Over a third of people in the U.S. say they listen to podcasts – an impressive feat for a media form that didn’t come about until 2004. Podcasting came following a boom in amateur radio broadcasting. It took off quickly on a personal level, with people deep diving into their niche interests in audio-form. Just a year after its zenith, big companies began to recognize the opportunity that podcasting could present as a means of thought leadership, recognition, and building a more personal B2C relationship.
Now, many smaller businesses have caught on to the benefits of running a podcast. Unlike many marketing channels, podcasting can easily allow small businesses to penetrate markets outside their norm, both in terms of location and industry. And, podcasts have proven to loyalize audiences as they offer a uniquely intimate way to communicate and connect with those that find them.
But making sure people can and do find your podcast is key to unlocking all of the marketing, sales, and growth opportunities that they offer. Marketing a podcast can be tricky, but below, we’re taking you through how to be sure you’re taking the right steps to growing your podcast and your business.
1. It’s Personal.
The first thing to note, as with nearly anything you might market, is that successful podcast marketing can’t have a “one size fits all” approach. The beauty of podcasts is that no two are exactly alike – these days you can search a few keywords and find a podcast on just about anything. This also means they need different marketing approaches. We’ve found strategies that have worked across the podcasts we’ve helped clients produce and grow, but keep in mind that your main focus should be on whether individual strategies will work for YOUR audience.
Podcast marketing can be a slow burn. Test, and don’t be afraid to try something new if the first few attempts at marketing your podcast don’t result in overnight success.
2. Know which listening platforms are worth investing in.
With the rise of podcasts came several platforms vying to be the market leader for podcast hosting and streaming. It’s ideal to get your podcast on multiple listening platforms so as not to single out your audience, but you need to know which platforms are the right ones to put time and effort into placing your podcast.
Here are the top podcast apps, so you can weigh your options:
Apple Podcasts: Apple was the first big business to see the potential in podcasting, and today it is the biggest listening platform for podcasts, with free access to more than 30 million podcast episodes and the option to pay for premium podcasts and shows as well.
Google Podcasts: Google offers a free app for podcast listening with a large listener base.
Spotify: Spotify is one of the major listening platforms for music, and podcasts are no different. It has a strong podcast platform with a user-friendly interface that lets people search for and discover podcasts by specific genres.
Audible: More known for its audiobook library, Audible also has many original podcasts with a large listenership.
Stitcher: Stitcher touts itself as being made specifically for podcasts. It offers original podcasts and has a unique array of playback options so podcast listeners get a more personalized experience.
TuneIn Radio: TuneIn features podcasts and radio streams from around the world sorted by genre and interest.
Choosing the right platforms for your podcast comes down to understanding where your target audience is most likely to listen. Which brings us to our next point…
3. Audience, Audience, Audience.
Podcast marketing can’t be one size fits all because the most important aspect of your podcast and how you should market it is the people who tune in. Understanding your current and target audiences’ behaviors and responses is key.
Map out their persona so you can better understand how to reach them. This applies to any marketing channel you dive into, but in podcast marketing, focus especially on their perceived age range, gender, and the pain points they might look to long-form content to solve. Here are a few listener demographics to help you get started:
Female listenership reached an all-time high for podcasts in 2021
⅔ of podcast listeners fall within the 12-34 age range
½ of listeners in the 35-44 age range listen to podcasts on a monthly basis, more than ¼ of Americans between 55 and 65 listen to podcasts monthly, and only ⅕ of listeners over 65 listen monthly or more frequently
In the US, 43% of men and 39% of women listen to podcasts
More than ⅔ of podcast listeners have a bachelor’s degree or higher and an average annual household income of $75,000 or more
Consider the industry or niche your podcast falls into. Who is it most likely to appeal to? Once you understand that person’s persona, consider what you know about them to shape a personalized marketing strategy best suited to reach them.
Want to learn more about marketing personas?
Need help crafting your personas? Use our free guide to craft your personas and put them to use.
4. Take advantage of a guest network.
The beautiful thing about podcast marketing is that you don’t have to do it all on your own – not if you feature guests on episodes. Not only does inviting guests who align with your podcast’s topic, theme, and goals add interest and a fresh perspective, but it also helps your marketing efforts. When guests join your podcast, they’re likely to share the episode on their own channels and invite their network to tune in, and you’ll reap the benefits of cross promotion.
Similarly, take your own expertise and join other podcasts as a guest. Find podcasts that your target audience listens to and engages with and that align with the thought leadership you have to offer. When you lend your voice to other podcasts, their loyal listenership is able to discover you and your podcast.
5. Invite production help from marketing experts.
Podcast marketing can be tricky – it may require trial and error, but getting help from experts who understand the ins and outs of digital marketing can help your podcast reach its goals, from increased brand awareness and loyalty to lead generation.
The team at Speak Creative helps author and entrepreneur, Jay Myers, produce his podcast, Extra Innings, which has helped strengthen his relationship with his current audience, expand into a new audience base, and promote his work from his books to speaking opportunities and more.
We’ve seen great success growing Jay Myer’s listenership. A digital marketing and audience growth focused agency can help your podcast grow through ads, social media, paid and organic search, organizing your guest network and more.
Want help seeing ROI and success from your podcast?