section.
Google also factors reviews into search results, so the more positive reviews you have, the better your chances of ranking highly. Reviews also boost social proof, letting potential listeners know whether your podcast will be interesting and relevant to them. Always add a call to action (CTA) at the end of each episode asking listeners to leave a review if they enjoyed the podcast.
14. Share your podcast on social media
Having a website for your podcast is a good start, but you should also create social media profiles for it as well. Get creative with your social media posts, too. Don’t just make a post promoting your latest episode with a link. Use one of your episodes (it doesn’t even have to be the most recent one) as a jumping-off point for a conversation on your Facebook page or Twitter. Focus on engagement and discussions with fans of your podcast.
You can also publish teasers of your latest podcast episode using audiograms. Excerpt an interesting 30 seconds or one minute from your episode and add it to a simple graphic video with captions. The captions help attract attention because most social networks play videos with the sound deactivated on users’ feeds. People are more likely to scroll past a simple audio file with no visual element.
15. Repurpose your podcast as a YouTube video
Repurposing content, whether it’s a podcast, video, or blog post, is a smart way to promote your brand. You can take your recorded MP3 file and convert it to an MOV file for a YouTube video. You may not have live podcast footage to add, so find some neutral stock footage. Add a thumbnail with your podcast logo and a photo of your guest if you have one, and add links or cards throughout the video.
Why bother converting your podcast into a YouTube video? Aren’t listeners more apt to use a podcast platform like Spotify or Apple Podcasts? Repurposing your podcast as a video has enormous SEO potential:
- Google values video as much as text.
- You can use an optimized title and description for YouTube.
- YouTube is a search engine in itself.
- YouTube videos are more shareable on social media.
16. Prepare three episodes for your podcast launch
Have your first three episodes edited and ready to publish on launch day, even if it means moving your launch date back a bit. You want to have enough content for people to engage with your podcast, and one episode often isn’t enough. Especially if you do shorter episodes, listeners who like your podcast and have nothing beyond the first episode to listen to on launch day will be disappointed.
17. Host a contest to get reviews and subscribers
Contests and giveaways are a fun promotional strategy, and once you have enough regular listeners, you can use them to get more reviews. Ask listeners to leave a review on your podcast to enter the contest or giveaway and randomly select a winner after a week. You can also ask listeners to subscribe to your podcast as a requirement for entry. Prizes for your contest might be:
- Free podcast merch if you have it
- A shoutout on next week’s episode
- A personalized audio message from you
- A custom-made gift
18. Collaborate with other podcasters
As the podcasting community keeps growing, it shouldn’t be hard for you to find other podcasters to collaborate with. Partnering up with other shows helps both of you gain exposure. Join podcast networking groups to connect with other podcasters who have similar shows. You can use these groups to offer yourself as a guest on someone else’s podcast or to ask for guests on yours.
Appearing as a guest on another podcast allows you to cross-promote. Plug your show when you appear as a guest, then promote that podcast on your social media channels. You can introduce your listeners to a new show that might interest them and tap into the fan base of the other podcast.
19. Enroll in HARO
Use the Help A Reporter Out (HARO) platform to make contact with journalists. You can sign up as an authoritative source on the topic of your podcast, and media professionals will reach out to you when they need quotes for articles, TV spots, or radio reports. When they quote you, they can link back to your podcast website and get you more exposure.
20. Buy paid ads
Paid ads are one of the fastest and most effective ways to market your podcast. Content marketing and organic searches can be useful, and you shouldn’t neglect these strategies, but they can also take time before you see results. When it comes to buying ads for your podcast, you have several options:
- Ads on other podcasts: Many podcasts use ads to support the production of their shows and prefer to promote other podcasts.
- Ads on podcast apps: Some podcasting apps allow you to buy ads to position your podcast at the top of your category list.
- Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords): Your ad displays on Google when users search for your podcast or keywords related to it.
- Facebook ads: If you have a Facebook page for your podcast, use Facebook’s ad functions to promote it.
- Instagram ads: Podcasts are an audio-first medium, and Instagram is more visual. Still, if you have high-quality images or videos to promote your podcast, you can use them for Instagram ads.
- LinkedIn ads: With ads on LinkedIn, you can target a more professional audience for your podcast.
Choosing the right platform for your paid ads depends on your podcast’s niche, target audience, and budget. An ad for a podcast about gaming probably wouldn’t do as well on LinkedIn, for example.
21. Send out a newsletter
Email marketing has an impressive ROI: For every dollar you spend on email marketing, you can expect a $36 return. Start a newsletter for your podcast as another way to connect with your fans. Subscribers may already get reminders when you publish a new episode, so make your email newsletter more than that. Curate a list of content you find interesting for the week, add links to any podcasts you appeared on as a guest, and share exclusive content about your podcast that only email newsletter subscribers can access.
22. Submit to podcast directories
Adding your podcast to popular directories or “podcatchers” like Spotify and Apple Podcasts will drastically improve your discoverability. People who use podcatcher apps are already podcast fans, so they’ll be more inclined to give your show a listen if they stumble across it.
Submitting your podcast to a directory is a crucial step in your promotion strategy. We’ll cover how to do it with the most popular apps in the next section.
How to submit your podcast to popular podcast directories
Ideally, you’ll submit your podcast to every podcast directory, not just the most popular ones. You want your show to be available no matter which podcast app your listeners are using. We’ll only cover three of the major ones here, however, as the process is similar for most apps.
Before you can add your podcast to a directory, you need to host it with a hosting service. Your hosting service will generate an RSS feed link, which you paste into each podcast directory app. You only need to add this link once, and the app will automatically add new episodes as you publish them on your hosting service.
1. How to submit podcasts to Apple Podcasts (iTunes)
If you submit your podcast to any directory, definitely submit it to Apple Podcasts, as it’s the largest podcast directory in the world. It comes native on all Apple devices, making it super easy for even casual podcast listeners to discover new shows.
To submit to Apple Podcasts, follow these steps:
- Create a title, author, and description
- Add podcast artwork to your podcast hosting service (3000 x 3000 pixels; 72 dpi; JPG or PNG file; RGB color.)
- Choose one podcast category
- Upload your podcast audio to your hosting service
- Copy your RSS feed
- Create an Apple ID (You need a credit card on file to create an Apple ID, even if you don’t purchase anything.)
- Submit your podcast to Apple Podcasts Connect
a. Sign in with your Apple ID
b. Click the plus sign button in the top left
c. Click New Show
d. Click add a show with an RSS feed
e. Paste your RSS feed and click Add
- Wait for approval from Apple Podcasts
Once your show is live on Apple Podcasts, use these tips to try and get featured:
- Fill out the description, title, author, language, category, and parental advisory
- Use attractive, original artwork that meets the Apple Podcasts criteria
- Submit an Apple Podcasts Promotion Request
- Provide carousel artwork if you’re requesting carousel placement
2. How to submit your podcast to Google Podcasts
Getting your podcast on Google Podcasts is essential if you’re hoping to make the most of organic searches. People can see your podcasts across many of Google’s apps and services. Keep in mind that Google Podcasts is not the same app as Google Play Music, which allows users to listen to podcasts.
If you want your podcast to show up in search results on Google, you simply need to ensure you’ve configured your RSS feed correctly with your podcast hosting service and follow a few other guidelines:
- At least one episode
- Supported audio format and not a video format
- Podcast image
- Podcast description
- Owner email
- Link to homepage for podcast
You can use your hosting service to set up everything you need for your show to appear on Google. Once Google has started indexing your RSS feed, you can also claim your show on the Google Podcasts Manager, which is an analytics tool to help you gather insights about your podcast.
3. How to submit your podcast to Spotify
After Apple Podcasts, Spotify is the most popular app for listening to podcasts. Forty-three percent of podcast listeners consume content on Spotify, so getting your show on the app is key for attracting new listeners.
Follow these steps to submit your podcast to Spotify:
- Meet the Spotify requirements:
a. RSS feed needs cover art, title, and details for at least one episode
b. Titles shorter than 20 characters
c. Episode length limit is 200 MB or about 83 minutes
d. MP3 audio file with bitrate between 96 and 320 kbps
- Create an account with Spotify for Podcasters
- Agree to Spotify’s terms and conditions
- Paste your RSS feed link
- Verify ownership of the podcast
- Choose the country, language, hosting provider, and category for the podcast
- Choose two sub-categories for your podcast
- Review and submit your podcast
Spotify walks you through each step, making it very straightforward to add your podcast if you’re already using a hosting service.
After your podcast gets added to Spotify, use these tips to promote it:
- Optimize your podcast’s landing page on Spotify
- Create a podcast playlist with episodes of a similar topic or theme
- Get featured on one of Spotify’s editorial podcast playlists
- Create a Spotify Promo Card as an asset to share on social media
- Make a podcast trailer to appear at the top of your episode directory on your Spotify podcast landing page
Podcast hosting and production tools
You have many choices when it comes to a podcast hosting service, but some offer more benefits than others. Some all-in-one tools allow you to create, edit, host, distribute, and monetize your podcast. Others integrate directly with apps like Spotify so you don’t have to worry about submitting your RSS feed to get your podcast to appear.
Below are four useful tools that will help you host, produce, or promote your podcast.
Anchor is a beginner-friendly podcast platform that lets you record and edit audio, then publish it as podcast episodes. It also pushes your podcast to relevant directories for you and allows you to monetize by collecting user contributions. Those new to podcasting will find the support they need with Anchor. The best part? It’s free.
PodBean is a hosting service for podcasts that also has its own app for podcast directories. You can start hosting a podcast for free and upload up to five hours of audio. To get unlimited audio uploads, you can pay $9 per month. A subscription with PodBean also gets you a dedicated website for your podcast. For monetization, you can either collect donations from listeners or sign up for sponsorship.
Buzzsprout has a user-friendly interface and makes hosting and managing a podcast easy. It has a built-in transcription tool, an embed player, a text editor for show notes, and it provides you with a podcast website you can use for affiliate marketing. You can sign up for the free plan, but Buzzsprout removes your episodes after 90 days at that tier. Their least expensive plan is $12 per month.
Castos is a powerful podcast hosting solution that integrates with both WordPress and Spotify. You can get a customizable player to embed on your website, and if you pay $19 per month, you get unlimited upload volume and download bandwidth.
Restream is an intuitive live streaming tool, but you can use it to produce podcasts as well. There are two ways to use Restream for podcast production:
- Whenever you use Restream to live stream, we save a recording of your stream for you. You can download the audio-only version and edit it into a podcast episode.
- Use Restream Studio to record a podcast. Choose record-only mode, which doesn’t push your video live anywhere but simply records. You can then download the recording and edit it as a podcast.
If you want to use live streaming to promote your podcast or record a live podcast episode, you can use Restream Studio to go live on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Twitch, and over 30 other platforms simultaneously.
Let’s wrap up
Promoting your podcast takes just as much work as recording and editing it, if not more. Whether you’re doing a podcast as a personal project or using it to promote your business, you need to implement podcast marketing strategies if you want to grow your audience. By using the strategies in this ultimate guide, you’ll be off to a good start!