We’ve talked a lot about why you should start a high-quality podcast, but creating binge-worthy audio content is only part of the podcast equation. Making sure your content reaches the right listeners is just as important — if not more so — than producing your show.
When you combine relevant, engaging content with a thoughtful and intentional promotion plan, this is where the real magic happens!
Now you might be wondering: What are the best ways to find the right people and convert them into loyal subscribers?
Well, if you’re looking for ideas to get started with your podcast promotion, we’ve got plenty! We tapped Wistia’s Growth Marketing team to learn their best tips and tricks for promoting a podcast. They’ve got tons of experience, gained from promoting Wistia’s original podcasts The Brandwagon Interviews, Talking Too Loud, and A Better Workplace.
In this handy-dandy guide, the team will share everything you need to know about getting your podcast out into the world, from the types of assets you should create to all the promotional channels you can use.
To begin, creating a distinguishable brand for your podcast will play a big role in helping listeners remember your show when you promote it across different channels. Here are some branded promo assets your business should make before you launch your show.
The “before” part is important! Doing the work ahead of the launch makes it easier for you in the long run and ensures you don’t have to transition from your original branding to something new.
A podcast show trailer will help folks understand the overall gist of what your show is all about. Think about how you can quickly pique people’s interest.
Instead of pulling soundbites from your episodes — which most people won’t have context for yet — it might be more helpful to make an intro of what your show is about and feature the show’s host or hosts. You can also use the trailer to announce when your podcast is coming out and when they can expect new episodes.
Here’s the trailer we made for A Better Workplace, our original podcast where Wistia’s VP of People, Jane Jaxon, and Customer Support Champ, Colin Dinnie, have candid conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Together, they shine a light on what it takes to build a better workplace for all.
As we mentioned, you’ll want to create assets for each marketing channel where you plan to promote your podcast. Assets should look and feel consistent with your podcast’s brand. Once you have a look you love, create templates that are easy to customize to save design time in the future.
At Wistia, we use Asana and Google Drive to collaborate and keep things organized for each episode we release. We can attest that once you have an organized process, you’ll get into a groove, and preparing to launch a new episode will feel easier every time you do it.
We’ll show you examples of branded promotion assets for each channel throughout this guide — stay tuned!
In addition to uploading your podcast to streaming services like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher, you should also create a home for your podcast right on your website. You want a page on your website where your podcast lives so you can drive traffic from social media, paid advertising, blog content, email campaigns, and more.
Hosting podcast content on your website is critical because it can help solidify your show’s brand, build a deeper connection with your audience, generate owned subscribers, and nurture your audience with lead scoring. It would be a shame to miss out on all of these potential benefits! Plus, this page will become a piece of evergreen content for your brand.
Now that you know the basic branded promotional assets that’ll help you hit the ground running, let’s take a closer look at each channel you can use to promote your podcast.
When it comes to growing an audience for your brand’s new podcast, tapping into your email marketing capabilities is the best place to start. Here’s how you can leverage your audiences differently and employ best practices for promoting your podcast via email.
If you have an existing database of people who love the content you create, you can hit those existing relevant lists while also jumpstarting a dedicated listener base for your show! Whether these marketing lists exist for product updates or blog content, folks in these audiences may very well be interested in your podcast’s unique content.
Start plugging your podcast in your marketing automation and onboarding sequences. Here’s an example of a callout we used in one of our blog content email newsletters when we wanted to promote The Brandwagon Interviews podcast.
Since this was a broader list, we kept this section short and sweet and allowed the creativity to steal the spotlight and drive traffic to our podcast page.
On the other hand, you can also build a new email subscriber list from scratch by using your existing marketing channels to spread the word. Your show’s subscribers will be the ones you’ll email regularly about teasers, new episode releases, exclusive content, and more. These people are highly qualified because they have expressly opted in to receive news about your show.
Another way to promote your podcast through email is by creating branded email signatures.
Considering how many emails you and your team probably send in a single day, inserting a Call to Action (CTA) and linking to your podcast in your email signature can get your show in front of a sizeable untapped audience.
Of course, you don’t have to require everyone to update their email signatures . It would make most sense for customer-facing team members to include a link to the show, as they communicate with current and potential customers.
Here’s an example of the email signature banner we created for Talking Too Loud:
So, now you’ve got a few ideas you can implement to promote your podcast via email. But what does an engaging podcast email look like? And what types of emails should you be sending for your show?
Check out two examples of emails we’ve sent to support our very own shows!
Build excitement and anticipation for your new podcast by sending out an announcement email. This is an opportune time to leverage your existing email lists — either by sending a dedicated email or by including the announcement in a newsletter-style send.
Alternatively, as we touched on earlier, you could get ahead of the curve by collecting emails before launch and then sending an announcement to your dedicated show list.
Here’s an example of an email we sent to announce Talking Too Loud:
Keep your listeners in the loop by sending out emails alerting them to new episodes. Don’t worry: These emails can be short and sweet!
It’s most important to send these consistently to your audience. The email cadence for announcements should follow your show cadence. That means if your podcast comes out every other week, you should be letting people know about those new episodes via email every other week as well.
Don’t know what to talk about in these ongoing emails? Highlight your show guests (if you have them), craft a compelling preview for the episode, and drive people to listen.
Here’s an example of what we typically send for new episodes of Talking Too Loud:
Finally, don’t forget to test your email strategy regularly! Over time, you might find that different creative choices lead to higher open rates (OR) or boost your click-through rates (CTR).
For example, we’ve found that including a guest’s name in our email subject lines increased OR. GIFs and video thumbnails in our emails also increased CTR. These are both good things, so now we try to personalize emails and include relevant GIFs and thumbnails whenever we can.
The main takeaway: Don’t be afraid to experiment and A/B test to learn more about what works well for promoting your podcast through email. You won’t know it all right away, so incorporate new information as you get it so you can improve your email sends every time.
Moving right along! We can’t talk promo without talking about good ol’ fashioned content creation. Let’s look at a couple of ways to repurpose your audio content and use your blog to further support your podcast.
After you have a decent amount of podcast episodes under your belt, go back and identify common threads or interesting themes you could write about for a blog post.
To support our podcast, Talking Too Loud, we pulled common themes that existed across several episodes — in this case, building people-first companies — and put together one post that covers the different perspectives of our guests.
Want some other ideas to get your content wheels turning? One route you can take is summing up key takeaways from the first season of your show. Or, consider doing a deep dive into what it was like producing the first season of your podcast. The opportunities are endless!
Another way to support your podcast on your blog is with episode recap posts. We leaned on this a ton for The Brandwagon Interviews podcast. Episode recaps are a great way to break down episodes even further and provide your audience with additional snippets and valuable nuggets they won’t find anywhere else.
You can also include extended guest interviews; this offers a unique value for your audience and gives them another way to engage with your content. If you have a bunch of audio that didn’t make the final cut of your podcast episode, you can embed those clips into your blog post or format the post in a question-and-answer style format.
Shopify, the e-commerce platform, is one brand that creates episode recap blog posts to support its podcast, In Conversation with Shopify Plus. It embeds episodes directly into blog posts using Wistia and adds short summaries with links throughout to give its audience more to read and listen to.
See for yourself below:
Themed posts and episode recaps present an opportunity to appeal to others in your audience who would rather read than listen to your podcast. Plus, it increases the opportunity for your podcast to be found in other areas of your website besides the podcast page itself.
If you have the budget for it, paid media can be another excellent option to expand your reach. There are many ways to effectively spend your money to reach the right folks, in the right place, at the right time. Here are some of our favorites!
Partnering with relevant newsletters is one way to get your podcast in front of people who might be interested in your show. Think about newsletters that are already reaching people in your target audience. You’ll want to select newsletters specific to your industry or focus on those that share a common theme with your podcast.
For our own podcasts, we tested a few different newsletters that align with our audience — here are some examples of our executions for newsletters and display ads.
Putting money behind social media ads can also be worth your while. Social platforms — particularly Facebook and LinkedIn — have deep targeting capabilities to help you reach the right potential listeners.
Here are a few tips to help your ads get in front of the right eyes:
- Use captivating imagery. Put your show art front-and-center to drive home your show’s branding. Do you have a guest that people might recognize? Even better ! Feature them in the ads to take advantage of that authority and recognition with your target audience.
- Drive people to subscribe on your website. Listeners should still have the option to listen to your show on their favorite platform, but that doesn’t mean you want to drive all of your traffic to Apple or Spotify. Instead, focus on generating awareness and capturing interest on your own website.
- Experiment with audio and video assets. Give a little taste of your show by using audio and visual components. This could be a simple audiogram that shares excerpts from specific episodes or a trailer video to promote the show as a whole.
- Design for sound off, but delight with sound on. If you’re going to leverage videos for your ads, this means featuring text overlay or captions edited into your video so that users who are watching without sound can easily understand what the video is about. Then, if that user is especially engaged and interested, they’ll feel fully immersed if they turn the sound on and are greeted by background music or a voiceover from the video.
- Keep ads short and sweet. Make your podcast ad pop with creative copy or eye-catching formats, and keep it succinct.
Social media platforms offer deep interest and demographic-based targeting capabilities, not to mention powerful website pixels that unlock a whole new level of targeting possibilities.
With over 2.5 billion active monthly users, Facebook offers the largest social media audience and some of the most advanced targeting options for reaching a niche audience. The platform also provides a robust advertising network and advanced reporting capabilities.
A visual-first platform, Instagram is the perfect place to showcase your podcast art and audiograms. Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012, so all Instagram ads are actually run through Facebook Ads, with the same bells and whistles available across both platforms.
Twitter’s strength lies in the community it creates around certain groups or topics. Have you ever logged on during the Super Bowl or when a new episode of a popular show drops? Everyone with a similar interest is on at once, engaging in real-time.
For a B2B or professional audience, LinkedIn is where the magic happens. This network includes over 700,000 members, making it the largest single professional social platform in the world. This is the ideal place for companies that cater to a B2B audience.
The most effective way to attract new, high-intent listeners? Cross-promote your podcast on another show with a similar listener profile.
Once you have a solid understanding of your audience, it’s time to pick your podcast advertising network of choice. Each network has its nuances, so do your research to see what would be a good fit for your audience and goals.
Typically, the network will have plenty of information on listener demographics and can help you place ads on the podcasts that align with your ideal listener.
Here are a few typical ad formats/categories to consider:
- Pre-roll: an ad that runs at the very beginning of a show
- Mid-roll: an ad that plays at some point in the middle of a show
- Outro: an ad that plays at the end of a show
- Baked-In/Native: these ads are read by the podcast host(s) and feel like part of the show
- Dynamic Insertion: these ads are pre-recorded and placed in the show via an ad server
The pricing model is usually based on CPM (cost per one thousand listeners). According to AdvertiseCast, the average 30-second ad has a CPM of $18, and the average 60-second ad has a CPM of $25. These numbers often scale with the audience’s size — so a podcast with fewer listeners might have a lower CPM, while a podcast with a broader audience might have a higher CPM (though this isn’t always the case, as it really depends on the show).
For a more accurate estimate, check out AdvertiseCast’s free calculator.
There was a lot to digest here, but we want you to know there are plenty of ways to promote your podcast with paid advertising. Spend your dollars strategically, and be sure to test and optimize as you go!
Finally, strategic partnerships can be extremely valuable in helping grow your podcast. Existing partnerships or your broader network are natural places to look for organic promotion opportunities. Let’s take a look at two common ways to leverage partnerships for podcast promotion.
A soft way of growing your show without explicitly advertising is to work with existing partners on a co-marketing deal. You can also have thought leaders within your company appear as a guest on other shows and speak about your podcast in order to raise awareness.
If you’re interested in either of these possibilities, first evaluate your existing partners and determine which ones might be a good fit for collaboration. For example, Wistia’s CEO was a guest on HubSpot’s Entrepreneurs on Fire podcast, where he spoke about Talking Too Loud. HubSpot is one of our integration partners and has a similar audience profile, so the collaboration was a natural fit.
Another option is to tap individuals within your network that might not be formal partners but are friends or allies of the company. Start by leveraging the host or hosts’ networks and finding shows run by friends of the podcast. Company leaders might also be great resources to connect with, depending on the topic of your show. Existing relationships are most likely to be fruitful here, so be mindful of your outreach and networking and focus on your warmest connections first.
We just touched on this, but if your podcast host is a thought leader in your industry or holds specific topic expertise, you can seek out opportunities for them to appear as a guest on other podcasts. As you land more guest spots on shows, you’re building your reputation as an industry expert and subject matter authority — and with enough authority, your expert can embark on a speaking tour to promote your podcast and generate even more brand awareness.
Consistency is key here. It might be helpful to loop in a public relations agency or contact to help land those guest spots. Or, you can designate an internal team member to actively solicit and manage these opportunities in a structured way.
Alright — we’ve covered the promotion assets, the channels you’ll use to promote, paid media efforts, and partnerships. Now it’s time to talk about how we’re going to measure the success of all your efforts.
Before we dive in, we want to mention a caveat, which is that podcast analytics is far from a perfect science. Podcasts are still relatively new, and many platforms don’t connect in ways that make measurement easy. There are other instances in which the information that is shared is somewhat opaque, which can be frustrating.
That said, we’ll share our approach to defining success and what quantitative and qualitative metrics we look at.
In general, there are three primary places where you can look for podcast analytics:
- Your podcast host (which may or may not pull in analytics from other partners like streaming apps)
- Individual streaming platforms (like Apple, Spotify, etc.)
- Your website (if you host episodes on your own website, you can look at website data in Google Analytics or your analytics provider)
Here are a few quantitative metrics we collect to give us an idea of how our show is performing:
- Average episode engagement
- Subscriber growth
- Channel engagement
- CRM data
Though it may seem counterintuitive, we recommend measuring engagement-based metrics like average episode engagement and subscriber growth over downloads. If you’re wondering why, check out our hot take below!
Now, to keep track of your success, you’ll want to get in the habit of creating UTMs.
What UTMs are: “UTM” stands for “Urchin tracking module.” Urchin Software Corporation was acquired by Google in 2005, and their software laid the groundwork for what we now know as Google Analytics.
What UTMS are used for:UTM codes help us track the performance of URL links so we can see where traffic is coming from. By tagging your URLs with UTMs, you can get a good understanding of how your visitors interact with your website.
What sources we use:
- Campaign Source: the platform/vendor/site where the traffic originates, like Facebook or Google
- Campaign Medium: this can be used to identify the medium like Paid Social, Display, CPC, etc.
- Campaign Term: mainly used for tracking keywords in a paid search campaign; it can also be used in other scenarios to identify aspects of your audience
- Campaign Content: when A/B testing ads, this is a useful metric that passes details about your ad; you can also use it to differentiate links that point to the same URL
- Campaign Name: this is just to identify your campaign or theme
Aside from quantitative metrics, there’s also all the stuff you really can’t measure. Things like positive reviews on streaming apps, emails from excited fans, feedback from prospects and customers, and interactions on social media — these are all great signs that your content is resonating with the right folks. That means you should absolutely be paying attention and keeping track of it!
If you do get this type of feedback, don’t keep it to yourself! Share it with your team, who will appreciate hearing the positive impact the show is having.
Measuring success might not be a perfect science, but we hope our strategies for looking at quantitative and qualitative data can help you start to understand how your show is performing overall.
If you’ve made it to the end of this podcast promotion guide, you should now have foundational knowledge about how to capture listeners and grow an audience for your show.
You should obviously continue using the channels that you know work for you, but if something new has come to your attention through this guide, we encourage you to try it! Don’t be afraid if you experience setbacks or less-than-desired results as you’re testing out new ways to grow your podcast. That’s normal!
No company’s experience will be exactly the same as ours, but experimentation is how you grow and become more successful. Now get out there and start promoting your podcast!