Blog

Podcast Promotion: 14 Actionable Ideas That You Can Use Today

Podcast Promotion: 14 Actionable Ideas That You Can Use Today

You can have the best podcast in the world—but if no one knows it exists, does it really matter?

Once you’ve pressed “upload” on your podcast episode, your work is far from over. In fact, we argue that your work has just begun; you’ll need to spread the word so that people actually find your show

Promotion is essential to the success of your podcast, and you should be making a promotion strategy even before your first episode is published. In this article, we’ll give you actionable strategies (both free and paid) for building an audience for your podcast. Then, we’ll answer a few frequently asked questions about podcast promotion in 2021 and beyond.

How to Promote a Podcast: 14 Podcast Promotion Ideas with Examples

So, what is podcast promotion, exactly?

Promoting your podcast is the last step in your journey to becoming a successful podcaster. It happens after you’ve recorded, edited, and uploaded your audio (and optionally, video) files to your podcast host of choice. It includes all of the actions you need to take to get your podcast out in front of your target audience, like:

  • Adding it to podcast directories,
  • Posting about it on social media,
  • Informing your network about your show, and
  • Collaborating with industry peers to get the news out.

Below, we’ll cover 14 ways you can promote your podcast to ensure maximum engagement.

1. Submit Your Show to Podcast Directories

First, make sure your podcast is visible anywhere people are searching for new shows. 

Listeners use podcast directories, like Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes), Spotify, and Google Podcasts to search for, discover, and listen to podcasts. By submitting your podcast RSS feed to as many podcast directories as possible, you ensure that as many listeners as possible will find your show when they search for topics that interest them. 

Apple podcasts
(Image source: Apple Podcasts)

Check out our Ultimate Podcast Directories Guide to learn more about how (and where) to submit your podcast’s RSS feed.

2. Think About Your Target Audience

Promoting your podcast will be a lot more effective if you do it with purpose.

You may think it makes sense to try getting seen by everyone—after all, the more eyes on your show, the bigger the prospective audience, right? 

But the truth is, your podcast isn’t suitable for everyone. You may be able to throw a ton of money and time at your podcast promotion and earn a lot of new listeners or downloads, but is your goal to create a temporary spike in listens, or is it to attract listeners who become long-term subscribers because they like what they hear?

Probably the second option, right? In that case, figure out who those people are before you start promoting your podcast. Ask yourself what demographic characteristics they likely have in common, such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geographic location
  • Occupation
  • Hobbies and interests

Then, dig a little deeper. Once you have an idea of your ideal listener, ask yourself what content channels—social media platforms, radio, other podcasts, etc.—they’re already interacting with. Where could you likely reach them?

For example, if you promote your show on Twitter only to realize your target audience doesn’t hang out there, you’ll just end up wasting your time and resources with little subscriber growth to show for it.

3. Leverage Your Existing Audience to Attract More Listeners

Your current listeners can help you grow your audience, so don’t forget to ask your current listeners to subscribe. Gaining new subscribers boosts your Apple Podcasts rankings. The higher your ranking, the more visible your show is to potential listeners searching for new podcasts.

Then, encourage your listeners to post a review or testimonial on Apple Podcasts. 

Incentivize them by running giveaways or giving shoutouts to new reviewers (“We’d like to thank Sally Smith, who left us a 5-star review that said…”). People love to get shout-outs and free stuff, so this tactic will encourage more listeners to leave reviews. And just like your subscriber count, the more positive reviews you have, the better you’ll rank.

Podcast promotion rating and reviews

4. Optimize Your Episode Titles for SEO

Speaking of your audience searching for you, make sure you optimize all podcast episodes for user search intent.

Each episode title is an opportunity to demonstrate what your show is about and land on your target audience’s radar. Be sure to use your target keyword prominently in each episode title—best practices suggest that you place the keyword or keyphrase as close to the beginning of the title as you can.

But don’t stop at the keyword or phrase. Be sure to be as descriptive as possible about what the episode is about, as well. The clearer you can be about the contents of your show, the better your chances are that the people interested in that topic will check it out.

5. Think Outside the Audio Box

Do you have any other existing assets like a website, newsletter, or blog? Post a link to your podcast on those channels. 

Don’t underestimate the power of crossover content to attract new people to your podcast. Those already reading your blog or visiting your homepage might not be aware of your podcast if you don’t post about it there.

And if you have a blog, why not use your show notes and transcripts to create a new blog post out of each episode? 

Not only does this technique help with SEO and visibility for your podcast, but it’s also a great way to repurpose the content you already created to reach another audience segment who may prefer reading to listening.

6. Start a Website

Speaking of which, if you don’t already have a website, what are you waiting for?

There are many reasons you should have a dedicated website for your podcast, but one is to increase your visibility and grow your podcast audience. 

Your website is like your show’s home base, the place where you have complete control of the look, feel, and content surrounding your show. A website lets you:

  • Post links to your back catalog of episodes, 
  • Sell merch, 
  • Make announcements, and 
  • Have a central location to link back to from social media. 

Your podcast website is also a great place to communicate directly to your subscriber base. Your listeners may already be subscribed to your RSS feed on their podcast listening apps, but you may want to ask them to sign up for your newsletter or join your mailing list as well. That way, you can send them updates directly to their email and have even more control over how you communicate with them.

Check out this in-depth guide from The Podcast Host for step-by-step instructions for creating your podcast website using WordPress.

7. Collaborate with Fellow Creators to Increase Your Podcast Visibility

One of the easiest ways to reach more people is to use cross-promotion. Reach out to other podcasters in your niche and suggest that you both give shout-outs to each other on your shows. 

This type of easy cross-promotion happens all the time, which makes sense since it’s practically effortless. You’ve probably heard a podcast host say, “if you like our show, you’ll probably also love X other podcasts, so definitely give them a listen!” 

You can also take it a step further and become a guest on another show. Reach out to other podcasts that feel like a good fit—whether they’re in your niche or not—and let them know you’re open to featuring each other. 

The effect of easy cross-promotion like this is that each participating show gets exposure to the other show’s audience. The easiest way to find podcasts to be a guest on is to use tools like Matchmaker.fm and SpeakOnPodcasts.com that help connect podcast hosts with potential interviewees.

8. Court Star Power: Invite High-Profile Guests

Another way to make your podcast grow is to feature exciting and famous guests

It can be intimidating to think about asking a celebrity to be a guest on your show. You may not feel “big enough” or ready to interview a famous person. But you’d be surprised how many celebrities are willing to be featured on multiple podcasts. They may have a new book, film,  cause, or product to promote. 

And, of course, a high-profile guest doesn’t just mean Tom Hanks. Who are the big names in your specific industry or field? Are there any subject matter experts that your audience would love to hear from?

If you host a podcast on running as Marathon Training Academy does, for instance, you might try reaching out to professional runners like Sara Hall or Dean Karnazes. Guests like these may not be household names for the average person. Still, running enthusiasts would probably be excited to hear from them—which is perfect since running enthusiasts are Marathon Training Academy’s target audience.

Podcast promotion for Marathon Training Academy
(Image source: Marathon Training Academy on Apple Podcasts)

9. Promote Your Podcast on Social Media

If you aren’t advertising your podcast on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity for exposure and growth.

Of course, remember to use social media promotion strategically. You don’t need to be on every platform, just the ones where your target audience hangs out. 

Make a plan of which social media platforms you’ll focus on (we recommend starting with just one or two at the beginning, then branching out as you grow). Then, start generating exciting content to generate interest.

When promoting your show on social media, keep in mind that posting clips of your new episodes probably won’t be enough to build a following. Audio isn’t the best medium for attracting attention on social media platforms since every platform is optimized for visual content like written captions, images, and videos. 

So instead, think of ways you can post using text and images/video. For instance, try turning pull quotes from your episodes into an image. Or take a video of your podcast recording session and post clips to your social channels, as seen here on the Office Ladies Instagram page:

Office ladies podcast promotion

10. Go Live on Social Media

Another great way to create content for social media is to go live while recording a podcast episode at the same time. 

Riverside’s recording software has a livestream feature that lets you easily stream professional-quality recordings to LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Twitch. You can even accept live call-ins from your audience, which helps promote community engagement in real-time.

And the best part is that after the live show, you’ll receive locally recorded WAV audio and up to 4K video recordings that you can edit and publish to your regular podcast feed.

11. Do More on Social Media than Just Promote Your Show

While it may seem counterintuitive, you need to post more than just promotional content if you want your audience to grow. Social media users want to connect with others and get a sense of community around the brands they follow, which means you’ll need to do some community-building yourself.

Post about the human element of your show. Share photos or videos of what it’s like behind the scenes in your recording studio. Your fans will also appreciate being clued into a bit of your personal life, too, like birth or wedding announcements. 

And of course, make timely posts for holidays and cultural events—with bonus points if you can capitalize on an inside joke from your show or tie it back to your show’s topic like the fandom podcast Binge Mode does masterfully:

Binge Mode podcasts

12. Ask for Questions or Mentions on Social Media

One easy way to cultivate community engagement online is to ask your audience to tag or @ you on your active social media platforms. They can ask you questions for a mailbag episode, leave feedback, or participate in an audience poll. 

Then, mention each participant by name (or username) on your show when you interact with their question or feedback. 

This strategy encourages a higher rate of dialogue online, which increases your visibility. Your listeners’ friends will probably have similar interests, so seeing your show mentioned on their friend’s timelines may encourage them to check out your show for themselves.

13. Use Podcast Promotion Services

If it makes you tired just thinking about handling all of your outreach, cross-promotion, and social media content creation on your own (and if you have the budget for it), you may want to consider enlisting a marketing agency’s help.

Podcast marketing agencies offer promotion services to help take some of the burdens off of your shoulders. Some of the most popular services include:

These companies have experience building audiences for podcasts, and they can help create a successful marketing strategy customized for your individual goals. 

14. Take Advantage of Paid Advertising

And if you have the budget for it, advertising your podcast is a great way to ensure you’re getting in front of a larger potential audience. 

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer targeted advertising, which only appears on the news feeds of your specified demographic. This method prevents you from wasting ads on people who probably won’t be interested in your show.

Another option is to use Google advertising to appear at the top of search engine results for a specific keyphrase, as you can see here with the search term “dog training”:

Paid advertising podcast promotion

A link to your podcast will appear when people search for key phrases related to your show’s topic with Google ads. 

You can also advertise directly to podcast listeners on listening apps like Spotify, Overcast, PlayerFM, Pocket Casts, and Podcast Addict.

When branching out into paid advertising, the main thing to remember is that you need a solid understanding of your target audience and where they hang out online. If you don’t know this, you risk spending a lot of money paying for ads that will appear on the wrong platforms entirely.

Podcast Promotion FAQs

How much does it cost to promote a podcast?

The cost of podcast promotion varies by your strategy and methods. Hiring an agency or using paid advertising can cost as much as your budget allows, while other methods like building a social media presence are entirely free. 

How much does it cost to put your podcast on Spotify?

It’s free to add your podcasts’ RSS feed to Spotify’s platform. Simply navigate to Spotify for Podcasters and click “Get Started.” Paste the link to your podcast's RSS feed. Then, add additional information about your podcast, including its category, language, and country, and submit.

What social media platform is best for podcasts?

The simple answer? It depends on your audience.

There is no single best social media platform that’s best for podcast promotion. The determining factor is where your target audience hangs out. If you’re trying to appeal to professionals, LinkedIn may be your best bet. But if your target audience is Gen Z gaming enthusiasts, you may have better luck focusing on TikTok and Twitch.

How do podcasts go viral?

You’ll go viral if people who listen to your podcast get excited about it and share it with other potential listeners, who in turn also become enthusiastic about it and share it with their friends. This virtuous cycle is difficult to attain with a podcast but not impossible. 

To create the best conditions for going viral, use effective branding and marketing techniques to make your show exciting and easy to share. 

How can I promote my podcast for free?

While you can pay to promote your podcast by hiring a marketing agency and investing in paid advertising, there are many strategies for promoting your podcast for free. You’ll need to create quality content, understand your audience well, leverage your existing assets, and collaborate with other creators in your space. And, of course, social media is a great content marketing tool to build an audience organically.


Subscribe to our newsletter

Highly curated content, case studies, Riverside updates, and more.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Related articles

10

min read

Top Podcast Companies in Podcast Production & Software (2022)

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.

13

min read

10 Best Transcription Services for Accurate Digital Transcribing

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.

12

min read

The 7 Best Reliable Video SaaS Solutions in 2022

Riverside.fm is an audio-video tool that collapses the pod/broadcast studio experience into your browser. The service captures lossless audio and up to 4K video locally, syncs it, and uploads as you go.