This is part 3 in the series of posts about podcasts. If you missed the others, here are the links:
Once you’ve uploaded your podcast episodes correctly to iTunes, it’s not yet time to breathe that sigh of relief. In fact, your real work is just beginning – promotion.
Promotion is the magic ingredient that ensures some podcasts go viral or are at least wildly successful in their niche. Without it, the chances of people finding your podcast are, frankly, hit-and-miss.
Let’s look at the best (and least time-consuming) ways to promote your Podcast…
1. Make sure you have optimized your iTunes Directory listing
Before you rush off to promote, do make sure you have:
- Tested your feed and episodes
- Included every optimization strategy possible in your RSS feed title, description and cover photo
Really think about your keywords too – even after you’ve selected them. Do they have a double meaning you might not be seeing, attracting the wrong audience? Are they weak words that detract from your stronger keywords? Is your title packed with weak words such as adverbs and adjectives? Are these the best keywords – that is, does your target listener actually search with these; or is there a better keyword?
Remember too that your cover photo will be small in the iTunes Directory display, so keep it as focused and simple as possible, with no clutter or background “noise”.
The best idea in ensuring you miss no vital steps:
- Create a checklist and run through all its steps, every time you upload podcast episodes.
2. Brand your Series
What’s the first thing that strikes you when you see a Pepsi Cola can in a graphic ad? That the ad is all about cola and soft drinks, right?
And not just any old cola – Pepsi.
One of the reasons you think of Pepsi or Coke: These two drinks are much better branded than other types of cola drinks.
In other words, the instant you see the graphic, you know which company’s product you are looking at (as well as which product it is).
Do that with your Podcasts too. Create a signature graphic and/or color scheme that instantly makes people think of you (or your series or product, if you are branding your series or product).
- A short, memorable series name (in the same font and colors, every episode)
- A logo (such as the flaming earth in the screenshot below)
- Your website and company colors
- Your head shot, if you are strongly branding yourself (and use the same photo every time)
- Your name, for recognizability
The result with the podcast series below? People only have to see the colors, the name and the flaming earth log and fans immediately go from neutral to highly interested in a split-second.
That’s what branding can do – so put it to work for your podcast!
3. Promote your podcast on social media
Don’t just promote it the instant it’s released – start a buzz about it yourself.
Talk about the process of creation; and why you’re excited about it. Report on progress and glitches. (Aim this at your target followers, of course – use a Facebook or Twitter List.)
Take out Facebook ads. Promote it on Twitter. Create a Facebook Page for your podcast blog or network.
But remember, in all your social media efforts, to make it about your reader – even if you are talking about your own podcast-creation triumphs and struggles. Only report things that they can identify with.
4. Add your iTunes podcast URL to your signature
Do you belong to forums? Membership sites?
And of course you send out emails to your lists.
If you do any of the above, consider adding your podcast URL to your signature, wherever it’s allowed.
5. Create Show Notes
You are most likely promoting your episodes on your blog with a separate post per episode. Don’t just stop there, however: Add Show Notes.
Your Show Notes should include:
- The name of your podcast
- Your targeted keywords
- Mention of any current trend you tackle in your podcast
- Some tidbit of information to stir them to insatiable curiosity
Remember, you have the time it takes them to glance over your little blurb to hook them into deciding they have to download your podcast. If you were reading your Show Notes, what would hook you? What would make it impossible for you to resist the podcast, no matter how busy you were?
Buzz Out Loud demonstrates a quick and easy way to add Show Notes to your .MP3 podcast file in this article.
You should also publish your Show Notes directly on your blog: iTunes will actually scan your blog feed looking for tagged .MP3 files.
6. JV with other podcasters
One of the best ways to publicize your podcast series – especially if you’re new – is to land guest spots on other podcasts and invite guest speakers to your podcast.
Learn what it takes to be a great guest. Make your host look great to her audience. Keep the pace fast, lively and focused. (And be sure to ask for an on-air plug for your podcast, if you agree to be a guest.)
It works best if you interview experts in your niche who are close but not direct competitors. (For example, a Business Coach might interview a Time Management Coach or a Lifestyle Coach.)
Your whole aim, when offering to guest or choosing guest speakers, should be to enrich the value of your target audience’s niche experience.
Besides, interviewing experts is another way of saying: “Hey, I’m the one who knows who to call in.” You psychologically brand yourself as a peer of the very experts you are interviewing.
It’s a win-win situation all round, if you pick your guest spots (and your guests) with your target audience in mind.
7. Build Relationships and Connections at Google Plus Communities
Google Plus Communities provides a little-known place where you can become known as a podcaster, all while making new networking connections and building strong relationships – and picking up valuable tips.
The particular Community is moderated by Daniel Lewis: It’s called Podcasting Technology Resources.
And it may be a little-known Community to the average internet marketer and her client – but it currently boasts 806 podcast-loving members; many of whom might make excellent guest speakers… or subscribers.
(Check out other podcasting communities in other social networks, such as the LinkedIn version of the Podcasting Technology Resource Group.)
8. Integrate your promotion across all platforms
Make sure each and every platform is thoroughly optimized, with links, buttons, badges and icons to help cross-share with each other. That goes for social networks, blogs, contests and forums alike.
Include sign up forms, subscription buttons and RSS feed widgets too on your sites.
Always be on the look-out for ways to promote – and cross share that promotion.
9. Educate your listeners and subscribers
Not everyone knows how easy it is to listen to an iTunes podcast.
Provide easy instructions and links for downloading iTunes. Let your listeners know the length of your podcasts too. Many of the most popular podcasts range between 10 to 15 minutes in length: People will often pause to listen to a 12-minute podcast; whereas they might regretfully pass up on one they’d really like to listen to – because it’s over 30 minutes in length.
Tell your audience about apps that may help their podcast experience too. Tell them where to find links they need. Let them know about anything and everything that:
• Makes their podcast experience ridiculously easy
• Makes them want to learn more – from you
10. Submit your Podcasts to other Directories
Don’t just rely 100% on the iTunes store to help people find your podcast: Submit your feed URL to other podcast directories too. That way, you won’t miss any segment of your market that has a hate on for Apple, or who can’t access iTunes due to technical incompatibilities.
You can find a good list to begin with at the Podcasting Tools blog.
11. Submit Press Releases about your Podcast
Some people will tell you that press releases are “dead”. Nonsense. The only dead press release is one that isn’t well-written and correctly formatted.
Look at podcast press releases in PRWeb to see how it’s done – and notice you are allowed to upload and use your iTunes miniature cover graphic.
There are many press release directories around, but don’t waste your time on too many: Instead, focus on ones like PRWeb that are heavy on reputation; or else find ones that specialize in your niche topic. (Just search using the keywords “directory” and “[topic or niche name]” in Google.)
12. Create a provider page
Let’s finish off with one more quick tip from iTunes’ Making a Podcast manual about creating a provider page, once you have a stable of podcasts up and running smoothly…
These twelve ideas are by no means the only steps to successful podcast promotion – but they are twelve of the most effective.
Don’t stop there: Find other promotion methods for your particular niche or industry – and get the word out about your podcast!