A radio show with 1,000 listeners is pathetic.
Why? Because terrestrial radio is a medium with a passive audience.
So it would make sense to think that a podcast with 1,000 listeners would be pathetic too. But the difference is that podcast audiences are active … not passive.
To put it in simpler terms …
Imagine giving a speech to 1,000 attendees in a private auditorium.
That’s what it’s like to podcast to an audience of 1,000 listeners. They’re all listening to you.
As a result, starting a podcast is a good way to build a following, and ultimately, a customer base. It is great for funneling in leads so you can sell them something.
Here’s a recipe for success that will help you execute and market your podcast effectively
1. Become an Early Mover in a Niche
There are literally millions of niches out there.
Be a part of a long tail.
My technical background is in finance. Right now, the growing niches are digital currencies and crowdfunding. When I type in these keywords into the iTunes podcast section, very little comes up. This means there are opportunities!
The bottom line is you can create a podcast about anything.
A podcast is an audio blog. So if you love Air Jordan shoes, start a podcast on Air Jordans! That’s quite niche.If you love something enough, you’ll never run out of stuff to talk about.
2. Release Frequent Content Early in the Process
The more content you pump out as soon as you launch your podcast on iTunes, the longer it’ll be featured on the “New & Noteworthy” section.
If you can come out with fresh content every day, there’s a good chance your podcast will be featured for as long as two months. This is one of those rare cases where quantity is greater than quality.
It doesn’t matter if each episode is less than five minutes long. Keep releasing new content to keep your audience engaged. iTunes algorithms will take notice. After a couple of months of pumping out fresh content, cool down the publishing to once a week.
Why only once?
Sometimes, less is more. If you release something every day of the year, it could become difficult for listeners to keep track. Any sense of anticipation would be removed.
By posting once a week, you keep listeners waiting for what’s next. This ensures they’ll focus more on each episode that is released.
If You're Releasing a Podcast Episode Once a Week, Which Day is Best to Publish?
Definitely have a set publishing schedule so your listeners know when to look out for your podcast. Your favorite TV show comes on a certain day and time every week – do the same with your podcast.
💡Pro Tip: Tuesday is when new music releases in the iTunes Store. This means there is lots of traffic on iTunes on Tuesday.
3. Use All Distribution Networks
iTunes is the largest and most effective platform to distribute podcasts, but there are others out there that will give your podcast even more publicity.
All you have to do is create a profile and submit your RSS podcast feed to get your podcast into each platform’s system for distribution. Here are step-by-step guides to get your podcast listed on the most popular directories:
- How to submit your podcast to iTunes/Apple Podcasts
- How to submit your podcast to Google Podcasts
- How to submit your podcast to Spotify
- How to submit your show to Stitcher
- How to submit your podcast to iHeartRadio
- How to submit your podcast to TuneIn
- How to submit your show to Pandora
- How to submit your podcast to Amazon Music & Audible
These distributors all have their own users and subscribers and are great for SEO. The more you get your podcast out there, the better the chance it will get noticed.
4. Create a Separate Website That Captures Leads and Publishes All Podcasts
This is SO important.
Too many podcast managers just publish their shows on iTunes and do nothing else.
The point of iTunes is to bring in new listeners. But you’ll then want to funnel those listeners into your network so you can directly engage with them.
By engage, I mean you’ll want to post blog articles on your site or send listeners emails on:
- Episode updates
- Upcoming guests
- Thoughts on shows or guests
- Schedule changes
- Marketing and sales messages
- Happy holiday greetings, etc.
Publishing episodes on your website gives listeners a chance to listen to your episodes in a different way. Not everyone likes iTunes/Apple Podcasts.
In fact, I listen to all of my favorite podcasts by visiting the official websites of the podcasts. I rarely use iTunes … but that’s just me.
You want to give all listeners and potential listeners every possible way to find and listen to your show.
A controversial or newsworthy interview can go viral if it’s posted on a website … not on iTunes.
There are just so many pros to having a fully functional website for your podcast.
Having big name guests will help with Google traffic rankings.
5. Grow Your Mailing List
The easiest way to engage with your audience outside of your podcast is by having a website with a free newsletter mailing list.
MailChimp is the easiest and quickly becoming the most common email service provider (ESP). I use it for my businesses and love its features and it’s very cheap compared to competitors like AWeber, Salesforce, iContact and Infusionsoft.
To capture names, make sure you have plenty of newsletter opt-in boxes and may be even a pop-up asking visitors to subscribe to your free mailing list so they can stay up-to-date on your latest episodes.
I’ve even had clients force users to enter their email in order to listen to any podcast on the site.
For example, when clicking the “Play” button or clicking “Listen” on a site, a pop-up comes up immediately asking the user to enter their email into a box so they can listen to the episode they clicked on.
This seems forceful, but it’s a great way to collect new email leads.
THE QUICKEST WAY TO GET YOUR EXISTING LISTENERS TO JOIN YOUR MAILING LIST IS TO “GIVE AWAY” SOMETHING OF VALUE FREE OF CHARGE.
Below are items you can giveaway your site’s visitors for free:
- Special report
- Special audio segment
- One-year free trial to your product
- Free consultation
You want to tease your giveaway on-air. Tell the audience clearly what you’re giving away, why it’s of value, and how they can take advantage of your offer.
Here’s an example of what you can say:
“I wrote a brand new e-book on how to make a million dollars from one single weekly podcast. To find out all my strategies and secrets, visit www.milliondollarpodcast.com [
For one former client, I ran a campaign where we gave away free digital subscriptions to a paid newsletter if people entered their email on a landing page we created in a vanity URL.
We built our mailing list to more than 10,000 subscribers from scratch over a one-month period because of this campaign.
6. Interview Guests
The easiest way to generate buzz for your podcast is by interviewing big-name guests whose name will do the marketing for you.
This could be a big name guest with a large following on social media or other media like Tim Ferriss or James Altucher – or a big name guest who the public cares about like Jay-Z or Kim Kardashian.
AS SOON AS YOU LAUNCH YOUR PODCAST, MAKE SURE YOUR FIRST GUESTS ARE TOP-NOTCH. THIS WILL GET iTUNES TO MARKET YOU SENSATIONALLY!
When I launched an investing podcast for a client back in 2011, our first guest was Jim Rogers, who’s one of the richest hedge fund investors in the world.
For whatever reason, investors and economists (especially free market supporters) love what Jim Rogers has to say. No matter who interviews him, the hit ends up going viral.
We interviewed Mr. Rogers on the podcast, and it generated more than 40,000 downloads and listens within 24 hours. The name brand of “Jim Rogers” did all the marketing for us.
We were featured on the “New & Noteworthy,” “What’s Hot,” and “Top Episodes” rankings. This was a great start to our podcast and set the stage for much success for the podcasting venture.
In addition, use iTunes to find other podcasts within your niche. Look at the hosts of the shows in your niche. Invite the hosts to be guests on your show. There’s a very good chance the host will return the favor and ask you to be a guest on his/her show as well.
The commingling is great for marketing purposes: the host will get access to your listeners, and you will get access to the host’s listeners too.
7. Send Guests Links to Their Episodes
This is so imperative because the guests will want to brag about their appearance on your show to their subscribers, followers, friends, family, etc. They will email it to their lists. They will post it on all their social media.
This is exactly what you want.
Your website gives your guests the chance to link to your site on their site, mailing list, social media, etc.
It’s easier to link to an episode page on a website than on a single episode on iTunes.
Your podcast guests can drive their following and traffic to your site, and then you can convert them to leads, and hopefully, to loyal listeners.
The guests will remember you more if you engage with them after the interview through social media, a thank-you gift, or a short follow-up email with the episode page’s link.
Media guests do so many interviews – some do thousands of interviews every year. By following up and engaging with them, you won’t be just another podcast host who lives in his parents’ basement.
The guest might even refer more guests within their industry to you in the future. He or she might also send you free stuff (conference tickets, books, etc.).
You want to start and maintain as many relationships with guests as you can, so don’t hesitate to friend them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, or add them on LinkedIn.
You never know what the guest can do for you in the future … whether it’s recommending your show publicly or becoming a potential business partner.
These networking tactics have helped my clients and me immensely!
8. Convert Audio Podcasts into Print Content to Improve SEO and Shareability
Transcriptions are GREAT for content generation.
You can pick specific segments from your podcasts and post their transcriptions on your website’s blog. You can also turn good portions of a podcast into blog posts.
Let’s say, for example, you host a podcast dedicated to the movie and book Fight Club. Your podcast allows you to reach millions of Fight Club fans around the world, including actors Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. Pitt’s publicist reaches out to you and asks if he can be interviewed on your show … your dream has come true! So you interview Pitt.
Now, you want the world to know how cool you are. And then other people can share how cool you are through social media.
The audio version of your podcast will be broadcast on iTunes and other distributors, but having a print version of the interview – or summarizing the interview into a column or post – brings marvelous SEO value and has the potential of going viral all over the Internet because it is easier to share.
That’s what transcripts can do … they improve SEO and enhance the chances of you and your show spreading.
They give you great ideas for print content and since you’ll already have the transcript (you can hire someone as mentioned earlier or do it yourself), actually writing a watered-down piece becomes easy.
It shouldn’t take longer than a half-hour.
9. Incorporate Youtube and Social Media into Your Marketing Strategy
Build followings on social media so people can share your show with their networks.
Post all your episodes on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Myspace, Pinterest, etc.
Give your audience of followers what they want by:
- Posting updates
- Responding to public and private messages
- Reading feedback on-air
Do whatever you need to do to stay active and engaged on social media.
Congratulate loyal social media followers publicly – your audience will get a kick out of it. It’ll convey a sense of realness.
Focus extra on YouTube, because it’s such a widely used content sharing platform.
Create a YouTube channel and upload all your podcasts on to this channel.
You can upload them as movie files and just have a still photo with your podcast’s information, such as its name, site, social media and contact info.
This not only gives people more ways to listen, but they can comment and send you messages too. Social media has real intangible value.
It won’t make you much money, but it will increase your podcast’s brand, awareness and engagement greatly.
Plus, it’s awesome for customer service. It also leaves several doors open for an episode or blog post to go viral. These days, nothing can go viral without social media.
- Become an early mover in a niche
- Release frequent content
- Use all distribution networks
- Create a separate website that captures leads and makes the podcasts available
- Grow your mailing lists
- Interview guests and send them links to their episodes
- Send guests links to their episodes
- Convert audio podcasts into print content to improve SEO and shareability
- Incorporate YouTube and social media into marketing strategy
There are many podcasts that fail, but that’s largely because several of the steps above are missing in their execution.
As I mentioned earlier, having a podcast with 1,000 listeners is equivalent to giving a speech to 1,000 attendees in a private auditorium.
Consequently, not just hosts stand to benefit from podcasting. Guests on podcasts have a great opportunity to sell themselves and their products too.
Podcasts are always looking for good guests – thought leaders, authors, executives, and creative visionaries. So if you or your business has something of unique value to offer, then go to iTunes and search for podcasts you think you’d be a good guest on!
For authors, the podcast tour has replaced the book tour. It’s no longer necessary to travel around the world to meet readers and autograph books. Authors can instead hold webinars or do a bunch of podcast interviews to get the word out and then forward folks to Amazon to buy their books … from their home and in their pajamas!
About the Author
Naresh Vissa is the Founder & CEO of Krish Media & Marketing and author of the #1 bestselling books PODCASTNOMICS: The Book Of Podcasting … To Make You Millions and “FIFTY SHADES OF MARKETING: Whip Your Business Into Shape & Dominate Your Competition.“